By Devin Martin
With well over 2.5 million “Top 10 shotguns for hunting” lists littered all over the World Wide Web, it can be a little overwhelming trying to navigate what’s actually beneficial information, and what is just marketing malarkey. For the avid hunter, and new hunter as well, comfortability is of the highest importance. Things like weight, balance, overall length, and the way your face rests in the comb of the stock, are some of the most invaluable aspects of hunting shotguns. The go-big-or-go-home 12-gauge is a must for seasoned, skilled hunters; on the other hand, there are some magnificently versatile, light weight, smaller-gauge hunting shotguns that are more than capable for the tyro huntsman (or huntswoman). So, here is an eclectic Top 10 list of ideal hunting shotguns for all.
Mossberg 930 Snow Goose
The captivating Mossberg 930 Yeti Kryptek Snow Goose, was named after its elegantly imposing ivory disposition. Carrying 13+1 12-gauge shells in the tube for more shooting and less loading, the snow goose 28-inch vented barrel with a 3-inch chamber provides a powerful blast without tearing your shoulder apart after 13 consecutive rounds obliterating clay pigeons. Fiber-optic front sights assist you in locking in on your target, and the precise accu-choke allows for great accuracy and performance.
Browning Citori 725 Field Grade VI
This one is for the aesthete hunter who genuinely appreciates the art and craftsmanship of the Browning way. This coveted collector’s piece conveys all the same tried and true features of the Citori 725 lineage, with just a few more encyclopedic details. With 12- and 20-gauge options, this shotgun is perfect for any hunter willing to pay the price – $$$. The reflex coil pad complimented with its 7-pound, 28-inch vented frame enables you to hunt or clay-shoot pleasantly all day long.
CZ-USA SCTP Sterling
This goes out to all you tenacious ladies out there looking to “F” some” S” up! Purposely tailored to the female hunters’ distinct dimensions, the Kansas City, KS-based CZ-USA team put together an impeccable woman-strong hunting shotgun without marring the virtue of the CZ brand. Versatile 4-way adjustable comb, along with a standard 28-inch barrel and 5 interchangeable chokes, Miss SCTP Sterling has a lot to offer.
Benilli Super Black Eagle 3
The Primo 3rd generation SBE-3, from the respected Italian gun-maker Benilli, may have broken the mold with this awesome shotgun! SBE-3 possesses the trademarked Comfort Tech stock design which takes on most of the shock-absorption for you, permitting you to shoot with top notch comfort. Even though the SBE-3 is a semi-automatic shotgun, it’s held more than its own in the unforgivingly harsh elements of Alaska while on the hunt for Sea Ducks in a formidable field test. This shotgun has too many ingenious, forward-thinking enhancements to mention them all; but, from the reinvented comb pad (CombTech), to the beveled loading port for the easiest of easy loading, this Bellissimo fucile da caccia (beautiful shotgun) is the real deal for the adventurous hunter.
Beretta A400 Xtreme Plus 12-gauge
Beretta might very well be the oldest gun making company in the world, but you don’t stay around this long without being on the cutting edge all the time. The A400 Xtreme Plus puts up a strong argument as the best in sport performance and upland hunting. Ushering in “Kick-Off Technology”, Beretta reduced recoil for diminished movement, and the Mossy Oak Pattern is the perfect camo when on the hunt in the marsh.
Winchester Super X Pump gets your shots off lickety-split, discharging 3 shots in less than a second. With inertia-assisted slide action, speed is the name of the game with the SXP. The Winchester offers optional 26-inch and 28-inch vented barrels, and trademarked Invector-Plus choke tubes. The SXP delivers with noxious thoroughness.
Remington Versa Max
The good people at Remington proclaim the Versa Max can handle “Any load, Anywhere, Every time.” With an unparalleled gas port operation, which leads to gentle recoiling, the Versa Max presents hunter-friendly features every hunter would love. With an easy grip stock and the capability to shoot up to 3.5-inch shells, you can’t lose with this Remington gem.
Winchester Model 12
The “Perfect Repeater” was the Pump Action standard from 1912 to 1964. The Model 12 manned the battlefields of both World Wars, Korea, and Vietnam, then was discontinued due to the cost to make this steel legend. No worries though! The All American war hero is still available to veteran and new hunters alike. With over 2 million 12’s sold, including special releases up until 2006, a Model 12 is not hard to find. The Winchester 12 is a simple, straight-to-the-point kind of shotgun, no nonsense.
The trusty Remington 870 has been getting the job done for nearly 70 years. This brawny, pump-action, veteran hit the open market in 1950 and set a long-lasting standard for the proper hunting shotgun. With seemingly endless options on customizable features, such as length; 37 inches to 50 inches full length, 14-inch to 30-inch barrel length; the 870 also caters to 12, 16, 20, 28 gauge and .410 bore ammo. If you can only have one shotgun, this one should be on the top of your list.
Like the Remington 870, the Mossberg 500 is Legendary American muscle in the hunting-shotguns universe. This shotgun is widely considered the most productive and dependable shotgun, not only nationally, but internationally. The Mossberg 500 is the most adaptive shotgun you will ever find; the pump action big dog has added tons of upgrades over the years. On some select models, Mossberg’s patented Lighting Pump Action adjustable trigger (LPA), gives it something extra unique from its old school demeanor.
Whoa… Now that was a motley sum of shotgun information to help you gather a more knowledgeable picture of some of the most sought-after hunting shotguns available. Comfort, versatility, and honesty were the focus of this Top 10 Hunting Shotgun list. This list features a few young bloods, some old dogs with new tricks, and even a dignified lady. All of these offerings deserve thoughtful consideration before making your final decision.