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Author Topic: Best Waterfowl Shotguns  (Read 4226 times)

Offline Phishead

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Best Waterfowl Shotguns
« on: January 25, 2022, 04:34:48 PM »
Dreaming about buying a new shotgun before the next season. Currently own SBEIII but itching for something else. Trying to decide if i want to keep or sell. What would you buy and why? under $1500/under $1000. must shoot 3.5" loads, camo pattern and light weight. Let's hear it...

Offline Special T

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Re: Best Waterfowl Shotguns
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2022, 05:04:54 PM »
I shot a buddies SBE 3 and liked it but In would love to shoot the new Browning a5.
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Offline fowl smacker

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Re: Best Waterfowl Shotguns
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2022, 05:11:58 PM »
Beretta xtrema2 26" is by far my all time favorite waterfowl gun.

Offline Phishead

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Re: Best Waterfowl Shotguns
« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2022, 05:34:08 PM »
anyone shooting the Winchester SX4? lots of great reviews

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Re: Best Waterfowl Shotguns
« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2022, 05:38:34 PM »
Sx3
Like it
Always grab it or the trusty 870
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Offline wadu1

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Re: Best Waterfowl Shotguns
« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2022, 05:40:46 PM »
Beretta xtrema2 26" is by far my all time favorite waterfowl gun.
:yeah: Beretta xtrema2 X2
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Re: Best Waterfowl Shotguns
« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2022, 05:55:23 PM »
Under $1,000 Stoeger M3500, love mine.  It's not the best shotgun but I believe it's the best at it's price point.

Offline cem3434

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Re: Best Waterfowl Shotguns
« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2022, 05:55:38 PM »
Beretta xtrema2 26" is by far my all time favorite waterfowl gun.
:yeah: Beretta xtrema2 X2

 :yeah: That's what I am waterfowl hunting still today.
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Offline kselkhunter

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Re: Best Waterfowl Shotguns
« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2022, 06:15:39 PM »
I love my Browning A5.

I went to the store and shouldered all of the shotguns they had on hand.  The A5 wasn't actually on my list when I went to the store, but it's what I went home with and I love it.  It just shouldered the best for me, and my eye really focuses on that "hump" and the bead beyond it really quickly.   No regrets, and would happily buy another if anything happens to this one.


Offline bigdub257

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Re: Best Waterfowl Shotguns
« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2022, 06:45:49 PM »
Love my SBEIII.  It shoots very well for me and is super reliable.  Just keeps pumping the shells out no matter how long I go between cleanings.

Offline h2ofowlr

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Re: Best Waterfowl Shotguns
« Reply #10 on: January 25, 2022, 07:01:44 PM »
You have a great gun.  Why change?  If you are, your best-off shouldering multiple different shotguns and see which one fits you best.  Everyone has a preference or found one that fits them, and they like.  I had the Beretta Extrema 2 and A400.  Sold both as I just didn't shoot them great.  I shoot trap and sporting clays with my Browning and didn't want to make changes that would require different focal hold points and then change for waterfowl.  Muscle memory would start messing with me.  I have the Winchester SX3 & SX4 but shoot my Benelli’s.  Those are my favorite waterfowl gun.  I have the M2, SBE2 & SBE3.  Very reliable.
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Offline metlhead

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Re: Best Waterfowl Shotguns
« Reply #11 on: January 25, 2022, 07:24:50 PM »
Most of the waterfowl specific guns are well made and to someone, they are the "best". Customer service would be the deciding factor, in the event something fails. I started shooting premium shells this season. Not having any use for the 3.5" heavies, my continual search for another gun brings up many short chambered guns that fit and feel so much nicer. Just a thought. Gives more options.

Offline Markhoran

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Re: Best Waterfowl Shotguns
« Reply #12 on: January 25, 2022, 10:27:54 PM »

Hunting in a Kayak (Aquapod) with a dog on public land is hard on a shotgun. Recommend mid price auto shot gun - Beretta A300.

Offline C-Money

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Re: Best Waterfowl Shotguns
« Reply #13 on: January 26, 2022, 06:29:00 AM »
The Franchi Affinity Elite is very hot right now. It is really building a solid reputation. I am not a fan of semi autos for waterfowl, but this one is worth a look. The Browning BPS & Benelli Super Nova are hard to beat as the "best" waterfowl guns. But, check this Franchi out, feels good in your hands....

https://www.franchiusa.com/semi-auto-shotguns/affinity-3-waterfowl-elite
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Offline h2ofowlr

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Re: Best Waterfowl Shotguns
« Reply #14 on: January 26, 2022, 07:15:43 AM »
If you want to check out new guns, Skagit Arms is putting in a $30k Benelli display.  It will have the full line of Benelli / Franchi / Stoeger and Beretta firearms in it.  Might be worth the drive.  They also seem to carry all lines of shotguns.  If you buy one, you are usually out in less than an hour.  Not like Cabelas where the whole process is 3 plus hours.
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Re: Best Waterfowl Shotguns
« Reply #15 on: January 26, 2022, 07:20:44 AM »
I have a Browning Maxis 2    great gun.  You should shoulder multiple guns before you buy.  I was convinced that the SBE III or the Beretta A400 was the way to go until I shouldered them. Changed my mind quick.  Lots of great "best" shotguns out there. You just have to find one that fits you good.
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Offline kselkhunter

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Re: Best Waterfowl Shotguns
« Reply #16 on: January 26, 2022, 07:22:15 AM »
I have a Browning Maxis 2    great gun.  You should shoulder multiple guns before you buy.  I was convinced that the SBE III or the Beretta A400 was the way to go until I shouldered them. Changed my mind quick.  Lots of great "best" shotguns out there. You just have to find one that fits you good.

 :yeah:   I was also certain I wanted the A400 as well, but ended up with the Browning A5 because of how it felt when I shouldered it.  Fit is important.

Offline KP-Skagit

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Re: Best Waterfowl Shotguns
« Reply #17 on: January 26, 2022, 07:47:00 AM »
Fit is important but equally important is learning to shoot your gun. My dad made the switch from and SBE 1 to SBE 2 and went from the best shot I know to an ammo makers favorite hunter. The raised rib was enough to throw him off. That said, he stuck with it and is back to shooting better than ever. Point being, the fit was basically identical but there were still some challenges.

I would be curious to hear the issues the OP is having with his SBE 3 before going to recommended a different gun.

Offline h2ofowlr

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Re: Best Waterfowl Shotguns
« Reply #18 on: January 26, 2022, 08:09:27 AM »
Fit is important but equally important is learning to shoot your gun. My dad made the switch from and SBE 1 to SBE 2 and went from the best shot I know to an ammo makers favorite hunter. The raised rib was enough to throw him off. That said, he stuck with it and is back to shooting better than ever. Point being, the fit was basically identical but there were still some challenges.

I would be curious to hear the issues the OP is having with his SBE 3 before going to recommended a different gun.

Many don't put the time in to learn the gun or accomodate it's pattern.  They are used to shooting a specific way and the gun is junk if they can't hit it when they bury the bird vs. floating the bird.  If its your go to shotgun for everything, than learn it.  In the trap world, when you get a new gun or make stock adjustments it can take 500 plus shells to get used to the changes.  Some are ready to sell after a half box of shells.
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Offline Sliverslinger

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Re: Best Waterfowl Shotguns
« Reply #19 on: January 26, 2022, 09:12:44 AM »
I love my Beretta A400 Extreme. Have maybe 500-600 rds through it if all lengths and sizes and have yet to have a single malfunction.
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Offline Chesterdog

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Re: Best Waterfowl Shotguns
« Reply #20 on: January 26, 2022, 09:56:52 AM »
I love my Winchester SX3.  I'm getting the SX4 this summer.  The bead sight on the barrel broke off three years ago and it made no difference to me or the amount of birds I take home.  It's a good lesson for new hunters.  Once your swing becomes muscle memory, you stop hesitating to aim and your follow-through helps you lead birds.

Offline Kola16

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Re: Best Waterfowl Shotguns
« Reply #21 on: January 26, 2022, 10:45:35 AM »
Beretta A400 Xtreme Plus. It is a little over your $1500 price, but it is worth it if it fits you well. It is the lightest recoiling shotgun and cycles faster than you can get on target for a second shot. I have had mine get bumped by the dog, dunking it completely in the saltwater. I just do a quick shake out and it cycles flawlessly. If I ever needed to, it field strips in 15 seconds. I've had mud in the chamber, and I just submerge it in water, shake it out and fire :hunt2:
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Offline Basinguy

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Re: Best Waterfowl Shotguns
« Reply #22 on: January 26, 2022, 11:34:32 AM »
I have been shooting several shotguns the last few years hunting ducks and geese. I love automatics, but unfortunately I have discovered that if you hunt all different kinds of areas and conditions your gonna need a pump either as your main gun, or a back up. I used a cheap girsan mc312 just to finish off the season last year after the 1100 blew up. I actually started to like it besides it giving me a cheek bruise every hunt. Then I sat in a wind storm blasting snow geese and it started to fail. the guy next to me went through 2 auto's before going to the truck and giving up. I ended up missing out on a few volleys that day, not happy. I didn't give up on the gun, cleaned it, but then it got super cold a few weeks later. It started to misfire on my duck hunts as well as my buddies brand new remington auto was misfiring as well. I gave up. My hunting buddies all say the same thing, auto's are cool, but they all have issues, not all the time, but when they do it sucks. I have been finishing the season along with my 2 boys all with the winchester sxp's. They shoot every time any load, but they are pumps. Just wanted my 2cents out there to any guys out there that are thinking about auto's. if you just hunt for fun once in a while your probably fine, but if you hunt in water and dirt I would bring a back up. 

Offline h2ofowlr

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Re: Best Waterfowl Shotguns
« Reply #23 on: January 26, 2022, 12:50:34 PM »
I have been shooting several shotguns the last few years hunting ducks and geese. I love automatics, but unfortunately I have discovered that if you hunt all different kinds of areas and conditions your gonna need a pump either as your main gun, or a back up. I used a cheap girsan mc312 just to finish off the season last year after the 1100 blew up. I actually started to like it besides it giving me a cheek bruise every hunt. Then I sat in a wind storm blasting snow geese and it started to fail. the guy next to me went through 2 auto's before going to the truck and giving up. I ended up missing out on a few volleys that day, not happy. I didn't give up on the gun, cleaned it, but then it got super cold a few weeks later. It started to misfire on my duck hunts as well as my buddies brand new remington auto was misfiring as well. I gave up. My hunting buddies all say the same thing, auto's are cool, but they all have issues, not all the time, but when they do it sucks. I have been finishing the season along with my 2 boys all with the winchester sxp's. They shoot every time any load, but they are pumps. Just wanted my 2cents out there to any guys out there that are thinking about auto's. if you just hunt for fun once in a while your probably fine, but if you hunt in water and dirt I would bring a back up.
When it gets into the single digits or negative digits, you need to do a complete cleaning on your semi auto and make sure you have no moisture in the gun and all the gunk is cleaned out.  You also need to run a lube that is made for the cold.  Standard gun oil will act like molasses.  I run the safariland Break Free CLP.  No issues with the cold when using it.  Clean dry gun is key.  If you get snow in the action or the dog shakes near the gun, clean it again before the next outing.  I also carry a can of the CLP with me in case I have any slowing of the action.  That will fix your issue at hand.  You have to change lubes up when it get's really cold or use the correct type. :tup:
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Re: Best Waterfowl Shotguns
« Reply #24 on: January 26, 2022, 01:05:49 PM »
The other thing to note is that pumps aren't without their malfunctions either.  For me, reliability jumped way up when I ditched the 870 for a semi-auto.  I'm sure others have different experience, but anytime any piece of debris got in mine it would be very unhappy.  My semi-auto functions with a fairly ridiculous amount of grass, mud and junk in there.  It was great for shooting clay, shooting anything during the summer or even rain, but once things get dirty in the least bit it was incredibly unreliable.

I fixed the cold problem by living on the west side and not going out when everything is hard froze over.  Gotta love long seasons.

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Re: Best Waterfowl Shotguns
« Reply #25 on: January 26, 2022, 09:28:08 PM »
I love my Remington Versamax. It’s been reliable, fits me nice & I knock down a lot of ducks with it

Offline Phishead

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Re: Best Waterfowl Shotguns
« Reply #26 on: January 27, 2022, 10:21:31 AM »
Fit is important but equally important is learning to shoot your gun. My dad made the switch from and SBE 1 to SBE 2 and went from the best shot I know to an ammo makers favorite hunter. The raised rib was enough to throw him off. That said, he stuck with it and is back to shooting better than ever. Point being, the fit was basically identical but there were still some challenges.

I would be curious to hear the issues the OP is having with his SBE 3 before going to recommended a different gun.

Thanks for all the input. Great discussion on this topic. Will definitely check out Skagit Arms setup when I'm in the neighborhood in the next couple of weeks.

My biggest issue with the SBE3 is it shoots high. I had the SBE2 and decided to upgrade when the 3 first came out and it's been very inconsistent. It shoots high and to the left which I've tried to adjust to but is now a major pain given it's my go to gun for upland, ducks and geese. I could go back to the 2 but why not try another gun.  :tup: Maybe it's in my head but i've had a hell of a time adjusting for all these different hunting scenarios and my shooting has been inconsistent as a result. doesn't help I don't get out as much i'd like either. Plus I'm always itching to try out new stuff be it decoys, blinds, calls and guns. must be the gemini in me.

Offline Special T

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Re: Best Waterfowl Shotguns
« Reply #27 on: January 27, 2022, 12:29:16 PM »
Fit is important but equally important is learning to shoot your gun. My dad made the switch from and SBE 1 to SBE 2 and went from the best shot I know to an ammo makers favorite hunter. The raised rib was enough to throw him off. That said, he stuck with it and is back to shooting better than ever. Point being, the fit was basically identical but there were still some challenges.

I would be curious to hear the issues the OP is having with his SBE 3 before going to recommended a different gun.

Thanks for all the input. Great discussion on this topic. Will definitely check out Skagit Arms setup when I'm in the neighborhood in the next couple of weeks.

My biggest issue with the SBE3 is it shoots high. I had the SBE2 and decided to upgrade when the 3 first came out and it's been very inconsistent. It shoots high and to the left which I've tried to adjust to but is now a major pain given it's my go to gun for upland, ducks and geese. I could go back to the 2 but why not try another gun.  :tup: Maybe it's in my head but i've had a hell of a time adjusting for all these different hunting scenarios and my shooting has been inconsistent as a result. doesn't help I don't get out as much i'd like either. Plus I'm always itching to try out new stuff be it decoys, blinds, calls and guns. must be the gemini in me.

I think this is a fitment issue. Head and shoulder alignment should fix this some combo of shims and adjustable but stock should make this work properly.  :twocents:
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Offline h2ofowlr

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Re: Best Waterfowl Shotguns
« Reply #28 on: January 27, 2022, 12:52:41 PM »
Fit is important but equally important is learning to shoot your gun. My dad made the switch from and SBE 1 to SBE 2 and went from the best shot I know to an ammo makers favorite hunter. The raised rib was enough to throw him off. That said, he stuck with it and is back to shooting better than ever. Point being, the fit was basically identical but there were still some challenges.

I would be curious to hear the issues the OP is having with his SBE 3 before going to recommended a different gun.

Thanks for all the input. Great discussion on this topic. Will definitely check out Skagit Arms setup when I'm in the neighborhood in the next couple of weeks.

My biggest issue with the SBE3 is it shoots high. I had the SBE2 and decided to upgrade when the 3 first came out and it's been very inconsistent. It shoots high and to the left which I've tried to adjust to but is now a major pain given it's my go to gun for upland, ducks and geese. I could go back to the 2 but why not try another gun.  :tup: Maybe it's in my head but i've had a hell of a time adjusting for all these different hunting scenarios and my shooting has been inconsistent as a result. doesn't help I don't get out as much i'd like either. Plus I'm always itching to try out new stuff be it decoys, blinds, calls and guns. must be the gemini in me.
When you have a change in the way the gun shoots, the biggest ticket to fixing the issue or retraining your hold point and point of aim is practice.  If you can get to the range on a frequent basis, you would get used to where your gun shoots and the muscle memory would get to where you need to be.  In my case where I shoot trap and sporting clays frequently, I need to stick with similar shooting guns.  One change effects the other activity i like to do.
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Offline Basinguy

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Re: Best Waterfowl Shotguns
« Reply #29 on: January 27, 2022, 01:17:55 PM »
switching up guns a lot, you can do it, but it's like anything else. Tons of reps at home is what I do and I have my kids do it to. Most people just put the gun to their shoulder a couple times then start shooting or hunting. Some people can get away with it but I have to spend lots of time finding that spot on the gun. I practice with my eyes shut and then open them when on target. I check (rifle aim) to see if Im lined up, if not keep going until it fits like a glove. I can train to make my gun shoot high, or low

Offline KP-Skagit

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Re: Best Waterfowl Shotguns
« Reply #30 on: January 27, 2022, 02:04:19 PM »
When I went from an 870 to a SBE1 I couldn't hit the broadside of a barn. Actually had to shoot on a paper target. Realized I was twisting the gun when I shouldered it and was shooting high and left. Gun was balanced differently.

Sounds like a similar issue to what you have going. I was able to train myself to stop doing it.

Also could be with how your SBE II is shimmed compared to your III.

Going to a new gun could very well just create new issues.

Offline HooknoseHunter

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Re: Best Waterfowl Shotguns
« Reply #31 on: January 27, 2022, 09:42:46 PM »
Beretta A350 or A400. Gas over Inertia everytime. Berettas have a longer choke profile leading to better patterning and I prefer the beretta safety location vs. the Benelli. Also, I’ve never had the dreaded “Benelli click” when shooting a beretta :)
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Offline h2ofowlr

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Re: Best Waterfowl Shotguns
« Reply #32 on: January 28, 2022, 07:49:15 PM »
Beretta A350 or A400. Gas over Inertia everytime. Berettas have a longer choke profile leading to better patterning and I prefer the beretta safety location vs. the Benelli. Also, I’ve never had the dreaded “Benelli click” when shooting a beretta :)

Beretta and Benelli use the same choke.   :dunno:
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Re: Best Waterfowl Shotguns
« Reply #33 on: January 28, 2022, 08:00:32 PM »
 :yeah:

Offline HooknoseHunter

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Re: Best Waterfowl Shotguns
« Reply #34 on: January 28, 2022, 09:46:01 PM »
Beretta A350 or A400. Gas over Inertia everytime. Berettas have a longer choke profile leading to better patterning and I prefer the beretta safety location vs. the Benelli. Also, I’ve never had the dreaded “Benelli click” when shooting a beretta :)

Beretta and Benelli use the same choke.   :dunno:
[/ They have different bore diameters.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2022, 10:21:55 PM by HooknoseHunter »
STOP ASSISTING WEST SIDERS!!!!!!

Offline Guzman

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Re: Best Waterfowl Shotguns
« Reply #35 on: January 31, 2022, 07:17:22 PM »
A lot of people stated find a gun that fits you. This is great advise. We all have preferences.

For me the Beretta A400 is the best gun out there right now. The butt extension fits me much better. The recoil system is probably the best. It is light. It is a good shooting gun.

Offline HooknoseHunter

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Re: Best Waterfowl Shotguns
« Reply #36 on: January 31, 2022, 08:02:54 PM »
A lot of people stated find a gun that fits you. This is great advise. We all have preferences.

For me the Beretta A400 is the best gun out there right now. The butt extension fits me much better. The recoil system is probably the best. It is light. It is a good shooting gun.

Agreed!
STOP ASSISTING WEST SIDERS!!!!!!

Offline metlhead

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Re: Best Waterfowl Shotguns
« Reply #37 on: February 01, 2022, 01:25:03 PM »
Ah, the Benneli click. Rough country has allowed a few chukar and huns to fly free before I got in to the habit of periodically checking the bolt on my Montefelltro. I never knew of that issue.

Offline salish

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Re: Best Waterfowl Shotguns
« Reply #38 on: February 03, 2022, 11:41:19 AM »
I'm an upland bird hunter and a once-in-awhile duck hunter, but I hope to rectify this next season since I'll be retiring and will have more time available to me. People are probably going to laugh at this, but I bought a Browning A5 Light 12, the real A5, several years ago as my dedicated waterfowl gun. This is a late 90's Miroku version with a barrel that shoots steel. It's big and heavy and antiquated as heck, but I like it. I just don't like carrying it mile after mile ;) 've shot a 1940's Remington Model 11 humpback in 20ga since the late 80's and I'm used to that big chunk of receiver, so learning to shoot it was no huge leap. Anyway, I figure it must be a proven design since it was around for so long. It's worked well the few times I've hunted waterfowl with it. This time next year I'll probably be whining for a modern lightweight semi-auto.

Offline 2MANY

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Re: Best Waterfowl Shotguns
« Reply #39 on: February 03, 2022, 11:57:37 AM »
Best waterfowl gun is a pump.
Browning BPS.
Ejects out the bottom.
Your buddy on your right will agree.

Offline NiteHawk

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Re: Best Waterfowl Shotguns
« Reply #40 on: February 17, 2022, 10:29:03 AM »
Super Black eagle II! After 15 years of hard hunting it started to malfunction this season. The carrier latch was deformed and not holding shells in the magazine which made it very cumbersome to load. I put in a new carrier latch, aluminum mag follower, oversized bolt release, and dipped it in new camo and it's as good as new.

I've got to say, the oversized bolt release is a great upgrade for any semi-auto shotgun.

 


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