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Shotguns

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...

Sporting Clays Shotguns: Benelli and Remington Go Head To Head

These two companies make largely unheralded shotgun models purportedly earmarked for the competition clay market. We test them to see if we'd pay their steep prices.

Red Dot Sights For Turkey Guns: Tasco Optima 2000 Vs. C-More

Will turkey hunters ever accept anything except a golden bead on the front of their shotguns? After all, hunters don’t need a lot of precision to point a shotgun at the base of a bird’s neck, making sure the pattern centers the vital neck and head areas. But what if a hunter could see a brighter aiming point in dim light, on a dark-feathered bird? Would that be an advantage?

Gun Tests decided to find out when we took two popular shotguns, the Beretta 1200FP semiauto and Mossberg’s 590 pump-action, and mounted red-dot sights on their receivers. The Mossberg received a C-More red dot, while the Beretta was topped with a low-profile Optima 2000 from Tasco, $279.99. The C-More had a 12-moa do...

Super X2: How Winchester Rates Against Browning and Beretta

Winchester's new Super X2 12-gauge auto-loader series is designed to go head to head in the marketplace against well-established marques like Browning and Beretta. Price-positioned at MSRPs ranging from $725 to $938, the X2s come in a variety of finishes, ranging from the 3-inch chamber field models with walnut stocks to the 31/2-inch black synthetic and Mossy Oak Shadow Grass camo guns for waterfowlers. But these new products seek to enter a field crowded with quality guns, so we wondered how the new Winchester guns would stack up against their prime competitors—and also against history.

Toward that end, we acquired two X2s for evaluation, a 3-inch 12-gauge field gun, $725, with a walnut...

Classy O/U 12 Gauges: Bargain Shotguns For Only $2,500?

How much do you need to spend to get a really good O/U? Just this year someone bought a fine O/U .410, made by Woodward in 1940, for $200,500 at auction. He obviously thought it was worth it. But must you spend into five figures for a really good O/U? Probably not. Can you buy a really fine O/U for less than a grand? Again, probably not, though there are exceptions. If you can get a good O/U like a Ruger Red Label for around $1,200, why should you spend twice that? Things that might be important include fine wood, superior inletting, hand fitting of all metal and wood parts, engraving, better wood and metal finishes, superior balance and handling, and you take it from there. Only you can tel...

Benellis 3.5-inch Nova Gives The 870 a Run for Its Money

The need for a shotgun that can handle 3.5-inch magnum loads appears to be increasing, as more shooters determine they need the maximum load of steel shot they can manage for waterfowl shooting. Gun makers are being sure to chamber their shotgun offerings for the full-length shotshell with its 1 9/16-ounce of steel capability. The prime users of these long-chambered guns seem to be waterfowlers, who forego the 10-gauge guns because, presumably, they want to use their duck guns for other things that the 10 can't do very well. These uses include upland hunting, casual trap, even Sporting Clays to sharpen the eye in the off season.

The manufacturer's challenge is to make a gun that can, at l...

20-Gauge Autos: Browning Gold, Beretta AL390 Run Dead Heat

[IMGCAP(1)]The 20 gauge has long been known as the little brother of the 12-gauge scattergun, and like any tag-along sibling, it often goes underappreciated. Twenty-gauge guns with 3-inch chambers carry a lot of pop for their boresize—enough to send fast-flying teal, high-honking geese, and decoying mallards to the stewpot—but because the 20-gauge shotgun’s receiver can be slimmer than the 12 gauge’s, the Plenty Twenty carries easier than a 12. That can mean a lot when you’re lugging a nylon-mesh sack filled with decoys at 4 a.m.

Of the available 20-gauge shotguns, we recently had a chance to examine, pattern-test, and field-test two of the higher-priced autoloaders: Browning’s Gold Hun...

Synthetic 12-Gauge Pumps: The Black Shadow Gets Our Attention

[IMGCAP(1)] Twelve-gauge pump shotguns are an American tradition. They sure don't have the class of a good double, but they're hard to beat for knock-around utility. If you think in terms of wanting a shotgun to throw in the bottom of the boat for a day's poking around the local waters, the pump is a good and usually inexpensive choice. Add the versatility of insert choke tubes, and you can tailor the gun to the game season at hand. Moreover, today's pump will often have a polymer (plastic) stock, because they're cheaper than walnut and perhaps more durable, and they offer the added benefit of reduced visibility. If you're after a matte-black-finished, all-around pump shotgun, why not have t...

Russian Ammo Ban Is Here

Well, no surprise, it looks like the Biden Administration is trying its best to choke off a major supplier of inexpensive ammunition to the...