Sporting Classics presents its 22nd annual shotgun review, featuring semiautomatics, pumps, over-and-unders, and side-by-sides. Whether it’s a new finish or an entirely new platform, you’ll find it here in the 2015 review.
The 828U offers pointability, custom comb-and-drop adjustments, and the kind of ergonomic feel and balance inherent to all fine shotguns.
Functionality and safety are a given with an auto-safety, easy-operating opening lever, and a steel lock-plate opening system. The 828U also features floating crio barrels and crio chokes, a weight-reducing carbon-fiber rib, and a high-grade alloy receiver, all complimented by a fine walnut stock and forend. Durable steel-on-steel hinges, removable guard, and easy-to-remove trigger system make for easy cleanup.
The 828U comes in nickel-engraved or black-anodized models, and both sport interchangeable 26- or 28-inch barrels. Drop-and-cast fine-tuning means the gun can be personalized to one of 40 unique settings. The patented, recoil-taming Progressive Comfort System already popular with many Benelli shooters is nicely integrated into the 828U and helps keep muzzle flip to a minimum.
The new A400 Lite is a take-anywhere, black synthetic shotgun that features a 3-inch chamber, S-grip checkering surfaces on the stock and forend, the Kick-Off Plus system, and a cross-tube piston for maximum capacity. The semiautomatic is lightweight and will be the first Beretta product to offer the GunPod2 standard.
The Beretta GunPod 2 is an onboard digital shot-counter for Beretta semiautomatic shotguns. With the free app for iPhone or Android devices, the app highlights your hunting adventures and can collect photos and videos that can be integrated with social networking.
The new A400 XCEL Multitarget delivers a unique design and a full range of adjustability. The shotgun offers the full adjustability found in high-priced over-and-unders for half the cost in a reliable and light-shooting semiautomatic package.
The F3 Vantage delivers ideal target awareness and acquisition due to the hybrid nature of its raised rib. Available in both right- and left-handed models, the Vantage is offered in 12, 20, 28, or .410. Its 32-inch adjustment-free barrel offers the perfect blend of elevation for comfort and unsurpassed peripheral vision. The gun’s unique rib design insures your sight picture will be consistent when shooting aggressively or relaxed, depending upon target presentation. All Blaser firearms are covered by a 10-year manufacturer’s warranty.
The Summit Sporting, Guerini’s most popular clays model, is now available with a smaller stock design, smaller pistol grip, 13 7/8-inch length-of-pull, Monte Carlo comb, and increased pitch. The Summit Sporting Compact should prove very popular with anyone looking for a smaller version of the standard model.
Last year Caesar Guerini created the Invictus Sporting, which features a great advancement in over-under durability—the Invictus System, which completely changed the way the barrel and action lock together and makes the whole system stronger than standard over-and-unders. Additionally, all locking surfaces in the Invictus line are modular; meaning that the parts that tend to wear most quickly can be easily replaced. Such advancements have Caesar Guerini stating that Invictus shotguns can shoot 1 million rounds.
For 2015 Caesar Guerini has expanded its Invictus line with two additional offerings; the Invictus Ascent and Invictus Trap. The Ascent features a 10mm-high fixed rib allowing for a more upright shooting position than the flat rib Invictus Sporting. A Monte Carlo stock with an adjustable comb is also standard.
Building on the success of their extensive line of trap guns, the Invictus Trap incorporates many of the competition features that have made their existing models popular. Standard fixtures include an adjustable rib, stock, trigger, and optional release triggers. Most importantly, the Invictus action offers the extreme durability that avid trap shooters consider to be critical.
Connecticut Shotgun Manufacturing Company
The Christian Hunter line of shotguns features a true Anson & Deeley boxlock action and is available in 12, 16, 20, 28, or .410. This is a custom gun that Connecticut Shotgun can build to the buyer’s specifications, including stock dimensions for an additional charge.
Options include single or double trigger; straight, pistol, or long-tang grip; 26- or 30-inch barrels; fixed chokes or choke-tube ready; and either a hard-rubber butt-plate or recoil pad—or, for an additional charge, a checkered butt, skeleton butt, heel and toe plates, or leather-covered pad.
The Sharp-Tail brings modern precision to the side-by-side market. The CNC-machined receiver is one piece and has independent floating firing pins, coil-spring-operated hammers, and newly designed sears. This all equates to longer life and greater wingshooting consistency.
An evolution of CZ’s popular Ringneck, the Sharp-Tail is an entirely new action, but it’s much smaller overall, features coil springs instead of leaf springs, and sports the same color-case-hardened finish. It has a single selectable mechanical trigger and pistol grip, and is available in 12, 20, 28, or .410. The gun features Turkish walnut stocks and a single extractor, and comes with five flush choke tubes, all inside a polymer case.
The L4S family of shotguns exhibits a high level of precision and finish and is competitively priced for the North American market.
The L4S incorporates an innovative new design that allows the forend to be removed without disassembling the shotgun. This offers two significant advantages: One, removing the forend allows the action to be cleaned and lubricated without having to disassemble the whole gun. Second, it eliminates the forend as part of the structural assembly of the gun, making the action-and-barrel relationship more accurate and stronger. Removing the stress off the forend practically eliminates any chances it will be damaged. All grades feature Turkish walnut with a satin oil finish.
The L4S is lightweight and has a gas-operating system that significantly reduces recoil. It will handle loads from light 2 3/4-inch target to heavy 3-inch magnums. Other notable features include a stock shim system for adjusting fit and Tribore HP tapered barrels for improved ballistic performance.
The L4S guns are available in three attractive grades: Initial Hunter (black action), Grey Hunter (silver action with game scene), and Deluxe Hunter (silver action and detailed game scene with gold inlays and upgraded wood).
The Avantis is a proportional-frame side-by-side started and finished by hand, and is the only droplock sidelock side-by-side in the world. Complete with any engraving style and gold inlays upon request, the Avantis is available with single or double triggers, and Grade V wood. Other options include a second set of barrels (shotgun or rifle, proportional to frame). All gauges are available.
The Italyco is an over-and-under available in both boxlock or sidelock with long, low-profile sideplates. The smooth-bore version is built on a round-body action and comes in all traditional hunting gauges. The side-plated Italyco SLX is one of the very few examples of a round-body over-and-under in Italy and in the world. The guns are 100 percent tailor-made and feature custom stock dimensions and specifications. Whether boxlock or sidelock, each Italyco is decorated with simple yet elegant Bulino hand-engraving and signed by the artist.
The Italyco can be made with a coin finish or color-case-hardened using the traditional bone-and-charcoal technique. Each shotgun comes in a beautiful case designed specifically for the gun.
The Affinity is now available with an A-Grade satin walnut stock or in a Mossy Oak Bottomlands pattern. A left-hand model is also new. The Affinity is a versatile, semiautomatic shotgun that’s right at home in every type of shooting situation, whether it’s hunting birds or busting clay targets.
The Affinity weighs less than seven pounds, and its reliable Inertia Driven system features a bolt assembly with a rotating bolt head that ensures a positive steel-to-steel lock-up.
Griffin & Howe
Brothers Elio and Remigio Bertuzzi produced some of the world’s most astonishing collector’s shotguns. Having retired and surrendered their Italian manufacturing license, there will never be another F.lli Bertuzzi sporting firearm produced, making their shotguns investment-grade.
The Zeus was produced in two formats: A normal sidelock ejector and rarest of all formats, the ‘Ali di Gabbiano’ or Gullwing (flying locks). Push the safety catch beyond off and the lockplates spring forward, stand at 90 degrees to the action, and reveal exquisitely detailed lockwork, which is attached to an inner plate, rather than the sideplate. Close the plates and the joint is not visible. The side-by-side configuration has the same feature seen on the Ali di Gabbiano and Venere, with Holland & Holland-style lockwork.
The guns features impressive Italian engraving by Torcoli, Terzi, Giancarlo & Stefano Pedretti, Fracassi, Gianfranco Pedersoli, Dassa, Valerio Peli, Firmo Fracassi, Angelo Galeazzi, and Creative Art.
Only 12 Ali di Gabbiano side-by-sides and over-and-unders were produced, and Griffin & Howe has been blessed with eight. Two have already been acquired, with six more available.
The Plantation Collection baby-frame .410 side-by-side is designed for the discerning quail hunter. The 5½-pound gun balances exquisitely on the hinge pin, which allows the best feel and swing of a traditional side-by-side. The gun features deep-chisel scroll engraving with a quail vignette done by Bottega. Hand-checkered, hand-rubbed oil finish on an English straight-grip accompanies a semi-beavertail forearm with true exhibition Circassian walnut.
The shotgun is made with a standard 15-inch length of pull to accommodate almost any sportsman but can be constructed to an individual’s exact specifications. The gun has three-inch chambers with improved and modified fixed-choke barrels.
Legacy Sports International, Inc.
The Pointer line of over-and-unders has a new addition: the Sporting series, available with 26- or 28-inch carbon-steel, chrome-moly-lined barrels, and a Turkish walnut stock. Produced in both adult or 20-gauge youth models, each gun includes five choke tubes ranging from skeet to full.
Pointer Sporting series shotguns are designed for upland game, waterfowl, and clays. Available in 12, 20, 28, or .410 and chambered to handle loads up to 3-inch magnum. (The .410 comes with fixed-choke barrels in modified.) Barrels feature high ventilated sporting ribs and brass-bead front sights. Actions are single trigger, select fire, or auto reset safety.
A new series of left-handed, pump-action shotguns are available in versions of the time- tested Model 500, the same dependable platform that has non-binding twin action bars, positive steel-to-steel lock-up, and an anti-jam elevator for smooth, reliable operation. The guns also feature dual extractors; anodized aluminum receivers for added durability, yet less overall weight and better balance; versatile vent rib Accu-Choke barrels (excluding Slugster models); and universally-recognized, ambidextrous top-mounted safeties.
For 2015, Mossberg offers nine general-purpose and hunting versions of the 500 L Series. New models include shotguns designed specifically for hunting turkey and waterfowl, and a field–deer combo that comes with two barrels. A Super Bantam youth model that features an adjustable length-of-pull system is also available.
New England Custom Gun
Since its inception in 1915, AyA, a Spanish gun manufacturer, has built more than a half-million fine double shotguns. To commemorate a century of excellence, AyA has announced the Centenary side-by-side. Only 300 of these special guns will be made, each individually numbered and representing the pinnacle of the gunmaker’s art.
The Centenary is a new design, offered in 12, 16, 20, 28, or .410, with 2 3/4-inch chambers, proofed for steel shot. Graced with superb No. 1 hand-oiled wood, the gun’s elegant engraving features the AyA logo, the Centenary name, and the serial number in gold inlay. It can be built to the customer’s measurements or to standard AyA dimensions. The Centenary is a rare chance to own a unique masterpiece from one of the world’s most storied gunbuilders.
Syren’s mission is to create firearms that exceed the expectations of the modern huntress. Syren specializes in creating stock dimensions that fit women better than any standard men’s or youth model.
The first objective in creating the XLR5 Waterfowler was proper fit. To make the gun easy to carry and balance properly, Syren reduced its weight to a light 7 pounds 1 ounce, allowing for a smooth mount and easy handling in the blind or duck boat. To address recoil, the XLR5’s stock is designed to fit the female anatomy and a recoil-reducing gas-operating system takes the punishment out of modern high-performance waterfowl ammunition. The XLR5 Pulse Piston gas-operating system accomplishes recoil reduction by bleeding off pressure as the gun cycles.
The Syren Magnus is as elegant as it is distinctive. The sideplate action elongates the gun’s lines to present a graceful appearance. To further enhance the action, Bottega Giovanelli was commissioned to create a one-of-a-kind engraving motif that features a contemporary twist on the classic bouquet-and-scroll pattern. The action has a hand-polished coin finish coated with Syren’s proprietary Invisalloy to guard against rust and tarnishing. The stock is crafted from deluxe grade Turkish walnut finished with a semi-gloss oil.
Orion over-and-under shotguns return to Weatherby this year and are available in 12 gauge with 3-inch chambers.
Each shotgun weighs about seven pounds and comes with either 26- or 28-inch barrels. The rich Grade A walnut stock carries a high-gloss finish, a rounded Prince of Wales grip, and precision-cut checkering (22 LPI). A Pachmayr Decelerator pad helps reduce felt recoil. The pad’s speed-mount heel is designed to prevent catching on clothing when shouldering the gun.
Orion shotguns have traditional boxlock actions with dual conical-pin locking mechanisms for superior structural integrity. The forged-steel receiver is shallower in depth and thinner in profile than traditional 12-gauge designs to provide exceptional balance and reduced weight.
The chamber and bore of the Orion guns are chrome-lined for easier cleaning and greater corrosion resistance to withstand years of high-volume shooting. Automatic shell ejectors allow for faster reloading.
Other key features include a matte ventilated top rib to provide a better sighting plane and dissipate heat waves quicker. The threaded brass bead front sight helps to facilitate target acquisition.
Each Orion features Weatherby’s Integral Multi-Choke System and comes with improved cylinder, modified, and full-choke tubes.
The SXP and SXP Compact shotguns offer lightweight centered balance and instant pointability. The Super X design provides fast follow-up and an inertia-assisted slide-action that can deliver three shots in a half-second.
Four massive lugs provide support, strength, and solid lockup in the receiver. Under recoil, the mass of your body slows the rearward travel of the gun, while the inertia of the bolt, slide, and forearm continue cycling the action to help you get a head start on your next shot. Dual steel-action guide bars channel and eliminate twisting, binding, wasted time and energy when cycling the action.
The two models feature black-chrome protection, which lasts longer than regular bluing. The ribbed infrastructure of the Influx Recoil Pad directs and channels recoil away from your cheek.
A chrome chamber and bore provide superior protection from rust and corrosion, and protect the barrel from steel or tungsten shot. Field models come with full, modified, and improved cylinder flush-mounted tubes, and turkey models come with a single X-Full Turkey choke tube.