May 04, 2020
America’s favorite Czech gun company recently reintroduced its sleek little Bobwhite double-barreled shotgun. Dubbed the G2, it’s “back by popular demand,” according to the company.
Why the need for this particular side-by-side? Well, first, any hunter with a modicum of taste has a thing for a good side-by-side field gun. Yes, that’s an unequivocal statement, and I’m unwilling to moderate it. Second, the Bobwhite G2 ticks all the classy-configuration boxes.
It has an English-style straight-grip stock, which I believe is an uncompromisable element of a proper side-by-side. Further, it has two triggers, unlike the “modern” single-trigger travesties that masquerade as a double-barrel field piece. And many other virtuous characteristics grace the Bobwhite G2. I’ll get to those shortly.
What this fine little gun doesn’t have is the gaspingly high price of a real-deal British side-by-side or even one of the finer Italian or American guns. Nope, it’s priced smack dab in the center of “affordable.” Even in the coveted 28-gauge size, a Bobwhite G2 will set you back just $702, suggested retail. Wheedle your favorite gun-counter clerk (in my mind, I hear it pronounced with the humorous “clock” intonation of the British) down a bit, and you’ll likely get that Bobwhite G2 for somewhere in the low $600s.
Like many hunters, I dreamed of a fine snake-eyed upland gun for decades before I scraped together the wherewithal to purchase one. It didn’t happen until my mother passed away and left me just enough to buy a fine old English gun possessed of a rather modest maker’s name but the finest golden-age craftsmanship.
It shoots beautifully, and it is as sound as the day it was made, but I’m jealously protective of it. A dove post on a balmy September evening? Perfect. A high-octane jaunt through wickedly steep, rough country in pursuit of a covey of chukars? No way.
That’s where the Bobwhite G2 comes in. It’s light, lovely, and balances like a prima ballerina, but it’s also robust, tough, and carries scars like they are achievement awards.
Enough effusive praise. Let’s take a closer look at just why the Bobwhite G2 is special.
Design and aesthetics are nicely engineered, and fit and finish are very satisfactory, but this is not a made-by-hand gun. Rather, it utilizes the latest space-age manufacturing techniques available. Dimensions and mechanics are stellar, courtesy of excellent CAD programming and CNC machining. As CZ puts it, “Modern internals slim the action while increasing longevity and reliability.”
Finish, too, is modern. Rather than lustrous bluing, beautiful but prone to wear, the Bobwhite G2’s barrel and action are finished in extremely durable and corrosion-resistant black chrome. As for the stock, it’s of nice walnut with a light bit of figure. The finish is unspecified, but it looks like a well-applied satin urethane that nicely approximates a traditional oil finish but is less expensive to apply and more resistant to abrasion and abuse. Checkering is applied on the forearm and at the straight wrist via laser, and it’s durable and aesthetically pleasing.
Another concession to modern hunters is the threaded muzzles, which accept interchangeable chokes. Five (the standard lineup of F, IM, M, IC, and C) are included with each gun, along with a choke tube wrench.
An 8mm (0.31 inch) semi-raised flat rib crowns the twin barrels and is machined with fine lines to reduce glare. The bead sight is a well-appointed ivory lookalike. The barrel muzzles are ground flat and left in the white, presumably the better to conceal the wedge and brazing lines between them. Light maker and import marks engraved on each side of the barrels just forward of the standing breech are the only aesthetic-marring elements I’ve found.
On the subject of importing, CZ’s shotguns are not made in the Czech Republic like the company’s rifles. Nope, they are built in Turkey, which has become a proven manufacturing center of hardworking shotguns. Weatherby, Tristar, and many others utilize the country’s gun-building services.
A Deeley Release type latch secures the forearm to the underside of the barrels. As far as I can tell, the barrel breech is of monobloc construction, which is nicely disguised by a line of engraving around both barrels about 2 inches forward of the rear face of the barrels. As befits a working-class gun, the breech is fitted with extractors rather than ejectors, and fired hulls must be removed manually after opening the breech.
Like most side-by-sides, the Bobwhite G2 action is opened via a top lever. Push it firmly to the right to open.
Behind the top lever, a non-automatic safety is fitted to the tang. An automatic safety is one that engages every time the action is opened and then shut. It’s a British thing. Many American and Continental hunters that aren’t used to an automatic safety lose shot opportunities when they swing with a bird and slap the trigger—having forgotten to snick that safety forward. Worry not: The Bobwhite G2 won’t be the reason you miss birds.
It’s worth noting, for those of you who are unfamiliar with double-trigger guns, the tang-mounted safety does not serve as a barrel selector. There’s no need for that—just go to whichever trigger fires the barrel that’s choked the way you want. The Bobwhite G2’s front trigger fires the right barrel, and the rear trigger fires the left barrel.
Light floral-type laser engraving is applied to the sides and bottom of the receiver, the rear of the fences, the top and bottom tangs, and the trigger bow. Said trigger bow, by the way, possesses nicely contoured lines—something that can’t be said for many sub-$1,000 side-by-side shotguns.
A black rubber buttpad is nicely fitted. It’s just a tad squishy, so it feels better against a bony shoulder than does a hard plastic or steel buttplate. Also, a hard rubber, non-tacky insert with gently rounded edges is fitted to the heel portion of the buttpad, helping ensure the Bobwhite G2’s stock won’t hang up on baggy clothing in one’s armpit when mounting to the shoulder.
As with any shoulder-fired firearm meant to be shot instinctively, fit is important. The Bobwhite G2’s length of pull to the front trigger (traditionally fired first) is almost 14.5 inches. This puts the gun out in front of average-framed shooters right into the sweet spot for balance and follow-through, and it works quite well for lanky, long-necked fellows like me. For those who know their measurements for a perfect fit and are interested, drop at the Bobwhite G2’s heel is 2.25 inches; at the comb it’s 1.5 inches. And although it’s not listed in the company-provided specs, there’s about a quarter-inch of cast in the stock, which will help bring the barrels naturally in line with a right-handed shooter’s eye.
A Real Bird & Clays Buster
Dragging my wife into an early evening, I coaxed her to fling several dozen clays for me. The little Bobwhite G2 swung like a live thing, and when I managed to follow-through properly, it left nothing of the clay targets but dust hanging in the sky.
The 28-gauge Bobwhite G2 is light enough to be really responsive, but that light weight also exacerbates bad habits. Shooters prone to stopping their swing when they trip the trigger (like me) will need to focus on good technique and following through.
Informal patterning on a clay bank suggested that the gun is regulated to put a cloud of high-brass No. 6 shot into a 70/30 ratio above the bead, making it perfect for upland hunters firing at rising birds.
Trigger pull on my gun is stout but not overwhelming. The front trigger breaks at 5 pounds, 3 ounces; the rear at 5 pounds, 6 ounces. That’s gratifying consistency from an inexpensive gun.
A good upland gun begs to be field-tested on birds, and my good friend Colton Heward managed an invite to a dairy farm plagued by Eurasian doves—an invasive subspecies with no season and no limits here in my home state of Utah. With the IC and M chokes installed in the Bobwhite G2’s barrels, we posted near a manure pile that was attracting droves of birds. Shortly, the barrel became so hot I had to be careful not to touch it. Because the Bobwhite G2 fits well, there was little or no adapting curve, and I was cleanly knocking birds down—including high fliers and at least one clean right and left double.
As you’ve probably deduced, I’m partial to the 28-gauge version, but for those interested in bigger gauges, the Bobwhite G2 is available in 12 and 20. And they’re $50 less. For the price, there just isn’t a better side-by-side field gun for shooters and hunters who want a bit of proper class, coupled with modern steel shot and interchangeable chokes, in a gun that they can work like a borrowed tool during the day and show off like a prized heirloom at the dinner party.
CZ Bobwhite G2 Shotgun SpecsManufacturer:
28, 2¾-in. chambersCartridge Capacity:
28 in.Overall Length:
44.5 in.Weight, Empty:
Walnut straight-grip English-style buttstock; walnut, splinter-type forearmLength of Pull:
Black chrome metal, satin woodSights:
Ivory lookalike beadSafety:
Manual tang safetyTrigger:
5.19-lb. pull front trigger, 5.38-lb. pull back trigger (as tested)MSRP: