From wingshooting dove or bringing the barrel up on busting quail, to taking a bead on a strutting gobbler or swinging on waterfowl banking into the decoys, there's nothing like the feel of a perfectly balanced scattergun. You've promised to buy yourself a new shotgun for how long now?
Or was the promise to a youngster who is now on the verge of adulthood and ready to get in the field? Could be you want to step up your game with a competition-grade shotgun and try your hand shooting against others at skeet, trap and sporting clays events.
Remember, the process of buying a firearm can be lengthy due to regulations that require waiting periods. Our advice is to get in the store soon so you have plenty of time to get some practice in before you get in the field or step to the mark in competition. We'll do everything we can to make your purchase go as smoothly as possible once you have had the chance to enjoy deciding which of our shotguns is the perfect fit. Here are some tips on selecting the right shotgun.
Shoot For Quality
Whether you choose an over and under, side by side, pump or semi-auto, buy the finest shotgun you can afford. Finely-crafted shotguns are passed down from generation to generation along with a heritage of conservation and appreciation of the outdoors. When you step into the field, your closest companion is your shotgun and when it comes to picking up and hitting the target, the shooter and the shotgun become one. Our experts can help you get the most gun for your money.
For young hunters you might want to consider a single-shot shotgun in a small bore like 20 gauge or .410. Most of these models "break open" to insert the shell for simple loading and safety. The fact the young shooter has just one chance and has to make the most of it generally improves shot selection and accuracy.
The downside to a single shot is that unless you have access to hunts and/or hunting areas where lots of action is guaranteed, the young hunter may be wasting opportunities in order to gain skills that could be picked up on the range. Plus, once you do have a youngster involved in the sport, you know you're going to have to buy another shotgun. We'll show you the complete line of options available, including youth models and shotguns that will survive the transition and still be a valuable part of your family's shooting sports.
You Don't Have To Be A Big Bore
Not only youngsters can enjoy the advantages of shotguns with small bores (technically, only the .410 is a bore, but it is common to call anything from 20 gauge up a small bore) . A multitude of shotguns bored for .410, 28 and 20 gauge are on the market and the variety seems to be increasing, with even the middle of the road 16 gauge enjoying a resurgence in popularity.
From sleek over and unders to lightweight pumps, the firearms industry has created something for every shooter in the small bore line. The outstanding benefit of a lightweight shotgun is the ease with which it is brought up to the shoulder and line of sight, a benefit that continues as the barrel is swung through the target.
The light kick (recoil) of the smaller loads and the ease of carrying the shotgun while tromping through the brush and rough terrain while kicking up quail, grouse, chukar or pheasant all combine to make for a better, more productive experience.
There are many variables that can be controlled to get you fitted with the right model. We recommend you come into the store and see which shotgun feels right to you. It will only get better from there.
Steel Yourself To Pack A Punch
We've learned to live with the regulations that banned lead shot for waterfowling (and for all shooting sports in designated areas) and the firearms industry has played a big role in providing new shotguns with harder barrels, variable choke systems and, perhaps most importantly, the 3 1/2-inch chamber.
The science of shotgun shells has also been taken to a new level with new shot in multiple sizes and made of a wide range of alloys and metals. The initial idea behind the bigger shells was to overcome patterning problems with the new shot by sending up more metal. Then it was discovered that the speed of the shot and how it reacted at impact was the prime variable. Faster is better.
We can help you understand how all this kind of thinking resulted in the modern waterfowling shotgun. One thing we can easily share – a new shotgun combined with the right loads is going to immediately improve your waterfowling success. Let us help you down the road to some great action. Happy hunting!