September 06, 2018
Scattergunners were not neglected at at this year’s SHOT Show extravaganza—new smoothbores of all shapes and descriptions were on display. Several unique tactical and home-defense configurations were revealed, but traditional hunting guns predominated. But really, there is a new shotgun for just about every taste. Here’s a quick look at the coolest new shotguns.
ATA Arms SP and Neo
ATA Arms shotguns have been made in Istanbul, Turkey, since 1967, and select models are now being imported by European American Armory (EAA). New for 2018 is the 12-gauge SP over-under, with 28- and 30-inch barrels, that weighs from 7 to 7.2 pounds. The SP has a steel receiver, single selective trigger, and automatic ejectors. The stock and forearm are of Turkish walnut or Sport Black synthetic. Price: $510 to $601.
Also available is the inertia-operated Neo semiautomatic in 12, 20, and 28 gauges, with barrel lengths from 24 to 28 inches, depending on model. The Neo weighs only 6.15 to 6.75 pounds. Price: $385.
Benelli Ethos Sport and Super Black Eagle 3 Left Hand
The Benelli Ethos is now available in a Sport version in 12, 20, and 28 gauges. The recoil-adsorbing cheekpad is twice the size of those on field models, and the stock has the Progressive Comfort recoil-reducing system. The receiver is nickel-plated and engraved. All three gauges have 28-inch barrels; the 12 gauge is also available with a 30-inch tube. The barrels are ported and come with five choke tubes and fiber-optic front sights. The stock and forearm are AA-Grade fancy walnut with a satin finish. Price: $2,269.
Also, Benelli’s Super Black Eagle 3 is now available in a left-hand version. Price: $1,899.
Beretta A300 Outlander Sporting and Model 1301 Tactical
The proven Beretta A300 Field line expands this year with the Outlander Sporting. This soft-shooting semiauto has a locked-breech gas-operated action with what Beretta calls a “falling block.” An improved gas valve with a self-cleaning cylinder and piston automatically vents excess gas from more powerful loads, as it shoots 3-inch ammo. The 30-inch barrel is cold hammer-forged to ensure concentricity, has a wide rib with mid and front bead sights, and comes with the Mobilechoke system with IC/M/F tubes. The stock is a bit larger, which is more appropriate for sporting clays, and has great looking engraved stippling instead of checkering. Price: $1,100.
Another specialized semiauto from Beretta is the Model 1301 Tactical for home defense and law enforcement. Price: $1,275.
Browning CXS Adjustable Comb
The Browning CXS now includes a 12-gauge “crossover skeet design” that the company says is ideal for hunting, skeet, and sporting clays. It features an adjustable comb, lightweight 32-inch barrels with 3-inch chambers, front and mid bead sights, vented side and top rib, and Vector Pro lengthened forcing cones. It has automatic hammer ejectors, and the single selective trigger is adjustable for length of pull. Choke tubes are Midas Grade IC/M/F. The receiver has gold-accented engraving. Price: $2,539.90.
CZ-USA Supreme Field
The latest from CZ-USA is the Supreme Field, and it’s a real looker. CZ notes that we all would like a bespoke gun but balk at the stiff price tag. The new Supreme Field addresses that conundrum. It is a high-quality, custom-grade gun at a production-gun price. It comes in 12, 20, and 28 gauges, and all models have automatic ejectors. The receiver is totally CNC-machined; finished in polished nickel-chrome; and covered by deep, handcarved relief engraving. Barrels are 28 inches long and come with five extended choke tubes. Chambers are 3 inches on the 12 and 20 and 2¾ inches on the 28. The top rib is ventilated, the side ribs are solid, the trigger is mechanical, and the safety is manual. The pistol-grip buttstock and full forearm are Grade II fancy Turkish walnut and are sharply checkered. The gun comes in a protective hard case. Price: $1,699.
Caesar Guerini Invictus I Sporting
Caesar Guerini’s iteration of the classic 12-gauge sporting gun is called the Invictus I Sporting. The rough translation of Invictus from Latin to English is “unconquerable.” That’s because the company intends that this shotgun will last, literally, forever. The Invictus has a new system of locking the barrels and action together. Parts called “Invictus cams” and an “Invictus block” can be easily removed and inexpensively replaced; hence, the “unconquerable” concept. Everything on the gun is first rate. The fancy wood has a handrubbed oil finish, 26-lpi checkering, and a 1-inch recoil pad. The barrels are 30 or 32 inches in length, come with six Maxis choke tubes, and have solid side ribs. The forcing cones are lengthened to 5 inches, and the receiver is extensively engraved and has the Invisalloy finish. The trigger is single selective and adjustable for pull weight, take-up, and overtravel. It is an incredibly impressive shotgun. Price: $7,195.
Dickinson Arms Impala Plus Elite
Located in Moorpark, California, Dickinson Arms has the new semiautomatic Impala Plus series with models for turkey hunters, clay target shooters, and home defense that are a blend of old-world craftsmanship and state-of-the-art technology. The striking Impala Plus Elite is available in a wide range of bright colors on the stocks and action. This remarkable inertia action has only 10 parts, so maintenance and cleaning are a breeze. The barrels are chrome-plated inside and out, ported, and have fiber-optic sights. Barrel lengths are 28 and 30 inches, and they come with five choke tubes. Price: $765.
Franchi Instinct SL 16 Gauge
Franchi’s new 16-gauge Instinct SL over-under is crafted in Italy and weighs a scant 5.8 pounds. The SL has AA-Grade satin-finished walnut, and the buttstock has the graceful Prince of Wales pistol grip. There is a lot of fine checkering in all the right places, too. Portions of the elegant receiver have polished blue and brushed silver alloy surfaces with an automatic tang safety that has the barrel selector. The 28-inch barrels are polished blue and come with three flush-fitting choke tubes and a hard case. Price: $ 1,729.
Mossberg makes more shotguns than you can shake a stick at, so we have to pick and choose here. For 2018 the company has announced a couple of new versions of the popular SA-20 and SA-28 autoloaders. They’re called the “Bantam” because they are especially designed for smaller shooters, so the length of pull is reduced to 12.5 inches. They are available in both walnut- and synthetic-stocked versions. The recoil of the gas-operated 28 and 20 gauges makes them soft on the shoulder, and the gas system is self-regulating, so no adjustment is necessary when going from light target loads to heavy field loads. Each gun comes with a set of five flush-fitting choke tubes at a price that’s easy on the pocketbook. Price: $570 (synthetic), $654 (walnut).
Remington Model 870 DM
The iconic Remington Model 870 pump gun has been with us since 1950, and as of 2009, 10 million had been produced, all with tubular magazines below the barrel. This year, the Model 870 DM has a three- or six-round detachable box magazine that is said to be much faster to reload than the traditional tube. There are several versions for home or self-defense. The hunting version has an 18.5-inch barrel, a tight choke, and a ghost-ring sight. Finishes are camo or black, and a thumbhole stock is also available. The steel receiver has a large paddle release at the front of the magazine and an extra-large slide release. Price: Starting at $529.
Savage Fox A Grade
New this year is Savage’s reincarnation of the Fox A Grade. This side-by-side is available in 12 and 20 gauges, is completely handmade by Connecticut Shotgun Manufacturing Co., and is a faithful replica of Ansley H. Fox’s 1906 original. The matte blue barrels are either 26 or 28 inches in length, and the solid top rib has a brass bead front sight. Five choke tubes are supplied. The receiver and forearm iron have luscious color-casehardening. The wood is 3X American walnut. The buttstock has a straight grip, the splinter forearm has a Deeley push-rod release, and the checkering is flawless. Price: $ 4,999.
SKB 690 Field
The SKB Model 690 over-under shotgun was announced in late 2017, but it is just now in good supply for 2018. The Model 690’s receiver is cut on CNC machines for precision and has a brushed white chrome finish with scroll engraving. The gun’s trigger is gold plated, and the barrels are finished bright blue. The mechanical trigger has a direct engagement to the trigger connector, providing a reliable trigger system that does not depend on recoil of the first shot to set the trigger for the second shot. The tang safety does double-duty as the barrel selector. Barrels are 26 or 28 inches in length. The pistol grip stock and schnabel forearm are Grade II Turkish walnut and are finished in high-gloss polyurethane. The Model 690 is made in 12 gauge, 20 gauge, 28 gauge, and .410 Bore on three different frame sizes. A 28-gauge/.410-Bore combo set is also available. Price: $1,170 (12 and 20 gauges), $1,300 (28 gauge and .410 Bore), $2,015 (two-barrel set).
Stoeger Freedom Series
There are three new versions for this year in the Stoeger Freedom series. The M3K 3-Gun and M3000 Defense are inertia-action semiautos, and the P3000 is a pump action. All are 12 gauge, and they have 3-inch chambers, factory-installed extended magazines, and black synthetic stocks. The MK3 is for 3-Gun competitors. It has a capacity of 10+1 rounds, and the receiver is drilled and tapped for the installation of optics. The 24-inch barrel comes with C/IC/M extended choke tubes, and the oversized bolt release, safety, and bolt handle make for fast handling. The M3000 semiauto and P3000 pump have 18.5-inch Cylinder-Bore barrels with blade front sights and a 7+1 capacity. The P3000 is available with either a field or a pistol grip stock. Price: $669 (M3K); $619 (M3000 field stock); $669 (pistol grip stock); $339 (P3000).
TriStar Viper G2 .410 Bore
New this year are two petite versions of the popular and reliable TriStar Viper G2 in .410 Bore. They are gas operated and chambered for 3-inch shells, but they’ll function with 2½-inch shells, too. Both models have ventilated ribs and chrome-plated chambers and bores, and they come with IC/M/F Beretta-style screw-in choke tubes. The ornate Viper Bronze has a gold Cerakote finish on the receiver, a fancy Turkish walnut stock with cut checkering and a glossy finish, and a 28-inch barrel. The elegant Viper G2 Wood also has a nicely figured walnut stock but a more conservative satin finish. The bluing on its 26-inch barrel looks somewhere between matte and semigloss; overall, it is very classy. I have fired TriStar Vipers in 20 gauge and 28 gauge extensively, and they shot great. Plus, the prices won’t make you gasp. Price: $794 (Bronze), $624 (Wood).
Winchester SX4 Universal Hunter
Winchester’s SX4 semiautomatic has a new Mossy Oak Break-Up Country camo version suitable for hunting multiple species, including waterfowl, upland birds, doves, and turkeys. The versatile SX4 weighs 6 pounds, 14 ounces and has a 3½-inch chamber that accepts virtually any 12-gauge ammo. The bore and chamber are chrome-plated. The 24-inch ventilated-rib barrel is back-bored and has flush-fitting Invector Plus choke tubes. The action has Winchester’s Quadra-Vent Active Valve system that provides reliable performance. The receiver is drilled and tapped so optics can be easily added, the bolt handle is oversized, and the crossbolt safety is ambidextrous for easy operation with gloves. The synthetic stock has a rounded pistol grip and textured gripping surfaces, and sling-swivel studs are installed. Price: $1,069.99.