Duck hunters ask a lot of our equipment, especially our shotguns. We expect them to go “boom” every time we pull the trigger, despite long seasons in the harshest conditions imaginable. Salt spray? Wipe it down, give it a shot of oil and take it back to the marsh for another round of gunning.
Mud, corn stubble, snow, sleet, driving rain, even filthy dogs—it’s all just part of the waterfowling culture, and only a duck hunter could love it like we do. In turn, the best shotguns stand up to those conditions year after year, performing flawlessly when a flock of mallards settles into the decoys or when a pair of honkers sails in like a couple of silent B-52s.
Here’s a look at the best waterfowl shotguns of all time, guns that do what we ask and more. Some have been around for decades, a few for more than a century. They’ve proved their worth with each passing season, despite a layer of rust and a battered stock. A few are remnants of a bygone era. Others may be the new gun in the marsh, but legions of dedicated waterfowlers have put them through the ringer and given them a wet, cold thumbs up.
- There were a plethora of double guns during their heyday in the early 1900s, and many remain collector’s items that no longer see any time in a duck blind. The original A.H. Fox doubles are among those coveted by collectors. The most notable Fox was owned by legendary waterfowl hunter and writer Nash Buckingham. His HE Grade Super Fox double, nicknamed “Bo Whoop,” accounted for hundreds of birds and numerous stories. It sold at auction for more than $200,000 in 2010.
The Fox brand turned more into a working man’s gun when the company was acquired by Savage in 1929. The side-by-side was in production in various forms until 1988. Many of the guns are still in use today, although doubles are relatively uncommon in the duck marsh. Nash Buckingham would probably be disappointed with that that reality if he were still alive today.