Upland guns are sleek and fast, yet light in the hand for all-day carrying. Over the past few years more and more manufacturers have slimmed down their heavy repeaters, making them lighter and better €¨balanced for the field. Equally, €¨over/unders and side-by-sides have become feathery, better-handling and available in small gauges that appeal to bird hunters.
Many are learning that the 28-gauge is perhaps the ideal upland load. Much like the sadly neglected 16-gauge with its ballistically efficient 1-ounce "square" load, the 28 patterns its ¾-ounce load well and has become a first choice for the uplands. Twenty-eight-gauge shells are not cheap, but in terms of performance they are way ahead, and these guns are a joy to carry and handle extremely well.
Of course, about all shotguns nowadays come with screw-in chokes that enable the shooter to set up his gun for whatever he's hunting that day, from long-flushing cornfield pheasants to close combat bobwhites, grouse and woodcock.
The following is a quick look at the 10 best upland shotguns for 2013. Check them out, and then go to your local gun shop and try them for real.
Benelli Ultra Light
Topping the scales at less than five pounds, the Benelli Ultra Light
28-gauge semi-auto is balanced to swing smooth and easy. Using Benelli's proven inertia system for flawless cycling, this gun combines light, all-day carrying weight with a proven game-getting gauge. For anything from game-farm pheasants to elusive grouse, this gun does it all.
Price: [imo-slideshow gallery= 30],699
Beretta A400 Action
The Beretta A400 Action
20-gauge takes advantage of Beretta's A400 platform with its ultra-fast Blink feeding system, improved gas control, great balance and ultra-soft recoil: It's a dream to shoot. The receiver is anodized in a beautiful bronze that beckons you to the uplands as fall arrives.
Price: [imo-slideshow gallery= 30],625
Browning Citori 725 Field
Based on the fabled Superposed, the Browning Citori 725 Field
features a slim-profile receiver for lighter weight and better recoil management. The barrels are backbored to .742 and wear Browning's new Invector DS chokes that seal tight against the barrel walls. The mechanical trigger is a first for the Citori line, and ensures both excellent trigger pulls, and a sure second shot for follow-ups.
Price: gallery= 30,469
CZ Super Scroll
Most over/unders are at home in the uplands and on the range, but CZ
takes it to another level with this 28- and 20-gauge combo. The Super Scroll
is built on a 20-gauge platform, but shooters have the option to swap out either set of 30-inch barrels. Ornate hand-engraved scrollwork adorns the receiver, sideplates, trigger guard and mono-block, making this stack a true beauty. A feathery 6.7 pounds, there are five chokes included for both gauges, making the Scroll an excellent crossover gun.
hottest new over/under is the 28-gauge and .410-bore Aspire
. The small-gauge fanatic
will appreciate the color-hardened, round-action scaled receiver. Add mechanical triggers, 28-inch barrels and five chokes to provide the utmost in handling and versatility, and this is indeed a sweet gun for the uplands.
Price: gallery= 30,299
Mossberg Silver Reserve II
The Silver Reserve II
comes in both over/under and side-by-side versions. Both have 28-inch barrels for smooth handling, satin-finished select black walnut stocks and fore ends, and five screw-in choke tubes for hunting any cover.
Price: $693 to $1180
Remington Versa Max
The Versa Max
is the best semi-auto Remington
has ever made. The unique gas-port system located beneath the chamber ensures reliable cycling, and keeping the system clean is unbelievably easy. Available in camo or all-black, the stock is easily adjustable for drop, cast, and length through a system of easily changed spacers and an excellent recoil pad.
Price: [imo-slideshow gallery= 30],399
Stoeger Uplander Longfowler
new 12- and 20-gauge Longfowlers
continue the tradition of offering quality double guns at an affordable price. The Longfowler's 30-inch barrels ensure a smooth swing, and the oil-finished A-grade satin walnut stock and fore end sets this classic-styled gun apart in appearance. Complete with extended choke tubes, the Longfowler comes in both side-by-side and over/under models.
Price: $449 to $539
Weatherby SA-08 Deluxe
New for this year, is the Weatherby SA-08 Deluxe
28-gauge semi-auto. Made in Turkey, it has a machined alloy receiver coupled with a select walnut stock and fore end, chrome-lined 26- or 28-inch vent-rib barrels with screw-in chokes. It handles and shoots great. At only 5½ pounds, you can carry this 28 all day and not break a sweat.
Winchester Model 101
The Winchester Model 101
was the darling of hunters in the 1960s and '70s, and now is back in an improved model. The low-profile action teamed with .742-inch backbored barrels translates to low recoil and better patterning. The chrome-plated barrels and chambers provide fast cleaning and lifetime corrosion protection. With its Investor-Plus chokes, the 101 is as versatile as they come.
Price: [imo-slideshow gallery= 30],869