2021 New Guns and Gear: Shotguns

Check out new and improved shotguns for the upcoming season

© John Hoffman

By Phil Bourjaily and Chris Jennings

Browning Maxus II

Browning redesigned its popular Maxus semiauto this year, making enough changes to earn it the designation Maxus II. The most noticeable change is a conventional magazine cap that replaces the old forearm latch, which will be welcomed by snow goose hunters, who can now add a magazine extension. The Maxus II retains the Power Drive gas system, the easily reversible safety, the turnkey magazine plug, and the speed-loading carrier beloved by Browning owners. The gun also comes with a soft cheekpiece that works in concert with the gas system and Inflex pad to reduce felt recoil. Other handy features include an enlarged bolt handle and magazine-release button and a redesigned trigger guard to make loading easier. The Maxus II is available in 3- and 3 1/2-inch 12-gauge versions in a carbon fiber finish or in Mossy Oak Shadow Grass Habitat or Mossy Oak Break-Up Country camo. browning.com

 

Benelli Super Black Eagle 3

Benelli is offering two new versions of its popular Super Black Eagle 3 (SBE3) semiauto: a 3-inch 12-gauge and a 3-inch 20-gauge version. The increasing popularity of smallbore guns makes the 20-gauge SBE3 a logical step, and the 3-inch 12 offers almost the same performance as the original, with a lower price tag. Both guns come with Benelli’s Comfort Tech 3 stock, enlarged controls, an easy locking bolt that eliminates out-of-battery misfires, and either a 26- or 28-inch barrel. Both guns are available in black synthetic or a variety of camo finishes. benelliusa.com

 

Mossberg International Reserve Over/Under

The redesigned Reserve over/under series continues the steady refinement of a gun line that Mossberg has imported from Turkey since the 1990s. This year’s lineup includes a gun of particular interest to waterfowlers—a synthetic-stocked 3-inch 12-gauge. The gun comes with 28-inch barrels, a single selective trigger, extractors, and five choke tubes. The synthetic stock and its reasonable price make this gun a great choice for hunters who wish to take an over/under to the blind without worrying about it. mossberg.com

Weatherby 18i Waterfowler

The Weatherby 18i series of semi-automatic shotguns are built on the proven inertia system, which provides reliable cycling on an evenly-weighted gun. Designed and built for shooters that require superior reliability with high volume shooting, the single-piece receiver is precision machined from billet aluminum for strength and simplicity. The advanced polymer stock has been designed for a seamless fit to the shooter with a soft touch area on the cheek rest and aggressive texture in the palm and foregrip. The premium engineering and material composition will provide consistent performance in the harshest of environments. During inevitable poor light conditions, the high luminosity LPA fiber front sight ensures accurate target acquisition. The safety is conveniently located behind the trigger with a positive red ring for visible confirmation when in the “ready to shoot” position. Five choke tubes and a true choke tube wrench. Weatherby.com

Beretta 687 Silver Pigeon III

Beretta’s 680 over/under series remains popular around the world for very good reason. Natural pointers, these sleek double guns are built around an action that is durable, yet trim. Beretta made some tweaks to the Silver Pigeon III this year, bringing the price down in the process. Highlights include the OptimaChoke system, a new engraving pattern, and gloss-finished class 2.5 walnut. The gun is available in 12-, 20-, and 28-gauge and .410 versions (the latter two offerings on new, scaled-down frames). While it might look too pretty to bring to the duck blind, this over/under is more than tough enough to take it. berettausa.com

 

Winchester SXP Hybrid Hunter

The smooth SXP Hybrid Hunter is available this year with Permacote-treated metal and a synthetic camo finish. Weighing in at only seven pounds, it comes in 3- and 3 1/2-inch 12-gauge versions as well as a 3-inch 20-gauge. Whichever gun you choose, you’ll be buying one of the lightest, fastest-cycling pumps ever made—and at a bargain price. New features include a redesigned trigger that is easier to operate while wearing gloves and a reversible safety for lefties. winchesterguns.com

 

Winchester SX4

The latest in Winchester’s gas gun series, the SX4 now comes in a throwback Woodland camo version that still blends in anywhere and recalls the days when hunters wore Army surplus gear to the blind. Like all other SX4s, this gun comes with enlarged controls, three choke tubes, a fiber-optic sight, length-of-pull spacers, and a soft Inflex recoil pad. winchesterguns.com

 

Tristar Viper G2 Bronze

The top of the Viper semiauto line, the G2 Bronze features a Cerakote-treated receiver, blued barrel, and high-grade Turkish walnut stock with a semigloss finish. It’s available in 3-inch 12-gauge, 20-gauge, and .410 versions as well as in 16- and 28-gauge. The guns come with three choke tubes, a fiber-optic sight, a shim kit, and a five-year warranty. Black synthetic and camo finishes are also available in 12-gauge, 20-gauge, and .410 models. tristararms.com

 

Fabarm XLR5 Waterfowler

A gun often seen on sporting clays courses due to its low recoil and high degree of dependability, Fabarm’s XLR5 semiauto offers those same traits and more for waterfowlers with its new 3-inch 12-gauge Chesapeake version. Available with either a 28- or 30-inch barrel, this gun comes with a TrueTimber Viper soft touch stock and olive-green Cerakote-treated metal. The barrel features Fabarm’s Tribore system, which improves patterns and even provides a slight increase in velocity. The Chesapeake is offered in both right- and left-handed configurations and is also available in a women’s version sold under the Syren brand. fabarmusa.com

 

Franchi Instinct LX and SLX

Franchi has added a pair of 28s to its popular Instinct LX and SLX over/unders. These handsome doubles feature upgraded wood and engraving at reasonable price points. The LX has a case-colored steel receiver ornately decorated with gold gamebirds, while the lightweight, alloy-framed SLX has an enhanced engraving pattern. Both guns come with fiber-optic beads, ventilated mid-ribs, and extended choke tubes. The LX is also available in 12- and 20-gauge versions, and the SLX has the added option of a 16-gauge model. franchiusa.com

 

Stoeger Condor Field Synthetic

Already one of the least-expensive break-actions on the market, the Stoeger Condor costs even less with a synthetic stock in place of wood. The result is an over/under duck gun anyone can afford. The 3-inch 12-gauge version comes with 28-inch barrels, extractors, and a non-selective single trigger as well as improved cylinder and modified choke tubes. stoegerindustries.com

 

Stoeger 3500 Snow Goose

Stoeger has created a dedicated snow goose version of its 3 1/2-inch 12-gauge 3500 inertia gun by giving it a distressed white Cerakote finish and adding a magazine extension that boosts shell capacity to 10. It also features a 28-inch barrel, oversized bolt closer and handle, and paracord sling. Five extended choke tubes come with each gun to help you dial in patterns with a variety
of loads. stoegerindustries.com

 

Retay Masai Mara Air King

Built in a state-of-the-art factory in Turkey, Retay’s well-made inertia guns have quickly attracted a following among waterfowlers. The Air King is Retay’s top-of-the-line waterfowl gun, a 3 1/2-inch 12-gauge with camo furniture and Cerakote-treated metal. The gun has a push-button removable trigger group and bolt that can’t be bumped out of battery. A heavy-duty recoil spring absorbs much of the kick produced by heavy loads and assures reliable cycling. Other highlights include oversized controls and a
fiber-optic bead. retayusa.com

 

Savage Renegauge Prairie

The Renegauge made news last year as the first Savage semiauto to come to market in over half a century. A hefty, soft-recoiling gas gun, the 3-inch 12-gauge version comes with Savage’s innovative adjustable stock, and the 28-inch barrel is fluted to reduce weight. This year, Savage is offering an upgraded Renegauge Prairie edition that features Cerakote-treated metal and a camo stock and forearm. savagearms.com

 

CZ Redhead Premier All-Terrain

Like the rest of CZ’s All-Terrain shotguns, the Redhead Premier over/under is finished in matte walnut and olive-green Cerakote-treated metal to help the gun blend into the marsh. Small magnets in the ejectors are just strong enough to hold a shell in place, making the gun much easier to load in the blind with the muzzle pointing up. Other handy features include sling swivel studs and extended choke tubes. The Redhead Premier is available in 12- and 20-gauge versions with 3-inch chambers and a choice of 28- or 30-inch barrels. cz-usa.com

Stevens 555 Trap

New this year from Stevens is a single-barrel trap version of its 555 over/under. A good choice for those who enjoy off-season target practice or for the growing number of young athletes participating in scholastic shooting programs, this gun is built on a lightweight alloy receiver reinforced with titanium. It comes with a 30-inch barrel with a raised vent rib, an extractor, and a Turkish walnut stock that features an adjustable comb. It’s available in 12- and 20-gauge versions, both in full-size and compact models with 26-inch barrels and shorter stocks to fit shooters of smaller stature. savagearms.com

 

Ducks Unlimited 2021 Shotgun of the Year

The 2021 DU Shotgun of the Year is the Beretta A400 Upland 20-gauge. The sister to the 2020 DU Shotgun of the Year, this exquisite semiauto has a 3-inch chamber, 28-inch polished blued barrel, and oil-finished walnut stock. A wetland scene with gold-enhanced engraving on the satin-finished silver receiver features mallards, teal, and wood ducks. Also included are a special DU serial number, gun lock, and five interchangeable choke tubes. This beautiful firearm is available only at DU events. To find an event near you, go to ducks.org/events.

 

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