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

Standing in between the edge rows in a field of standing corn, I loosely grasped the wooden forend of the mid-1970s-era shotgun. The shotgun felt strange in my hands. Unorthodox. Yet, the connection had been in the making for over 40 years. The same amount of time had passed for the slightly tight-fitting “brown duck” (think Carhartt) colored game vest I had donned that morning. Yellow shells sat loosely in the outstretched dark brown shell holders on the vest. Was I grasping at memories?

In order to ensure that your firearms continue to function properly and shoot accurately, it is important that you appropriately clean them. Fortunately, guns that are properly cleaned and maintained will work reliably for many years. Keep reading to learn how to clean a gun using a Sage & Braker gun cleaning kit. While dirt, carbon, and lead/copper fouling will not damage your firearm by themselves, they can adversely affect the accuracy and reliability of your firearm. However, salt and water are the two worst enemies of firearms, so it is essential that you keep your firearms dry and clean them as soon as possible if they are ever exposed to salt.

“Wow” came to mind in each and every stage of shooting a matched pair of titanium 20-bore Kemens. When I first opened the case and saw them like a mirror image of each other with their brilliant Baco engraving, when I shouldered the gun, when I swung at a hard crosser, the perfectly supple trigger, when I opened it to reload – every touch point and shooting experience with these surprisingly affordable exotic shotguns evoked superlatives.

The Benelli 828U is a gun of firsts, and the follow-on Sporting model continues that legacy.

It is the first over and under produced by the company known for its semi-automatics. 

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.