The year’s new offerings in smoothbores
By Brad Fitzpatrick
In terms of new offerings, there’s plenty for shotgunners to be excited about this year. There’s a long list of competition guns for any discipline and any budget, and it’s encouraging to see how many youth models are appearing—a direct response to increasing numbers of young shooters. Also, more women are participating in hunting and shooting, and companies are building superb guns with them in mind. Of course, upland hunters and waterfowlers haven’t been forgotten, and there are plenty of innovative hunting guns available as well.
From affordable field models to artistic masterpieces, the year’s new crop of smoothbores has it all. Isn’t it time you made space in your safe for a new addition?
From affordable field models to artistic masterpieces, the year’s new crop of smoothbores has it all. Isn’t it time you made space in your safe for a new addition?
ATA has been building high-quality shotguns in Turkey for more than 50 years, and now the guns are available in the US. The SP line of over/unders has 19 models, all of which come standard with boxlock actions, Turkish-walnut stocks and five Beretta/Benelli Mobilchoke-style tubes. SP O/Us are available with steel or aluminum-alloy receivers, and all are equipped with ejectors and removable trigger groups with adjustable triggers. The line’s show-stopper is the SP Deluxe. This 7-pound 12-gauge comes with Grade 2.5 walnut, sideplates, a choice of four barrel lengths (from 24″ to 30″) and elegant floral engraving on the steel receiver. There are also combo models available with 12- and 20-gauge barrels, and there are four competition versions—Skeet, Trap, Sport and Supersporter—with extended choke tubes. MSRPs range from $875 for the most basic version to $2,995 for the SP Deluxe.
Italian gunmaker Benelli kicked off 2020 with a bang. In addition to launching its first bolt-action rifle, the company expanded several product lines, including the 828 U over/under. The much-anticipated 20-gauge 828 U features AA satin walnut and an engraved nickel-plated receiver. It weighs 6 pounds or slightly less, depending on barrel length. Also new is the 828 U Sport, with 32″ barrels and a weight of slightly more than 8 pounds. Like the 30″ version, the 32″ Sport offers a stylish steel receiver and plates for adjusting balance. All 828 Us come with Benelli’s Progressive Comfort recoil-reduction system and the company’s steel locking system in which the breechblock attaches directly to the monoblock, eliminating stress on the receiver and hinge pins and prolonging gun life. MSRP on the 20-gauge 828 U is $3,199 and on the 32″ 828 U Sport is $4,399.
The Benelli Ethos has received enhancements with bird hunters in mind. The Ethos Upland Performance Shop model comes with an enlarged bolt handle and bolt release, a ported barrel, lengthened forcing cones, a nickel-plated receiver and eight choke tubes: five flush-fit Crio chokes and three Rob Roberts Triple Threat extended chokes. The nickel receiver and blued metal look great with the AA satin walnut stock. The 12-gauge version weighs 6.6 pounds, while the 20 weighs 5.6 pounds. MSRP is $2,999.
Last but not least, Benelli has a new surface treatment that offers unmatched protection from the elements. Known as the Benelli Surface Treatment (BE.S.T.), the application was in development for a decade and uses nanotechnology and diamond-like particles. Benelli has exposed treated guns to salt spray for months without corrosion, and it is so confident in the technology that it is backing its BE.S.T. guns—which currently include the SBE 3 and Ethos—with 25-year corrosion-protection warranties. Both guns have MSRPs of $2,199.
Beretta’s big news this year is the updated 686 Silver Pigeon I. The new laser engraving with floral patterns and brand logo gives the gun a classy look, and the oil-finished walnut stock with Schnabel forend looks and feels great. The 686 Silver Pigeon I comes with Steelium Optima Bore HP barrels and Optima Choke HP tubes. It is available in 12, 20 and 28 gauge as well as .410—all of which have scaled frames and MSRPs of $2,350.
Browning has continued adding to its extensive line of field and target guns. In the Citori line additions include the CXT and CX Micro shotguns with adjustable lengths of pull. Perfect for small-statured shooters, the CXT and CX Micro offer premium performance at a reasonable price. Both feature Graco buttplates that can be adjusted for length of pull as well as toe up, down, in and out. The guns come with Inflex recoil pads and three extended Midas Grade choke tubes. The CX Micro has a 60/40 point of impact (POI), perfect for a wide range of shooting disciplines, and the CXT has a 70/30 POI, ideal for trap. Both come with Grade II wood, and the CXT has a Monte Carlo cheekpiece. Both guns are available in 12 gauge and have MSRPs of $2,470.
The Citori White Lightning, Gran Lightning and Feather Lightning families have added new gauges. The White Lightning and Gran Lightning models are now available in 20 and 28 gauge as well as .410. The MSRP on the 20-gauge White Lightning is $2,670 and on the 28 and .410 is $2,740. The MSRP on the 20-gauge Gran Lightning is $3,330 and on the 28 and .410 is $3,400. The Feather Lightning now comes in 20 gauge and has an MSRP of $2,870.
Browning also unveiled its Citori Field Sporting Grade VII, featuring stunning engraving, an oil-finish Grade VI/VII walnut stock, five extended black Midas Grade choke tubes and more. It’s available in 12 gauge with 30″ or 32″ barrels and is easily one of the most beautiful over/unders Browning has ever made. MSRP is $6,270.
Browning also has expanded its Citori 725 line to include the 725 Trap Max. “Max” may be short for “maximum versatility,” as it easily can be adjusted for drop, cast, POI, trigger position and more. The GraCoil recoil-reduction system takes the fatigue out of extended shooting. Other features include the Triple Trigger system with three trigger shoes, a Pachmayr Decelerator XLT pad, and a glass-finish Grade V/VI walnut stock with a close-radius grip and palm swell. MSRP is $5,860.
Also new are expansions to existing 725 products. The 725 Feather now comes in 20 gauge and weighs less than 6 pounds, making it ideal for all-day carry. It has a lightweight alloy receiver with beautiful engraving, a Grade II/III walnut stock and an MSRP of $2,740. The 725 Field now is available in 12, 20 and 28 gauge as well as .410, and the 28 and .410 weigh about 7 pounds and have MSRPs of $2,670.
Last, Browning now is offering its classic single-shot BT-99 trap gun in a shorter version with an adjustable length of pull. The BT-99 Micro has a Graco adjustable buttplate and trap-style recoil pad, a satin-finish walnut stock, an ivory front sight with mid-bead and an MSRP of $1,700.
CZ-USA’s big news is the addition of its All-Terrain shotguns, which feature walnut stocks and durable OD green Cerakote metal finishes. All-Terrain guns also come with sling studs, extended chokes and rare-earth magnets on the extractors and ejectors that prevent shells from falling out when the guns are open. (These simple-but-effective magnets will leave you wondering why all field guns don’t have them.) The All-Terrain treatment has been given to the company’s Redhead Premier, Drake and Upland Ultralight over/unders; the Bobwhite G2 side-by-side; and the 1012 semi-auto. Most of the guns come in 12 or 20 gauge, and MSRPs range from $690 to $1,123.
CZ’s 1012 family has grown this year with the Synthetic Bottomlands model. Dipped in Mossy Oak’s signature camo pattern, the Bottomlands version comes in 12 gauge with a 28″ barrel, a 3″ chamber and five extended black choke tubes. Weight is 6 pounds, and the MSRP is $749.
There have been updates to existing CZ models as well. The Redhead Premier O/U now comes with a one-piece CNC-machined receiver and is available in 16 gauge (with fixed chokes) with an MSRP of $988. The new Redhead Premier Target, with 30″ barrels and five extended chokes, is available in 12 or 20 gauge and has an MSRP of $1,430. As the name implies, the new SCTP Sterling model is built with young shooters in mind. (The Scholastic Clay Target Program is exploding in popularity, and clay games are some of the fastest-growing shooting sports in the US.) That said, the SCTP Sterling’s dimensions and design also make the gun ideal for women. It is available in 12 gauge with 28″ or 30″ barrels, and there is a Sterling Southpaw edition for left-handed shooters. MSRP is $1,361.
Last, CZ has unveiled the latest version of the Upland Ultralight, which comes in 12 or 20 gauge with 26″ barrels. The CNC-machined alloy receiver keeps weight to only 5.2 pounds for the 20-gauge and 6 pounds for the 12. MSRP is $786.
Fabarm’s new offering this year is one that needs to be on every competitive shooter’s wish list. The Elos N2 AllSport XL is the same gun as the company’s Elos N2 AllSport but with a longer length of pull (14¾” [adjustable] vs. ١٤”). Now “full-size” shooters can have one over/under that will be suitable for every clay target discipline. The adjustable comb, interchangeable recoil pads and adjustable trigger allow for customizing the gun’s fit. The Turkish-walnut stock has a TRIWOOD finish, and the minimalist receiver looks classy. The gun comes with five EXIS HP Hyperbolic choke tubes and a Quick Release Rib (QRR), which in seconds can be changed from a sporting style (50/50 POI) to a trap rib (65/35). MSRP is $3,125.
Fabbrica Armi Isodoro Rizzini (FAIR) has been producing premium shotguns in Marcheno, Italy, for almost 50 years. The company’s new Carrera One is a 12-gauge boxlock over/under with premium walnut and an adjustable comb. The blued barrels and receiver are understated but stylish, and the barrel selector is located on the tang safety. The XR Trigger allows for a half-inch of adjustment. The 30″ barrels are chrome lined and come with automatic ejectors; FAIR’s X-Cone chamber cones, which are said to help mitigate recoil; a set of extended chokes and three interchangeable front-sight inserts in different colors to match conditions.The gun weighs 7.9 pounds and has an MSRP of $1,795.
Fausti has launched two new shotguns this year. The DEA Sport is a competition version of the classic Italian side-by-side. It has 81cm (roughly 32″) barrels, a flat rib, a fiber-optic front sight and five extended screw chokes. It also features a single selective trigger and high-grade stock with an adjustable comb and a pistol grip with a palm swell. The trigger is made from fully machined steel for longevity, but perhaps the most innovative feature is Fausti’s patented rotation-free ejectors, which are said to stand up better to wear than traditional ejectors. The wood is well figured, but the standard blued receiver with electrolytic gold accents is more subdued than those of some other Fausti guns. (Color case-hardened or coin-finished receivers are optional.) MSRP is $4,899.
It’s no surprise that a firearms company headed up by three women offers a selection of guns for female shooters. The latest addition is the Aphrodite, a rounded-action over/under with laser engraving and either a color case-hardened or coin finish. The Grade 3A oil-finish walnut stock has a shortened length of pull, a Monte Carlo stock and a Prince of Wales grip. The Aphrodite comes in 12, 16, 20 and 28 gauge as well as .410. MSRP is $4,199 for the 12 and 20 and $4,789 for the 16, 28 and .410.
Franchi launched several new guns this year, including the Instinct SLX family of over/unders. Based on the architecture of the company’s popular SL shotguns, SLX models come with auto ejectors, AA-grade walnut, a Prince of Wales grip, a Schnabel forend, an automatic tang-mounted safety and five extended chokes. But the real story is the elegant floral engraving with gold inlays and the gold trigger. With a weight of 6.3 pounds in 12 gauge and 5.6 pounds in 20, the gun is light enough for all-day carry. SLXs are available in 12 (6.3 pounds), 16 (5.8 pounds) and 20 (5.6 pounds) gauge, with MSRPs ranging from $1,999 to $2,099.
Franchi also has extended other product lines, such as by adding Affinity 3 Elite Upland autoloaders designed for bird hunters. These 12- and 20-gauge guns are available with 2¾” or 3″ chambers and feature A-grade walnut stocks and Cerakote Gun Metal Grey finishes on the metalwork. They also feature Sure Cycle oversized bolt handles and bolt releases and come with three extended choke tubes. MSRPs are $1,249.
Franchi has launched the Affinity 3 Companion semi-auto, and this year’s gun pays homage to the German shorthaired pointer. Fans of the GSP will appreciate the elegant themed engraving on the nickel-plated receiver. The Companion is available in 12 gauge (6.9 pounds) or 20 (6 pounds) with AA-grade satin walnut and three extended chokes. MSRP is $1,669.
Franchi also has added 28-gauge and .410 versions of its Instinct SL O/Us, both of which come with alloy receivers and A-grade walnut stocks. The guns are very light, with the .410 weighing 5.6 pounds and the 28 weighing 5.2 pounds. MSRPs for both are $1,699.
And topping things off are new 20-gauge versions of the Affinity 3 Sporting ($999), Instinct Catalyst ($1,469) and Instinct Sporting II ($1,999).
Caesar Guerini has added the impressive Invictus II Sporting, which combines a case-colored receiver with minimalist scroll engraving and gold outline with a semi-deluxe European-walnut stock with a hand-oiled finish. It comes in right- or left-handed versions with a fixed or an adjustable comb, the company’s DPS trigger and six Maxis competition chokes. The gun’s larger frame offers an improved bearing surface between the action and forend iron, and the Invictus Cam eliminates traditional hinge pins and trunnions and allows shooters to adjust the relationship of the barrels to the action, greatly prolonging the gun’s life. MSRP is $7,925.
Also new from Guerini is the Invictus I Sporting M-SPEC 34” Specialist. A few years ago 34″ sporting barrels were the rage, but shooters quickly realized that extra-long tubes make guns so bulky and nose-heavy that shooting becomes a chore. The Specialist addresses this by adding fixed chokes (Modified & Improved Modified come standard) and by using lighter barrels. MSRP is $7,595.
Every year Guerini offers an Elite Dealer Exclusive model, and this year it is the Revenant in 20 and 28 gauge as well as a 20/28 two-barrel set. The round-body Revenant comes with a Boss-style forend, extra-deluxe walnut and beautiful engraving. All Revenants come in premium cases, and left-handed and English stocks are available. MSRPs are $13,495 for the 20 and 28 and $15,975 for the combo.
There are also two Limited Edition models available this year. The Maxum Gold Field comes with gold-accent engraving on the receiver and sideplates and beautiful oil-finished walnut. It is available in 20 and 28 gauge with 28″ or 30″ barrels. There’s also a 20/28 combo and a 20/28/.410 combo. MSRPs are $8,295 for the 20- or 28-gauge models, $10,625 for the two-barrel set and $13,095 for the three-barrel set. A left-handed stock is available for $255. The other Limited Edition model is the Invictus III Sporting Limited, with a case-colored finish, striking floral engraving and beautiful gold inlays. MSRP is $8,695.
Krieghoff has expanded its line of Victoria shotguns for women to include the new K-80 Victoria. Based on Krieghoff’s popular K-80 action, the Victoria comes in 12 gauge with 30″ or 32″ Parcours barrels, a lightweight soldered rib and Modified & Improved Modified or Improved Modified & Full fixed chokes. There also is an option for 28″ barrels with thin-wall removable chokes. Stocks feature an adjustable comb; are designed to fit women, with special attention paid to toe and pitch measurements; and are available in right- and left-handed versions. The K-80 Victoria’s delicate scroll is accented by softly pointed checkering and paired with exceptional walnut for a distinctly elegant look. Krieghoff is offering additional 20- and 28-gauge barrel sets for the K-80 Victoria, and those barrels are 30″ or 32″ with fixed M & IM chokes. Krieghoff’s custom shop will engrave the Victoria with any of the company’s standard patterns or customer-supplied patterns. MSRPs start at $13,395.
This year Retay is making a lot of fans happy by offering a 20-gauge version of its popular Masai Mara autoloading shotguns. The Masai Mara utilizes a sophisticated inertia-operated system that has earned a reputation for reliability. What’s more, the 20-gauge versions are light and nimble and offered in a variety of stock, finish and camo options. The guns feature drop-out trigger assemblies, removable ejectors and much more. MSRPs range from around $1,100 to $1,300.
Rizzini now is offering the BR110 Light Luxe, the newest member of the BR110 Light family of over/unders. The gun comes in 12, 20 and 28 gauge—each with a scaled receiver—and the .410 is built on the 28-gauge frame. An aluminum-alloy receiver keeps weight to a minimum, and barrels are chrome lined and made of nickel-chrome steel. The beautiful Turkish-walnut stock has 26-lines-per-inch checkering and a Schnabel forend. Other features include jeweled monoblocks, brazed ribs, automatic ejectors and screw chokes. MSRP is $2,225.
This year Syren, which offers guns built specifically for female shooters, has come out with the Elos N2 Elevate. This over/under uses the same reliable action as the Fabarm Elos N2 AllSport and—like the AllSport—is equipped with a Quick Release Rib, which allows for swapping between a 50/50 sporting rib and 65/35 trap rib. The Elevate comes in 12 gauge and has 30″ barrels (32″ barrels are available for an additional charge) and 3″ chambers. The gun is completely customizable—everything from stock fit and balance to overall weight, point of impact, trigger system and recoil characteristics. The stock is Turkish walnut with a TRIWOOD finish and rubber recoil pad. Five EXIS XP competition chokes come standard. Weight is 7 pounds 10 ounces. MSRP is $3,125, and a left-handed stock is available for an additional $155.
Upland hunters will appreciate Winchester’s SXP Upland Field, the latest in the company’s Super X Pump line. Part of Winchester’s SHOT Show Special program, the gun comes with a matte nickel receiver with engraved upland scenes, a blued barrel, a Grade II/III walnut stock and three choke tubes. It is available in 12 and 20 gauge, and MSRPs start at $500. Other new SHOT Show Specials include the Waterfowl Hunter TrueTimber Prairie (starting at $460), Waterfowl Hunter Mossy Oak Shadow Grass Habitat (starting at $420) and Hybrid TrueTimber Prairie (starting at $420).
Also new from Winchester are SHOT Show editions of the SX4 gas-operated semi-auto and the Model 101 over/under. On the SX4 side are a number of new camo patterns as well as a Hybrid model, which combines a black composite stock with gray Cerakote finish. Available in 12 and 20 gauge, the SX4 Hybrid has MSRPs starting at $850. New 101 models include a Light version with an aluminum-alloy receiver (cutting weight by about a pound on the 12-gauge to as low as 6 pounds) and an MSRP of $1,870. Also new are the 101 Deluxe Field model (with Grade III walnut) and the Deluxe Field Maple (AAA maple), both of which have MSRPs of $2,000.