Shotguns

There are two challenges to finding a great shotgun -- fit and suitability.

The shotguns section of Shotgun Life is dedicated to helping you recognize the perfect shotgun (that you’ll want to keep for the rest of your life, and then hand down to your family for generations to come.)

For some people, finding a great shotgun is simply love at first sight. For others, a great shotgun grows on them -- and they find themselves down in the basement cleaning it for absolutely no other reason than just to be in its company.

But for every shotgun owner who falls in love with their pride-and-joy, there are teams of engineers and craftsmen toiling away behind the scenes to bring your gun to fruition.

As you’ll see, shotguns are generally designed for a particular sport. Some shotguns have composite stocks and fore-ends to withstand the travails of duck hunting. Then there are single-shot trap guns with high ribs that help you intercept rising targets. And skeet shooters find that their beavertail fore-end is particularly adept at bringing about a smooth, quick swing.

So let the search begin. Here is what you’ll find in our shotgun section…

  • Shotguns for Clays and Wingshooting
  • Shotgun Actions
  • Break Actions
  • Over/Under
  • Side-by-Side
  • Single-Barrel Shotgun
  • Semiautomatics
  • Pumps
  • Skeet Shotguns
  • Trap Shotguns
  • WaterFowl Shotguns
  • Upland Shotguns

Ask a buddy which inertia-action semi-auto to buy and chances are they’ll recommend a Benelli. The Italian manufacturer has come to dominate mind-share for the gasless shotguns, with models that start at $1,349 – more than double of what CZ’s first inertia semi-auto will cost you.

Although there are a few inertia semi-auto shotguns that cost around $600, CZ brings to the marketplace name recognition, reliability, a national dealer network and its renowned value proposition as evident with a starting price of $518.00 for the CZ 1012.

After 20 years as U.S. Operations Manager with Holland & Holland, David Cruz has amassed more knowledge, wisdom and gut feel about fine shotguns than most of us. But he recently came across a shotgun that has mystified him – a uniquely engraved, one-of-a-kind, 16-gauge, round action over-under from the legendary Scottish gunmaker, John Dickson & Son.

We tend to associate embellished shotguns with extravagant engravings of pastoral bliss rendered in masterpieces of steel. But head down-market to the other 99 percent and you can order a field or clays shotgun personalized with your own visual flash for about $600.

Your budget alternative comes courtesy of the same coatings that protect your shotgun against the elements and handling, and applied on the Turkish-made Pointer semi-automatics sold and customized by Legacy Sports International in Reno, Nevada.

If you’ve ever been to a trap, skeet or sporting clays range, and most likely you have, you know without asking that hearing protection is required. And if you’ve traveled the world to many of the premier wingshooting destinations in remote places where you can shoot thousands of rounds of ammunition in a day, you find out quickly that hearing protection is pretty much mandatory there too. It is smart to protect your hearing under such conditions, but you quickly discover that without the right kind of hearing protection, communication with your fellow hunters and the outfitter, guide and staff becomes very difficult. Let me explain.

If you’re of the mind to start a quality shotgun collection, here’s one essential tip you need to know: understand the difference between a shotgun salesman and a consultant.

A salesman will sell you a shotgun that may not be in your best interest to own. A consultant should advise you on the best way to build your collection by identifying high-quality guns that are fairly priced, have investment potential, and satisfy the objectives and vision of your collection.

The GPS said my dog was 300 yards down a boulder-strewn gully. I stumbled over rocks and sage, and ten agonizing minutes later found the young wirehair staunch, one front leg raised. The chukar covey roared skyward, and I made a go-to-hell shot down the hill at 50 yards.

I missed, but not because of the Pointer shotgun I’d shouldered. It had been functioning fine in the field and on the range and turning heads, too. But in this case, only a Star Trek transporter could have beamed me into range of those devil birds.

It’s official: Longthorne shotguns are now available in the U.S. – bringing to American fine-gun afficionados the most advanced break-opens to appear from England in the past century.

John Herkowitz, owner of Pacific Sporting Arms in Azusa, California with a secondary location in Walled Lake, Michigan, took the first-move advantage in becoming Longthorne’s exclusive American agent after watching the gunmaker evolve over the past few years. 

Turn back the clock to 2016 at a cocktail reception in a posh London suburb. Scotsman Grant Buchan was talking about his desire to build “a true Scottish gun” with the sales manager of a best British gunmaker. “He tried to take the wind out of me and said, you’re dreaming, you will never do it,” recalled Mr. Buchan. “Here I was, a Scottish guy with a small gunsmithing business and a dream of making my own best gun.”

That’s when Mr. Buchan experienced his David-and-Goliath moment: “I told him straight to his face, we’ll see”