You can hunt rabbits with just about any shotgun, but these three are perfect for the briar patch.
1. Weatherby SA-08 28 gauge: You might not immediately associate the Weatherby name with rabbit hunting, but there are few guns better for busting bunnies than the SA-08. It’s lightweight and has a beautiful (but durable) wooden stock that points and swings with ease. ($849; weatherby.com)
2. CZ Bobwhite or Ringneck: There’s just something that feels right about hunting rabbits with a classy side-by-side, and the CZs are a good choice. They feature case-colored receivers and fine walnut stocks (a pistol grip for the Ringneck, a straight stock on the Bobwhite) and are relatively affordable. Choose from a wide selection of gauges, including 28 and 16. The Bobwhite comes with two triggers; the Ringneck, with one. CZ is introducing a new side-by-side, the Sharptail, later in 2015. ($778–$1,229; cz-usa.com)
3. Benelli Nova: Working dogs and hunting in dense cover is hard on a gun, but the Benelli Nova is durable enough to withstand rough handling. Wet, cold hands can grasp the generous texture on the pistol grip and forend, and the trigger guard is large enough to accommodate gloved fingers. In addition, the reasonably priced Benelli has sling swivel studs so you can carry the gun on your back while catching and leading your dogs. There’s also a youth version with a shorter length of pull. ($449–$569; benelliusa.com)