There is an automatic safety which needs to be disengaged after the action is opened and closed and which also cocks the internal hammers. There are extractors, not ejectors (I would prefer ejectors for rapid reloading of this gun, since it is no longer really a sporting model and you don’t have to worry about capturing your spent shells in the field).
The only sighting equipment on the solid rib is a simple and somewhat small silver bead. I would have a gunsmith install a Hi-Viz or a set of XS Express Sights in its place. Even though there is no railing, perhaps one could be installed by a competent gunsmith. If you wanted to attach a tactical light without the gunsmithing you could, very simply, put a light in the groove underneath and between both barrels and secure it with electrical tape. Take it out and shoot it and see if it holds for you. Actually it really only needs to hold in place for two shots.
The Coach Gun buttstock has no recoil pad, just a plastic buttplate. I test fired it using Remington Home Defense 2-3/4-inch loads, one shot BB, the other shot Duplex. Kids, don’t try this at home without a slip-on rubber recoil pad on the thing. Better yet, get a recoil pad fitted to it. Holy smokes did that hurt-and remember, I love shooting shotguns. I have just grown soft shooting gas guns with recoil pads. Two shots told me all I need to know about patterning and recoil pads, or lack thereof, and about wanting to shoot it off the shoulder again.
The chamber is a three-inch, and all I’ve got to say is “don’t” unless you upgrade to a recoil pad. Two and three-quarter-inch shells are plenty for this gun.
I held dead center on the fist of the aggressor target at seven yards average combat distance. As expected, each barrel patterned just slightly toward its side from the center, but both shots struck pretty much where they were needed.
With all that being said, even if I couldn’t afford the little add-ons (except the recoil pad), I could still pick this baby right up out of the box and use it do defend my home and property quite successfully. The add-ons are just niceties, not essentials. Overall I’m quite impressed with the fit and finish of the Coach Gun and the tightness of the action.
Another option, which I was not able to test, is from Savage’s branch product line, Stevens. Stevens doesn’t have its own website, it is merely the trade name for the Savage line of shotguns.
The Stevens 612 Side by Side trail gun is blued steel wood stocked (not walnut apparently) with 20-inch barrels in 12 or 20 gauge. The MSRP is much higher than the Stoeger Coach gun, at $799.95. The gun is apparently made in Turkey. I checked on the 612 online at Shotgun World (www.shotgunworld.com) since I didn’t actually have one to examine. On the site, the 612 got very mixed reviews, actually mostly bad reviews.
There was one very positive review, and it could be a matter of some of the first guns that were imported were not up to proper standards, with later versions being improved. If you are interested in one, check with your local dealer or gunsmith and see what they are saying, and examine one for yourself. If they carry the line, ask them if they are coming back in for repairs. But I sure wouldn’t pay $400 more for one of these over the Stoeger in any event, as the Stoeger guns are very well executed examples of this type of shotgun.
This article is an excerpt from the Gun Digest Book of the Tactical Shotgun (Gun Digest Books, 2011).
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