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Top Bird Hunting Shotguns of 2021

A closer look at the must-have shotguns for bird hunters this season.

Top Bird Hunting Shotguns of 2021

Benelli – Super Black Eagle 3 3-Inch 20-Gauge

Benelli Super Black Eagle 3 3-inch shotgun

The team in Urbino surprised lots of fans with the addition of a new version of the venerable Super Black Eagle III with a 3-inch chamber. The new SBE III three-inch model is available in 12-gauge, but there’s also a new 20-gauge version (a first for the SBE family). At under 6 pounds, the 20-gauge SBE III is extremely appealing for anyone seeking a light, versatile 20 for upland and waterfowl hunting.

$1,699-1,999 | benelliusa.com

Browning – Maxus II 

Browning Maxus II shotgun

Browning’s biggest release for 2021 was the redesigned Maxus II, the second generation of the company’s original Maxus shotgun. Features new to the 12-gauge Maxus II include oversized controls, a new Inflex recoil pad, rubber overmolding, SoftFlex comb, and a ramped trigger guard that makes loading easier. Features that carry over from the original include nickel Teflon coating on metal parts, Speed Load Plus, a magazine cutoff, lightning trigger and a choice of 3 or 3 ½-inch chamber. Finish options include Mossy Oak camo, all black, and a carbon fiber sporting version. There’s also a Wicked Wing Maxus II that features a camo stock and a cerakote finish on the metal.

$1,590-$2,070 | browning.com

Mossberg – 940 Pro Waterfowl

Mossberg 940 Pro Waterfowl shotgun

Mossberg announced a new field version of the new 940 semiautomatic shotgun which features a new, easy-to-clean gas operating system that ran for 1,500 shots between cleanings. The loading port and controls on this gun are larger than the 930 shotgun it replaces, but the tang-mounted safety remains. The gun will be available in 12-gauge with with a True Timber Prairie camo stock and forearm and Patriot Brown Cerakote on the barrel and receiver.

$1,050 | mossberg.com

Chapuis – Chasseur

Chapuis Chasseur shotgun

Chapuis may not be a name that’s familiar to all American hunters and shooters, but this French firearms manufacturer has been manufacturing fine firearms since 1934 in Saint-Etienne. Now part of Beretta Holding, Chapuis shotguns will be more widely available in the United States, and this year the company is launching a new shotgun model for American shooters. The Chasseur (French for “hunter”) round body side-by-sides come with 28-inch barrels, five interchangeable flush-fit chokes, double triggers and are available in 12-, 20-, and 28-gauge. There are two grades of Chasseur shotguns: The Classic comes with a AAA-grade Circassian walnut stock while the elegant Artisan features 5A-grade Circassian walnut and hand engraving.

$4,999-$11,259 | chapuis-usa.com


CZ-USA – 1012

CZ-USA 1012 shotgun

CZ-USA is expanding their popular 1012 line of semi-auto, inertia-operated shotguns this year to include three models with 26-inch barrels. The field version features a Turkish walnut stock, gloss black chrome barrel, and a jeweled bolt. There are also two full camo versions available as well. Though it’s relatively new to the semiauto shotgun market, the 1012 is already making waves—particularly after CZ announced these guns had been torture tested to 5,000 rounds without cleaning or lubrication and still performed. If you’re looking for a dependable, versatile semiauto that won’t break the budget, this is a good option.

$675-$715 | cz-usa.com

Tristar – Bristol SxS

Tristar Bristol side-by-side shotgun

TriStar added two brand-new Bristol side-by-side shotguns to their growing product catalog this year. The Bristol SxS model comes in 12-, 20-, and 28-gauge, and .410 and features a laser engraved steel frame with color case hardened finish and an English-style straight grip stock made from oil finished Turkish walnut. Bristol Silver SxS shotguns come with a nickel finished receiver with gold inlay and are also available in all four gauges. Both of these guns come with five Beretta-style flush fit choke tubes, ejectors, single selective triggers, and a tang mounted safety/barrel selector. If you’re in the market for a classy, well-built side-by-side field gun that won’t break the bank, you’ll be very pleased with Tristar’s new Bristol shotguns.

$1,040-$1,130 | tristararms.com

Syren – Julia Sporting

Syren Julia Sporting shotgun

Named in honor of Caesar’s daughter, the Julia Sporting blends class-leading features like an oiled deluxe grade Turkish walnut stock with optional adjustable comb and sideplates complete with a gold floral pattern that evolves into a woman’s face. The action is color case hardened and, like other Syren guns, this elegant Italian stackbarrel was designed from the ground up with serious female shooters in mind and comes with a superb DTS trigger. It’s available in 12-gauge with 30-inch barrels and there’s a left-handed version available as well. As the name implies, the Syren was designed for clay games, but it’ll also work very well in the field provided you don’t mind the extra weight of a sporting gun.

$6,050-$6,720 | syrenusa.com

Savage – Renegauge Prairie

Savage Renegauge shotgun

Like other Renegauge shotguns, the new Rene-gauge Prairie model utilizes Savage’s innovative D.R.I.V. inline gas operation system that is clean, efficient, and reliable. The D.R.I.V. system also helps to reduce felt recoil so that this gun is suitable for shooting multiple rounds at the clay target club and for firing heavy 3-inch magnum upland and waterfowl loads. As the name implies, this gun comes with TrueTimber Prairie camo on the stock and forearm that blends nicely with the Brown Sand Cerakote finish on the aluminum receiver and barrel. Renegauge Prairie shotguns feature adjustable stocks with soft comb inserts, oversized controls, and an enlarged loading port.

$1,649| savagearms.com

Weatherby – Orion 

Weatherby Orion shotgun

Weatherby recently unveiled new 20-gauge versions of the company’s Orion over/under shotguns. All three current models—the Orion I, Matte Blue, and Sporting—will be available in 20-gauge in the fall of 2021, and all three will be on scaled frames which keep weight to a minimum. The Field version will likely weigh around 6 pounds, but exact figures will be available when these guns are officially released later this year. What we know for certain is that these guns will have steel receivers, ventilated mid and top ribs, a Prince of Wales grip, laser cut checkering, and front brass bead sights. The Matte Blue and Orion I versions come with three flush fit choke tubes while the sporting version will have five extended chokes. These elegant over/unders look good and are affordably priced, and they’ll likely be a hit with hunters and sport shooters alike.

$999-$1,099 | weatherby.com


Franchi – SLX 28-Gauge

Franchi Instinct shotgun

New this year is the Franchi SLX 28-gauge. It comes with a AA-grade satin walnut stock and 28-inch barrels with a red fiber optic sight, but the SLX version features a silver aluminum alloy receiver with engraving. The lightweight aluminum keeps weight to a minimum—just 5.2 pounds overall—which makes the Franchi an excellent choice for chasing wild birds in steep country. The SLX 28-gauge comes with four extended screw-in choke tubes (IC, M, IM, F)

$2,099 | franchiusa.com

Stoeger – M3500 Snow Goose

Stoeger M3500 Snow Goose Shotgun

Stoeger is offering a new version of their M3500 built specifically for high-volume light goose hunters. Known as the M3500 Snow Goose, this gun incorporates a U.S. Code 922R compliant extended magazine that holds 10+1 shells and comes with a 3 ½-inch chamber, oversized controls, a beveled loading port and a stylish distressed white Cerakote finish. Other features include five extended chokes, a paracord sling, and shim kit to adjust drop and cast, and like other Stoeger guns it operates on the time-tested Inertia-Driven action.

$899 | stoegerindustries.com

Caesar Guerini – Ellipse Limited Gold

Caesar Guerini Ellipse Limited Gold shotgun

New from Guerini is the Ellipse Limited Gold, a round body over/under with extra-deluxe walnut stock, a round body action and a color case hardened receiver with gold inlay. Ellipse Limited Gold shotguns are available in 20- or 28-gauge or as a 20/28-gauge combo and buyers can select between 28- and 30-inch barrels. Since it is a limited edition, the Ellipse will only be available in 2021. This exquisite gun is available in left-handed models, and backed by CG’s outstanding customer service.

$8,350 | gueriniusa.com

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