CZ Ringneck 28 ga. side x side
This is my first side x side and my first 28 gauge shotgun. After 3 years with it, I've fallen in love with the gun and the gauge. You have to realize what this gun is and temper expectations accordingly. Its a budget priced box lock made to look like a sidelock with decorative side plates. It's made in Turkey by Huglu and imported to the USA by CZ-USA.
That being said, it is well built and looks great and in my opinion, a total steal for the price. The wood on mine is actually quite nice and the grain has some good movement. The finish on the wood is a deep, dark walnut brown. I like the color, it's a good finish but maybe a little too opaque in my opinion. It has a prince-of-wales grip on the stock and and a beaver-tail fore-end, however it's thinner in profile than other beaver tail fore-ends I've seen. The hand checkering is a little shallow and slightly rough in a couple spots but it feels nice and does the job.
The specs say the barrels are blued, but the finish is pretty thin. I've read that the blueing was applied with a spray on process. I'm not sure about that but it does seem thin and has scratched easier than I feel it should have. The case hardening on the receiver is "color case hardened", whatever that means. I suppose it's colored through a chemical process rather than the traditional fire, charcoal and whatever else they do to create the metallic oil-slick look on the receiver. Whatever CZ does to get the case hardening done it still looks cool. It has some subtle engraving and other embellishments that help with the overall aesthetic of the gun.
On the positive side, like I said before, it is well built and functional. In the 3 seasons I've owned this gun I've ended up using it a lot. I really enjoy shooting it and its a dream to carry in the field. Weighing just under 6 pounds, with 28" barrels, it's light, it swings well and I seem to shoot pretty good with it. I really like the sxs sight plane. This has become my main grouse gun and I also have used it on quail and chukars and on preserve hunts. I also like to use it when I'm dog training. At this time I use this gun more that any of my other guns. I guess that says it all. I really like it.
Before I purchased this gun I looked at all the more inexpensive sxs shotguns I could find. At the time of this post there isn't a lot of sxs options out there in the same price range. I preferred the CZ's way over the others that you can purchase for under $1000. The CZ shotguns really stood apart from the competition. The CZ's felt much better and looked way nicer in my opinion. I feel CZ has filled a nice niche with their sxs lines. Well built affordable sxs shotguns that any hunter would be proud to carry.
This is a very nice gun to introduce yourself to the side x side format. It comes in 12, 16, 20 and 28 gauge. I would totally recommend this gun or the CZ bobwhite. The CZ bobwhite is basically the same gun but with double triggers and a straight english style grip on the stock. I've also heard good things about the CZ grouse but they are much harder to find and no longer in production. I looked hard at the ringneck and bobwhite before this purchase and concluded that I like the prince of whales grip more than the straight english style stock. It just felt better to me. I love the looks of the straight stock but fit and feel are important and this ringneck grip felt great where the other felt awkward. The double triggers on the bobwhite were tempting though. To each their own. I'm happy with my purchase.
Someday I would like to upgrade get a nicer side x side shotgun. Maybe an AyA or Ugartechea. I also really liked the Franchi Highlander I believe they only made it in 20 gauge and I don't think they are importing them any more so they can be difficult to find (I've looked). Who knows what the future will bring. For now my 28 gauge ringneck is great. It can get beat up a little bit in the field and I don't feel too bad. I'm very happy with it. I imagine I will have this gun for a long time.
The one real negative I've read on this gun is that the trigger mechanism will sometimes breakdown. Some people seem to have this as a reoccurring problem and others have owned these guns for years without a hitch. I highly recommend using snap caps after each use to reduce the tension on the trigger springs. I use them each time I finish shooting or hunting with this gun and have not experienced that problem. (knock on wood) Mine has proven to be durable.