July 26, 2016
Upland shotguns have to be greyhound fast, smooth swinging and light enough to carry all day. This crop will fill any need from grouse in alder thickets to roosters in corn.
Today's shotguns are versatile, transitioning from clays to quail — and even the odd duck shoot — with ease. Sub-gauges, like the 28, have seen a resurgence. The smaller bores are more fun to carry, especially when you're trying to double on a covey of fleeing bobwhites. Some cost more, but others provide good quality and longevity at truly affordable prices.
Check out this list of fine field guns before you and pup head out this fall in pursuit of the birds we love.
Benelli | Ethos 28-gauge
The Ethos 28 combines Benelli's tried and true clean-running Inertia-Driven system in a lightweight package that has all the downrange power you need. As an added bit of interest, Benelli joined forces with fellow Italian ammo maker Fiocchi to develop a precise 3-inch, 28-gauge round that packs a 20-gauge shot charge. Built on a true 28-gauge action that weighs in at a slim 5.3-pounds, that's an all-day easy carry. MSRP $2,199.
Beretta | A400 Lite
Building on their highly successful A400 platform, the A400 Lite with Beretta's innovative Gun Pod 2 gives you more than ever in a 12-gauge semi-auto. Featuring the same recoil-reducing Kick-Off system, the Lite packs plenty into its 6.6-pound frame.
The cool Gun Pod 2 is an electronic hunting diary, tracking how many shots you've fired, how far you walked, plus photos and videos that can be shared on social media. MSRP $1,600
Browning | A5 Sweet 16
The return of the A5 Sweet 16 is, well, sweet. A lovely rooster gauge, the 16 is inertia-operated and guaranteed for 100,000 rounds. Chambered for 2¾" loads, the semi-auto weighs under six pounds, so it's an excellent field gun for adults or young hunters. If you like nostalgia, balance and the feel of a walnut stock against your cheek, this is the humpback for you. And don't worry about finding 16-gauge ammo. It's making a comeback too. MSRP $1,700
Caesar Guerini | Ellipse Curve
Looking for luxury at a fraction of the cost of a bespoke shotgun? Check out Caesar Guerini's Ellipse Curve. In 20 and 28 gauges, this upland gun points naturally. Add the extensive engraving and your buddies will line up just for a look. Non-selective trigger, 28-inch barrels with chrome-lined bores all add up to a lot of over/under for the money. MSRP $6,900
CZ | Drake
Want an over/under you don't have to hock the farm to buy? CZ's 12- and 20-gauge Drake is made with CNC machining now used on some of the highest-priced shotguns in the world. The Drake has a single-selective trigger and extractors, making packing out your fired hulls easy. The action and barrels are gloss-black chrome for long life and the Turkish walnut stock adds a touch of real class. MSRP $629
Fabarm | L4S Hunter
The L4S Initial Hunter incorporates innovation with tradition. The forend can be removed without disassembling the gun, allowing for routine cleaning. The Fabarm Tribore gentles the shot's trip down the barrel for excellent patterning. Even with the Turkish walnut stock, this gas-operated semi-auto (available in right- or left-handed models) tips the scales at a lean 6.5 pounds. MSRP $1,250-$1,425
Franchi | Instinct
Franchi's Instinct gives shooters the choice of 12, 20 or 28 gauges and .410 wrapped up in a great over/under. The color case-hardened steel action harks back to the classic bird gun. Add in the sleek Prince-of-Wales grip stock — and at a mere 6 pounds in the 28 and .410 — and this becomes a joy to carry. MSRP $1,690
Italian Firearms Group | Iside Prestige Tartaruga Gold
Made by F.A.I.R, one of Italy's traditional shotgun makers, the Iside (Ee-See-Day) Prestige Tartaruga Gold is a side-by-side just waiting to hit grouse or bobwhite haunts. Its case-colored boxlock action — engraved side plates on some models — harkens back to Parker and L.C. Smith.
With the choice of 26-, 28- or 30-inch barrels on properly scaled actions in 12, 16, 20 and 28 gauges and .410, they're fit for any cover. MSRP $3,000S (start)
Mossberg | SA 20
Looking for a slick semi-auto that weighs under seven pounds? Check out Mossberg's International SA 20 All Purpose Field with its walnut stock and forend. This 3-inch, 20-gauge will handle light loads for clays, doves and quail, or heavier 3-inch duck loads. MSRP $654
Remington | V3
America's oldest gun maker's new V3 semi-auto takes the best from the earlier VersaMax for an updated version with legendary Remington reliability. The innovative VersaPort system places the entire gas-operating system under the chamber and bleeds gas depending on the length of shell being fired.
Reliable and with terrific balance and pointing characteristics, the V3 is a good choice for the semi-auto aficionado. MSRP $995
Stoeger | P3000
If there's an all-American shotgun, it's the good ol' pump. Stoeger's P3000 work in all conditions and shucks through every load from 2¾- to 3-inch without a hitch. The synthetic stock and forend with pronounced checkering for a solid grip add to the P3000's all-weather rugged reliability. MSRP $299
Syren | Elos Sport
Women shooters are a growing part of hunting and shooting, and the Syren Elos Sport is made just for her. The stock was constructed just for a woman (righty or lefty), going beyond the shorter length of pull found on youth models. With an adjustable trigger for proper fit, classy walnut stock and forend, the Elos is a shotgun she can finally enjoy. MSRP $2,595-$2,830
Weatherby | Orion
The name Weatherby is synonymous with quality firearms, and their Orion over/under is no exception. The forged steel action locks to the barrels with dual locking pins found on far more expensive shotguns.
The shallow depth of the action places the barrels lower for better pointing and directs the recoil straight back into the big muscles of the body for less kick. The high-gloss-finished Grade-A walnut is set off with 22 line-per-inch checkering for a firm grip and classy look. MSRP $1,099