The latest & greatest in smoothbores
by Brad Fitzpatrick
For 2019 there’s a more diverse class of new shotguns than any other firearm platform. This was evident throughout the halls of this past winter’s shows, including the SCI Convention, in Reno; the SHOT Show, in Las Vegas, and the Dallas Safari Club Convention. From utilitarian autoloaders to beautifully crafted over/unders and side-by-sides by some of the world’s most skilled craftsmen, introductions will please both budget-minded sportsmen and enthusiasts who appreciate fine firearms.
It is a great time to be a recreational shooter, and shotgunners of all stripes should be excited with the new crop of smoothbores.
Italian gunmaker Benelli recently unveiled the new Sport version of its popular line of 828U over/unders, and it is loaded with features that competition shooters will appreciate like the Steel Locking System, which eliminates stress on the receiver and hinge pin, a steel receiver for added weight and recoil reduction, and an adjustable trigger that offers improved pull weights. Available in 12 gauge, the 828U Sport comes with 30" solder-free barrels with a channeled, raised extra-wide carbon-fiber rib, white bead, matte finish and 5 extended color-coded nickel choke tubes. Perhaps the greatest feature of the 828U Sport is its handling capabilities, a result of Progressive Balancing Technology (which allows for perfect center of gravity), and a stock with adjustable cast and drop. The 828U Sport has an AA-grade satin walnut stock, a weight of just more than 8 pounds, and an MSRP of $4,399.
Also new to the 828U family is the Performance Shop Upland version, which comes with an aluminum receiver with a steel lockplate and an anodized bronze/matte blue receiver. The 24" barrels have a carbon-fiber stepped rib, making this 6.4-pound gun light and smooth handling. Other features include an AA-grade satin walnut stock, Rob Roberts Triple Threat choke tubes (plus 5 additional Benelli chokes) and a Progressive Comfort stock with QuadraFit that allows for adjusting drop at comb, cast and length of pull. MSRP is $3,499.
Benelli is offering several new Inertia-Driven autoloaders, including the Montefeltro Silver Featherweight. In 12 gauge this gun has 26" barrels and weighs just 6.2 pounds, and in 20 gauge it has 24" tubes and weighs 5.3 pounds. Other weight-saving features include a shortened magazine and forearm and a carbon-fiber rib with a red bar sight. Both the nickel and blued engraved receiver and the satin-finish walnut stock feature Weathercoat protection, and the guns come with 5 Crio choke tubes and shims to adjust cast and drop. MSRP is $1,999.
New Performance Shop autoloaders include the Super Black Eagle 3 Waterfowl and the M2 Waterfowl. The SBE3 Waterfowl comes in 12 gauge with a Cerakote Midnight Bronze receiver and 28" barrel, an OPTIFADE Marsh camo stock, a HiVis CompSight, a paracord sling, a 40-position shim kit and 3 choke tubes. MSRP is $3,199. The M2 Waterfowl 20-gauge comes with a Cerakote Midnight Bronze finish, OPTIFADE synthetic stock, multiple choke tubes, a shim kit and oversized controls. It has an MSRP of $2,799.
Although Browning is not introducing any new shotgun lines this year, there have been plenty of additions to existing lines. The newest member of the 725 family of over/unders is the Feather Superlight, available in 12 or 20 gauge with 26" barrels. One way Browning has lightened the guns is by adding an aluminum-alloy receiver with silver-nitride finish, and this keeps the weight to 6 pounds 2 ounces for the 12-gauge and 5 pounds 7 ounces for the 20. Both models feature stylish engraving on the receivers that blends perfectly with the oil-finish grade II/III walnut stocks and richly blued barrels. Other high-end features include an ivory bead, 20-lpi checkering, a gold-plated trigger, 3 flush-fit Invector-DS choke tubes and a gold Browning Buckmark on the trigger guard. MSRP is $2,670 for both the 12 and 20 gauge.
Also new is the BT-99 Max High Grade, the latest version of Browning’s single-barreled trap gun that comes with an adjustable high-post rib, a Graco adjustable comb (with POI adjustment from 50/50 to 100/0), a GraCoil recoil-reduction system with length-of-pull adjustments, and a Graco angle/location adjustable buttpad plate. Rounding out the gun are a grade III/IV gloss-oil-finish walnut stock, a Pachmayr Decelerator XLT recoil pad, HiViz Pro Comp fiber-optic front and mid beads, 3 extended Midas Grade choke tubes, an ejector, a silver-nitride receiver and a fitted case. Available barrel lengths for this 12-gauge are 32" and 34". MSRP is $5,340.
Browning’s Citori line is gaining seven offerings, including the CX and CX Adjustable Comb models, designed for a variety of clay sports and offering a versatile 60/40 POI. Both of these 12-gauge O/Us come with polished-blue steel receivers and barrels (28", 30" or 32"), grade II gloss walnut stocks, Inflex recoil pads, ivory beads and 3 Invector-Plus Midas chokes. MSRP for the CX model is $2,140, and the adjustable-comb version has an MSRP of $2,540. The new CXS Micro, which is available in 12 or 20 gauge with 24" or 26" barrels, offers many of the same features as the CX but with a 50/50 POI and a 13" LOP. MSRP is $2,139. The new Feather Lightning comes with a Lightning-style rounded pistol grip and forearm as well as a weight-saving alloy receiver with steel hinge pin and breech face, full-coverage engraving and an oil-finish grade III/IV walnut stock. Also included are ivory front and mid beads, an Inflex recoil pad and 3 black Midas Grade choke tubes. Available in 12 gauge with 26" or 28" barrels, the Feather Lightning weighs as little as 7 pounds and carries an MSRP of $2,870. Also returning to the Citori line are the White Lightning, with a “white” steel receiver with durable nitride finish, grade III/IV walnut and a Lightning stock and forearm in 12 gauge with 26" or 28" barrels and an MSRP of $2,670, and the Gran Lightning with a silver-nitride steel receiver with superb engraving, gold inlay, a grade V/VI gloss-oil walnut stock and an MSRP of $3,330. The last addition is the line-topping High Grade Side Plate Four Gauge Combo, which comes with 12, 20, 28 and .410 barrels, a gloss-oil-finish grade VI/VII walnut stock, and sideplates with full-coverage engraving with gold bird and dog accents. MSRP is $11,330.
Caesar Guerini has several new offerings for 2019, with one of the most exciting being the Revenant (see “Raising the Revenant,” p. 62). This 20-gauge O/U comes with many of the features found on the world’s finest—and most expensive—shotguns for roughly one-fifth the price. This was accomplished through clever engineering and the use of modern production technology. The Revenant has a stylish round-body action with an inletted escutcheon that surrounds the push-button release on the Boss-style forend. The long-tang trigger guard blends with the swept-back pistol grip, giving the gun a racy profile. The fall foliage and gamebird engraving with gold inlays was designed by Italian master engraver Dario Cortini of Bottega Giovanelli. The stock is oil-finished extra-deluxe wood. The Revenant has 28" and 30" barrels with a tapered solid top rib and mid rib. Left-hand and English-style stocks are available. These guns are available through Caesar Guerini Elite Dealers and have an MSRP of $12,995.
Also new is the Invictus III Trap Combo, which has 32" or 34" barrel sets (unsingle, over/under). Both barrel sets offer POI adjustment—the unsingle ranging from 50/50 to 120%, the O/U from 50/50 to 90/10. Additionally, the unsingle barrels have ALUCORE ribs for added rigidity. Other features include an adjustable comb, DPS trigger system and the Invictus action. The receiver engraving is of fantasy dragons and gargoyles with gold inlays. MSRP is $13,995, and a left-handed stock is available for an additional $250.
Guerini also introduced the Invictus III and Invictus V Ascent 12-gauge over/unders, both of which have 32" barrels and optional left-handed stocks. The Invictus III Ascent features an engraved action with gold-inlay gargoyles and dragons, a deluxe European walnut stock with adjustable comb, and a 10mm-high fixed rib. MSRP is $9,450. The Invictus V Ascent, which is available only through Elite Dealers, comes with gold gamebird inlays and a DPS trigger system. MSRP is $10,225.
CZ-USA’s new shotgun offerings include the 1012 line of inertia-operated semi-autos. During the testing phase of development, CZ’s engineers reportedly put 5,000 rounds through these guns without cleaning or oiling. Turkish-walnut-stocked models are available with black, bronze or gray receivers with black chrome barrels. A synthetic version comes with either a black or Mossy Oak Shadow Grass Blades camo stock and black extended choke tubes. All of the guns come in 12 gauge with 28" barrels, and all have 3" chambers. They also come with 5 choke tubes standard. MSRPs for the wood and black synthetic models are $659 and for the camo versions are $749.
Also new from CZ is the Quail, a shortened-LOP (13¾") over/under with a durable black chrome finish and Turkish-walnut stock. The 20-gauge guns come with 5 choke tubes and weighs just 6.3 pounds. Notable features include a mid-rib delete for weight savings, extractors, an 8mm flat vent rib, a single selective trigger and a tang safety. MSRP is $629.
Double-gun fans will appreciate the new Bobwhite G2, a classically appointed side-by-side with a straight grip, splinter forend, double triggers and a CNC-machined receiver that’s light and durable. The black chrome finish is tougher than traditional bluing. G2s are available in 12, 20 and 28 gauge with 28" barrels and come with 5 choke tubes. Weights range from 5.5 to 7.3 pounds. MSRPs are from $655 to $702.
Competition shooters will appreciate CZ’s new All-American Single Trap, which comes with a four-way adjustable comb and adjustable buttplate hardware. Available in 12 gauge with 30", 32" or 34" barrels, these guns come with 5 choke tubes, black metal and select wood. The guns are designed to digest thousands of rounds, and drop-in fit makes changing parts quick and easy. MSRP is $1,369.
Dickinson Arms is offering several new models, including the Greenwing, a budget-friendly O/U that is available with either a silver satin or blued receiver and MSRP of around $700. The scroll engraving on the receiver is complemented by a Turkish-walnut stock with 22-lpi checkering. The Greenwing 12-gauge, which comes with 26", 28" or 30" barrels, 5 choke tubes and ejectors, was launched last November, and 20- and 28-gauge as well as .410 models are scheduled to arrive this year.
Also new from Dickinson is the Eclipse line of gas-operated autoloaders, available as black-synthetic, Turkish-walnut or full-camo 12-gauges with barrel lengths from 26" to 30". All come with 5 screw-in chokes. The guns feature a semi-humpback design and weigh at or just less than 7 pounds. MSRPs are $479 for the synthetic version, $515 for the walnut and $545 for the camo.
Dickinson is also offering its new ASI inertia-operated semi-autos in 12 gauge. These guns come with walnut, synthetic or camo stocks and weigh from 6.2 to 6.8 pounds. All come with 5 choke tubes. MSRPs range from $449 for the synthetic model to $525 for the camo version.
Big news from Fabarm this year is the release of the ELOS N2 Allsport, a 12-gauge over/under that comes with a Quick Release Rib (QRR) system with two interchangeable ribs—one with a 50/50 POI, the other with a 65/35 POI. The ability to change the POI makes the gun suitable for a variety of shooting sports. The adjustable comb and trigger can be altered, and a TRIWOOD-enhanced finish gives the stock a beautiful look. Length of pull is 13¾", but this can be adjusted by replacing the recoil pad. The gun comes with 5 EXIS HP competition choke tubes and an MSRP of $2,985.
Fabarm has added to its line of semi-autos with the L4S Sporting Compact in 12 gauge. It comes with a shortened (13¾") LOP, TRIWOOD finish on the stock, and a TRIBORE barrel with 5 EXIS Competition choke tubes. The L4S uses a piston-operated gas system that is both reliable and soft shooting. MSRP is $1,950.
The company is rolling out two new versions of its XLR5 autoloader. The XLR5 Composite Hunter comes with a lightweight black composite stock with soft-touch finish and a 28" barrel with a set of 3 INNER HP flush-fitting choke tubes. The 12-gauge will accept 2¾" and 3" shells, and the MSRP is $1,695. There’s also a limited-edition XLR5 Gryphon with TrueTimber Viper blue camo, a black frame and blue anodized elements. With a Pulse Piston system calibrated for 2¾" shells, a TRIBORE barrel and 5 EXIS HP choke tubes, this stylish 7½-pound 12-gauge functions and handles like a dream. MSRP is $2,195.
Fausti USA has added to its extensive catalog of stylish shotguns with the Class RDX, a round-body over/under that’s beautiful and durable. At the heart of the design is Fausti’s patented Four Locks action, with four locking points for reliability and solid lockup. The redesigned receiver is machined from a solid piece of hardened steel and is available with either a coin or color-case-hardened finish with intricate laser scroll engraving. The guns come with oil-finished 3A Turkish-walnut stocks with round-knob grips and a special checkering pattern, and they are available in 12, 16, 20 and 28 gauge as well as .410. All come with dedicated receivers (except the .410, which is built on a 28-gauge frame), 5 choke tubes and ejectors. Barrel lengths are 26" to 29". MSRP is $5,799 for the 12- and 20-gauge; $6,389 for the 16, 28 and .410.
Also new is the latest iteration in the Italian-themed Italyco line: the SLX Tema 3. This boxlock over/under features a bulino-engraved, coin-finished receiver and sideplates with the special Tema 3 theme and gold inlays. The extra-high-grade, oil-finished Turkish-walnut stock has a half-pistol grip with steel cap and a splinter forend. There are a multitude of options on this premium gun, as buyers can select single or double triggers; extractors or ejectors; removable or fixed chokes; 12, 16, 20 or 28 gauge or .410 chambering; and barrel lengths from 26½" to 32". MSRP is $15,900 for the 12- and 20-gauge; $16,540 for the 16, 28 and .410 There is also a Sport model designed for the competitive shooter.
Franchi is offering two new guns this year, the first being the Instinct LX over/under. This gun has an all-steel, case-color-hardened receiver with gold-inlay game scenes and an AA-grade-walnut Prince of Wales stock with satin finish and Schnabel forend. It comes with a gold-plated trigger, red fiber-optic front sight, safety-mounted barrel selector and ejectors. It is available in 12 and 20 gauge with 28" barrels and weighs 7 and 6.6 pounds. MSRP is $1,699.
Also new is the Affinity Elite series of inertia-operated semi-autos. There are three models: a 20-gauge with a 26" barrel and 12-gauges with 28" barrels and 3" or 3½" chambers. All are available with OPTIFADE Marsh camo stocks with Cerakote Burnt Bronze finishes or OPTIFADE Timber camo with Cerakote Cobalt finishes. All come with the long list of standard features found on Franchi Affinity shotguns, including TSA recoil pads (which also allow for custom LOP adjustments), shim kits to modify drop and cast, oversized loading ports, ambidextrous safeties, drop-out trigger groups, and recoil springs mounted on the magazine tubes. Elite guns also come with oversized and textured bolt handles and bolt releases as well as 3 chrome-lined extended chokes. MSRP for the 12- and 20-gauge 3" models is $1,249 and for the 12-gauge 3½" is $1,419.
Remington rolled out several new V3 autoloaders in the past year, including the V3 Compact, a reduced-LOP model for small-statured shooters. This semi-auto 12-gauge comes with a 22" light-contour barrel with a black-oxide finish, and the 13" stock comes with spacers, so the gun can be adjusted to fit a growing shooter. Using the company’s VersaPort gas system (which utilizes four or eight gas ports, depending upon shell length), the gun is equipped to handle 2¾" and 3" shells. MSRP is $915.
Also new is the 12-gauge V3 Waterfowl Pro, which utilizes the VersaPort system and comes with an oversized bolt handle and bolt release and an enlarged safety for use while wearing gloves. There is also a shim kit for adjusting drop and cast, a sling, a SuperCell recoil pad and 3 extended choke tubes. There are three models available, with the Realtree MAX-5 and Mossy Oak Shadow Grass Blades versions coming with Burnt Bronze Cerakote finishes, and the Realtree Timber model coming with Patriot Brown Cerakote on the receiver and barrel. All have 28" barrels and weigh 7.3 pounds. MSRPs are $1,195.
Rizzini is offering several new models this year, including the company’s premier competition gun: the BR460. It features a Boss-style frame and coil-spring trigger and is available in Skeet, Sporting, Trap and Double Trap models that are customized for each event. The Sporting version comes with lengthened forcing cones and a fixed rib, although adjustable or ramped ribs and an adjustable comb are options. You can choose fixed or interchangeable choke tubes, and barrel lengths range from 28" to 32", depending on the model. The pistol grip features a palm swell, and the low-profile receiver is basic but stylish. MSRP is $7,275.
The company’s Round Body Regal family has grown for 2019 and now includes the Regal, Regal EL, Regal Extra and Regal Grand, all of which come with classic round-body actions that carry comfortably and look outstanding. The actions are scaled to gauge (12, 16, 20, 28 and .410), and the sideplated receivers have coin or case-hardened finishes and full-coverage scroll engraving hand finished by Bottega Giovanelli. Stocks are oil-finished Turkish walnut with 26-lpi checkering, and the Regal Grand has an elegant Boss-style forend. Chromoly barrels are chrome lined and come in 26", 28", 29" and 30" lengths with ejectors and 5 flush-mount chokes. The EL version has a solid top rib, with the others featuring vent ribs. MSRPs are $5,275 for the Regal, $7,495 for the EL and $9,750 for the Extra. (There is an additional $200 cost for 28-gauges and .410s.) For pricing on the Grand, contact the company.
Stevens is offering several new value-priced shotguns this year. The company added 16-gauge options to its 555 and 555 Enhanced over/unders. The 16-gauge 555 comes with carbon-steel barrels and an aluminum receiver, which keeps the weight to just 6.2 pounds. The gun come with 5 interchangeable choke tubes and has an MSRP of $705. The 16-gauge 555 Enhanced has some cosmetic upgrades, including a silver receiver finish with scroll engraving and upgraded walnut. It also comes with ejectors (the 555 has extractors) and weighs slightly more than the 555 16-gauge. MSRP is $879.
Stevens is now offering its 320 pumpguns with synthetic stocks. Options include black, Mossy Oak Shadow Grass Blades or Obsession, and Muddy Girl camo. The guns come with screw-in choke tubes. There are field models available with full-length and compact stocks and MSRPs starting at $239.
Syren has added two models this year. Competition shooters will appreciate the Elos N2 Sporting, a stylish over/under with a 13¾" Micro-Metric 3D stock with an adjustable comb. The stock is Turkish walnut with a TRIWOOD finish, and interchangeable Microcell rubber recoil pads and an adjustable trigger allow for customization. The ventilated top rib tapers from 10mm to 8mm and comes with a white Bradley-style front bead and brass mid bead. Weight was trimmed from the gun, so even in 12 gauge with 30" barrels it weighs just 7 pounds 9 ounces and balances perfectly. Other key features include a stylish black satin receiver and 5 EXIS HP competition chokes. MSRP is $2,850, with a left-hand stock available for an additional $150.
Also new is the Elos D2, available in 20 or 28 gauge. Case coloring on the receiver combines with scroll engraving and gold gamebird inlays to give the gun a classy look. Add to that a Turkish-walnut stock with TRIWOOD finish. The Elos D2 comes with a 13¾" LOP, 5 INNER HP choke tubes and a weight of 6 pounds 7 ounces. Both the 20- and 28-gauge have an MSRP of $2,850, and left-hand versions are available.
Weatherby has moved its headquarters from Paso Robles, California, to Sheridan, Wyoming, and the first gun to roll out of the new plant is a semi-auto 12-gauge: the 18i. This inertia-operated smoothbore uses a simple and reliable operating system, an aluminum-alloy receiver, a crossbolt safety mounted behind the trigger, and a full-length top rib with an LPA fiber-optic sight. The 18i Synthetic comes with a black Elastomer stock and matte finish, and the 18i Waterfowler comes with a synthetic stock and Realtree MAX-5 camo on the metalwork and stock. Both come with 3½" chambers and 5 choke tubes. The 18i Deluxe has a nickel-finish receiver with stylish LaserTech engraving, a blued barrel, a walnut stock, an LPA sight and a 3" chamber. The latter is available in 12 gauge with a 28" barrel and 20 gauge with 26" or 28" barrels. The Deluxe weighs 7 pounds in 12 gauge and 6.5 pounds in 20 and has an MSRP of $1,899. The 12-gauge Synthetic and Waterfowler models weigh 7 pounds each and have MSRPs of $1,099 and $1,199.
Winchester has added several models to its extensive line of shotguns. The SXP line of pumpguns now includes a 20-gauge version of the SXP Trap Compact, designed for new shooters. The 20-gauge version features a 28" or 30" barrel and weighs 7 pounds or 7 pounds 2 ounces. It comes with a satin walnut stock with a raised comb and Inflex recoil pads, mid and front beads, a 13" LOP and a black chrome exterior. MSRP is $520.
Another addition is the SXP Youth Field, a walnut-stocked pumpgun with an aluminum-alloy receiver and matte-black finish. There are seven models available in 12 and 20 gauge with 20" to 24" barrels and a 20-gauge with an 18" barrel. All come with 3 choke tubes, 12" LOPs and stock spacers. With weights ranging from 5 pounds 14 ounces to 6 pounds 6 ounces, these guns are manageable for small-statured shooters. MSRPs start at $400.
Winchester has added to its SX4 line of gas-operated semi-autos as well. The SX4 Compact comes with a black synthetic stock, 13" LOP and Pachmayr Decelerator recoil pad. The recoil pad combined with Winchester’s Active Valve gas system helps keep recoil to a minimum. Winchester now is offering the Composite Compact—as well as several other SX4 guns—in 20-gauge models. These guns come with 3 Invector Plus choke tubes and a TRUGLO fiber-optic sight. Barrel lengths in both 20 and 12 gauge range from 24" to 28", and weights vary from 6 pounds 4 ounces to 6 pounds 8 ounces. There’s also a new SX4 Waterfowl Hunter Compact that is similar to the Composite Compact but comes with a Mossy Oak Shadow Grass Blades camo finish. MSRP for the Compact is $800 and for the Waterfowl Hunter Compact is $940. The new SX4 Upland Field model has a grade II/III satin walnut stock, an aluminum-alloy receiver with a matte nickel finish and scroll engraving, LOP spacers and oversized controls. There are two 12-gauge versions with 26" or 28" barrels and MSRPs of $1,110.