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

In the world of double shotguns, there are two main types: Extractor and Ejector. There are pros and cons to each, but both have their place and can provide their own advantages in the field. So which one is best for you?

Rust. Every firearms owner should cringe when they hear the word. It can devalue your most prized weapon without much warning. Thankfully, it is easy to prevent if you keep your firearm properly cleaned and oiled. Instead of talking about how to prevent it, I am going to discuss how to remove rust that may have already started.

At 80 years old, it was no secret that David McKay Brown was ready to retire from his eponymous gunmaking company famous for its gorgeous round-action triggerplate shotguns and rifles. Certainly, there were tremors through the UK and Scotland that this Scottish treasure would end up in foreign hands.

In January 2021, Mossberg International decided to add affordable break-open shotguns to their portfolio of black and camo pump and semi-autos by announcing a decidedly attractive line of shotguns in distinctive Silver Reserve and Gold Reserve Sporting models.

Maybe you’ve noticed that shotguns made by the Yildiz Shotgun Company of Turkey have been showing up in greater numbers at American shooting clubs and hunting fields for over the past decade. Yildiz’s growing popularity should come as no surprise. The shotguns generally retail for $400 to $700, bolstered by a reputation for reliability.

I’ll admit it, sometimes I like to wander around the woods, put some miles under my boots, wear the dogs down `til their tongues are dragging and have a game bag full of the daily limit of upland birds enough to make my back ache. But those “sometimes” are becoming fewer and fewer as having children became a game changer.

As is often the case with a significant “first” in anyone’s life I can clearly remember my first interview at James Purdey & Sons.

I had taken my school exams back in the summer and the task of choosing a career had begun. My parents had arranged my very first ever job interview a week before the Christmas of 1969 with Mr. Chris Gadsby, Factory Manager at James Purdey & Sons Best London Gunmakers.

In 2009, my favorite shotgun dealer at the time had talked me into buying a beautiful 12-gauge sporter with 34-inch barrels – a big stretch from the 30-inch clays guns that had become my standard bearer. I distinctly remember him saying “Everyone is moving to longer barrels.” Within months, I still couldn’t master the gun and actually felt self-conscious seeing it tower over other clays guns with barrels that hovered around 30 inches. End of story is that I traded it back to him in a deal for a 12-gauge semi-auto.