Here are 15 of the best shotguns that waterfowlers will want to consider this season.
Duck guns have got to be a tough bunch to perform when they're wet, muddy and grungy. They've got to be ready to go in snowstorms when bluebills and cans are piling into your blocks, or in a layout goose spread when everything (including you) is frozen: It might be the only shot of the day.
Today's guns come with stock adjusting shims, vent ribs and screw-in chokes pretty much standard for over/unders, semi autos and the all-American pump, and will pretty much shoot any shell from a light target load to keep your eye sharp in the off season to 3-inch magnums or those filling-loosening 3½-inch Roman candles.
Here are 15 of the best shotguns waterfowlers will want to consider this season.
Known for their big .50-cal. rifles, they now have a new line of racy Italian over/unders called the Sovereign. Reliable boxlocks, the Rutherford might seem a little fancy for a duck blind, but with its ejectors for fast reloading and sleek Prince-of-Wales-style grips it will add a touch of class, and can become your one-gun-does-it-all shotgun. Complete with all the trimmings plus Barrett reliability. $2,200 | barrettsovereign.com
The new Super Black Eagle III inertia-operated semi-auto has been made even lighter in a sleeker package. A favorite of die-hard waterfowlers, the inertia system is so simple that there's little to gum or stick, giving it a reputation for extreme reliability. The ComfortTech stock has been beefed up along with a larger bolt handle, bigger grope-proof safety and an outward-angled bolt release. $1,999 | benelliusa.com
Beretta's A400 Lite is a 20-gauge that will put close-range ducks on the dinner table. The barrel is made of Beretta's proprietary Steelium alloy that is deep drilled, cold-hammer forged then vacuum distended to align the molecules for excellent patterns. Recoil is nonexistent with the KickOff Plus stock whose shims will adjust it for drop and cast. The pistol-grip mounted GunPod2 will tell you everything but your blood type and religion. $1,700 | beretta.com
Hardly a newcomer, they've been making top-of-the-line shotguns in Italy for over 90 years. The new B3 5SM semi auto will shoot both 2 ¾- and 3-inch shells, and they offer a wide range of barrel lengths from 24 to 30 inches with deluxe stepped ribs. The big bolt handle makes loading lightening quick and they come in a variety of Kryptek camos plus all-black and -green. $1,499 | bredausa.com
Wicked Wings Magnus semi auto uses Browning's PowerDrive gas-operating system that has been refined over the years for flawless performance. Its great looking Burnt Bronze Cerkote receiver is impervious to Mom Nature's worst. This 12-gauge will shoot anything from light loads to 3 ½-inch block busters, and the smooth extra-light trigger will make you the top shot in the blind. $1,870 | browning.com
For the hunter who prefers an over/under CZ's Swamp Magnum shoots any shell from a 2-incher to 3 ½-inch rocket launchers. The automatic safety goes on each time the gun is opened for extra-safe operation and the automatic ejectors kick the empties high for speedy reloads. The all-black barrels and action along with its camo stock and fore end keeps it hidden from peering avian eyes, and sling studs make for hands free carrying. $1,029 | cz-usa.com
Fabarm's XLR series of right- and left-handed semi autos offer flawless gas-operation. The XLR5 Waterfowl's gorilla-size trigger guard is made to fit gloved hands, as is the 1 ¼-inch extended bolt handle. Coated in Kryptek Banshee camo, the vent rib that extends back over the receiver was purposely left coal black in the dipping process to give you a 35-inch-long sighting plane with the 30-inch barrel. Fabarm's patented Tribore HP barrels make for excellent killing patterns. $1,650 | fabarmusa.com
The Affinity semi-auto uses Franchi's Inertia Driven operating system that the big boys also use at half the price. Right- or left-handed versions have chrome-lined 3-inch chambered barrels for rust proofing and fast cleaning, and the screw-in chokes provide versatility for the timber or open water. Barrels are available in 26- and 28-inch topped with a vent rib and fiber-optic red-bar sight. The recoil pad directs the recoil down and away from your cheek. $949 | franchiusa.com
Looking for a do-it-all semi auto? The Mossberg 930 Field does it at a bargain price. The all-weather stock and fore end set off the matte-blued barrel and action. The 26-inch barrel with its screw-in chokes puts the shot where it needs to be from upland to the marsh. The 930 Field comes with a set of stock-adjusting shims to custom fit it to any shooter. $822 | mossberg.com
The new V3 has the action-return springs moved forward into the sides of the receiver, preventing the in-stock action spring and follower getting gummy and malfunctioning on a cold morning. The pressure from the innovative in-chamber gas ports is governed by the length of the fired shell and directed to the twin pistons beneath the chamber that set the action in motion. With a rotating bolt lock up that's fast and secure, the V3 is an excellent choice. $995 | remington.com
This pump hails from Turkey, and the P3500's 26- or 28-inch barrels come with screw-in chokes and a stepped rib usually found on pricier guns. Chambered for up to 3 ½-inch shells, it's reliable anywhere, any time. The couch-change pump's synthetic stock and fore end can take whatever the conditions hand out, and comes with stock-adjusting shims for a never-miss fit. Black and camo. $399 to $449 | stoegerindustries.com
Exclusively for women, the right- or left-handed Syren's XLR5 Waterfowl semi auto uses Fabarms' Pulse-Piston gas operating system that puts the brakes on heavy loads for soft recoil. The Syren's shorter length of pull, higher comb, greater pitch down and more tightly curved pistol grip stock is specially designed to better fit a lady's frame. The XLR5 will shoot both 2 ¾- and 3-inch shells, and as an added safety measure the tough barrel and action are proofed to 1,630 BAR (23,634 psi). $1,750 | www.syrenusa.com
TriStar Viper Max
From Turkey, this bargain-priced semi auto uses two interchangeable gas pistons that let you shooting light 2 ¾-inch target loads then quickly switch pistons for heavy 3 ½-inch goose and duck loads. The Viper Max includes four Beretta-style Optima-Plus choke tubes. For a sure grip in nasty weather, the Viper Max's stock and fore end are over-molded with rubber grips for added security. $730 | tristararms.com
Weatherby Orion 1
Nothin' beats a fast handling over/under for jump shooting, and wherever two differently choked shots spell dinner in the oven. A long-time staple in Weatherby's stable of shotguns, the durable and fast-handling Orion's return to Weatherby's arsenal will make double-gunners happy. Chromed bores, 3-inch chambers, auto ejectors, makes this a package for any game from Buenos Aires to Winnipeg. $1,099 | weatherby.com
In the 1970s, Winchester introduced the Super X1 semi auto that simulated the feel of their legendary Model 12. Today the SX4 is a gun for the 21st Century with its ergonomic stock and fore end with their non-slip grips, and the back-bored barrel coupled with Invector-Plus chokes keeps patterns even and deadly. One of the fastest cycling semi autos around, the bolt handle and release are extra-large for fumble-free operation, and the easy-out trigger lets you keep everything clean. $1,069.99 | winchesterguns.com