Best New Upland Shotguns for 2015
August 14, 2015
Hunting the uplands means many things to many people. The quarry may be diminutive bobwhites or big cackling roosters. Quail and grouse hunters often go afield with sleek side-by-sides and over/unders while pheasant hunters may favor heavier artillery in the form of semi-autos.
Whatever your pleasure, the following smoothbores have you covered in performance and function.
Benelli | 828U
was the talk of SHOT Show for good reason. It's Progressive Comfort recoil system and soft comb insert makes shooting pleasant. A drop-out trigger assembly and lock up between breech and barrels, and the gun is already a winner. The top lever both opens the gun and cocks the strikers.
Beretta | A400 Action
Expanded to 28-gauge, the Action
is made for the uplands, but you can crush teal with it too. The Blink gas system feeds fast and slick with nary a malfunction. Barrels are hammer-forged to tight specs, topped with Optima HP chokes. Also available in 12- and 20-gauge, the bronze receiver sets off the walnut stock and forend.
Browning | 725
At under 7 pounds (12-ga.) and 6 (20-ga.), you can carry the 725
all day. Browning's Fire-Lite mechanical trigger isn't dependent on recoil to reset, and the low-profile action directs recoil straight back onto the Inflex recoil pad to soak up kick. The long-forcing-cone barrels are backbored to .742 inches to ensure dense even patterns.
Caesar Guerini | Woodlander
Built for the uplands with a traditional color case-hardened receiver in 12, 20 and 28 gauges, this stack
has a Turkish-walnut stock set off by a carefully fitted wooden butt plate for a flawless gun mount. Chrome-lined barrels are topped with a tapered vent rib. A checkered forend includes a stylish reinforcing Schnabel tip, holding an Anson-style release rod. Also available in a 20/28-gauge combo or 20/28/.410 three-barrel set.
Connecticut Manufacturing | Model 21
In 1935, Winchester's Louis Stiennon designed the Model 21 over/under, but it was never produced. Seventy-plus years later, Anthony Galazan acquired all the Model 21
specs, using all of the same machining, tooling, techniques and finishes of the original. The 21 borrows from other CSMC over/unders, but retains the styling, feel and balance of the legendary double gun.
Starting at $
CZ-USA | Lady Sterling
Another shotgun for women shooters is the CZ Lady Sterling
that has a very high Monte Carlo-style stock to provide a good mount for ladies who routinely have higher cheek bones, longer necks and lower shoulders. This 12-gauge comes with five screw-in chokes, and the 28-inch barrels feature an 8mm flat vent rib. The Lady Sterling has ejectors to enable fast reloading in the field.
Fabarm | ELos B
In both 20- and 28-gauge, Fabarm's Elos B
uses a functional sleek round action complimented by the trim semi-deluxe Turkish walnut stock with its matte hand-applied oil finish. The steel receiver of the Elos B is color case hardened while the nearly one-pound-lighter aluminum-receiver Elos B AL has a titanium-style finish.
Franchi | AL 48
The long-recoil semi auto was designed by John Browning in 1900 and the AL 48
uses the same system. For lightness and reliability it is unsurpassed. Available in both 20 and 28 gauges, the 20 has a 12.5-inch stock (an excellent choice for a young shooter). The 28 is a favorite of grouse hunters, and will be at home in any upland situation. IC, M and F chokes are included.
Starting at $
Mossberg | Silver Reserve II
Mossberg is known for its repeaters, but the International Silver Reserve II
is ideal for the shotgun traditionalist. This side-by-side is available in 12, 20 and 28 gauges with the choice of 26- or 28-inch barrels. The Reserve is stocked with select, satin-finished black walnut. For versatility, these shotguns come with a set of five choke tubes that will cover everything from clays to waterfowl and turkey.
Remington | V3
For the semi-auto guys, the new V3
combines the best of the VersaMax with several new wrinkles. For starters, Remington added an additional gas port to the Versaport system in the chamber for better cycling. More importantly, Remington took the action-return spring out of the buttstock and ingeniously placed it in the receiver along both sides. The bolt can be stripped for cleaning in about 30 seconds and reassembled in the same time.
Stoeger | Uplander
Double guns can get pricey, but the Uplander
is affordable and available in 12, 20, 28 and .410 to fit your style. The 12 and 20 come with screw-in IC and M chokes, while the 28 and .410 have fixed chokes. The stock and forend are A-grade walnut with the stock having a stylish Prince of Wales grip. Double triggers provide instant barrel selection and the extractors raise unfired and spent shells.
is devoted exclusively to producing shotguns tailored for women. With higher combs, shorter length of pull, increased pitch, a tighter pistol grip and more cast to fit higher cheekbones, smaller hands and shoulders, guns like the Tempio (pictured), XLR5 and Elos Venti are ideal for the lady of the blind. These over/unders and auto-loaders are built to swing easy, and carry light.
Weatherby | Element
Inertia-driven, the Element
has an AA-grade walnut stock and forend with aircraft-grade aluminum receiver — a gorgeous upland gun. The bores are chrome-lined topped with a vent rib and screw-in chokes. The trigger drops out quickly for cleaning, and the inertia system ensures this semi-auto will be trouble-free for years of shooting.
Winchester | 101
The new 101
is every bit as enjoyable as the original model, only better with a low-profile action for in-line recoil further deadened by a Pachmayr Decelerator pad. New, too, is the backbored barrel to a full .742 inches joined with a five-degree forcing cone to gentle the shot column down the barrel to the Invector-Plus chokes. Add in the checkered walnut stock and forend and this is a true classic.