Stoeger Uplander: An affordable side-by-side?
Stoeger Uplander Field
Gauges: 12-Gauge, 20-Gauge, 28-Gauge, .410-Gauge
Chambered for: 2-1/2″, 2-3/4″ and 3″
- A-grade, satin walnut stock
- Extractors are standard on side by side models
- Tang-mounted safety automatically engages when the gun is broken open
Chokes: IC, M
Type of Sights: Brass bead
Length of Pull: 14-1/2″
Drop at Heel: 2-1/2″
Drop at Comb: 1-1/2″
Barrel Length: 26″
Overall Length: 42″
Weight: 7.42 lbs
Personal Opinion & Initial Thoughts
Cheap, affordable, and budget – usually those words don’t ever go together with a side-by-side shotgun. I’ve never owned a SxS before as my other shotguns have always served their respective purposes of bringing in game. However, as I was in the market for a “truck gun” I thought to myself that it would be worth it trying to debunk this age old myth:
“There is no such thing as an affordable side-by-side shotgun.”
I began to research the wide ranges of SxS shotguns available on the internet – from internet auctions such as gunbroker.com to simply BassPro Shops. Prices seemed to range from the low hundreds all the way to amounts surpassing down payments for a house in the United States.
I honestly knew that I could never justify spending too much on a gun, let alone one that would serve the purpose of a truck/fun/loaner gun – whatever you want to call it. Now many shotgun fanatics,aficionados, and hunters will tell you that you’re better off saving a few more hundred bucks to get a used Ithaca or equivalent on the market and that it’s a “better investment”.
In my personal opinion, unless your livelihood depends on it and it brings in income for you and your family – it’s not an investment. A gun used for enjoyment and pastime is simply an expense – no matter what the price on it is.
I know that I’ll probably catch a lot of flak for this, but I truly think there is a spot for the affordable side-by-side…you just have to have the right expectations.
- It won’t look and appear like it belongs in the hands of British loyalty.
- It’s craftsmanship will not be the very best nor expect it to be great.
- It’s mileage may vary – so will its longevity in the field
- It will NOT need to be treated gingerly and with utmost care
- It will NOT break your wallet nor will it compare with the ones that will
To me, as long as it shoots when it is supposed to, can take a tumble, and looks half decent – I’m okay with it. With these expectations lined out, I decided to pick up an Uplander in 20 gauge to see if it truly is possible to have an affordable SxS in the collection.
After taking it out on a couple of hunts and an initial 5 rounds of trap & skeet, I quickly came to a few very apparent and very subtle conclusions.
- The automatic safety is very annoying, especially when you have established a rhythm with your fellow shooters on the line. I understand why it is in place, but it’s a feature that doesn’t need to be there – especially for a side-by-side.
- The safety has a “half click” that does not do anything. Extremely annoying and actually unsafe. If I loaned it to someone and they thought this “half-click” was actually the gun on Safe – that could be a big problem.
- The “recoil pad” or lack thereof is actually a piece of plastic. That will need to be replaced with a Limbsaver. Even though it’s a 20 gauge, it feels more like a 12 gauge. Not a big deal.
- The action was very stiff and took awhile to loosen up, after a day at the range and a lot of CLP, it opens and closes like it should.
- It is deceptively light – especially when you first start swinging it.
- Although I’ve read of people having trouble with misfires, I did not experience one – yet.
- The double triggers are nice and brings an interesting dynamic back to shooting and hunting. It’s like driving a stick shift car again – not going to get you there any faster, but still fun to drive.
- People complain online about the looks. While I completely disagree with Stoeger that it has “…timeless English design” I have to say that it does not look bad at all. Maybe the lines aren’t as clean nor refined, but don’t buy a Camry expecting it to look like a Ferrari. Both cars will still get you where you need to go – same thing in this instance.
- It does not come with ejectors. Again, not a big deal, but it would have been nice.
If you’re a working man and you have the extra cash, this gun is a joy to have and shoot. I would not call it my favorite gun, nor would I hunt with it every single time I was out. However, as a cheap gun to keep in handy for a friend, a day at the shotgun range, or just a simple walk in hunt for small game or the occasional game birds – this gun can do wonders for you and your wallet. It may not have the best finish nor raving endorsements and reviews, but it gets the job done and looks half decent doing it.