We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs. Learn more ›

There is something about walking through a grouse cover or pheasant field with an over/under shotgun in your hands. It creates an aura that can only be fully understood if you’ve done it. These break actions are a symbol as much as they are practical hunting firearms. They are also the choice for many clay target shooters, be it for trap, skeet, or sporting clays. But there still remains this idea that you have to spend a fortune to own an over/under—and that just isn’t the case.

While there are many fine O/Us that carry an expensive price tag, there are also many reliable over/under shotguns to be had at a reasonable cost. That’s what we set out to do: Find the best reasonably-priced over/under shotguns that the average outdoorsman can buy. So we set some specific limits when choosing the models below, including a realistic budget and readily available options only. These are five of the best over/under shotguns that you can easily get your hands on without taking out a second mortgage to buy.

How We Picked the Best Over/Under Shotguns

Let us be clear: We know that many of the true best of the best O/Us are hand-crafted overseas in countries like Italy and England. But we also know that those shotguns cost thousands of dollars, some exceeding 10 grand. So, when picking this list of over/under shotguns, we made some restrictions. First, the shotgun had to cost less than $5,500, and we wanted to have multiple budget options. Second, we made selections for a wide range of applications. That meant everything from competition shooting to upland hunting to waterfowl hunting. The idea was to make recommendations for the everyday outdoorsman—and we did just that.

I have been shooting shotguns for most of my life, including many over/under models in every price range. I’ve hunted grouse in the north woods, pheasants in the prairies, and ducks in the midwest with an over/under. I’ve shot skeet, trap, and sporting clays for fun and in competition. I also coach in our scholastic trap league and have spent many hours helping fit shotguns to different shooters, both physically and financially. When it came time to make this list, we set limits to what we would call the “best” shotguns. However, we didn’t want our budget ceiling and specific pursuits to impact the quality of our selections. So we made sure that every break action on this list was field-tested and proven. Below are our favorite five models that fit our criteria.

Best Over/Under Shotguns: Reviews and Recommendations

Best Overall: Benelli Performance Shop 828U Upland Over/Under Shotgun

Specs

  • Bore: 12- or 20-gauge
  • Weight: 6lbs 4oz for 12g, 5lbs 7oz for 20g
  • Barrel Length: 24 inches
  • Chokes: Cyl, IC, Mod, Full for each barrel

Pros

  • Feel
  • Reliability
  • Easy to swing

Cons

  • Pricey

I’ve put many O/U shotguns to my shoulder over the years, and so far, nothing has really topped the 828U from Benelli when it comes to working for every aspect of my shooting. It excels in every area, including looks, feel, and, most importantly, performance. The 828U uses Benelli’s CRIO system, which is a cryogenic barrel treatment that relieves the stress caused by hammer forging. The result is a smooth and very uniform bore surface delivering a denser pattern with 13.2 percent more pellets flying on target. Speaking of fit and balance, the 828U QuadraFit module uses a shim system to adjust the drop and cast of the stock with more than 40 possible positions. Benelli’s Progressive Comfort System sits within the buttstock and gives you a constant smooth level of recoil absorption, regardless of the type of loads you are using.

The 828U Performance Center Upland shotgun is a quick-handling, well-balanced over/under with AA-Grade satin walnut stock and forend, a removable trigger group, tang-mounted automatic safety, steel locking system, and 8 different chokes. I first experienced the 828U at SHOT Show years ago, where I shot a perfect round of skeet the first time I picked it up. I was sold. It is also the gun I use to coach high school trap and skeet, and my choice when I venture into the grouse cover here in Michigan. Coming in at $3,000, this gun isn’t cheap. But most high-end O/Us aren’t, and considering what you get with the 828U, it is worth the price of admission. The 828U comes in 12- and 20-gauge with 24-inch barrels and removable chokes.

The Benelli 828U 20-gauge is the perfect lightweight gun to carry upland hunting. Ryan Chelius

Best Budget: Stoeger Condor Over/Under Shotgun

Specs

  • Bore: .410, 20, 28, 12 Gauge options
  • Weight: 6lbs to 7lbs 2oz.
  • Barrel Length: 26in for .410 and 28g, 28in for 20g and 12 g
  • Chokes: IC and Mod

Pros

  • Great price
  • Good fit and finish
  • Lots of options
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Not the prettiest gun
  • Forestock may seem clunky to some

You don’t hear much about affordable over/under shotguns because there aren’t many. The Stoeger Condor is the exception. It is a great entry-level, nice shooting break action that won’t burn a hole in your wallet. You can get one in .410, as well as 20-, 28-, and 12-gauge. I have the 12-gauge, with an American walnut wood stock and forend. Paired with the blued steel, the Condor isn’t bad-looking, either. The barrels have screw-in chokes and come with a Mod and IC out of the box.

While coaching high school trap, I’ve had many parents ask about the Condor, so I went and bought one. I was impressed with how balanced shotguns these guns are. After all, my expectations weren’t high for an over/under that costs less than half of a grand. The Condor isn’t as adjustable as the higher-end offerings, but they fit a pretty broad range of shooters. It is a great starter gun for those looking to break into the over/under world.

Best Value: Mossberg Silver Reserve Eventide Over/Under Shotgun

Specs

  • Bore: 12 gauge
  • Weight: 7lb
  • Barrel Length: 28in
  • Chokes: Field Set of 5

Pros

  • Tough finish
  • Slim feel
  • Dependability

Cons

  • Not many options

The Mossberg Eventide goes against what many see as the typical over/under shotgun. The matte-blued finish and the black synthetic stocks provide you with a shotgun that is every bit the workhorse you think it should be. And you’ll never be worried about bringing into hunting covers that you’d be nervous to carry a nice wooden stock in. But make no mistake, the Mossberg Silver Reserve is a shooter. It comes up nicely, points really well, and has fiber optic sights to help you get on target faster.

Other features include a 14-inch length of pull that is easy to adjust if need be. The shotgun has dual locking lugs for a very secure closure, and the ejectors work well when swapping spent shells for live ones. It feels good in the hand, and the synthetic stock offers a good grip. At $620, you can make a case for this being another budget over/under shotgun. And while we didn’t slap the “budget” label on Silver Reserve, it offers excellent value and is a great choice for those looking for their first break action.

Best for Waterfowlers: Browning Cynergy Wicked Wing Over/Under Shotgun

Specs

  • Bore: 12 ga, 3.5-inch chamber
  • Weight: 7 lbs 6 oz to 7 lbs 10 oz.
  • Barrel Length: 26in, 28in, 30in
  • Chokes: 3 Banded Invector-Plus chokes

Pros

  • Tough finish to take on the elements
  • Chambered to handle any waterfowl load
  • Recoil reduction is great

Cons

  • Only comes with three chokes

This is the ultimate over/under for waterfowlers. Browning did a great job designing a version of the amazing Cynergy line that is specific to the needs of a premium waterfowl shotgun. This 12-gauge break action has a 3 ½ inch chamber to give you options for bigger loads. And no need to worry about the recoil as Browning added in the Cynergy Inflex recoil pad that reduces kick. There’s a ¼-inch stock spacer as well as an adjustable comb for getting the right fit. It also comes with three extended Invector-Plus Goose Band choke tubes—full, modified, and improved cylinder.

All that sounds good, but what pushes the Cynergy over the top is the attention to detail. The stocks are synthetic and come in multiple camo patterns to let you choose your favorite. The exterior metal is a burnt bronze CeraKote finish that is impervious to the elements—perfect for duck hunting—and the interior barrels are chrome-lined for increased durability. If you’re ready to take on the challenge of hunting waterfowl with an over/under, this is the way to go. It swings great, feels great, and is an amazing break action designed specifically for ducks and geese.

Best Splurge: Caesar Guerini Syren Tempio Sporting Over/Under Shotgun

Specs

  • Bore: 12 gauge and 20 gauge
  • Weight: 7lbs 14oz to 7lbs 7oz
  • Barrel Length: 30 inches
  • Chokes: 6 competition set

Pros

  • Craftsmanship is superb
  • Feel and action are nearly perfect
  • Detail is amazing

Cons

  • Not for beginners
  • Pricey

You don’t buy a Ferrari just to say you bought a Ferrari. You buy one because of what the car can do, and to say that you bought a Ferrari. The same can be said for a Caesar Guerini shotgun. You don’t buy one just because they are expensive. You do so because it’s a finely crafted shotgun that feels and shoots amazingly well. The fact that it is a bit of a status symbol is just a little extra icing on the cake. This is a competition-minded shotgun that comes with 6 chokes to tailor your pattern. It also has overbored barrels to help with shot consistency. The Syren Tmpio comes with 30-inch barrels that are lightweight to make swinging the gun easier and centralize weight to the rear of the gun for balance.

Like a Ferrari, the Caesar Guerini Syren Tempio is hand-made by skilled artisans. The wood is specially selected Turkish walnut that is hand-oiled for a beautiful finish. The attention to detail on the engraved receiver is something you will enjoy every time you pull it from the case. This shotgun comes with a gun sock and a custom-fit locking travel case to ensure the shotgun is not damaged in transport. There are the little touches you would expect, too, like a fully adjustable DTS trigger system, 6mm vent rib, and gold touches to the engraving. The fit and finish is flawless, and the shotgun does exactly what you want it to do. It comes with a lifetime warranty, too.

What to Consider When Choosing an Over/Under Shotgun

There are a lot of variables to consider when picking the best over/under shotgun for you. Let’s start with the basics that we used for setting this list, which also apply to all shotguns. As you recall from the start of this story, we limited this “Best of” list to a set budget and specific applications and uses. But let’s put the price range aside for a second and focus on other considerations that apply to all over/under shotguns.

Fit and balance

Fit is more than just how the shotgun fits your frame. When you’re holding your shotgun, it should feel like an extension of yourself. A shotgun relies on your body to make the shot. You turn your upper torso to follow the target. I had a former Olympian help me with my form many years ago. I was holding my shotgun like a rifle, but what I needed to do was square my shoulder more to the target. This resulted in the shotgun butt resting closer to my chest, which led to me choosing a shorter stock than I would on a rifle.

With a proper fit, the balance is different, too. Longer barrels make the shotgun heavier on the front end, but help with making deliberate shots. For example, I can shoot trap better with a 30-inch barrel than I can with a 26-inch barrel, but when I shoot skeet, I do better with a 26-inch or 28-inch barrel because of the increased movement. It’s not a huge weight savings, but a tiny bit of difference is all that it takes to go from a miss to a hit. Fit also plays a role in how you mount the shotgun to your eye. Like I mentioned earlier, the sight dot on the rib is pretty much just there for initial shooting, or to make adjustments. If you have a properly fit and mounted shotgun, shoot with both eyes open and on the target. You shouldn’t consciously see the sight dot at all. In all honesty, I consider the fit and balance of an over/under shotgun before I even look at the price. If it fits right and your shooting feels natural, you’re going to do well, regardless of how much you spend. This is true for competition shotguns as well as upland shotguns, and waterfowl shotguns.

Quality

You want a smooth-shooting shotgun with flawless actions. Some require a bit of break-in, while others will be perfect from day one. Do all the parts fit together like they should and operate smoothly? Do you have to wrestle with the action to open it for a reload? If you can, shoot the gun before you buy it. See how it fits your body, how it mounts to your shoulder, how smooth the action is, and the overall build and aesthetics of the gun. You want to find the best quality gun in your budget.

Versatility

Since any gun purchase is an investment, make sure that the shotgun will do everything you want it to do. If you’re looking at a competition shotgun, get one that fits your style. Hunting over/under shotguns are versatile in that they can make for a fun day at the range, especially if you’re doing a round of sporting clays, but are also at home in the field with birds flushing in front of you, or dropping into your decoys.

Budget

Yes, there are some very fine over/under shotguns out there, and you can spend as much as you would on a new truck for a quality break action gun. However, you can also get into a nice over/under shotgun for reasonable prices. That’s what this list is. Set your own budget, and don’t let it intimidate you. Any of the shotguns on this list will perform just fine in the field or at the range.

FAQs

Q: What distance is a shotgun good for?

Most true shotgunners won’t shoot at anything past 40-45 yards. You can stretch that with a tighter choke and heavy shot loads, but it isn’t recommended.

Q: Is an over/under shotgun worth it?

The worth of a shotgun is all in the eye of the beholder. You can find custom-made O/Us for over 10 grand, or you can buy one from this list for $450. The worth of a gun is completely dependent on what the shooter is looking for.

Q: What is the best weight for an over/under shotgun?

Most over/under shotguns average around 7 pounds. You don’t want one that is too heavy to comfortably follow the target, but not too light as to increase the felt recoil.

Q: What gauge shotgun is most versatile?

Opinions will vary on this topic, but for most, a 12 gauge is the most versatile due to the wide variety of ammunition available, and the many types of shooting that can be done with one.

Q: Is a longer shotgun barrel better?

A longer barrel on any shotgun helps center to load on the target. However, barrel length is also a matter of comfort and movement. The longer the barrel, the harder it is to swing on the target.

Best Over/Under Shotguns: Final Thoughts

There is a bit of mystery surrounding the over/under shotgun. They are great tools for target shooting, competition, and hunting. Some may feel they are too expensive, but this is not the case. There are plenty of affordable over/under shotguns out there, like many on this list. Find one that fits you and your budget. The best over/under is the one in your hands.

Why Trust Us

For more than 125 years, Field & Stream has been providing readers with honest and authentic coverage of outdoor gear. Our writers and editors eat, sleep, and breathe the outdoors, and that passion comes through in our product reviews. You can count on F&S to keep you up to date on the best new gear. And when we write about a product—whether it’s a bass lure or a backpack—we cover the good and the bad, so you know exactly what to expect before you decide to make a purchase.