September 23, 2010
Double, pump or autoloader? Whichever operating system you prefer, there's a new shotgun for everyone this year.
Several brand-new names have been added to the hundreds of scatterguns that are available to American sportsmen. Here is an alphabetical roundup of the ones that created the most talk at this year's SHOT Show.
The evolution of the semiauto shotgun has taken a giant step with the Benelli Vinci. Revolutionary is an overused word when it comes to new products, but it's hard to argue with its use in the case of the Vinci. Although it was announced in the spring of 2009, the gun's formal introduction to the industry was at the January 2010 SHOT Show.
Built on Benelli's new in-line Intertia Driven operating system, the Vinci is claimed to be the fastest shooting, softest kicking, cleanest, and most reliable 12-gauge auto in the world. The goal of the design is to provide a between-the-hands balance that duplicates the handling qualities of a fine over-under shotgun.
The entire action is powered by a single spring. Other features include a modular design that makes it one of the easiest shotguns to disassemble and assemble; a buttstock adjustment system that allows changes to drop, cast, length of pull, and comb height; and a synthetic stock that is available in black or one of several camo designs. Barrel lengths are 24, 26, or 28 inches, and average weights are between 6.7 and 6.9 pounds. MSRP: $1,379 to $1,599
Benelli's Legacy series has been available in 12 and 20 gauges for several years, but the newest variation was one of the most popular at the SHOT Show: a 28-gauge model. The claim is that this is the world's lightest semiauto shotgun. Weighing less than 5 pounds, 4.9 to be exact, the Legacy is about 0.5 to 1.5 pounds lighter than the other 28-gauge autos on the market.
The sides of the receiver are appropriately etched with a quail and a dove. Another handsome touch is the satin finished AA-grade walnut stock and fore-end. See a complete review of the Legacy 28 elsewhere in this issue. MSRP: $1,989
Another stylish semiauto from Italy is the Beretta A400 Xplor Unico. The lightweight Xplor is powered by Beretta's Blink gas-operating system, which allows the use of all 12-gauge ammo from standard 2¾-inch shells to 3- and 3½-inch magnums. The aluminum-alloy receiver is treated with a new anodizing process that has a unique and distinctive greenish tint. The stock and fore-end are made from a blend of walnut and polymer that Beretta calls X-Tra Grain. The buttstock is adjustable for drop of comb, and drop spacers are provided in the accompanying case. The Xplor Unico is also available with Beretta's Kick-Off recoil-control system. Barrel lengths offered are 26, 28, and 30 inches, and three Optima Choke system tubes are included. MSRP: $1,725
Browning isn't introducing any new shotgun designs in its 2010 catalog, but there are several interesting additions to some of its established models. The Citori 625 Sporting Golden Clays is a very handsome 12-gauge over-under with a ventilated top and side rib, ported barrels, and a silver-nitride-finished receiver with a gold engraving of a game bird morphing into a clay target. The Grade V/VI walnut stock has a Schnabel fore-end, a right-hand palmswell, and a gloss oil finish. Other features include Vector Pro lengthened forcing cones, five Diamond Grade extended choke tubes, and a HiViz Pro-Comp fiber-optic front sight. MSRP: $5,199
The Cynergy Classic Feather 28/20-gauge combo set is sure to please dove and quail hunters. Both sets of barrels are 27 inches long and come with three Invector Plus choke tubes and lengthened forcing cones on the 20 gauge, and three standard Invector tubes on the 28. Like other Cynergy models, the actions are based on Browning's MonoLock low-profile receiver and Reverse Striker ignition system. The Classic Feather set comes in a fitted leather luggage case. MSRP: $3,999
Also new in the Cynergy series is a version of the Classic Sporting model with an adjustable comb in 12 or 20 gauge ($3,739 and $3,759), and an upgraded look with high relief engraving on the Classic Sporting and Classic Field receivers. Another change this year is that all Citori and Cynergy 12- and 20-gauge models will now have Vector-Pro lengthened forcing cones, which significantly improve pattern performance.
The latest in the long line of semiautos to wear the Browning name is the Maxus series that was introduced at the 2009 SHOT Show. There are two new additions to the Maxus family this year: the Hunter and the Sporting Carbon Fiber models. The Hunter has a walnut stock and satin-nickel-finished receiver engraved with a pheasant and a mallard. It is available with either a 3- or 3½-inch chamber.
Barrels have a lightweight profile, gloss blued finish, and Vector-Pro forcing cones. The silver-toned Carbon Fiber composite stock with Dura-Touch Armor coating gives the Sporting Carbon Fiber model its name. Otherwise it is identical to the Hunter.
Both new models have the standard Maxus features like the Power Drive gas system, Inflex Technology recoil pad, Speed Lock Forearm, and Lightning Trigger System--innovations that are said to deliver up to 18 percent less felt recoil, 44 percent less muzzle jump, 19 percent faster bolt speed, and 24 percent faster locktime than the nearest competitor. Two other patent-pending exclusives are Browning's Speed Load Plus system that sends the first shell directly into the chamber and the Turnkey Magazine Plug that can be removed with any vehicle key. All Maxus models are in 12 gauge. MSRP: $1,399 to $1,532 (3½-inch Mag Hunter)
CZ-USA has been importing a series of well-made over-under and side-by-side shotguns from Turkey since 2005. These guns are competitively priced and have established a good following in the U.S.
Two new models received a lot of attention at the CZ-USA SHOT Show booth. One is the Upland Ultralight. With its alloy receiver, this 12-gauge over-under weighs in at just 6 pounds. Since it is designed strictly for upland hunting, the chamber length is 2¾ inches. The 26-inch barrels have a ventilated top and side rib and a red
bead front sight. Five choke tubes are included: Cylinder, Improved Cylinder, Modified, Improved Modified, and Full. MSRP: $749
The next new offering from CZ-USA is a nostalgic throwback to an earlier time, the Hammer Classic side-by-side. With its traditional exposed-hammer design, this one is a natural for the cowboy action shooting crowd, but it would also be fun in the hunting fields. Plus, it would be sure to turn some heads at the trap or sporting clays range.
The 30-inch, black-chromed barrels and casehardened sidelock receiver make for a very handsome shotgun. Features include double triggers, standard extractors, and a Turkish walnut stock and fore-end. Unlike the Full and Full chokes usually found on the old doubles, this modern take on the design comes with five choke tubes. Also, the stock has a much straighter comb than historical shotguns. The drop at comb of 1.5 inches and 2.3 inches at the heel should make the Hammer Classic much more comfortable to shoot. Weight is listed at 7.3 pounds. MSRP: $915
The newest entry in Mossberg's shotgun family is the 510 Mini Super Bantam, the most compact pump gun in the company's history. It is also believed to be the smallest .410-bore or 20-gauge pump gun being manufactured by anyone today. Designed for younger or smaller-statured shooters — or anyone who wants a very compact shotgun — the weight is an even 5 pounds. Barrel length is 18.5 inches. The synthetic stock is adjustable for length of pull from 10.5 to 11.5 inches, resulting in an overall length of 34.75 to 35.75 inches. It's offered in either .410 or 20 gauge. MSRP: $364
Also new from Mossberg this year is the LPA Lightning Pump Action system, which is available on several slug and turkey models. It features a rifle-like trigger that is free of creep and is adjustable. The LPA trigger comes from the factory set at 3 pounds and can be adjusted by the owner up to 7 pounds.
The folks at Remington say the Model 870 is the world's most popular pump shotgun, and who's to argue? It probably could be said that it's the most popular shotgun of any kind. More than 10 million have been made since it was introduced in 1950, and they just keep on coming.
Among the newest 870s for 2010 is the striking SPS Super Mag Turkey/Predator model. Its ShurShot pistol-grip stock has the Mossy Oak Obsession camo pattern in full coverage except for the overmolded grips. The 20-inch barrel comes with a Wingmaster HD Turkey/Predator Rem Choke, and on top, installed in a Weaver-style rail, is a TRUGLO 30mm selectable red/green dot scope. MSRP: $679
The popular 11-87 Sportsman line adds several new models for 2010, including the SuperMag Waterfowl and SuperMag Synthetic, both with overmolded grips. The Waterfowl is covered with Mossy Oak Duck Blind camo, and the Synthetic's stock and metal is given a matte finish. Also new is the SuperMag Walnut Field variation with an attractive fleur-di-lis checkering pattern. MSRP: $859 (Synthetic), $998 (Waterfowl), $845 (Walnut Field)
The 887 Nitro Mag pump gun series is based on the legendary 870 design. Its SuperCell recoil pad makes it the softest shooting pump that Remington has ever made, and the ArmorLokt coating prevents rust on any exterior surfaces. Among the new 887 variations this year is the Nitro Mag Camo Combo, which comes with a 22-inch turkey barrel and a 28-inch interchangeable barrel for waterfowl. HiViz fiber-optic sights and Extended Super Full Turkey Rem Chokes and Extended Waterfowl chokes are included. MSRP: $693
Weatherby has added several new models to its SA-08 and PA-08 series of semiautos and pump guns. The SA-08 Synthetic Youth model has been trimmed down to fit younger shooters and women. Available only in 20 gauge, it has an injection-molded stock that has been shortened to give a 12.5-inch length of pull. The 24-inch barrel gives the Youth model an overall length of 44 inches and a weight of 5.75 pounds. Standard SA-08 features include three choke tubes, a ventilated rib, and the dual valve gas system that allows the use of the complete range of ammunition. MSRP: $569
Also new is the SA-08 Deluxe. It features a hand-selected, high-gloss walnut stock with cut checkering and blued metalwork with a high luster finish. Otherwise it is identical to the Upland model with its satin-finished stock and matte black metalwork. MSRP: $739
The PA-08 pump family now includes a synthetic-stocked model. With its black matte finish, the PA-08 Synthetic is a durable, no-frills hunting gun at a popular price. It comes with a 26- or 28-inch barrel and the same features found on the standard PA-08 Upland model like the chrome-lined barrel, ventilated rib, and three choke tubes. The PA-08 series is offered only in 12 gauge. MSRP: $399
It has been four years since a 20 gauge was in the Winchester catalog and more like 15 years since there was a 20-gauge semiauto. That has been corrected with the SX3 Walnut Field 20. It has all the features of the 12-gauge Super X3, including the self-adjusting gas system, Pachmayr Decelerator recoil pad, adjustable length of pull, back-bored barrels, and three choke tubes. MSRP: $1,199
This roundup of new models from several of the major gunmakers does not include every single new shotgun for 2010. The tactical LE/military and self-defense guns are not included here, nor are the very expensive semicustom and imported doubles and over-unders. But for the average hunter and target shooter, the shotguns listed in this report give a broad view of what is new so far this year. Be sure and watch for field tests by our staff of experts in upcoming issues of Shooting Times.