No group of hunters asks as much from their guns as waterfowlers. We drop them in sludge, hunt in rain, snow, ice and salt spray. When a wet, muddy retriever walks across our unloaded, uncased gun bouncing in the bottom of the boat, we just shrug it off. And then we expect our shotguns to go “bang.”
Thankfully, modern waterfowl shotguns are reliable, despite the abuse we heap upon them. Shotgun makers are duck hunters, too, and they understand a duck gun doesn’t have to be pretty (not that there’s anything wrong with that). They are building fast-cycling autos that don’t have to be babied at the end of a hunt; shotguns that can handle a variety of loads without making any adjustments. Today’s fowling guns are multi-purpose shooters, as capable on the skeet range or in the turkey woods as they are in a duck blind.
<h2>Benelli ETHOS</h2>An absolutely gorgeous gun, the <a href="http://www.benelliusa.com/ethos-shotgun" target="_blank">ETHOS</a> is as reliable and functional as it is handsome. The inertia-driven auto-loader handles the light 2¾-inch loads to the heavier 3-inch shells, and the new patented easy-locking system ensures the bolt is locked every time you close it. <p></p> Benelli’s Progressive Comfort recoil system takes the bite out of the heaviest loads. The replaceable carbon-fiber rib reduces overall weight and the Crio system barrel improves pattern density for better performance. The ETHOS weighs 6.4 pounds and is available in 26- or 28-inch barrels with five Crio chokes. <p></p> <strong>Price: $</strong>1,999