Our guns have to stand up to the elements and come up shooting when the birds are over the decoys. For the most part, duck and goose hunters are partial to pumps and semi-autos, but there's plenty of room for a durable double gun in the blind. Virtually all shotguns now come with screw-in chokes, and more and more are supplied with shims to adjust the stock to the shooter.
Camo-clad guns are impervious to wet conditions, including salt water. Top-of-the-line guns normally have rust and corrosion-resistant internal parts that help keep everything working, but that, too, is trickling down to lower-priced repeaters.
Have a look at some of the best offerings for 2014-15. And stay safe, shoot straight and have fun!
Benelli | Super Black Eagle II
and waterfowlers automatically think of the Super Black Eagle II
. Its time-proven Inertia-Driven action is trouble free and stays clean. The ComforTech stock softens recoil from even the most brutal 3 ½-inch magnums. Available in right- and left-hand models and in 12 and 20 gauges (with Crio barrels and chokes), it'™s a lifetime investment in good shooting.
Beretta | A400 Xtreme Unico Synthetic
Since the introduction of the A400 Xplor Unico, Beretta
has moved all their semi-autos to this design. The Xtreme
links a compressible high-tech mid-stock chevron to help the already excellent recoil reduction system. The A400 features a steelium barrel, Blink operating system and HP chokes, making this one excellent package for the marsh.
Browning | CynergyCynergy'™s
nearly wear-proof action results in a slim receiver, directing more recoil into the shoulder for a faster second shot. A Reverse-Striker mechanical trigger is lightning fast. The barrels are over-bored to .740 and the long Vector-Pro forcing cones contribute to increased pattern density and evenness. Available in Mossy Oak Shadow Grass Blades, it'™s a great package for those who prefer an over/under.
Caesar Guerini | Syren
Formed this year as a subsidiary of Caesar Guerini, Syren USA
is producing shotguns designed specifically for women. Available in both over/unders and semi-automatics, the hunting models come in lightweight and standard weight in 20 and 28 gauges. Special attention is given to fitting the female form with Monte Carlo-style stocks with smaller grips made of beautiful wood and elegant engraving. The overall weight and balance have been adjusted for ease of handling.
CZ-USA | 612 Wildfowl MagnumCZ'™s 612 Wildfowl Magnum
packs a lot into a bargain-priced pump. Chambered for 2¾-, 3- and 3½-inch shells, the 612 is camo-clad for concealment and protection against the worst weather. It comes with a modified choke for waterfowl, and an extra-full tube for turkey. Extra chokes are available. The 26-inch vent-rib barrel is just right for a pump action, and at less than 7 pounds, is easy to carry when you hike into a public area.
Fabarm USA | Elos B
We love hunting speeding birds with small-gauge smoothbores, and the Elos B
(available in 28- and 20-gauge) has become one of our favorite guns for wood ducks and teal. At just 6.9 pounds — the Elos B AL is even lighter at 5.14 — this over/under shoots like a dream. From the hand-oiled Turkish walnut stock to the tapered bore and HP chokes, this stack is as eye-catching as it is deadly.
2,420 (20 gauge) - $
2,575 (28 gauge)
Franchi | IntensityFranchi'™s 12-gauge Intensity
uses an inertia-style operating system with the choice of 26- or 28-inch barrels and a set of screw-in choke tubes for just the right pattern in any conditions. The Intensity also comes with a set of stock-adjusting shims so the shooter can fit the gun properly. Available in black, Realtree Max 4, Xtra Green or Mossy Oak'™s Bottomland, the Intensity is at home in any blind.
Mossberg | 835 Ulti-Mag Waterfowl
Everyone knows Phil Robertson and the 'œDuck Dynasty' clan, and now you can shoot the same shotgun they use to paste Louisiana mallards. The Realtree Max 5 pump-action 835 UltiMag
has been around for years and will shoot any 12-gauge load you stuff in it. The over-bored barrel ensures great patterns with steel shot, and it comes with screw-in chokes and a shim kit to adjust for drop and cast. The 835'™s reasonable price and versatility make it a good choice; all you need to add is a beard.
Remington | VersaMax
may be Big Green'™s best one yet. Using the unique Versaport gas system, cycling pressure is based on the length of the shell. Pistons are located beneath the chamber and can be cleaned in minutes. The VersaMax comes with Remington'™s extended ProBore chokes and a shim kit. The barrel is nickel-plated and the internal parts nickel Teflon-coated for corrosion resistance. Now available in Mossy Oak Shadow Grass Blades.
Ruger | Red Label
One of the great shotgun 'œworkhorses' of the past century, the Red Label
was recently redesigned and re-introduced to soldier on, and you'™ll enjoy a lifetime of shooting with it. Its mechanical trigger ensures a second shot, and the back-bored barrels with included steel-shot compatible Briley chokes provide excellent patterns. The 3-inch chambered barrels are separated for fast cooling and a free swing.
Stoeger | P350
Looking for a waterfowl gun that doesn'™t break the bank? Check out Stoeger'™s P350
pump. Capable of shooting all the 12-gauge loads from the lightest to 3½-inch Roman Candles, the P350 comes with screw-in chokes, and for a few dollars more you can get an optional recoil reducer that goes in the butt stock. Clad in Realtree Max 5 or all black for $100 less, it'™s a lot of shotgun for the money.
Weatherby | SA-08 Synthetic Waterfowler 3.0Weatherby'™s Turkish-made SA-08 Waterfowler
fits the bill as a reliable semi-auto. Tested with over 6,000 rounds in the lab and dove fields of Argentina, the SA-08 is chambered for 3-inch magnums, and features a chrome-lined barrel and chrome-plated bolt for slick cycling. The drop-out trigger makes cleaning fast and easy, and the 'œMuzzle-Weighted' balance keep you swinging when your feet are stuck in the mud. Comes with three choke tubes and coated in tough Mothwing Marsh Mimicry camo.
Winchester | SXP Waterfowl
Known for Models 97 and 12 pump-actions shotguns, Winchester'™s SXP
with its inertia-assisted action is billed as the fastest pump on the market. The Mossy Oak Shadow Grass Blades finish is textured for a sure grip in the worst conditions, and the barrel is hard chromed and the bolt and other parts black-chrome plated for further protection. The rotating bolt adds to the fast action and a solid lock up, while the Inflex recoil pad soaks up the shock of magnum shells. The barrel is back-bored to .742 and combined with Invector-Plus choke tubes.