A Side by side for a SXS
While they might be Elmer Fudd’s gun of choice, side by side shotguns aren’t that common in America anymore, mostly due to the fact that many of the good ones are quite expensive. Those that aren’t, such as the Stoeger Coach Gun, have deficiencies such as poor stock to receiver fitment, sticky chambers, and cheap stock finishes that degrade quickly. CZ’s Bobwhite G2 comes in at the very affordable MSRP of $655. This price makes it more at home in the gun rack of a Polaris SXS or old truck than in the bespoke velvet cabinets of a “shooting brake”.
CZ’s Bobwhite G2 is a new generation of their original Bobwhite. The G2 features a CNC machined receiver, slimmer action, and a black chrome finish on the receiver and barrels that CZ claims will hold up better to rust and field use than the bluing used on the original Bobwhite. The “modern internals” CZ references on their website are the coil spring activated hammers, floating firing pins, and redesigned sears. Still present are the English style straight stock and double triggers, giving one the option to choose a choke on the fly. The barrel assembly is still made by Huglu in Turkey.
Specs, per CZ-USA:
Product Name: CZ Bobwhite G2 12 GaugeSKU: 06390MSRP: $655.00Firearm Type: ShotgunPurpose: HuntingChambering: 12 GaugeMax Shell Length: 3 inBarrel Length: 28 inChokes: Includes 5 (F,IM,M,IC,C)Stock: Straight English-StyleLength Of Pull: 14 1/2 inReceiver Finish: Black ChromeBarrel Finish: Gloss Black ChromeEjector Extractor: ExtractorRib: 8mm FlatWeight: 7.3 lbsComb: 1 1/2 inHeel: 2 1/4 inTrigger Mech: Dual TriggersSafety: Manual Tang Safety
The Bobwhite G2 comes in a nicely laid out foam-lined plastic case. The case contains a choke box with three extra chokes (for a total of five), choke wrench, and the receiver and fore-end/barrel assembly contained in what appear to be extra large Crown Royal bags or the sleeves of Austin Power’s favorite crushed velvet jacket. Taking out the shotgun and fitting it together was a simple and smooth affair. Stock to receiver fitment was very good, and the action opened and closed smoothly and locked up tight. The Turkish walnut stock looked good for a shotgun of this price point, and the laser cut checkering provides just the right level of grip without being overly aggressive.
Dry firing the triggers is where I first found a deficiency: Trigger pull on both the front and rear triggers, was a bit gritty and inconsistent in weight on both my digital and analog pull gauges, varying by pounds (6.5 on the low end, 8.5 on the high end) rather than ounces. Though this can be remedied by a competent gunsmith easily enough, it is something that consumers should be aware of. Though I personally am not a fan of engraving, the engraving on the receivers is tasteful and understated. The tang-mounted safety also clicked on and off smoothly.
Initial Range time
Due to incessant snowfall in my area that did not let up even in late spring/early summer, sporting clays season had a very late start. Antsy to try the Bobwhite G2 out, I headed out to pattern the barrels and try out recoil with a few different loads. I mostly patterned with my go-to clays load, Federal Top Gun 2 3/4″ #8 shot. Patterns with the right barrel were pretty consistent on-center, with no noticeable blank spots (as should be expected with a quality modern choke). The left barrel did have a somewhat leftward bias of about 2 inches at 25y, regardless of choke.
Testing the shotgun in full Biden/Fudd mode with buckshot, hits were covering up the A zone of an IPSC target at 25Y with buckshot. This shotgun will do yeoman duty as a home defense gun if you want to get people off your lawn like it’s 1880. In all seriousness, however, this shotgun will handle shells other than bird loads just fine. Recoil wasn’t bad, just a straight back shove.
The rubber buttpad, while comfortable, isn’t too cushy and definitely doesn’t suffer from being too grippy or slippy, it mounts to the shoulder with most types of clothing just fine. While still cooling my heels waiting for clays season to start, I took the shotgun on a few hikes. It carries well, and is well balanced for hiking around while upland bird hunting. For the more weight sensitive, the 28ga version weighs only 5.5lbs.
When the clay action finally started up for the season, I was there with the Bobwhite G2. Commencing with wobble trap, I found the gun pointed well, mounted the shoulder quickly, and swung pretty well. As long as I did my job with the fundamentals of trap shooting, I was busting clays. Though the Bobwhite G2 doesn’t have ejectors, its extractors were utterly reliable. Another plus: If I didn’t feel like pulling the shells out by hand, a slight rearward flick would jettison the hulls out of the chambers (SASS shooters, take note). This speaks to the high-quality chambers of the Huglu barrels that need no extra polishing, unlike many other break action shotguns in this price range.
When I was shooting 5-stand sporting clays is where the heavier and inconsistent trigger pulls started hampering me. I often would miss because a shot wouldn’t break on a fleeting clay when I was trying to get it to do so. A collegiate-level shooter tried out the Bobwhite G2, and while he was impressed at the overall package, he had the same issue with the triggers.
I fired over 500 rounds in that range session alone, 600 total, without a single malfunction (and wouldn’t you know it, it snowed on me then, too!). The Bobwhite G2 handled any 2 3/4″ or 3″ shell that I could find in my ammo inventory without issue. Another nice feature was that even while churning through a case of shells, the barrels never got uncomfortably hot to the touch, unlike some of my other guns (I’m looking at you, Benelli Ultralight 12ga). Granted, I only fired 600 rounds, but the action felt just as tight when I sent the gun back as it did on day one.
The CZ Bobwhite G2 accomplishes a lot of things while filling the niche of affordable side by side shotgun. Objectively, It has quality fit/finish, shoots well, had zero malfunctions, and provides a lot of extras in the form of a hard case, gun socks for both the receiver and barrel, 5 total chokes, and a wrench. Subjectively, it “looks the part” of an affordable yet quality side by side shotgun and blows the competition out of the water in the fit/finish/functionality department. Though the triggers were somewhat gritty and inconsistent, this complaint isn’t enough to keep me from saying that the CZ Bobwhite G2 is one of the very best side by side shotguns one can find under $1000. It will be a top recommendation of mine for anyone interested in a quality, yet affordable side by side.
- Loaded with extras
- Smooth chambers allow for one-handed ejection
- Utterly reliable
- Traditional features such as straight stock and double triggers
- Excellent value for the price
- Triggers were rough with inconsistent pull weight, needed polishing
For more information, please visit CZ-USA
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