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11 Top Shotguns For Waterfowl Hunting

11 Top Shotguns For Waterfowl Hunting

Last year's (2011) list of new waterfowl shotguns is still driving tons of traffic thanks to our friends at Google. For that round up feel free to read below or, better yet, check out our list of 2012's newest shotguns.

BENELLI SUPER VINCI

Benelli USA launched its modular Vinci in 2010. Now, the Italian gunmaker has expanded the model to chamber 3 1/2-inch shells, and calls it the Super Vinci. The inertia-driven in-line receiver and action-return spring make cleaning easy. Speaking from experience, it allows extended shooting without cleaning. I fired hundreds of shells through a Vinci in Uruguay without a hitch. Benelli's ComforTech Plus stock makes recoil virtually negligible. In addition, the Quadra-Fit stock allows drop and cast adjustment to tweak the stock to fit most shooters. The Super Vinci shoots 2 3/4-inch, 3-inch and 31/2-inch shells interchangeably without adjustment.

BERETTA A400 XTREME

Based off the Xplor A400 Unico, the Beretta A400 Xtreme is a new waterfowler shotgun that'll shoot every 12-gauge shell, from 24-gram target loads to the heaviest 3 1/2-inch load, and does it with ease. Two hydraulic dampers in the Kick-Off pad enhanced with an oil-dampened buffer tame the recoil of heavy loads. The Blink system integrates an improved gas-operating function with a rotating bolt and feeding mechanism that provides lightning-fast cycling. The stock is adjustable for drop and cast. Based on shooting an A400 on several duck trips, I don't think it could be better.

BROWNING MAXUS

Browning Maxus is a refinement of the Browning Gold semi-auto. The Maxus employs Browning's re-engineered Power-Drive gas piston that dumps the gas faster, while providing a longer action stroke for lighter loads. The Inflex Technical pad further softens recoil. Unlike other semi-autos using the familiar screw-on magazine cap, the Maxus fore-end is held in place by a latch. Clad in camouflage, the Maxus is virtually weather proof. The Maxus Vector-Pro lengthened chamber forcing cone slides the shot column into an overbored, .742-inch barrel topped with Invector-Plus choke tubes that ensure great patterns with large shot.

FRANCHI I-12

Franchi I-12 uses Benelli's inertia operating system and offers a lot at a modest price. The inertia-driven mechanism is one of the most reliable around, and the rotating bolt head ensures a tight lockup and fast cycling. Made to shoot three-dram, 1,200fps target loads through the heaviest 3-inch magnums, the I-12 does it with ease. The I-12's twin shock-absorber pad incorporates a recoil-absorbing gel insert that really works. The I-12's stock is adjustable for drop and cast with the supplied set of shims. Screw-in choke tubes come standard, making it an affordable all-around shotgun.

LEGACY SPORTS AVERY WATERFOWL EXTREME

Legacy Sports Avery Waterfowl Extreme features a smart-valve piston to regulate the action so the gun reliably cycles 2 3/4-inch to 31/2-inch shells. The barrel is nickel-chrome lined for durability and topped with a Hevi-Shot mid-range extended choke tube. Five standard choke tubes are included with the shotgun. Teaming with HiViz, the Extreme features a HiViz XCoil pad to dampen recoil and a HiViz MagniSight fiber-optic front sight. Camouflage choices are Avery Outdoors KillerWeed or BuckBrush. For confident handling in bad weather, Soft Touch pistol-grip and fore-end inserts provide a sure grip. Also available in left-handed models.

O.F. MOSSBERG & SONS 935 Magnum

O.F. Mossberg & Sons 935 Magnum is a bargain for any waterfowler. Made to shoot heavy 3-inch and 31/2-inch loads, the barrel is overbored to near 10-gauge dimensions, providing excellent patterns with large shot so oftenc necessary when hunting ducks and geese. The safety is located on top of the receiver for easy manipulation with either hand. The gas system was updated to provide better venting of excess propellant gasses to ease wear on the action. Complete with screwin chokes, vent rib and camouflage finish, it is a semi-auto anyone can afford.

REMINGTON ARMS VERSA MAX

Remington Arms Versa Max is clearly the best gasoperated semi-automatic shotgun Remington has ever made. The groundbreaking Versaport gas system locates the gas ports in the chamber and regulates cycling pressure based on shell length. The bled gas impinges on two small pistons beneath the chamber, supplying the force to operate the action. Using a rotating bolt, the action is swift, and virtually any 12-gauge load shoots well in the Versa Max. The stock is easily adjustable for length of pull, drop and cast. Recoil is extremely mild. The shotgun is offered in matte black or camouflage, with four ProBore choke tubes included on the waterfowling model.

RUGER RED LABEL

Ruger has turned its corporate attention to handguns, but the venerable Red Label over/under remains in the product line. Vastly reduced in models from previous years, the Red Label is a versatile gun for all seasons. Using an investment-cast stainless steel action, the Red Label is made rugged for years of service. Stocked in checkered American walnut, the Red Label comes with screw-in steel-shot compatible chokes by Briley. The hammer-forged barrels offer a smooth swing. In American walnut and blued steel in 12, 20 and 28 gauges, the Red Label is an American shotgunning icon.

WEATHERBY SA-08 WATERFOWLER

Weatherby SA-08 Waterfowler is a gasoperated semi-auto with a slightly muzzle-weighted balance point to promote a smooth swing and followthrough. The CNC-machined receiver is constructed of aircraft-grade alloys without compromising strength. For ease of cleaning, the unique dropout trigger system can be quickly removed, and the barrels are chrome-lined for corrosion resistance. The barrels have lengthened forcing cones for improved patterns and a heat-dissipating ventilated rib. Weatherby's screw-in Integral Multi-Choke System is compatible with the Briley thread pattern. Each shotgun comes with improved cylinder, modified and full choke tubes.

WINCHESTER SUPER X3

Waterfowl 31/2-inch semiautomatic has become a staple in the marsh. The active-valve gas system reliably cycles factory ammunition, from 2 3/4-inch field loads to 31/2-inch magnums. The synthetic stock and fore-end are coated with Dura-Touch Armor Coating for a sure grip and high-definition Mossy Oak Duck Blind camouflage for perfect concealment. The barrel is backbored to .742 inch and topped with Invector-Plus choke tubes for ideal shot patterns. The Winchester Super X3 comes with three choke tubes, two length-of-pull stock spacers, drop and cast adjustment shims and sling swivel studs.

STOEGER INDUSTRIES MODEL 3500 MAGNUM

Stoeger Industries Model 3500 Magnum is chambered for 31/2-inch shells. The 3500 uses the well-known Benelli inertia-driven operating system, making it a highly reliable performer at a bargain price. Included are five choke tubes, a threaded recoil reducer to lessen kick from heavy magnum loads, choice of 26- or 28-inch barrels, and matte black, Advantage Max-4 HD or Realtree APG finishes. A shim kit to adjust the stock for drop and cast is standard. The stepped vent rib is topped with a fiberoptic sight for ease of pointing in low-light conditions.

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