Guns of the Year

shot show 2017 guns

What’s new in smoothbores for ’17

by Brad Fitzpatrick

This year’s SHOT (Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade) Show served as the launch pad for a variety of shotguns. There were evolutions of existing products as well as fresh offerings of new design. With so many new models to choose from, there’s something to suit every shooting interest and budget. The most difficult thing is going to be deciding which model to add to your cabinet.


shot show-Barrett Rutherford

Barrett Rutherford

Barrett Sovereign

Barrett Sovereign, 615-896-2938.

The name Barrett may be unfamiliar to hardcore shotgunners, but the brand that’s best known for .50-caliber rifles is now offering a line of sporting shotguns. Made in Italy, the guns are beautifully styled and loaded with features. The company launched the guns last year with the Albany over/under and Beltrami side-by-side (see “Barrett’s New Sovereign Shotguns,” Sept/Oct). New this year is the Rutherford, which uses the same rounded-body boxlock action as the Albany but does not have the sideplates or elaborate engraving. Receiver sizes are scaled to their respective gauges. The wood is a more affordable alternative than on the earlier models. Available gauges are 12, 20, 16 and 28, and barrel lengths are 26″ or 28″. MSRPs run from $2,200 to $2,520.

For competition shooters the 12-gauge B-XPRO employs the same action as the Rutherford and Albany and the same single selective trigger in a competition platform with 30″ or 32″ barrels, an adjustable comb, automatic ejectors and six extended choke tubes. MSRP is $3,075.

 

shot show-Ultra Light Upland

New this year are Benelli’s Performance Shop Ultra Light Upland, with Burnt Bronze Cerakoting.

Benelli USA

Benelli USA, 800-264-4962.

Benelli’s big news is the launch of the Super Black Eagle 3, aka the SBE 3. Since the company had done such a nice job with the SBE II, the Super Black Eagle 3 is more evolutionary than revolutionary. The Comfort Tech 3 stock, which has internal chevrons that absorb recoil, still comes standard, but now there is a Combtech cushioned comb that greatly reduces impact to the face under heavy recoil, especially when firing 3½” loads. Reducing recoil and improving comfort not only make the shooting experience more enjoyable but also allow for faster follow-up shots. Also new is the Easy Loading System, which uses a two-piece carrier latch and beveled loading port for easier and faster reloading, especially when wearing gloves. The bolt handle and safety are oversized as well. Internally, the gun remains largely the same, using the familiar Inertia-Driven system. Additionally, the SBE3 is available in not only black and Realtree MAX-5 camo but also Mossy Oak Bottomlands and Gore Optifade Timber. MSRPs start at $1,899.

Benelli didn’t forget upland hunters, as its new Performance Shop Ultra Light Upland may be the best-looking semi-auto on the market. It has to do with Burnt Bronze Cerakoting, a ceramic baked-on finish on the receiver, barrel and magazine tube. Even if you don’t like the gold color, there’s no doubt that the finish is durable and resistant to anything nature can dish out. The stock is satin walnut, and the barrels—26″ in 12 gauge, 24″ in 20—have lengthened forcing cones, EDM porting and Rob Roberts extended Triple Threat choke tubes. There is a fiber-optic front sight, and the bolt release and handle are oversized. The 12-gauge weighs 6.1 pounds and the 20 just 5.2, making it great for all-day carry. MSRP is $2,799.

shot show-Beretta 690 Field I in 20 gauge

Beretta 690 Field I in 20 gauge.

Beretta USA

Beretta USA, 800-929-2901.

Beretta’s A400 has a growing base of loyal fans who appreciate the gun’s quality and reliability, and now the company is offering the A400 Lite in 20 gauge. Like other A400s, the new 20 comes with Beretta’s Blink gas operating system that incorporates a self-cleaning piston with a split ring valve to improve the gas seal. This results in faster cycling and improved efficiency as well as cleaner operation. The Kick-Off System with MicroCore recoil pad also helps reduce recoil by up to 70%, so although the 20-gauge weighs less than 6 pounds, kick is quite manageable. It is available in Realtree MAX-5 with 26″ or 28″ Steelium HP Optimabore barrels and comes with Beretta’s GunPod2 technology, which allows for tracking shooting stats on a phone. MSRP is $1,700.

Also new is the A400 Xcel Sporting Black Edition and the 690 Field I 20-gauge. The Xcel Black, like Beretta’s earlier Black Edition DT11, 692 and 690, is designed specifically for serious competition shooters. It comes with a light carbon-fiber rib, an oversized bolt knob and bolt-release button, a medium-weight thread cap, and the Kick-Off System with MicroCore recoil pad. The 30″ Steelium barrel comes with extended Optima Choke HP3 tubes and the barrel and receiver are matte black. MSRP is $2,200. The 690 Field I 20 is a classically styled over/under with excellent wood, a trim action with floral engraving and 28″ Steelium barrels with Optima Choke HP. MSRP is $2,950.

shot show-Blaser's F16 Intuition

Blaser’s F16 Intuition, designed for women.

Blaser USA

Blaser USA, 210-377-2527.

Women are the fastest-growing demographic of shooters, and Blaser has taken note. This year the company has launched the F16 Intuition over/under, which pairs the standard F16’s low-profile semi-rounded receiver with a high-grade walnut stock with geometry specifically designed to better fit female shooters. The Intuition stock has a higher comb and lower buttplate as well as a higher drop at comb and additional cast—all features that help make the gun an ideal fit for women. The F16’s crisp, 3-pound 10-ounce trigger, Triplex barrels and excellent finish all carry over to the Intuition. MSRP is $4,195.

shot show-Browning B15 Beauchamp

Browning B15 Beauchamp

Browning

Browning Arms, 801-876-2711.

Last year the return of the Auto-5 was big news, and for 2107 Browning is expanding the line to include the stylish A5 High Grade Hunter, featuring engraved pheasants on the left side of the receiver and mallards on the right, all surrounded by scrollwork. The stock is made from 2.5-grade walnut with 22-lines-per-inch checkering and a rich gloss finish. This classically styled 12-gauge has a 3″ chamber and uses the Kinematic Drive recoil-operation system. The A5 comes with three Invector-DS interchangeable choke tubes. MSRP is $1,860.

Browning also is expanding its line of Citori 725 O/Us with several high-end models. One is the 725 Golden Sporting Clays, which has a Grade V/VI walnut stock with gloss-oil finish, a close-radius pistol grip with palm swell, and a silver-nitride-finished receiver with gold-accented engraving. Other key features include ported 30″ or 32″ barrels with ventilated top and side ribs, a Fire Lite mechanical trigger, hammer ejectors, Vector Pro lengthened forcing cones, a HI-VIZ fiber-optic sight, an adjustable comb and five Invector-DS extended choke tubes. MSRP is $5,350.

Browning’s BT-99 Trap guns are now available with adjustable buttplates, Graco adjustable combs, Invector-Plus choke tubes, high-post floating ribs and lengthened forcing cones. They come in standard (143⁄8″ length of pull) and Micro (13¾”) versions. MSRP is $1,800.

New to the Cynergy line are the CX, with a wood stock, and the CX Composite. Each has a 60/40 point of impact and 30″ or 32″ barrels. The CX comes with a Grade 1 walnut stock and Inflex recoil pad, while the CX Composite has a charcoal-gray composite stock, rubber overmolding in the grip area and an Inflex pad. Both come with ventilated top and side ribs, a matte blue finish and three Invector-Plus Midas Grade choke tubes. MSRPs are $1,740 for the CX, $1,700 for the CX Composite.

Last, Browning is building upon its tradition of high-end Belgian guns with the B15 Beauchamp, which comes in four grades: B, C, D and the line-topping E. All are enhanced by the legendary gunsmiths at Fabrique Nationale and are part of the John M. Browning collection. They combine the locking system and technical features of the original B25 with innovative new touches, including a low-profile receiver, mechanical triggers, Vector-Pro barrels and Invector-DS chokes. MSRPs range from $13,000 to $20,500.

shot show-Caesar Guerini Essex Limited Gold

Caesar Guerini Essex Limited Gold

Caesar Guerini USA

Caesar Guerini USA, 410-901-1131.

In 2014 Caesar Guerini launched its Invictus line of over/unders. This year the company is offering a high-performance competition variant known as the Invictus I M-SPEC. Designed in collaboration with world-class shooter Richard Faulds, the M-SPEC features fixed Modified and Improved Modified chokes (other constrictions are available), a rib that tapers from 10mm to 6mm, to help pinpoint targets at longer ranges, and a blued finish with gold accents. The M-SPEC is available in 12 gauge with 32″ barrels, a deluxe walnut stock with conventional comb, and an asymmetric pistol grip and palm swell. MSRP is $6,995.

Also new is the Invictus V Trap Unsingle, which features the Invictus action, DPS2 trigger system and Alucore unsingle rib for added rigidity. It is available with an unsingle barrel (50/50 to 120% POI) and a pair of O/U barrels as a combo set that adjusts from 50/50 to 90/10. MSRP is $10,995.

Additionally, Guerini has added the Summit Trap Compact, which shares the same features as the full-size Summit Trap (deluxe wood, adjustable comb and rib) but has a shorter (137⁄8″) LOP. It is available as an over/under, an unsingle and a combo package with both sets of barrels. MSRPs range from $5,750 to $8,295.

Guerini Elite Dealers will offer the new Essex Limited Gold, which will be available only in 2017. These over/unders come in 20 and 28 gauge with 28″ barrels and feature trim pistol grips with rounded forends, extra-deluxe-grade wood, a solid top rib and three (rose, yellow and white) gold inlays on a case-colored receiver. Production is limited, and the MSRP is $7,105.

shot show-CZ Swamp Magnum

CZ Swamp Magnum

CZ-USA

CZ-USA, 800-955-4486.

One of the most striking shotguns on display at this year’s SHOT Show was CZ-USA’s camo-clad Swamp Magnum 12-gauge over/under. This 3½” stackbarrel comes with 30″ pipes and extended choke tubes as well as an automatic safety—the only CZ with that feature. This 7.1-pound gun has a single selective mechanical trigger, polymer stock, tang safety/barrel selector, 8mm flat rib and sling studs. MSRPs are $1,029 for the Realtree MAX-5 version and $929 for the all-black model.

CZ also unveiled several new pumpgun models. The 612 Target comes with oil-finished Select-grade walnut and a gloss blue finish as well as extended, knurled choke tubes and Bradley-style white beads. This 12-gauge has an MSRP of $549. CZ’s new 620 and 628 pumps come in 20 and 28 gauge and are built on gauge-specific aluminum actions that are lightweight (both guns weigh less than 6 pounds) and durable. Both pumps have bright bluing and 28″ barrels with interchangeable choke tubes (Cylinder, IC, M, Light Modified and IM), high-gloss walnut stocks and MSRPs of $429.

For competition shooters, CZ unveiled its All-American over/under, which comes with Select wood, extended black mid-thread chokes and a blacked receiver. The four-way adjustable comb and adjustable buttplate hardware allow you to customize the gun for a perfect fit, and the CNC machining allows for simple parts exchanges should the need arise. The barrels are 30″ and 32″ and have lengthened forcing cones. MSRP is $2,499.

shot show-Fabarm Axis Allsport QRR

Fabarm Axis Allsport QRR

Fabarm USA

Fabarm USA, 410-271-7067.

Fabarm has a number of new model variations, including the L4S Sporting, a competition variant of the brand’s breakout gas gun. The gas system on the L4S is specifically tuned for light 2¾” target loads that can cause problems in other semi-autos. Other features include a stylish TRIWOOD enhanced finish on the stock, a TRIBORE HP barrel and five EXIS HP extended competition chokes. The bolt handle, bolt-release button and magazine cap are anodized red, and the gun is available in 12-gauge right- and left-handed versions with 28″, 30″ or 32″ barrels. MSRP is $1,850.

Also new to the semi-auto line is the XLR5 Gryphon, using the ultra-fast XLR5 gas system that cycles five rounds in .31 seconds and helps reduce felt recoil. This gun comes with a blued anodized bolt handle, bolt release and magazine cap, but the most striking feature is the Kryptek Typhoon camo pattern on the synthetic stock. It is available in right- or left-handed versions in 12 gauge with 30″ or 32″ barrels and 5 extended EXIS competition chokes. MSRP is $2,125.

For shooters who enjoy multiple disciplines the Axis Allsport QRR over/under has a quick-release rib that allows you to switch from a 50/50 POI to 65/35. What that means is that this solidly built boxlock with TRIWOOD-finish stock can be used for trap, skeet or sporting clays. MSRP is $4,280.

shot show-FAIR Jubilee

FAIR Jubilee

FAIR

Italian Firearms Group, 800-450-1852.

This year FAIR (Fabbrica Armi Isidoro Rizzini) is offering the Iside, an entry-level round-body side-by-side that is available in all gauges with double triggers and interchangeable choke tubes and extractors. MSRP is $1,475. Also new is the Iside Vintage, which comes with exposed hammers for those who like the look of classic 19th Century scatterguns. These guns are true sidelocks built on round-body actions and are available in 20 gauge with interchangeable chokes. MSRP is $3,595.

Also new are the Carrera Pro Sporting and Carrera II Sporting. The Carrera Pro is available in 12 or 20 gauge with 30″ barrels and is more affordable than the Carrera Sporting line, as it does not have an adjustable comb. MSRP is $2,245. The Carrera II is a high-rib version of the Carrera Sporting, and this 12-gauge with 30″ barrels has an MSRP of $2,820. Both come with elaborate engraving, excellent wood and extended choke tubes.

FAIR also added a Prestige version to its Racing line of O/Us. The Prestige comes with sideplates and is available in 12 and 20 gauge. MSRP is $2,550. The original Racing model is available in 20 gauge for 2017, and the MSRP is $2,490.

Last, FAIR added a sub-gauge Jubilee over/under in 28 gauge and .410 with an MSRP of $2,755.

shot show-Fausti FX4

Fausti FX4

Fausti USA

Fausti USA, 540-371-3287.

Italian gunmaker Fausti has launched a new competition line: the XF4. These over/unders are made on the company’s patented Four Lock Action, which provides an extremely solid lockup. The XF4 is available in three engraving patterns and finishes—the Black, Gold and Platinum lines—all of which are available in 12, 20, 28 and .410, with barrels ranging from 28″ to 32″. Key features include 3″ chambers, fixed or interchangeable chokes, a red fiber-optic front sight and hand-oiled walnut stocks with adjustable competition combs. MSRPs are $4,199
to $5,799.

This year Fausti is also adding to its selection of Italyco over/unders. The Italyco SLX Theme 2 round-body features elegant full-coverage engraving with beautiful walnut and fine-line checkering. As part of the Boutique line, the Italyco offers shooters the ability to have guns custom-built to their measurements and styling choices. MSRPs are $12,600 to $13,240.

shot show-

Mossberg

O.F. Mossberg & Sons, 203-230-5300.

Mossberg’s latest is the SA-28 Field, a 28-gauge autoloader that comes with a 26″ barrel, a gloss-finished walnut stock with laser-cut checkering on the forend and grip, and a glossy blued finish on the receiver. The SA-28 uses a soft-recoiling gas-operation system and comes with five choke tubes (C, IC, M, IM and F) and a brass front bead. Other features include a crossbolt safety and an easy-load elevator. It is chambered for 2¾” shells and holds four rounds in the tube magazine. MSRP is $654.

shot show-SKB 680 Field

SKB 680 Field

SKB

SKB, 800-752-2767.

SKB is offering a number of new shotguns this year, including the RS300 Competition Grade semi-auto, which comes with an adjustable buttplate, comb and stock shims for a custom fit. The RS gas system is designed to help minimize recoil while reliably cycling a wide range of loads, from light 12-gauge target ammo to 1¼-ounce magnums. The gun comes with a walnut stock, bright blued finish and five choke tubes (Skeet, IC, M, IM and F). There are right- and left-handed versions as well as a short-LOP version. MSRP is $1,050.

Also new is the 90TSS White Chrome over/under, designed for competition shooters. The boxlock actions of these guns are cut from solid billets for maximum durability, and the adjustable combs and buttplates allow for achieving perfect fit. The 4140 steel barrels feature lengthened forcing cones and come with competition-grade interchangeable choke tubes. The gun is available in 12 gauge in both left- and right-handed versions as well as a compact-stock version. MSRP is $1,900.

The Century III is a new single-barrel trap gun in white chrome. Like other SKBs it features precise CNC construction, excellent triggers, and an adjustable comb and buttpad. It is available in right- and left-handed versions as well as compact models. Barrels range from 30″ to 34″, and the 12-gauge weighs from 8 pounds 4 ounces to 8 pounds 8 ounces. MSRP is $1,530.

The new 690 Field O/U is built on the same CNC machinery as the company’s competition guns. There are three frame sizes—12, 20 and 28/.410—and all feature a locking bar that engages the barrel lug across the length of the monoblock for extreme durability. White chrome receivers and high-gloss walnut stocks make these great-looking field guns, and there are youth models and combos available as well. MSRPs are $1,170 for the full-size and compact 12- and 20-gauge models, $1,300 for the sub-gauge models and $2,015 for the 28/.410 combo.

shot show -Syren Elos Sporting

Syren Elos Sporting

Syren USA

Syren USA, 410-901-1131.

This year Syren launched its Tempio Trap, a dedicated gun for female trap shooters. The Tempio features the Dynamic Tuning System (DTS), which allows for adjusting the rib on both the unsingle and over/under barrels, the comb (height, drop, cast, offset) and the trigger. Other design features include a shorter length of pull, a smaller grip and increased pitch. The gun has a deluxe-grade Turkish walnut stock with elaborate checkering, and the action features classic scroll and bouquet engraving with gold accents. The Tempio Trap is available in 12 gauge as either an over/under, an unsingle or a combo set. Left-handed stocks are also available. MSRP is $6,495 for the O/U or unsingle and $9,095 for the combo.

Syren also added the Elos Sporting this year. It is an over/under with a raised comb for proper eye alignment, a blued receiver with floral engraving and gold enhancements, and a Turkish walnut stock. It comes with five EXIS HP Hyperbolic choke tubes and TRIBORE HP barrels. MSRP is $2,650.

shot show-Winchester SX4 Field

Winchester SX4 Field

Winchester

Winchester, 800-333-3288.

Winchester’s big news is the introduction of the SX4, the latest update to the Super-X semi-auto family. Its predecessor, the Super-X 3, has been the most successful autoloader in Winchester’s history, so the SX4 has big shoes to fill. To begin, Winchester used the same gas system in the SX4 as in the SX3. Known as the Active Valve, the gas system self-regulates based on the load, and the Quadra Vent system helps channel escaping gasses away from the action, leading to cleaner cycling. The SX4 does have some improvements, including a trigger guard made from high-strength polymer. Lighter and more durable than the alloy used in the SX3, this new trigger guard is also less expensive to manufacture—which explains why the SX4 is actually cheaper than its predecessor. Other upgrades include squared-off triggers, larger bolt handles and bolt-release buttons, and a pistol grip that is more rounded and comfortable. There are four models of the SX4 available: a black synthetic, a Waterfowl Hunter in Mossy Oak Shadow Grass Blades, a walnut-stocked Field and a Field Compact—all in 12 gauge. MSRPs start at $800.


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Brad Fitzpatrick

Brad Fitzpatrick lives near Cincinnati with his wife, Bethany. He has written for various outdoor publications, including Petersen’s Hunting, Outdoor Life, Gun World and Sports Afield, and is a contributing editor at Rifle Shooter.

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