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Shotguns

Bolt-Action Slug Shotguns: Savage, Tar-Hunt Get The Nod

The bolt-action has become state-of-the-art in slug guns, ostensibly because of the greater inherent accuracy of the solid, vibration-resistant lock-up provided by a bolt, and partly because of price point.

The Browning A-Bolt slug gun was probably the best-designed production bolt gun ever made when it was introduced in 1996. But it was discontinued after just three years of production because, at $700 retail, it simply couldn't compete with the Marlin 512, Mossberg 695 and Savage 210 on price. The latter three were not only much less expensive (at least 50 percent cheaper), but were seen to rival the Browning's performance in all but the most experienced hands.

These are not the bolt-action shotguns you might remember from your youth — $100 beginner models by Mossberg and Marlin — although there are some similarities. The addition of good-quality rifled barrels, which in turn allowed the use of high-tech saboted slugs, elevated the bolt-action designs among slug shooters.

Shotgun Modifications: A Little Money Makes A Big Difference

We retrofitted a pump, an over/under, and a slug gun to see if several aftermarket items were boons or busts in terms of improving handling, accuracy, or flexibility.

Specialty Turkey Guns: Mossberg Gets Our Best Buy Nod

Ithaca's Turkeyslayer and Remington's Special Purpose Turkey gun also gain our favor, but at somewhat higher prices.

12-Gauge Shotguns for Field and Range: Buy the Browning Citori

In a head-to-head test of stack-barrel 12 gauges, we thought the Citori Lightning Grade I, $1,432, offered more bang for the buck than Ruger's $1,369 Red Label.

Pump Shotguns for Home Defense: Mossberg 500A Persuades Us

We think Mossberg's $307 Persuader is a better self-protection choice than similar models from Winchester and Remington.

Combat Pumps: Robars Elite Outshines Wilsons Standard

The Scattergun Technologies' 12-gauge Standard model nonetheless rates a Buy It mark for its performance-to-price ratio.

Stoeger Condor I Over/Under Shotgun a Good Buy In 20 Gauge

The makers of Britain’s best side-by-sides have been known to wonder aloud why American shooters lean toward the over and under configuration. “I say, it’s not as though you chaps had eyes placed one above the other.” No, gentle-men. It’s because the side-by-side double has vanished, sadly, from the production lines of the major American manufacturers. It’s because of that sighting plane down the upper barrel and quick target acquisition. It’s because the over/under gets a second round off quicker than a pump and with less disturbance to the sight picture—be the target clay, feathered, or four-footed. All of which you know and prove by crafting such guns with exquisite precision.

Despite...

Ruger Red Label Our Pick In A 20 Gauge Over/Under Shotgun

At times, Gun Tests has been criticized for comparing apples to oranges. An expensive handgun versus a similarly-designed cheaper version in the same caliber, for example. Our intent in such cases is to find out whether the higher price is proportional to higher performance and, if not, to let the chips fall where they may.

We do not expect such criticisms with this comparison of over/under shotguns. Both are closely comparable in price. The Citori is directly descendant from John Browning's wonderful Superposed. The Red Label is yet another success story in the continuing saga of William Batterman Ruger. Both 20 gauges are not ideally suited for trap, skeet or sporting clays when up agai...

Remington 870 Super Magnum Superior To Mossberg 835 Ulti-Mag

When the government started requiring waterfowl hunters to use steel shot, shooters and the firearms industry quickly realized that 12 gauge steel loads didn't have as much power as the traditional lead shot loads. So, in the late 1980s, the Federal Cartridge Company became the first to produce 12 gauge 3 1/2-inch Magnum shotshells. Several other shotshell manufacturers have since followed suit.

Among the first shotgun makers to come out with a 3 1/2-inch model were Browning and Mossberg. Today, nearly every company that manufactures scatterguns offers at least one such firearm. All kinds of shotguns, from the inexpensive single-shot model to the high-priced over/under, are chambered for the big shell.

Many hunters haven't warmed up to the 12 gauge 3 1/2-inch shotgun, but its popularity is growing. One reason for this is because it will fire all types of shotshells from 2 3/4-inch up to 3 1/2-inch. Consequently, the shotgun is very versatile.

Benelli Montefeltro Super 90 Bests Fabarm Gold Lion

For many years, the Benelli line of Italian-made shotguns were imported into this country exclusively by Heckler & Koch Inc. in Sterling, Virginia. However, this distribution arrangement was not renewed when it expired at the end of 1997.

In January 1998, Benelli started handling its own importing, marketing and distribution through a newly-formed company called Benelli USA Corp. The new company is headquartered in a facility near Beretta's Accokeek, Maryland location.

During the first part of this year, Heckler & Koch began importing the Fabarm line of shotguns. Established in 1900, Fabarm (Fabbrica Bresciana Armi S.p.A.) is the direct descendant of one of the great gunsmithing dyna...

Remington 870 Express Tops Other 20 Gauge Combo Shotguns

The 12-gauge shotgun is overwhelmingly popular with American shooters, but the 20-gauge shotgun is also an effective hunting tool when it is used properly. Although we have tested several standard shotguns in this gauge, this is our first evaluation involving 20-gauge slugs.

Ammunition of this kind is available with a rifled or a sabot slug that weighs either 5/8-ounce (275 grains) or 3/4-ounce (328 grains). The lighter slugs are loaded to a muzzle velocity of around 1,450 feet per second for a muzzle energy of 1,285 foot pounds. The heavier slugs are good for around 1,600 feet per second and 1,866 foot pounds. In contrast, a 12-gauge 1-ounce slug with a velocity of 1,600 feet per second...

Shotgun Bargains and Flops: Guns To Search Out-And Avoid

The best shotgun shooters usually have a collection of special-purpose guns; that is, expert competitors and hunters have their favorites among pumps, over/unders and automatics, and they match the gun to the course or field conditions. By sticking to a small set of guns as their first choices, they grow very familiar with them and get pretty good at killing things or breaking targets.

But to gather such a varied and strong-performing collection requires that you start out with pretty good guns. Otherwise, they will fail, be balky, not fit right, get dirty, or simply be more trouble than they are worth. Picking these must-have shotguns is like picking the right spouse: Do it right, and yo...

Gun-Rights Rino Rollover Candidates

Last issue, I asked for your thoughts about what gun legislation might be forthcoming from the Biden Administration, and some of your comments appear...