There are pessimists in all walks of life, yet I’m still taken aback by how many are encountered among our ranks. After all, this is arguably the best time to be a duck hunter in many years. Duck populations are at record highs. Season lengths and bag limits are generous. Steel shotshells finally work. And our guns—at every conceivable price point—are in some ways better than ever before.
You can buy a duck gun with a couple days’ pay or one that’s equivalent to a monthly mortgage statement. Most are well-made, reliable and—for different reasons—worth the investment. Here are a few of the best duck guns at every price point.
It may not have all the recoil-dampeners that a Super Black Eagle II sports, but in a heavy jacket while shooting at ducks, I’m not sure I’ve ever felt much of a difference. I also find the M3000 to be a rather attractive gun given its price range, perhaps more so than its hump-backed cousin. This is arguably the best semi-auto bargain on the market.
Price: $529 (black synthetic), 599 (camo dipped)
I found the gun to handle nicely, with a slightly forward point of balance. Given it’s a light gun without a whole lot of recoil-dampening frills, I’d opt for the 28-inch barrel to bump weight up to 7 ¼ pounds. Included chokes are IC, M and F.
The latest addition to the line, the Super X3 Waterfowl Hunter, features special duck gun touches like a 3 ½-inch chamber, a Mossy Oak Shadow Grass Blades dip, and a hard-chrome finish on the chamber and bore to prevent scoring from steel shot.
Also included with the purchase is a set of Rob Roberts Custom Triple Threat Choke tubes, and each gun is test-fired before shipping to ensure an ideal pattern. An oversized bolt-handle for reloading with cold, gloved hands adds a final, nice touch. This is the gun I will once again ask my wife to buy me for Christmas, but I’m not holding my breath.
Its features are both innovative and practical, including the recoil-dampening “Kick-Off” system, which incorporates a hydraulic dampener into the stock. The gun resists corrosion, it’s backbored with steel shot in mind and it has a strong “Steelium” barrel. I also believe it to be a very sharp looking gun. In fact, particularly when paired with Gore’s Optifade camo, it is perhaps the most beautiful duck gun currently sold.
It’s fully adjustable for pull, drop and cast; “Speed Load” plus allows shells to be loaded/unloaded without working the bolt; the barrel is backbored and includes a lengthened forcing cone; and true to its heritage the gun has an A5-style magazine cut-off switch. One of my favorite aspects of the gun is its slim, tapered forend. To me, a shotgun just seems to point more naturally when it places my forward hand’s index finger close to the barrel.
Price: $1,470 or 1,600 (dipped)