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I’m a sucker for smoothbores. Over/unders in particular. Weatherby has just announced they’re getting back into the market with their new Orion line of reasonably priced double guns perfect for the field or clay busting. We’ll fondle check one out at SHOT and try to arrange for a review gun. Press release after the jump . . .

Orion® over/under shotguns return to the Weatherby® product line in 2015 with endurance tested, field proven performance and a classically handsome look that inspires confidence and pride in bird hunters and clay target shooters alike. They can be seen at Weatherby’s SHOT Show booth, #12729, starting Tuesday, January 20, in Las Vegas.

The new Orion over/under shotguns come in 12 gauge with a 26- or 28-inch barrel and three-inch chamber. Each weighs approximately seven pounds—light for a quality over/under.

“Back by popular demand, our new Orion is a rock-solid, beautiful over/under shotgun that offers exceptional balance and effortless swing through,” said Adam Weatherby, executive vice president/chief operating officer. “We subjected it to rigorous testing to ensure smooth, reliable performance. We also gave it the Weatherby touch to meet the expectations and inspire the dreams of hunters and shooters everywhere.”

Orion over/under shotguns sport a rich Grade “A” walnut stock with a high-gloss finish and a rounded Prince of Wales grip featuring precision-cut checkering (22 LPI) for comfortable, sure handling in the field. A Pachmayr® Decelerator® pad helps reduce felt recoil. The pad’s “speed mount heel” is designed to prevent catching on clothing when shouldering the gun.

In addition, Orion shotguns have a traditional boxlock action with a dual conical pin locking mechanism for superior structural integrity. The forged steel receiver is shallower in depth and thinner in profile than traditional 12-gauge designs to provide exceptional balance and reduced weight. The chamber and bore are chrome lined for easier cleaning and greater corrosion resistance to withstand years of high-volume shooting. Automatic shell ejectors allow for faster reloading.
Other key features include a matte ventilated top rib to provide a better sighting plane and dissipate heat waves quicker. The threaded brass bead front sight atop the barrel helps facilitate quick target acquisition. An ambidextrous top tang safety also serves as barrel selector, allowing the shooter to quickly choose which barrel shoots first. The safety is designed for easy use, even with gloved hands.

Each Orion over/under shotgun features Weatherby’s Integral Multi-Choke System and comes with Improved Cylinder, Modified and Full choke tubes that allow shooters to tailor their shot patterns for specific hunting applications.

Manufacturer’s suggested retail price: $1,099. For more information, contact a local Weatherby dealer, call the company at (805) 227-2600 or visit

Founded in 1945, Weatherby, Inc.’s line features the new WBY-X™ products as well as the popular Vanguard® and legendary Mark V® rifles (production and custom); Threat Response® shotguns and rifles; semi-auto, pump and over/under shotguns; premium ammunition; and security/shooting accessories. For more information, go to The company is based in Paso Robles, Calif., and invites all hunters and shooters to visit its free online community at or Facebook page at Follow @weatherbyinc on Twitter.

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  1. Forgive me if this is a dumb question, but why does it seem that double barrel guns cost so much more than pumps? It’s not like the mechanism is far more complicated…. Is it just the craftsmanship? The fact that double guns (due to their limited utility compared with their pump and semi automatic counterparts) need to be worth showing off/owning, and thus the manufacturers turn to building truly beautiful guns?

    • The mechanism IS more complicated.

      There are two sears. Two hammers. On older guns there were two triggers. Two firing pins.

      Then in the forearm, you have two extractors. If you have ejectors, you have two sears, two hammers again.

      And of course, you have duplicate springs for all these bits of metal that are cocking, locking and snapping shut.

      The fitting of the barrel to the receiver is critical (what the Brits call “on face”) and the ribs that hold the two barrels together (there again, we have two barrels – each barrel tube probably costs the manufacture $120+ each) have to be brazed or soldered to the barrels while the barrels are held in alignment.

    • Maybe more complicated but not superior for defensive use.

      Having two barrels on the same gun is a bit of a challenge though. You have to make sure they are both lined up well enough for the sights/bead to work with each barrel.

      • The one place/manner where a double gun might be superior to a pump gun is when you have a trigger per barrel, and if you really want something DRT, you line up and let fly with both barrels at once.

        • It tried that with my grandfather’s old side by side 12 gauge. It was not a pleasant experience. Any that was just with heavy field loads.

  2. I don’t get. Its sooooo hard to find an over/ under that is under 1000.00 but you can get a brand new decent quality pump gun for $350. Should I just buy two pump guns and weld them together?

  3. Maybe what I should do as a submission for TTAG is take apart a double gun and show you guys what’s inside.

    For those of us who have been inside a double gun, there’s no doubt why a double gun costs so much more than a pump. For those of us who lift ribs and re-lay ribs on old double gun barrels (and there’s not that many gunsmiths who do this any more), I know why I’m charging more for that one operation (and the attending re-blueing) than the entry price of most pump guns.

    Pump guns are quite nearly Saturday Night Specials compared to what went into making a competent double barreled gun. The only “really nice” pump gun that there has ever been (IMO) was the Winchester Model 12 Pigeon Grade. The Field Grade Model 12’s weren’t shabby. Everything since then has been a step down in quality, and many modern pump guns aren’t so much a “step down,” as they are a wholesale trip and fall off the train.

    • That would be awesome! My grandfather has an early 50’s Kmart special double gun and its hands down nicer than any current double gun less than a thousand on todays market, I think my grandma only paid $100 for it as a birthday present. The 2nd from top gun on my want list is a citori.

  4. I wonder where these Weatherbies (Weatherby’s, Weatherbys?) are made and who is making them. That will tell you a lot about the gun.

    • $1099 for an O/U? They sure as hell aren’t made in Italy like the rest of Weatherby’s shotguns, and they sure as hell aren’t made in the US (does Weatherby even sell anything American-made for under $1500 or so?). I’m going to guess that they’re made in the same place as Maverick/Silver Reserve, Winchester/FN (excluding Browning), and Stoeger.

    • I know the PA and SA series shotguns are made by Armsan in Turkey. I’m not sure about the Orions.

      I was given a PA-08 a while back but sold it. It was super light and had some nice looking furniture, but the rib was not straight. It went back to Weatherby and it took them 8 months to decide that they couldn’t repair the rib and they had to replace the barrel (probably cheaper to do anyway). That turned me off of Weatherby–they outsource too many of their products and I don’t think they have the same quality and caché that they had in the mid-20th century.

    • A very good question.

      What is an even more interesting question is “why can’t anyone make a really nice SxS or O/U in the US?”

      Look at how much the nice O/U’s from Italy cost. $5K to $10K. We should be able to make a nice O/U in the US for that amount of money.

      Or look at the Basque double guns. Old-time craftsmanship, much lower price than some other guns out there.

      To tell you how stupid the American gun industry is WRT to shotguns, we need look no further than the story of the Remington Model 32. Back in the pre-WWII days, Remington came out with a pretty darn nice O/U, called the “Model 32.”

      Remington decided to discontinue the Model 32. After a pretty long time, an American wanted the 32 made again, so he got Krieghoff to buy up the rights for the 32 from Remington, and Krieghoff started making 32’s and a fella named “du Pont” started importing them into the US.

      During this time, Remington came out with an upgraded 32, the 3200.

      In the 80’s, Krieghoff took the 32 design and vastly upgraded it – the materials, especially. Now dubbed the “K-80,” this shotgun became the one to beat in competition shotguns.

      All of that market – for guns that cost upwards of $10K, could have been Remington’s if only they hadn’t decided to perform a rectal/cranial inversion on the issue.

      Now, the only double-barrel guns made in the US are customs, or small specialized outfits like Kolar, Ljutic, Connecticut Shotgun, and Dakota Arms. Ruger is re-started the Red Label, which is a welcome change.

  5. Looks like a legitimate competitor to the new Ruger Red Label. With all the juice our central A/C unit is taking, I may not have the money for a O/U shotgun for quite some time. If I had the chance I’d definitely rent one as well as the Red Label and take them out for some sporting clays or an upland hunt.

    • With all due respect, bite me! It is negative 10 degrees Fahrenheit in Southern Michigan with wind chill right now and your talking about air conditioning. Oh well I will take my half decent (and getting better gun laws) compared to your warm weather.

    • I wonder what’s up with that. Google didn’t have any explanations. A few review comments discussed failures to fire. I wonder if Ruger had to pull it after only six months. If so, they managed to do it quietly.

  6. Good to see Weatherby getting back into the game again. I won an Athena at a pigeon shoot a while back, and it was a beautiful gun. I was shooting an MX8 at the time, so I sold it.

  7. Here’s the real issue: bait and switch. The current Weatherby Orion is no longer a Weatherby Orion! The exquisitely made Orion / Athena shotguns of a few years ago were top quality products made by SKB in Japan and imported by Weatherby. God only knows where this new “Orion” is made or by whom. Interesting to note that in 8 paragraphs of advertising blather Weatherby doesn’t give us 1) any useful info about where these guns come from, 2) who the actual manufacturer is, and 3) why they would still try to pass them off on unsuspecting buyers as Orions. What a scam. They should at least have the integrity to change the name to something other than Orion.

    • SKB did make Athenas and Orions for a while. Eventually, Weatherby contracted out to Fausti Stefano, adding “d’Italia” to the names of the guns.

      • I wonder how Fausti Stefano guns compare–in quality and durability–to SKB guns. Dang, they were gorgeous! Every bit the equal of the Browning Citori and 686/687 Beretta. I’m truly sorry to see them go.

    • I’ve worked on a couple of SKB-named shotguns… and even ordered spare parts for them out of Nebraska…

      I wasn’t highly impressed. They’re OK guns, but their parts QC is… not quite what I’d expect from a Japanese company.

      • Since I’ve never worked on the internals of any of the above mentioned brands, I’ll concede that your informed assessment trumps my mere opinion. Still, I hate to see another excellent option disappear from the marketplace!

    • If the gun was made in Europe or Japan, I’m guessing the presser would say so. The omission of where the gun is made leads me to believe Turkey. I recently shopped the low end of over-unders. I found Stoeger’s and CZ’s Turkish offerings disappointing. They looked and felt cheaply made.

  8. It’s my understanding that this new gun is manufactured in Turkey for Weatherby. I own a Deluxe 28 Gauge & it’s exceptionally well made. I’ve shot 10,000 + rounds through it on the skeet field and birds in the states & Argentina. My dealer says they break less than the Beretta Semi autos. Hopefully this new gun will be just as solid.

    2 reasons why nobody is making an inexpensive SXS. First & foremost, they don’t sell. I love them, but we’re far & few between. They also require much more labor since regulating the barrels is more difficult than an O/U.

    A double gun is infinitely more reliable and easier to maintain. You’ll never see an Olympian shooting an SA.

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