Enough new shotguns —and extensions to existing models — are rolling out to keep your firearm search interesting. Among the highlights: Tweaks to shotguns designed for home defense, including the redesign of an American classic by Remington and a new Mossberg, both featuring magazine-fed actions.
CZ Reaper Magnum
What: A couple years ago, Browning introduced the notion of taking an over/under shotgun with a barrel selector switch, fitting each barrel with a different patterning tube and touting it as a turkey gun suitable for both long range and close-in shots. That Citori model cost a couple grand.
CZ takes its 3.5-inch chambered Swamp Magnum, shortens the barrels to 26 inches and adds extended chokes, including an “Extra Full” and gives you the Reaper Magnum. Select the tight choke for long shots, the open choke for closer targets.
What else: A drilled and tapped top Picatinny-style rail for easy mounting of a favorite optic. Polymer stock sports Realtree Xtra Green camo.
CZ Drake .410 and 28-gauge
What: The affordable over/under shotguns have been top sellers in the larger bore. New for 2018, they’re offering downsized options in 28-gauge and .410-bore. They have nice Turkish walnut stock with steel actions.
CZ Sharp-Tail Coach
What: Protect your modern-day coach or wagon with this side-by-side throwback. Built on the Sharp-Tail platform, the Coach is a single-trigger coach gun with 20-inch cylinder bore barrels. Available in 12- or 20-gauge.
Mossberg SA-28/SA-20 Bantam (youth) autoloaders
What: These affordable, popular semiautomatic shotguns are now sized for youngsters and shooters of smaller stature. Both models have a 12.5-inch length of pull — the distance from the middle of the trigger to the end of the gun’s buttstock. Shorter arms need a shorter LOP. The SA-28 is one of my favorite shooting light shotguns, pointing exceptionally well and delivering precise patterns.
What else: Both come in walnut and synthetic stock, plus forend versions with 24-inch, vented-rib, blued barrels. The 28-gauge is chambered for 2.75-inch shells, with the 20-gauge accommodating 3-inch shells.
Price: $654 (walnut), $570 (synthetic).
What: This magazine-fed pump-action 12-gauge is a beast, built on a tactical platform with a patented double-stack, 10-round magazine. Optional 5-, 10-, 15- and 20-round-capacity magazines are sold as accessories. The highly-engineered magazines are made of heat-treated steel, and they lock in firmly and release easily with a push of a button in front of the trigger guard. The magazines are designed for use with 2.75-inch shotshells only.
What else: Initially available in two configurations: A base model (18.5-inch, heavy-walled cylinder bore barrel, bead sight, black synthetic stock and forend, matte blue metal finishes and magazine) and a Tactical Tri-Rail (forend with full-length bottom rail and dual side rails for easy attachment of lights and accessories, 18.5-inch heavy-walled barrel with interchangeable ACCU-CHOKE choke tube system, protective heat shield, Ghost-Ring sight). Both have black synthetic stock and forend, matte blue metal finishes, and magazine.
Price: $721 (base), $801 (Tri-Rail).
Remington Model 870 DM Predator
What: The Model 870, a longtime top seller in the shotgun world, gets a significant tweak with the addition of a detachable six-round box magazine. A three-round magazine is also available. The overmolded ShurShot stock, tactical, corncob-style forend and 18.5-inch barrel have Kryptek Highlander full camo. It’s 38.5 inches long with a 14-inch length of pull.
What else: Comes with TruLock extended XFull predator/turkey and XFull hog chokes. Sports an XS Sights Tactical Rail with an integral Ghost Ring rear sight, plus a ramped, steel front sight.
Benelli Ethos Sport
What: Benelli’s popular Ethos line gets an expansion with an array of Sport models in 12-, 20- and 28-gauge versions. They all feature a large, recoil-absorbing cheek comb pad and a raised, carbon fiber sporting rib atop the 28- or 30-inch ported barrel. It’s a sharp-looking gun, with a AA-Grade satin walnut stock and engraved nickel-plated receiver.
What else: Each version can accept up to 3-inch loads; most 28-gauges only take 2.75-inch shells. The 12-gauge version weighs 6.6 pounds while the lightweight 28 checks in at 5.4 pounds. Each comes with an Extended Crio choke tube set.
Retay Arms Masai Mara
What: This Turkish manufacturer has been developing its “Inertia Plus” system for a couple years. Without going into all the engineering stuff, the new system’s bolt better uses the kinetic energy generated by the shot to cycle the sometimes problematic lightweight or lower-velocity shells.
The semiautomatic shotgun weighs 6.5 pounds and is available in 15 versions that offer various finish combinations, including a fancy, quality-grade oiled walnut as well as camouflage and black synthetic. Several versions in both walnut and synthetic feature receivers colored with a factory-applied Cerakote polymer ceramic finish in flat or high polished black, or silver, bronze, grey or satin.
What else: Each gun has an Italian-made ergonomic microcell recoil pad, TruGlo sights and a locking hard gun case. Barrel lengths range from 24 to 30 inches.
Price: $799 to start, about $1,100 online for some higher-end walnut versions.
Syren L4S Sporting
What: This stylish 12-gauge is designed with female shooters in mind, boasting adjusted cast and pitch, a Monte Carlo comb for higher cheekbones, smaller grip and a shorter length of pull at 13 ¾ inches. It’s got a 28-inch barrel, weighs about 7 pounds, 2 ounces, and has five EXIS HP Competition choke tubes.
Price: $1,895 right-handed, $2,080 left-handed.
Fabarm Elos D2
What: Look good in any upland setting with this over/under shotgun, an easy-to-carry model weighing just 5 pounds, 14 ounces. The Turkish walnut stock has been upgraded and the receiver has some beautiful engraving of a flushing pheasant on one side of the action and a pair of flushing quail on the other. The action is made of Ergal 55, a lightweight, strong alloy that’s often found in competition motorcycle parts.
What else: Available in 12-, 20- or 28-gauge models, all with 28-inch barrels with tapered bore. Comes with five INNER HP choke tubes.
Caesar Guerini Invictus III Sporting
What: Every year, we pick out one “stretch” gun to look at —as in, the pricing makes it a stretch for many potential owners. If you’re a dedicated clay target buster, competition or otherwise, this new 12-gauge over/under shotgun will stand out at any range. Guerini touts its top competition guns as durable up to 1 million rounds. The stock is beautiful walnut with the receiver, trigger guard and more finely engraved with gold inlay designs.
What else: Chambered for 2.75-inch shells. Barrel lengths of 30 and 32 inches. Weighs a little more than 8 pounds.
Price: $8,200 for the base model, $8,440 for the left-handed model. Adjustable comb available as a $385 option. Available May 2018.
Franchi Instinct SL (16-gauge)
What: Few manufacturers roll out 16-gauge models, which were favored in the mid-20th century by upland bird hunters. But Franchi has added one to its Instinct line, which debuted in late 2011. It has a AA-grade walnut stock with a silver aluminum alloy receiver and 28-inch blued barrel with a red fiber optic front bead. Comes with three choke tubes.
Midland Backpack Shotgun
What: Midland says these single-shot guns, made in Turkey, are designed for “young, active shooters,” but any age might appreciate a lightweight, folding and inexpensive firearm that can be carried in a backpack or stowed in a truck.
They’re available in .410, 12- and 20-gauge versions with barrels ranging from 18.5 to 26 inches, threaded for Beretta choke tubes. The gun ships with a modified choke tube. They have a forged steel receiver and synthetic, checkered stock with slightly raised comb and length of pull adjustment inserts.
The stock is hollow with a small storage compartment. For a single-shot, it’s a unique, hammerless design; the gun cocks when you close the barrel to the receiver. The barrel breaks open by pulling a lever in front of the trigger guard. A cocking indicator on the receiver lets you know the gun is loaded.
What else: Accepts up to 3-inch shotshells. Weight ranges from 4.4 to 4.8 pounds. This is a cool, little firearm.
ALL ABOUT AMMO
Federal Heavyweight TSS
What: This new tungsten-alloy “Super Shot” has hunters talking about turkey hunting with .410 loads, something previously unheard of among serious turkey hunters. The dense tungsten and shot velocity mean bird-killing capability with size 7 or 9 shot. A shell with No. 9 shot has nearly double the pellets of the No. 5 shot popular with many hunters. The tungsten-alloy material’s density is 22 percent higher than standard tungsten and 56 percent greater than lead! Velocities range from 1000-1200 feet per second, depending on the load.
What else: Comes in 12- and 20- gauge, plus .410.
Price: A pricey $29.95 (.410) to $49.95 (12-gauge) for a five-shell box. A portion of the proceeds go to the National Wild Turkey Federation. Want cheaper? Federal is offering a new version of its 3rd Degree turkey ammo, loading it with 40 percent Heavyweight TSS ($21.95-$25.95).
Winchester Xtended Range Bismuth
What: Winchester takes the “Shot-Lok” technology it used with the Longbeard XR shells and applies it to bismuth, another dense material. The pellets are surrounded by an epoxy resin that holds the shot column in place as it leaves the muzzle, fracturing during flight. This keeps the pellets together longer, resulting in tighter patterns downrange. Winchester says this new round puts twice the number of pellets in a 20-inch circle at 60 yards when compared with standard lead loads.
What else: Shells come in 3-inch 12-gauge, loaded with 1 5/8 ounce of No. 5 Bismuth shot for a muzzle velocity of 1,200 fps. While this could be an excellent alternative to steel and other nontoxic shot in a waterfowl setting, Winchester is also marketing it to turkey hunters, especially in areas where lead shot is banned.
Price: About $35 for a box of 10.