Best New Shotguns of 2017
Our shooting editor picks the best new shotguns from the SHOT Show
This is going to be a tough year for shotgunners. With so many new offerings on the market, picking where to invest (play?) has never been more of a challenge. Here are the most notable shotguns from this year’s SHOT Show.
Barrett Sovereign Rutherford
Perhaps the most interesting new foray by a gun company is Barrett’s journey into the world of fine shotguns. The Rutherford, named for the county where Barrett is located in Tennessee, is a far cry from the .50-caliber bolt guns and semiautos that Barrett built its reputation on. This attractive over-and-under has classic lines and is very much in keeping with what a traditional fine field gun should look like. The solid side ribs, Prince of Wales grip, box-lock action, coin finish, flush mounted choke tubes and simple front bead would be at home in any upland or driven bird setting. It comes in 12-, 20-, 16- and 28-gauge versions, all built on scaled receivers.
Benelli Super Black Eagle III
For the last 25 years, the SBE has been one of the standard setters when it comes to tough waterfowl guns. This year marks the newest evolution of this iconic inertia-driven semiauto. The SBE III features a number of new upgrades that aim to improve reliability, ergonomics and handling. Changes to the bolt and bolt carrier have decreased the chances of experiencing a misfire when the trigger is pulled. New geometry along the forend and in the grip make the SBE III more agile. And the recoil reduction system gets an upgrade as well, meaning that 3 1/2 –inch goose loads will just hammer the birds and not the shooter.
CZ-USA Swamp Magnum
This is one of the more interesting new shotguns to appear this year. The Swamp takes the classic over-and-under configuration and has hardened it for battle in the duck marsh. Make no mistake, this isn’t a dainty double. It has a rugged, almost brutal, look to it thanks to its synthetic stock, dull metal finish, and 30-inch barrels with extended choke tubes protruding from the end. And speaking of brutal, it is chambered for 3 ½ inch shells, which will test the fillings on any shooter on a high-volume duck and goose bonanza where magnum loads are required. The Swamp is pretty easy on the wallet, however, with an MSRP of $929.
CZ-USA 628 Field Select Pump
CZ has a long tradition of making quality shotguns with desirable features for a really good price. The new 628 Field Select Pump is a worthy addition to that legacy. This elegant pump-action points and swings with the crisp responsiveness one expects from a 28-gauge gun. It sports a 28-inch barrel and thanks to an aluminum receiver, tips the scales at under 6 pounds. That it comes with a set of interchangeable chokes makes its $429 price tag all the more appealing.
Henry .410 Lever Gun
There are those guns you need to own, and then those you just really, really want. This gorgeous new offering from Henry Repeating Arms falls squarely into the latter category. This lever-action shotgun invokes a double dose of nostalgia, combining the romance of the Old West with the elemental appeal of small game hunting. Who couldn’t picture themselves chasing rabbits with one of these in hand and grinning like a fool the whole time? It comes in two versions, a 20-inch barreled model choked cylinder with adjustable sights and a 24-inch model with a removable choke tube and simple brass bead front sights. Both hold 5 rounds and are light enough for all-day carry.
Remington V3 Field Sport Walnut
The V3 series from Remington is one of the finest new semiautos to appear in recent years. With production fully up and running, Remington has rolled out a version of their innovative gas-operated system with a wood stock. It comes with either 26- or 28-inch barrels and has a self-regulating system that adjusts the amount of gas used to cycle the 3-inch action based on the shell’s length. This shotgun combines elegance and innovation in a sub-$1,000 package.
Everybody loves a bargain and hunters are no exception. Stoeger understands this better than just about any other gun company out there and they’ve tapped into this frugal mindset once again with the new P3500. The “P” is for pump, and “3500” designates the shotgun’s 3 ½-inch chamber. With an MSRP of just $399, it’s understandable that the P3500 isn’t loaded with frills. But what it does have is the option of either 26- or 28-inch barrels, a red-fiber optic front sight, and a 5-year warrantee.
The mission of TriStar Sporting Arms is to build good guns for American sportsmen at a good price—and usually the company succeeds in that effort. The new Vipermax looks to be another winner for TriStar. Built in Turkey, this gun has a 3 ½-inch chamber and comes in either black or camo versions. The operating system includes interchangeable gas regulators for light and heavy loads. That in itself isn’t unusual, but the Vipermax’s design cleverly lets you store the regulator you aren’t using in the forend of the shotgun so that it is readily at hand. At less than $600, and with a 5-year warrantee, this shotgun is a heck of a deal.
Winchester Super X4
The new SX4 series of shotguns from Winchester is essentially an upgraded makeover of the successful SX3 semis from the company. The biggest changes are in the ergonomics of the shotgun. Winchester redesigned the stock geometry to improve the handling and feel of these guns. The smaller pistol grip makes the shotgun feel more slender and the addition of texture panels makes the gun more secure in hand. This is a feature-rich shotgun, with interchangeable chokes, backbored chamber, large ergonomic controls, a reversible crossbolt safety, and spacers to adjust length of pull.