2014 Gear

Take Aim: Shotguns & Shooting

Take Aim: Shotguns & Shooting

For diehard duck and goose hunters, a shotgun that fires every time after being dropped, dragged, frozen, thawed and perpetually wet is the difference between bringing home a strap of birds or hearing a gut-wrenching “click” when the trigger is pulled. For reliable firearms and accessories that will help you through the most demanding hunting conditions, check out these shotguns and shooting products from Delta Waterfowl’s advertising partners.

Benelli has balanced art with technology in the Ethos, a feature-packed 12-gauge that complements its lineup of reputable semi-automatic shotguns. The Progressive Comfort recoil-reduction system tames the thump of high-speed 3-inch magnum payloads by as much as 42 percent. A new bolt system ensures secure lockup of the action, even under light pressure, and the detachable, carbon fiber vent rib atop a 26- or 28-inch barrels reduces weight and allows options for custom fitting. All of this is housed under a handsomely polished wood stock.

The features packed into the Beretta A400 semi-auto lineup are enough to make any wingshooter’s trigger finger itchy. It ranges from 12-gauge shotguns handling 3½-inchers, to pleasant-shooting 20-gauge A400s, down to magic-wand 28-gauge Xplor 28s. Waterfowlers flock to the A400 Xtreme for its KickOff Mega recoil reduction systems, B-Lok forend cap, Optima Bore HP geometry, Aqua Technology and shoot-any-shell reliability. These shotguns are dressed in black synthetic, Realtree Max-4 or Gore Optifade camouflage.

Powered by the successful reintroduction of the semi-automatic Browning A5, this season sees extension in 3½-inch 12-gauge models. Included are the wood-stocked Hunter, the black-finished Stalker, the waterfowler-favorite Mossy Oak Shadow Grass Blades, and the perfect choice for timber, Mossy Oak Break-Up Infinity. Stalker and camouflage models feature Browning’s patented Dura-Touch Armor coating on the stock and forearm. All 3½-inch A5s come with the same standard features as the original 3-inch.

The Franchi Intensity boasts the weight, recoil and pointability of a nimbler gauge, but packs the punch offered by a 12-gauge capable of seamlessly cycling 3½-inch honker stoppers. Each semi-automatic shotgun comes standard with a full flight of choke tubes for any shooting scenario, as well as shim kits for a custom fit to the shooter’s drop and cast. Value in a versatile semi-auto, Intensity finishes include black synthetic, Realtree Max-5, Realtree XTRA and Mossy Oak Bottomlands.

Eleven shotguns comprise Mossberg’s Duck Commander Series. The 12-gauge and 20-gauge pump and semi-auto shotguns are available with 26- and 28-inch barrels, and depending on the gauge, 3-inch or 3½-inch chambers. Wearing Realtree Max-5 camo, all are loaded with extra Duck Commander goodies, including a repeating duck-in-flight finish on the receiver, iconic logo, and “Faith. Family. Ducks.” engraved on the back. These guns will make any waterfowler “Happy Happy Happy” — the magazine cap even says so.

Remington’s true waterfowling gun is the Versa Max Waterfowl Pro, a 3½-inch semi-automatic with a reliable gas system that cycles any 12-gauge shell, but reduces recoil to 20-gauge levels. The oversized bolt handle, safety and action buttons ensure easy loading and operation, even with gloved hands. Nickel and Teflon-plated components offer extreme corrosion resistance. The Waterfowl Pro comes with five ProBore extended choke tubes, and is covered in Mossy Oak Shadow Grass Blades.

When the mallards work the way we dream, it’s referred to as a “20-gauge day.” For the shotgun of choice, check out the Stoeger M3020, which shoots 2¾- and 3-inch 20-guage payloads interchangeably. The heart of the M3020 is Stoeger’s simple and proven Inertia Driven operating system, which reliably operates with only three moving parts in the bolt. Offered with 26- or 28-inch barrels, and finish choices of black synthetic, Realtree Max-5 or APG.

For value in a reliable semi-automatic waterfowling shotgun, look no further than the Weatherby SA-08 Synthetic Waterfowler 3.0. A special dipping process adheres Mothwing Marsh Mimicry camo to all metal work and stock components. This SA-08 variant comes in 12-gauge, 3-inch with a 26- or 28-inch barrel and swivel studs in place for the addition of a handy sling. Ships with improved cylinder, modified and full choke tubes.

Speed and reliability are top virtues of the Winchester Super X Pump Waterfowl Hunter. Claimed as the fastest pump on the pond, the SXP’s secret is its dependable, inertia-assisted rotary bolt. In both 3-inch and 3½-inch 12-gauge options, the SXP Waterfowl Hunter is finished in Mossy Oak Shadow Grass Blades camo. Additional features include .742-inch back boring, Invector-Plus Choke Tube System, Truglo Long Bead fiber optic front sight and Inflex Technology recoil pad.

The only way to improve wingshooting prowess is to practice, and the Champion Targets WheelyBird Auto-Feed Trap makes it easy and fun. Lightweight construction, two-wheeled frame and pull handle combine for a take-anywhere unit that sets up in seconds. With a capacity of 50 standard clay targets, the powerful thrower will launch each one 55 yards. A 12-volt battery can keep the WheelyBird chucking, too — it’ll fling 3,000 before needing a charge.

The Instructor Shotgun Sight by Smith & Jackson literally green lights the shot. If your head is lifted or you’re sighting with the cross-dominant eye, the red fiber optics light up. On the other hand, one green bead signals that everything is in alignment. Optics contrast so highly that you’ll notice the color even with eyes locked on target. The sight comes in multiple sizes and configurations to fit every rib.