April 2009

20-Gauge Auto Shoot-out: Beretta, Browning, Remington

Browning’s Silver Hunter struck gold with our test team, earning an ‘A’ grade for its portability and pointability. The 1100 Sporting also earned a ‘Buy’ recommendation, but not the Urika.

Twenty-gauge high-performance lead loads can often outperform their commonly used 12-gauge counterparts—this has been shown vividly again and again. The most relevant example at hand is a load for wild pheasants. Often, the 12-gauge load selected happens to be the cheapest load available at the time, too often a promotional load with various sketches of birdies on the box. It will fall into the category of a 1.25-ounce 1330-fps load at an attractive price. Though the consumer might be told it is "ideal" for pheasants, things don’t always work as described or as promised—one of the reasons for this publication.


Used with quality loads, such as 1-5/16 ounce Winchester Supreme STH2035 shotshells or the Federal PFC258 3-inch shells, we recently proved once again that 20-gauge autoloaders like the guns tested below can produce patterns not just the equal of common 12-gauge loads, but verifiably superior.

In this shoot-off, we looked at three familiar names associated with gas-operated shotguns: Beretta, Browning, and Remington—to see what their blued-steel-and-walnut editions have to offer today’s shotgunning enthusiasts. Our specific test products were the Beretta AL 391 Urika 2 Gold No. J39TB26 3-inch 20 Gauge, $1550; Browning Silver Hunter Twenty No. 011350605, $1079; and the Remington 1100 Premier Sporting Twenty No. 82846, $1385.

Our test ammunition included both 7/8 oz. Estate loads and Winchester Super-X Heavy Game Loads No. XU20H7 with 1 ounce of No. 7 1/2 shot—what we use as an everyday dove load along with Fiocchi 20HV75 shells. We also patterned with Federal Mag-Shok high-velocity lead 3-inch 1-5/16 ounce No. 5 shot (No. PFC258) and Winchester Supreme 1-5/16 ounce 3-inch shells with No. 5 shot (No. STH2035). We shot our patterns at 40 yards, the patterning all shot from bag and cradle. We also fired the guns extensively at the range and in the field to record what we liked and didn’t like about the guns. Here’s what we learned:

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