4 Great Shotguns for Ducks and Geese

These waterfowl guns won't break the bank come duck season

Waterfowl shotguns must be reliable and tough. Synthetic stocks are mandatory, camo finishes preferable. The extra firepower of a 3 ½-inch chamber is also nice. They shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg, either, because you don’t want to cry over the first scratch, and scratch it you invariably will. For semi-autos, that means a cost of around $1,000 (or less); pumps should be under $500. Here are four affordable scatterguns to check out this season that fit the bill.

1. Winchester SX4

Winchester SX4 Waterfowl Shotgun
Winchester SX4 | $939Winchester

The new SX4 is the fourth generation in Winchester’s Super X semi-auto series. Outward upgrades include a thicker recoil pad and a larger bolt handle, bolt release button, trigger guard, and safety for easier manipulation with gloves. The gun’s ergonomics have also been improved, with a smaller pistol grip and a sculpted forearm. Inside, the reliable Active Valve gas system remains unchanged, except the piston base now has a brass ring rather than plastic, for increased longevity. Available in 3- and 3 ½-inch models, the average weight is 7 pounds. Barrel options are 26 or 28 inches (24 inches on the compact model), with a red fiber-optic front sight and three Invector Plus chokes. ($939; winchesterguns.com)

2. Mossberg 935 Pro Series Waterfowl

Mossberg 935 Pro Series Shotgun
Mossberg 935 Pro Series Waterfowl | MossbergMossberg

The 935 Pro Series Waterfowl features several enhancements over earlier models to help it withstand the elements faced by hardcore fowlers. Those upgrades include a boron nitride coating on the gas piston, piston ring, magazine tube, hammer, sear, and return spring plunger and tube to prevent corrosion and improve performance. A stainless-steel return spring also resists rust. The shell stop, bolt slide, and elevator are polished to provide smoother cycling and faster follow-up shots. The camo finish is Mossy Oak Shadow Grass Blades. Weight is 7.75 pounds. Like its 3 ½-inch 835 pump-gun counterpart, the 935’s 28-inch barrel is overbored to near 10-gauge dimensions for better patterns with non-toxic shot. ($959; mossberg.com)

3. Beretta A350 Xtrema

Beretta A350 Xtrema
Beretta A350 Xtrema | Beretta USABeretta

The A350 is Beretta's newest 3 ½-inch semi-auto. Its soft-shooting gas system and self-cleaning piston provides extreme reliability with a wide range of ammo, from light target loads to the heaviest super magnums. The 28-inch cold-hammer-forged Steelium barrel has a fiber-optic front sight up top. Inside, the forcing cone has been lengthened (as on high-end Beretta competition shotguns) to produce more consistent patterns and reduce perceived recoil. It comes with one flush-fitting Modified Optima HP choke tube. An extra-thick Micro Core recoil pad also helps tame felt recoil. Sling studs are standard, as is a shim system that allows adjustment of drop, cast, and LOP. ($1,150, Max-5; $1,050, black synthetic; berettausa.com)

4. CZ 612 Magnum Waterfowl

CZ 612 Magnum Waterfowl Shotgun
CZ 612 Magnum Waterfowl | CZ USACZ USA

The 612 Magnum Waterfowl pump action has a 3 ½-inch chamber and 28-inch barrel that comes with five extended, black choke tubes—Cylinder, Improved Cylinder, Modified, Improved Modified, and Full—to cover every shooting situation. Dual action bars enable smooth cycling, while the lengthened forearm offers improved ergonomics and support-hand comfort. Full-coverage Realtree Max-4 camo keeps the 612 hidden from wary fowl. It weighs just 6.8 pounds. A stock spacer adjusts LOP, while a set of shims allows fine-tuning of drop and cast. For folks on a budget, the 612 is a true one-gun wonder, as it will handle all 12-gauge loads. It’ll also stand up admirably against its peer group in terms of toughness and versatility. ($429; cz-usa.com)