September 28, 2015
From affordable to expensive, there's plenty of guns to choose from this year. I shot a Stoeger 3000 for a good part of Maryland's goose season with great results. Of course, the new Remington V3 is a must-have if you're a Big Green guy. The talk of SHOT Show, Benelli's 828U O/U, is a spectacular field gun. And Syren's line of lady's doubles and auto-loaders are tailored for the female shooter as more women join the waterfowl ranks.
Discover the best new shotguns for 2015 here:
Benelli | 828U
Italy's hottest new shotgun is the 828U
. Utilizing space-age machining, this stack has a floating plate that locks breech with barrels: The designers say you can't wear it out, so give it your best shot. The top lever opens the gun and cocks the rifle-style strikers. A supplied tool that looks like a big paper clip lets you remove the trigger group for cleaning. The first double to have a shim-adjustable stock, the 828 is packed with features and handles and shoots with the best of them. Time to get out your wallet.
Beretta | A400
You can shoot 3½-inch turkey loads and not sweat the recoil from the A400
semi-auto; one reason it's fast becoming an icon. The Xtreme has hydraulic recoil buffers, plus a collapsing shock-absorbing chevron in the stock to take the sting out of heavy rounds (boosted by the fact that it's a softer-kicking gas gun to begin with). A rotating bolt head is the heart of the Blink feeding system that combines a smaller gas piston so you can miss with all three shots in less than a second. Clad in a corrosion-resistant camo skin with equally resistant internal parts that won't rust even if you never clean it.
Browning | A5
When the venerable Auto-5 was discontinued in 1997, hunters pined for another, so Browning adopted the Kinematic Drive inertia operating system to its new, lighter A5
. Guaranteed for 100,000 rounds or five years, the A5 will take lots of punishment before it gives up. Available in 3- and 3 1/2-inch models, the Browning Inflex II pad will tame hard-kicking loads. Additional innovations are the Invector DS choke tubes whose brass skirts keeps the dirt out of the choke threads.
CZ | Canvasback Gold
An all-black receiver set off with gold birds gives you a friendly reminder of what a duck looks like on a blue-bird day. But, when birds are flying the Canvasback Gold
double shoots like a dream, and the single selective trigger gives you an instant choice of chokes. For the women, CZ's Lady Sterling O/U ([imo-slideshow gallery=78],281) is a good fit. The high comb and increased pitch make shooting fun for her. A versatile shotgun for ducks and clays, she'll be beating the man of the blind in no time. The 28-inch vent rib barrels make this versatile shotgun at home in any situation.
Fabarm USA | Elos B
Now owned by Caesar Guerini, the Fabarm 20-gauge Elos B
is just the ticket for ducks over decoys. The time-tested Tribore barrel gentles the shot as it's blasted down the muzzle, providing excellent patterns through the five choke tubes that come standard. Elos B's classy case-colored action is reminiscent of grandad's Fox or Parker, and the oil-finished stock of semi-deluxe Turkish walnut — the Turks have some of the world's great gun wood — is checkered for a sure grip even on cold, icy mornings. A lot of fine shotgun for the money.
Franchi | Affinity
is a great semi-auto for marsh or field. Using Benelli's inertia-driven operating system, the Affinity will shoot any load from 1-ounce target shells to 3-inch magnum goose thumpers. The receiver is lightweight aluminum reinforced with steel that will outlive your kids. Both 12- and 20-gauge (also available in a compact for junior) guns have stock adjusting shims for a custom fit. The action return spring is wound around the magazine tube and both 12 and 20 come with 26- or 28-inch barrels. Franchi has a seven-year warranty.
Mossberg | 930 Snow Goose
First to partner with Federal in the development of the 3 1/2 inch load, Mossberg's snow goose gun was built on the reliable 930
3-inch frame. It comes ready to shoot with a 12-round extended magazine in all-white Kryptek Yeti camo, screw-in chokes and a shim-adjustable stock. The magazine and barrel are stabilized with a new barrel clamp and the beveled loading gate makes recharging fast and easy. The vent rib is set off with a fiber-optic sight, making for accurate early-morning shooting.
Remington | V3
Last year we said the VersaMax was the best semi-auto Remington ever made. Well, now we have to retract that statement because of the V3
. The V3 uses the same clever, clean and reliable Versa Port in-chamber gas porting, only with an extra port for a total of eight. But the real change is in the action. The action-return springs have moved into notches on both sides of the receiver making cycling ultra-reliable. And the rotating bolt head can be disassembled with no tools in less than a minute — provided you read the directions — and re-assembled in the same time. Keeping this baby clean is a snap.
Stoeger | M3020
Stoeger's line of Turkish-made semi-autos uses the same proven, reliable and clean-running inertia-driven system as the much more expensive Benellis. Keeping up with the times, many duck hunters have found the 20-gauge to be just right for decoying greenheads, and the Stoeger M3020
is tailor-made for that. The included shim kit allows for adjusting the stock for really accurate shooting. It comes with three chokes — IC, M and XFT for turkeys — and finished in black as well as camo choices to match your wardrobe and favorite hunting locale.
Syren | XLR5 Waterfowler
The new Syren Division of Fabarm is making fine Italian-made semi-autos especially for women. The XLR5
semi auto's stock is not a made-over man's, but built just for her. In 12 gauge, the stainless pulse gas piston cycles smoothly with less recoil, and the 28-inch Tribore barrel's tapered bore coupled with one of the five flush-fitting HP chokes ensures good patterns when the mallards decoy. The stock measures 13¾ inches with drop at the comb 1½ inches and at the heel 2¼. The stock is cast about 1/8-inch at comb and heel and the seven-inch pitch will nicely fit her curves.
Weatherby | Element Deluxe
The Weatherby Element
hails from Turkey and incorporates an inertia-style operating system. Clean-running and ultra-reliable, the inertia seems to be the thrust of the future. Stocked in AA-Grade walnut finished to a high gloss that sets off the blue-anodized action and blued barrel; it's both attractive and rugged. These guns were shot extensively in the lab and in the dove fields of Argentina, and gobbled up more shells without a hitch than many hunters shoot in a lifetime. The barrels are chrome-plated for corrosion resistance and good patterning. Available in 12, 20 and 28 gauges.
Winchester Repeating Arms | SXP Waterfowl Hunter
Many waterfowlers prefer a pump-action for its reliability and bargain price. Winchester's SXP
pump chambered for 3- or 3 ½-inch shells fills all those bills. The dual action bars coupled with the SXP's rotating bolt make shucking it super slick. The barrel is bored to .742 inches and chrome-plated for durability and great patterns with large shot. The exterior of the barrel, action and many parts are black-chrome coated for lasting durability and worry-free maintenance. The Inflex recoil pad really gentles recoil. Choice of 26- or 28-inch barrels topped with Invector-Plus choke tubes.