January 23, 2014
It's a great time to be a waterfowl hunter. Duck numbers are up, seasons are long and bag limits are high. Judging from the 2014 SHOT Show in Las Vegas, the line-up of shotguns available for duck and goose hunters is equally pleasing. It's obvious: waterfowl hunters have spoken, and the gun makers have listened. There were more waterfowl shotgun choices than ever this year. Pumps, auto-loaders and even over-and-unders built just for duck and goose hunters were generously scattered throughout the show floor.
Some of the guns on display were new, a few have were redesigned classics and others are simply the same trusted shotguns with a sleek new camo pattern or an added feature. With so many choices, simply settling on a new gun may be more difficult than fooling a flock of late-season mallards. Check out our list of the best new waterfowl shotguns for 2014.
Beretta A400 Xtreme
The Beretta A400 Xtreme
is a gas-operated autoloader with a self-cleaning piston that carries a bold name and performance to back it up. Weighing in at 7.6 pounds and packed full of features that serious duck hunters demand, the A400 Xtreme carries a price tag of [imo-slideshow gallery=52],895 and is backed by the Beretta name and reputation for quality.
It includes Beretta's Kick-Off Recoil reduction system, which reduces recoil by up to 60 percent, allowing faster follow-up shots and more time in the field. It's also protected by Beretta's Aqua Technology corrosion-proof barrier. Available in a 26-, 28- or 30-inch barrel and chambered for 3 1/2-inch shells, the A400 is wrapped in Realtree Max-5 camo.
Double-barrel shotguns may seem a bit out of place in a duck marsh, but Browning's Cynergy
stack-barrel chambered in 3 1/2 inches is right at home in the duck blind. Combining a full coating of Mossy Oak's new and innovative Shadow Grass Blades camouflage, along with the comfort, reliability and simplicity of an over-and-under, the Cynergy is actually a perfect fit for the marsh.
It comes with Browning's Dura-Touch coating, Invector-Plus choke tubes and a recoil pad that uses Inflex Technology to reduce recoil by 25 percent. The Cynergy is a premium over-and-under with an MSRP of [imo-slideshow gallery=52],999.
is rapidly gaining popularity among waterfowlers who demand a tough autoloader chambered in both 3- and 3 1/2-inch offerings. The Maxus is available in three popular waterfowl camouflage patterns: Mossy Oak Bottomlands, Mossy Oak Shadow Grass Blades and Realtree's brand-new Max-5 camouflage pattern.
Weighing in at only 7 pounds, the Maxus is perfectly suited for a goose pit or for hunters who spend their mornings standing waist-deep in flooded timber. Loaded with features and a price tag of [imo-slideshow gallery=52],469 (3-inch model), this waterfowl special will last a lifetime and perform at a level you'd expect from a premium shotgun. Complete with heavy-duty Dura-Touch coating that will withstand all the abuse a duck season can dish out, an InvectorPlus choke tube system and insertable stock shims to customize the fit of the gun, the Browning Maxus is likely to earn a permanent place in any hardcore waterfowler's gun safe.
CZ 612 Wildfowl Magnum
Duck hunters who are as dedicated to spring turkey hunting as they are to waterfowling no longer need to purchase two separate shotguns. CZ's 612 Wildfowl Magnum
pump is chambered in 3 1/2-inch and comes with a 26-inch barrel, a modified choke tube designed for steel shot and an extra full turkey choke to provide a budget-minded hunter with a versatile scatter gun option.
It's just as deadly on honkers as it is on spring gobblers. The synthetic stock and barrel are wrapped in an all-purpose camouflage, making it an ideal two-season shotgun. Priced at only $428, it's an ideal choice for hunters searching for a dual-purpose, budget-friendly pump.
Escort Magnum Waterfowl
isn't the biggest name in the shotgun world, but don't let that prevent you from giving the company's Magnum Waterfowl a close look. Featuring an extended waterfowl specific choke tube, a 3 1/2-inch chamber, Realtree Max-5 camouflage, HiVis fiber optic sights and soft touch pistol grip inserts, the Escort Magnum Waterfowl shotgun is loaded with details that make it a perfect fit for a waterfowl fanatic searching for an affordable auto-loading firearm. Priced at just $815 and offered in both left-handed and right-handed models, the Escort Magnum is a great shotgun for the cost-conscious duck hunter.
Much as the name implies, the 12-gauge Franchi Intensity
auto-loading shotgun is designed to perform flawlessly in the worst conditions. Priced at [imo-slideshow gallery=52],199, the Intensity is a superb mid-priced, inertia-driven semi-auto available in either Mossy Oak Bottomland for flooded timber hunting or Realtree Xtra Green and Realtree Max-5 for cattail marshes and goose fields.
It comes with stock shims, which allow you to customize the fit, and three choke tubes. Additional recoil pads and extended choke tubes are optional. This slender and comfortable 12-gauge is chambered for shells up to 3 1/2 inches and barrel lengths of 26, 28 or 30 inches. The Intensity is a reliable and functional shotgun that can handle the abuse intense duck hunters dish out.
Mossberg 930 Kryptek Yeti
created the 930 Kryptek Yeti
just for hardcore snow goose hunters. Complete with a 12 plus 1 extended tube and Kryptek Yeti camouflage (also available in black), Mossberg gives snow goose hunters the opportunity to put steel into the air until the geese are on the ground or out of range.
It's chambered for 3-inch shells and comes with a recoil pad, a 28-inch barrel and Mossberg's Accu-Set choke tubes. With a MSRP of $945 and a five-shot conversion kit, it's also a great value for duck hunters thinking about jumping into the thrilling world of spring snow goose hunting.
The affordable M3020
is a 20-gauge inertia-driven autoloader from Stoeger
that will break neither the bank nor your shoulder. It's the perfect gun for a duck hunter who prefers the lighter recoil of a 20-gauge or a youngster just starting out in the duck marsh.
The M3020 is offered in Realtree Max-5 camouflage and shoots both 2 3/4-inch and 3-inch shells to provide the reliability and versatility duck hunters demand from their shotguns. With an MSRP ranging from $599 to $649, the M3020 is a great gun for the price.
599 to 649
Remington Versa Max
Innovations abound in the Remington VersaMax
family, including those versions made for dedicated waterfowl hunters. Remington created a larger safety and a wider trigger guard opening for easier operation with gloved hands. The Versaport gas system regulates the cycling pressure based on the length of the shell.
Nickel Teflon and nickel-coated parts on the inside and Mossy Oak Duck Blind camouflage on the outside resist corrosion typical of any waterfowl situation. The twin-piston, gas-operated VersaMax also has a self-cleaning operational system that limits jams and debris buildup to ensure safe, reliable operation every time you pull the trigger. Is this the perfect waterfowl gun? With a MSRP of just [imo-slideshow gallery=52],599, it might be.
Weatherby PA-08 Synthetic Waterfowler 3.0
Weatherby's PA-08 Synthetic Waterfowler 3.0
is a great shotgun for a budget-conscious duck hunter. Priced at under $400, the PA-08 pump-action allows waterfowl addicts to hunt with a reliable and proven gun and still have money left for decoys, shells and other hunting necessities.
Mothwing Marsh Mimicry camouflage conceals the gun perfectly, giving you the opportunity to spend more time calling ducks and less time worrying about hiding. The Waterfowler 3.0 is chambered for 3-inch shells and comes with three choke tubes and a 26- or 28-inch chrome-lined barrel. It's also equipped with sling swivel studs, a synthetic stock, a recoil pad and a drop-out trigger system for easy cleaning.
Weatherby SA-08 Synthetic Waterfowler 3.0
Priced at only $750, Weatherby's SA-08 Synthetic Waterfowler
is a wallet-friendly semi-automatic shotgun that will function shot after shot, regardless of conditions. Rain, sleet, mud or ice? Bring it on. A unique feature of the shotgun is the carrier control button located on the trigger guard which allows rapid chamber clearing, permitting a fast exchange of shells without fully unloading the firearm.
It's a great feature for multi-species waterfowl hunters. Full Marsh Mimicry camouflage comes standard on the SA-08 and stays on the gun, thanks to a unique dipping process. The SA-08 comes with a 3-inch chamber and 26- or 28-inch chrome-lined barrels. Three choke tubes are also included.
Winchester SX3 Waterfowl
Winchester's SX3 Waterfowl
is a premier gas-operated autoloader at a reasonable price. With an MSRP of [imo-slideshow gallery=52],199 for the 3 1/2-inch chamber and [imo-slideshow gallery=52],129 for the 3-inch model, the SX3 is as affordable as it is reliable. Offered in both 12- and 20-gauge models and with barrels ranging from 26 to 28 inches, the SX3 appeals to a diverse group of hunters.
It's wrapped in Mossy Oak Shadow Grass Blades camo and comes with Winchester's Invector-Plus choke system, a chrome-lined barrel and the patented Active Valve gas system that cycles a variety of shotshells and limits recoil. The SX3 also includes a drop-out trigger system for easy cleaning and a synthetic stock with textured grip surfaces. It's a greenhead's nightmare and a duck hunter's dream.
1,199 (3 1/2-inch chamber) or 1,129 (3-inch chamber)