Top or Bottom Barrel First?

Dear Technoid,

Recently I purchased an over/under shotgun for trap shooting and would like to know what barrel is most commonly fired first. The top or the bottom barrel?

My gun has the over barrel with a full choke and the under with a Imp. Modified. This is the way the gun came equipped.

Some advise would be appreciated.



Dear Jeff

On an O/U, unless you need the particular choke in the top barrel, it is customary to fire the lower barrel first. That’s because the recoil on the low barrel comes straight back due to the barrel’s low placement in the receiver where it is more in line with the recoil axis of the gun. Having the recoil come straight back causes less muzzle jump. The top barrel is higher on the axis of the gun and causes more muzzle jump and thus face slap when fired.

Best regards,

Bruce Buck
The Technoid writing for Shotgun Report, LLC
(Often in error. Never in doubt.)

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