Testfire: S&W Elite Gold, Elite Silver & 1000 Series

Due to balance and handling qualities, all of these shotguns pointed naturally. This is a positive quality in any shotgun.

Due to balance and handling qualities, all of these shotguns pointed naturally. This is a positive quality in any shotgun.

Elite Silver Over-Under

Back in my skeet shooting days when I shot competition, my Browning Superposed Diana had one frame/forend and four gauges of barrels, all balanced exactly. Due to this, they all swung and pointed the same and that became the action type I became accustomed to from thousands of rounds being fired in competition. This is probably why today I shoot an over-under the best.

S&W Elite Silver 12 gauge over-under. (S&W photo)

S&W Elite Silver 12 gauge over-under. (S&W photo)

Being a 12 gauge, the S & W Elite Silver weighs 7.6 to 7.8 pounds and is available with 2-3/4- or 3-inch chambers and 28 or 30 inch barrels. (Alas, the 26-inch length was discontinued in 2008.) There are five choke options: Cylinder, which is for skeet and sporting clays or grouse; Improved Cylinder; Modified; Improved Modified; and Full for those long shots.

This newly-designed Elite Silver shares many of the same custom design features as found on the Elite Gold series side-by-side and are also crafted with hand-engraved receivers finished in a bone-charcoal case hardening. Such a finish provides for a distinctive appearance as well as protection for the receiver.

An Elite Series Extra!

We have all heard of lifetime warranties that expire at the end of the original owner’s tenure. Smith & Wesson, again taking what many manufacturers had and expanding on it, did it again by coming up with their  “Heirloom” warranty:  with each purchase of an Elite Series shotgun, you get a lifetime warranty and then, when you pass either of these shotguns to whomever, your heir also has the same warranty protection you originally did. In my experience, a company who does this is one who obviously has the confidence that their product will continue on, trouble-free, into the next generation and then some.

When it comes to cost, the Elite Series models average $2,380 for either the side-by-side Gold or the over/under Silver, which is a lot less than I would have expected. With either purchase you get a fine, classic shotgun that is well-made, functional, practical and a work of art.

1000 Series Semiautos

[Editor’s Note: As this edition was going to press, Gun Digest learned that S&W’s 1000-Series semiauto shotguns have been discontinued. However, some will no doubt linger at retail for some time, so we present the following information for its historical value. -DMS.]

The 1000 Series semiautomatic in 12 gauge. As of 2010, this series of shotguns has been dropped from the S&W line-up but can occasionally be found in dealers’ gun racks. (S&W photo)

The 1000 Series semiautomatic in 12 gauge. As of 2010, this series of shotguns has been dropped from the S&W line-up but can occasionally be found in dealers’ gun racks. (S&W photo)

The Models 1012 Super (3-1/2-inch magnum), 1012 (2.75- or 3-inch 12 gauge) and 1020 (2.75- or 3-inch 20 gauge) gas-operated semi-automatics were designed for rough use and display excellent built-in handling characteristics.

Point, shoot, and the target goes down! Barrel lengths are 24, 26, and 28 inches as well as a 30-incher with TruGlo sights and ventilated rib. Five different choke tubes and a wrench are also included.

Weight of the 20 gauge, again depending on barrel length (24 or 26 inches) and stock material (wood versus synthetic) runs from 5.5 to 6.1 lbs. Overall lengths begin at 43.0 and go all the way to 50.5 inches for the 30-inch-barreled version that was discontinued in 2008. In 12 gauge, the weights vary from 6.3 to 7.5 lbs. with overall lengths from 45 to 51 inches – again, the latter for the 30-inch-barreled flavor.

Magazine capacity also varies, with the 12 gauge magnum holding 3 + 1 and the standard version 4 + 1. In the 20 gauge, it is 4 + 1 for all variations. The price of these shotguns in 2008 varied between $644 to around $735 in 20 gauge and is now slightly higher, primarily because of the falling dollar. The 12 gauge versions averaged between $644 for the 1012 to $882 for the 1012 Super – again, a bit more than that today because of the weak dollar.

This article is an excerpt from Gun Digest 2011. Click here to order your copy.

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