Shotguns: 5 Do-It-All Semi-Autos That Won’t Quit

Go ahead, do your worst. These shotguns are made for hard use and wily birds. No matter the quarry, these … Continued

Go ahead, do your worst. These shotguns are made for hard use and wily birds. No matter the quarry, these semi-autos won’t quit.

My style of bird hunting is not gentlemanly. I scramble up piney mountain slopes for grouse, bust sheet ice in sloughs for ducks, and stomp around cattails for pheasants. And no matter where I go, I expect my shotgun to channel the U.S. postal system and deliver the goods. Come rain, sleet, or snow, or a tumble down a scree slope, or a mud bath in the marsh, I need a shotgun that won’t quit.

Likewise, I prefer a shotgun that isn’t a one-trick pony. If the plan calls for geese in the morning and chukar in the afternoon, my shotgun needs to be able to handle it all. The guns here made the grade.

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1. Benelli M2 Field
This workhorse isn’t nearly as flashy as of some of Benelli’s other models, but its understated looks conceal one of the most balanced and versatile shotguns made today. The inertia-operated action is simple and robust. And with its 3-inch chamber, it is more nimble than larger 3 ½-inch guns.
Price: $1,499
Barrel: 24, 26, or 28 in.
Weight: 7 lb. 2 oz.
benelliusa.com

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2. Stoeger M3020
This 20-gauge shotgun has the appeal of a scrappy stray mutt. Our test team fell in love with it during our annual gun test and each of us could imagine giving it a home in our own gun safe. It is an excellent value and a great choice for someone who wants a fast-handling (and soft-shooting) 20-gauge.
Price: $599
Barrel: 26 or 28 in.
Weight: 7 lb. 7 oz.
stoegerindustries.com

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3. Browning A5
The new A5 has different internal workings than the classic Automatic 5 design—an inertia-driven action vs. the long-recoil operation on the original Browning—but it is a worthy standard bearer for the iconic “humpback.” It’s available in both 3 and 3 ½-inch actions.
Price: $1,699
Barrel: 28 in.
Weight: 7 lb. 7 oz.
browning.com

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4. Mossberg 930 Duck Commander
Throw it in the bottom of your boat, bounce it in the back of your pickup, or use it as an emergency canoe paddle—the 930 won’t mind a bit. The vent rib is topped with a fiber-optic front bead, and the receiver is tapped and drilled to add a mount for sights to hunt turkeys or predators.
Price: $928
Barrel: 28 in.
Weight: 7 lb. 12 oz.
mossberg.com

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5. Remington Versa Max
Though it now comes in many different models, including this new wood-stocked version, the Versa Max was first conceived as a rugged waterfowling shotgun. The innovative self-regulating short-stroke gas-­piston action is super durable, and the internal components are corrosion resistant.
Price: $1,630
Barrel: 28 in.
Weight: 7 lb. 12 oz.
remington.com