I had the opportunity a bit over 10 years ago to shoot a peg on a Hungarian driven pheasant shoot. The hunt was put together by Jack Jansma, and I was there to spend the majority of my time photographing and filming. But on that one peg, I got the chance to shoot. Jack is without question a fan of classic and high quality side-by-side shotguns. I had the opportunity to shoot one of those side-by-sides, and ever since then I have been looking for a good side-by-side that I would be excited to take on hunts here in Nebraska. A side-by-side that would not destroy my savings account or make me cry if I got a scratch in the stock. This year, I found the shotgun I’ve been looking for in the EAA Akkar Churchill 520.
The Churchill 520 is a 20-gauge bore in a side-by-side model with a barrel length of 26”. It came installed with 2 chokes with 3 additional chokes for a total of 5. The stock on this shotgun is Turkish walnut, and the receiver is plain stainless steel with a nickel finish which provides a clean slate for those interested in having it engraved at a later date. The side-by-side barrels have a concave rib and a front bead sight for fast target acquisition. I wish that front bead was about a size larger than the current bead but I didn’t get to make that decision. The Churchill comes in a 12-gauge (512), 20-gauge (520), 28-gauge (528) and a .410 model (536) with the receiver and weight getting lighter on each model. I chose this model in 20-gauge because when I picked up this shotgun at SHOT Show I really liked how balanced it was.
Shooting the Churchill 520 is easy as it shoulders nicely and swings smoothly. The barrel selector is on the safety and the safety is an easy push forward to fire, rear to safe. The shotgun comes apart easily, making it easy to keep clean. The case is a soft gray suede with cloth wraps in yellow which keeps the stock protected and the choke tube case is included. The choke tubes are Mobil choke tube threads so you can pick up replacements if you want additional configurations. The fit on this shotgun is light and easy. I like the balance and the way it swings. The great thing about a side-by-side shotgun is that it is simple to shoot and keep safe.
Our first day of testing this shotgun was opening day of dove season. Honestly, it should have been a few days earlier at the skeet and trap range. I went through the majority of a box before I started to hit my mark. Every shotgun takes a bit of time to learn, and I spent my first day learning instead of dropping dove. Once I figured out my leads, I began to drop some dove and everything felt better. On subsequent trips, I did much better.
The Churchill 520 lists at $907.00 on the EAACORP website. At that price this shotgun is a great buy if you are looking for a light and fast 20-gauge side-by-side shotgun. This is a shotgun that looks great in the field and will perform for years whether you are dove hunting in the field or chasing quail in the Midwest. I look forward to the rest of this year’s season taking this shotgun into the field, shooting over Miko, and busting some great birds on the prairie.