This is a follow up on the rcent post re lamenting the double. It is inspired by a review done recently on the Benelli Beccaccia, a specialist model for Europena woodcock hunters. In the USA I think it is known as the Superlight.
Weighing at 2.7 kilos or six pounds even it costs around a thousand Euro and comes with a whole bunch of accessories that personalise it to the user’s way of hunting. A longer recoil pad to lengthen the stock, three shims and plate to change bend and cast, quick detach sling swivels, three fiber optic beads, three chokes, oil bottle, all housed in a sturdy case. Total cost about one thousand Euro.
A quick calculation shows that the Beccaccia can be configured by its owner in 108 different setups, with no tools. Ironic that a mass produced item should offer so much customising scope right out of the box.
It is hard to think of a modern over under that can match these customisation features. Some come with chokes and beads but not stock adjustment facility, unless the stock is adjustable. And the cost is not a thousand Euro. As for side by sides, that is a non starter.
I have never hunted with a semi automatic, but looking at the Beccaccia with its shortened forend and factory installed two shot magazine, obviating the hassle of a plug, I was tempted.
Inevitably thoughts turn to a modern equally customisable side by side. It would take a radical change in the design paradigm, but it is doable. It is improbable that any maker would be willing to branch out to make even a prototype. Like Gough Thomas had said, mental inertia is deeply entrenched in the gun trade.