If you're a proud supporter of the 2nd Amendment or simply a gun enthusiast, you're likely familiar with the versatility and firepower of shotguns. These bad boys are not just for home defense or hunting fowl – they're a diverse and adaptable type of firearm that has earned a special place in our hearts. So, what makes shotguns so unique, and how do they work? Let's dive right in and take a closer look at their main features, different types, and some of the hottest and newest shotguns of 2023 for various shooting and hunting purposes.
As the founder of GunMade.com, my mission is to help you, the consumer, buy guns confidently, understand the legalities, and get the best possible price online. So sit back, relax, and let's dive into the world of shotguns together – and may the best gun win!
Understanding Clay Shooting Disciplines
Before we dive into the best shotguns for clay shooting, it's essential to understand the different disciplines involved in this popular shooting sport. Clay shooting is a fun and challenging activity that involves shooting at clay targets, also known as "clay pigeons."
The main disciplines are trap, skeet, and sporting clays, each with its unique rules, target presentations, and shooting techniques.
What Makes a Good Shotgun for Clay Shooting?
A good shotgun for clay shooting should possess a combination of reliability, accuracy, balance, fit, and recoil management.
These qualities will ensure you perform at your best and enjoy your time on the range. Let's take a closer look at some of the top shotguns for clay shooting in 2023, keeping in mind the essential features mentioned.
Top Shotguns for Clay Shooting in 2023
The Beretta A400 Xcel Sporting is a sleek and fast semi-automatic shotgun boasting a black carbon-fiber finish and a blue anodized receiver.
It features a 30-inch Steelium barrel with Optima HP chokes, a Kick-Off recoil reduction system, a Blink gas-operated action that cycles up to four shots per second, and a Micro-Core recoil pad. This shotgun is ideal for sporting clays and other clay shooting disciplines.
- Smooth cycling
- Low recoil
- Easy handling
- Adjustable stock
The Browning Citori Composite is a modern, durable over/under shotgun with a matte black composite stock and fore-end. It features a 28-inch chrome-lined steel barrel with Invector Plus chokes, a single-selective trigger, a boxlock action, and an ivory bead sight. This shotgun is suitable for trap, skeet, and sporting clays.
- Versatile chokes
- Low maintenance
- Stiff opening lever
- Short length of pull
Caesar Guerini Invictus VII Sporting
For those looking for a customizable and elegant over/under shotgun, the Caesar Guerini Invictus VII Sporting is an excellent choice.
It features a hand-rubbed oil finish walnut stock and fore-end, a 32-inch Maxis bore barrel with Maxis choke tubes, an adjustable trigger, a Boss-style locking system for longevity and durability, and an engraved silver receiver with gold accents.
This shotgun is designed for high-volume sporting clays shooters who want a personalized fit and feel.
- High quality
- Adjustable stock and comb height
- Interchangeable parts
- Very expensive
- Limited availability
Clay shooting is an exciting and challenging sport that requires a reliable and accurate shotgun. The Beretta A400 Xcel Sporting Black Edition, Browning Citori Composite, and Caesar Guerini Invictus VII Sporting are all excellent options, each with their unique features and performance capabilities.
The Thrill of Waterfowl Hunting
Waterfowl hunting is an exciting and challenging outdoor sport that involves pursuing ducks, geese, and other aquatic birds in their natural habitat. It presents unique obstacles, such as harsh weather conditions, long shots, and fast-moving targets.
To overcome these challenges, waterfowl hunters need a reliable, durable, and corrosion-resistant shotgun with a camouflage pattern designed for this specific type of hunting.
What Makes a Good Shotgun for Waterfowl Hunting?
A good shotgun for waterfowl hunting should be able to stand up to the harsh elements, have reliable action, and provide a comfortable shooting experience. Some key features to consider include:
- Corrosion resistance: Waterfowl hunting often exposes the shotgun to water, mud, and other corrosive elements. A shotgun with a durable and corrosion-resistant finish is essential.
- Camouflage pattern: A camo finish helps the hunter blend into the environment and avoid spooking the birds.
- Reliability and durability: The shotgun should have a proven track record of functioning flawlessly in harsh conditions.
- Weight and balance: A well-balanced shotgun is easier to handle and shoot, especially when taking fast-moving shots.
Top Shotguns for Waterfowl Hunting in 2023
Mossberg's 940 Pro Waterfowl is a reliable and ergonomic semi-automatic shotgun designed for waterfowl hunting. With a synthetic stock and fore-end dipped in Mossy Oak Shadow Grass Blades camo, this shotgun is built to endure harsh conditions.
The 28-inch vent rib barrel features Accu-Choke tubes and a fiber-optic front sight, while the gas-operated action reduces recoil and requires less cleaning. The adjustable stock with spacers and shims ensures a comfortable fit.
- Easy to clean
- Soft recoil
- Good fit
- Heavy trigger pull
- Limited capacity
The Benelli Super Black Eagle 3 BE.S.T. is an innovative and durable semi-automatic shotgun perfect for waterfowl hunting. Its synthetic stock and fore-end are coated with Benelli's exclusive BE.S.T. (Benelli Surface Treatment) technology, which protects the metal parts from rust and corrosion.
The 28-inch Crio barrel includes Crio chokes, and the shotgun features a Comfort Tech 3 recoil pad, an enlarged bolt handle and bolt release, and a fiber-optic front sight.
- Smooth cycling
- Low recoil
Lightweight and fast, the Winchester SX4 Waterfowl Hunter is an ideal semi-automatic shotgun for waterfowl hunting. Its synthetic stock and fore-end are covered in Mossy Oak Bottomland camo, and the 26-inch chrome-plated barrel features Invector-Plus chokes. The Truglo fiber-optic front sight, gas-operated action, and ambidextrous safety and magazine cut-off make this shotgun easy to handle and shoot.
- Quick cycling
- Versatile chokes
- Hard to clean
- Stiff safety
- Plastic feel
When choosing the best shotgun for waterfowl hunting, consider factors such as reliability, durability, corrosion resistance, and camouflage pattern. The Mossberg 940 Pro Waterfowl, Benelli Super Black Eagle 3 BE.S.T., and Winchester SX4 Waterfowl Hunter are all excellent options for 2023.
Each shotgun has its pros and cons, so take the time to research and find the one that best suits your needs and preferences.
Understanding Home Defense
Home defense is the act of protecting oneself and one’s family from intruders, burglars, and other potential threats within the home. It's essential to have a reliable and effective means of protection, and shotguns have long been a popular choice for home defense. And if you’re not home, but need to protect your home, you should consider other options like a security system or smart lights.
A good shotgun for home defense should be reliable, maneuverable, have stopping power, and be easy to use. Let's take a closer look at some of the best shotguns for home defense in 2023, based on factors such as design, performance, and user reviews.
The Remington 870 DM Tactical is a pump-action shotgun with a detachable magazine that holds six rounds of 12-gauge shells. This shotgun features an 18.5-inch barrel with a tactical choke tube, a ghost ring rear sight and a Picatinny rail, a synthetic stock and fore-end with a SuperCell recoil pad, and a tactical fore-end with an integrated hand stop.
Designed for home defense shooters who want a shotgun that's easy to load and operate, the Remington 870 DM Tactical offers several pros and cons.
- Detachable magazine for quick reloading
- Accurate sights for better target acquisition
- Solid construction for durability
- Heavy trigger pull, which may affect accuracy
- Limited capacity compared to other models
- Bulky magazine, making the shotgun less maneuverable
The Kel-Tec KSG is a unique bullpup pump-action shotgun that features dual tube magazines, allowing it to hold up to 14 rounds of 12-gauge shells. With an 18.5-inch barrel and internal chokes, this shotgun is both compact and versatile.
The KSG also includes a top and bottom Picatinny rail for accessories, a downward-ejecting action that is ambidextrous, and a rubber butt pad. Ideal for home defense shooters who want a shotgun that's short and maneuverable, the Kel-Tec KSG has its advantages and drawbacks.
- High capacity for multiple shots before reloading
- Short length, making it easier to handle in tight spaces
- Versatile accessories for customization
- Difficult to reload quickly
- Stiff action, which may affect ease of use
- Sharp edges that may cause discomfort during use
Mossberg 590 Shockwave
The Mossberg 590 Shockwave is a pump-action shotgun that features a 14-inch barrel and a Raptor bird’s head grip. This unique design allows it to be classified as a firearm rather than a short-barreled shotgun by the ATF, making it legal in most states.
With a 6-round capacity of 12-gauge shells, a front bead sight, a corn cob fore-end with a strap, and an ambidextrous safety, the Mossberg 590 Shockwave is perfect for home defense shooters who want a powerful and intimidating shotgun.
- Compact size for easier maneuverability
- High impact for stopping power
- Easy to use, even for beginners
- High recoil, which may affect accuracy and comfort
- Low accuracy at longer ranges
- Not legal in some states due to its unique classification
Choosing the right shotgun for home defense is a personal decision based on factors such as ease of use, maneuverability, and stopping power. The Remington 870 DM Tactical, Kel-Tec KSG, and Mossberg 590 Shockwave all offer unique features and benefits that make them suitable options for home defense.
Choose Wisely and Shoot Responsibly
As we've explored the world of shotguns together, we've seen how they can be versatile and adaptable for various purposes, from clay shooting to waterfowl hunting and home defense. Each shotgun type has its unique features, advantages, and disadvantages, which should be carefully considered before making a purchase.
When choosing the best shotgun for your needs, it's crucial to consider factors such as reliability, accuracy, balance, fit, and recoil management. The top shotguns for clay shooting in 2023, such as the Beretta A400 Xcel Sporting, Browning Citori Composite, and Caesar Guerini Invictus VII Sporting, all offer excellent performance and features.
For waterfowl hunting, the Mossberg 940 Pro Waterfowl, Benelli Super Black Eagle 3 BE.S.T., and Winchester SX4 Waterfowl Hunter are all solid options, each built to endure harsh conditions and provide a comfortable shooting experience.
Finally, for home defense, the Remington 870 DM Tactical, Kel-Tec KSG, and Mossberg 590 Shockwave all offer unique features and benefits that make them suitable options for protecting your home and family.
Remember that owning a firearm comes with great responsibility. Always prioritize gun safety, proper handling, and maintenance to ensure you get the most out of your shotgun and protect yourself and those around you.
As a proud supporter of the 2nd amendment and an experienced gun enthusiast, I hope this guide has been helpful in your search for the perfect shotgun. Keep researching, practice, and always shoot responsibly. Happy shooting!