Last Updated August 30th 2023
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Shotguns are some of the most versatile firearms out there. You can use them for duck hunting one day, waterfowl the next and, in an emergency, home defense.
But some are better than others, for specific tasks and in general. So what are the best shotguns for hunting in 2023? Here are our top picks.
1. Benelli Super Black Eagle 3
- Price Range: $1,700-$2000
The Super Black Eagle 3 is a top-of-the-line semi-automatic shotgun that is known for its reliability, accuracy, and smooth recoil. It is a popular choice for waterfowl hunting, turkey hunting, and sporting clays.
It is versatile enough to take whitetail deer hunting, hog hunting and big game hunting, too.
The SBE3 features a number of innovative technologies that make it a superior shotgun. The inertia-driven system is smooth and reliable, with a soft shooting feel.
The Comfortech 3 recoil pad further helps to reduce felt recoil, making it easier to shoot. Optional gel pad inserts mean you can adjust the length of pull and the Optima Bore HP barrel provides superior accuracy and patterning.
The SBE3 is available in a variety of gauges and barrel lengths, making it a versatile shotgun that can be used for a variety of purposes. It is a good choice for serious shooters who are looking for a reliable and accurate shotgun.
Switch out the interchangeable choke tubes to go from light loads for duck hunting through to heavy turkey loads, deer hunting, elk hunting and more.
It is available in 12 gauge, 20 gauge and 28 gauge, and barrel lengths range from 24-30 inches. And you can get guns with a pistol grip, other parts & accessories and a range of camo finishes to turn one of the best duck hunting guns into a specialist turkey gun.
2. Winchester SXP
- Price Range: $300-$450
Best Pump Action Shotgun
If you’re not bird hunting, so you don’t need the fast follow up shots, or you’re like John Wick with the action, then you can save a lot of money with a pump gun like the Winchester SXP.
So if you’re small game hunting, going after deer or hogs or you’re predator hunting, then pump actions are a perfectly valid life choice.
Starting from just $300, the SXP is an award winning shotgun that is a perennial favorite in tactical shotgun and field shotgun forms.
If you want to spend a little more and you are hunting birds that tend to move a little faster, you might want to upgrade to the Winchester SX4 shotgun.
The Winchester SX4 is a gas operated semi auto shotgun that takes the fight to the Benelli and Beretta, but we like to give you options round here. We do like the gas system on the Winchester SX4, though, so don’t discount the gas guns.
3. Beretta A400 Xtreme
- Price: $1,799-$1,999.99
Best Bird Hunting Shotgun
The Beretta A400 is great for duck hunting, other waterfowl and fast moving game birds. Of course you can also use it for whitetail deer hunting and lots more.
A400 shotguns all feature Beretta’s innovative B-Link gas operated system, which is known for its soft shooting, and reliability.
They also feature Kick-Off Plus recoil reduction system, which helps to reduce felt recoil. And they all come with Beretta’s Optimabore HP barrels, which are designed to provide superior accuracy and patterning.
Interchangeable choke tubes mean you can switch from birdshot to buckshot and slugs, too, if you want to medium game hunting or big game hunting.
Of course it’s another model line and personally we recommend the Beretta A400 Xtreme Plus, which is lightweight, fast cycling and also comes with the recoil reducing Kick Off Plus system.
But check the full line here, and also don’t forget the likes of the Beretta A300 Ultima.
In fact you could easily make a case for putting the Beretta A300 Ultima on the list instead, but the inertia driven A400 is lighter and easier to clean. That matters with hunting shotguns.
4. Franchi Affinity 3
- Price Range: $849.99-$1,400
Best Low Budget Semi Autos
The Franchi Affinity 3 is a semi-automatic shotgun that is known for its reliability and versatility. It is a good choice for a variety of shooting applications, including waterfowl hunting, turkey hunting, and sporting clays.
The Affinity 3 features a number of innovative technologies that make it a reliable shotgun. The inertia-driven operating system is smooth and reliable, even in harsh conditions. The Invector-Plus choke tubes provide superior accuracy and patterning. And the Comfortech recoil pad helps to reduce felt recoil.
The Affinity 3 is available in a variety of gauges and barrel lengths, making it a versatile shotgun that can be used for a variety of purposes. It is a good choice for serious shooters who are looking for a reliable and accurate shotgun.
You can stick with the 3, which is good for 3 inch loads, or go for the Affinity 3.5 that is chambered for larger shells.
5. Browning Maxus II
- Price: $1,500-$2,000
The Maxus II features a number of innovative technologies that make it a reliable shotgun. The Kinematic Drive System makes this soft shooting gas gun smooth and reliable.
The Invector-Plus choke tubes provide superior accuracy and patterning. And the Comfort Balance Recoil pad helps to reduce felt recoil.
You can choose up to 3.5 inch loads, which is great for magnum goose loads.
The Browning Maxus II is available in a variety of gauges and barrel lengths, making it a versatile shotgun that can be used for a variety of purposes. It is a good choice for hunting big and small game alike, and one of the best duck hunting semis out there.
6. Remington 870
- Price: $460-$700
America’s Best Selling Shotgun
The Remington Model 870 is a legend in these parts. It’s America’s best selling shotgun, and the Remington 870 Wingmaster and Fieldmaster are both great hunting shotguns.
Now the Remington 870 Wingmaster is the waterfowl hunting specialist and the Fieldmaster is for big game hunting and slightly smaller stuff out on the prairie. But to be honest an Elk probably doesn’t care which one you shoot it with…
You get a wood stock and forend on the Remington 870 Wingmaster, with near perfect fit and finish, which is kind of nice in this largely synthetic company. Especially in a pump gun with this price tag.
It takes 3 4/4 and 3 inch shells, which gives you a choice, and you can switch the chokes to go for bird, buckshot or devastating slugs.
It’s one of the best duck hunting pump guns money can buy and the Remington 870 has set the standard for slide action 12 gauge shotguns for more than 60 years.
7. Browning Citori
- Price: $2,200-$8,000
Best Over & Under
The Browning Citori is a classic over/under shotgun that still might just be the best shotgun for clay pigeon shooting.
Double guns still have their place in this world, even though it’s mostly for sporting purposes, or occasionally on farms for pest control, hunting small game, hunting dogs, predator hunting and scaring off intruders like the old days.
You can use a cheaper gun for that last one, admittedly.
8. Mossberg 940 Pro Waterfowl
- Price: $918.99
The Mossberg 940 Pro Waterfowl is another contender that could easily make your personal cut, but lost out here.
Your hunting gear is a personal choice, after all, and this is a solid gas gun in Tactical or hunter form.
Lots of people opt for the Mossberg 940 and you can switch between 2 3/4 inch and 3 inch shells and you can opt for duck hunting or target loads. The ported choke tube allows for interchangeable chokes.
9. CZ Bobwhite G2
- Price: $ $713.99
Best Side by Side Shotgun
Grandpa’s old side by side is all but a forgotten memory these days, unless you’re into sport shooting.
The side by side shotgun is still considered the best shotgun for sport shooting and the break action is a simple requirement for some categories. You just can’t be turning up to the country club with a Turkish AR12 shotgun after all…
Side by sides aren’t a normal part of life these days. Even farmers rarely walk round with them hung over an arm like the old days. And that’s partly why there are fewer of them and they’re much more expensive on the whole.
The CZ is an affordable side by side with double triggers, so you can choose chokes and different loads on two single shots, and an English style straight grip. The barrel is finished in black chrome, which is hardier than a blued finish, and this is a super reliable shotgun that is also incredibly accurate.
If you like them, these are some of the best side by sides on the market.