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This year, there are plenty of shotguns to get excited about. Mossberg has a whole raft of turkey guns, including several optic-ready pumps, and RemArms expands its 870 FieldMaster line to include 20-gauges and synthetic stocks. And there are new inertia guns from Retay and Sauer, too.
But the big news for 2023 in shotguns is the 3-inch 28-gauge, which is what the 3-inch .410 wishes it was: a capable smallbore that’s easy to hit with and kills instead of crippling. The new magnum 28 makes a good vehicle for TSS, too, as it holds significantly larger payloads, and there are also some dedicated 28-gauge turkey guns this year. For those who want an all-around 3-inch 28, Beretta obliges with a new A400 semi-auto. All in all, 2023’s crop of new shotguns is a big one, with a little something for everyone. Here are the hottest new models.
Related: 12 Gauge Vs. 20 Gauge for Hunting
Mossberg 835 and 500 Optic-Ready Turkey Guns
Mossberg is introducing three dedicated turkey-hunting pump guns with receivers cut for an RMR-style red dot, building on last year’s optic-ready 930 semi-autos. The cuts permit a very low mount so you don’t have to lift your head off the stock to see the dot. All three guns have synthetic furniture dipped in Mossy Oak Green Leaf camo and come with a cover for the cut should you choose to shoot the gun without an optic on board.
As a long-time 835 turkey gun fan, I’m most excited about this gun—an optic-ready 3 ½-inch 12 gauge with a 24-inch barrel. It features Mossberg’s Ulti-Full choke tube, a top safety, a fiber-optic bead, and a listed weight of 7.5 pounds. It has an MSRP of $693.
The venerable Model 500 gets the optic-ready treatment in both the 20-gauge and the .410 bore. The 20-gauge has a 22-inch barrel and ported X-Factor tube, while the .410 has a 24-inch barrel and unported tube. The guns weigh 6.75 and 6.25 pounds respectively and list for $644.
Mossberg SA Pistol Grip Turkey Guns
Mossberg’s lightweight, gas-operated SA semi-auto comes in a pair of dedicated, pistol-gripped turkey guns this year. The stock features a contoured pistol grip for a comfortable hold in the woods and a shortened, 12.75-inch length of pull to make it easier to mount when you’re plunked down against a tree. It comes with a full-length Picatinny rail and a rib-mounted fiber-optic ghost ring sight. The guns have 22-inch barrels, extended X-Full turkey tubes, and full coats of Mossy Oak Green Leaf camo. At six pounds they carry easily through the woods. They come in 3-inch 20-gauge and 3-inch 28-gauge and list for $902.
Mossberg SA-20 Turkey Gun
Mossberg rounds out its new turkey gun lineup for 2023 with a camo-furniture, matte-metal, 20-gauge gas semi-auto set up for the woods. The SA-20 has become popular with its owners as a lightweight, reliable gun, and this version is one you can trust to make the shot on a gobbler when the time comes. The synthetic stock and forend have a Mossy Oak Green Leaf finish and the gun has 22-inch barrel to keep it compact. Like the other new SA guns, it features a rib-mounted fiber-optic ghost ring sight and an extended choke. It also has a Picatinny rail if you prefer to add a scope or red dot. It weighs just 5 ¾ pounds, making it ideal for the run-and-gun hunter, and it lists for $816.
Beretta A400 Upland
Beretta joins the list of gunmakers offering a 3-inch 28-gauge with a magnum version of its A400 Upland. The proven A400 is a reliable, soft-shooting gas gun that is extremely popular among target shooters and high-volume dove hunters. This newest, scaled-down version should make a great all-around smallbore gun, with the ability to shoot light 28-gauge target and dove loads but also handle heavier payloads for pheasants, ducks, and even (with TSS) turkeys. Currently, it comes in a walnut version with a nickel-plated receiver with a new engraving pattern and walnut furniture with a choice of 28- or 30-inch barrels. The long-barreled version should make a great sporting/dove/waterfowl gun. A 26-inch model should be added to the line soon. Beretta barrels are justifiably famous, as the company has been making them since 1526, and the A400 boasts the Steelium barrel with a lengthened forcing cone. It lists for $1,829.
RemArms Synthetic FieldMaster
RemArms, the group that brought the classic 870 back to life, extends the FieldMaster line with a 3-inch, 12-gauge black synthetic-stocked pump. Like the walnut-stocked FieldMaster introduced last year, the gun will be fit and finished to a higher level than the old Expresses, with a matte metal finish that better resists corrosion. It has a black synthetic stock and forend, and, the stock comes with a flush, soft comb insert. Raised and extra-high inserts are available separately, for those who need less drop or want to turn a duck gun into a trap gun or scoped deer or turkey gun with a raised comb. The gun also features a soft recoil pad and sling swivel studs. In news that will excite a lot of 870 lovers, the FieldMaster will also be available in both walnut and synthetic 3-inch 20-gauges this year. All the guns will list for $610.
Retay Gordion Compact
Retay semiautos continue to build a following as well-made, attractively priced inertia guns. New for this year they’ve come out with a shorter version of the Gordion for smaller shooters. The 20-gauge gun has a 12.5-inch length of pull and a choice of either 24- or 26-inch barrels. Full-size stocks are available so the gun can grow with a young shooter. The Gordion is Retay’s lower-priced semiauto, so it lacks a couple of the niceties of the top-of-the-line Masai Mara. It has a one-piece receiver in place of the two-piece design of the Masai Mara, and it lacks the pushbutton trigger-group release. You can easily live without those features while still appreciating the Inertia-Plus bolt that eliminates the out-of-battery misfire of some inertia guns. It’s a lightweight gun at 6 pounds and it has Retay’s soft Comfort recoil pad. The gun lists for around $900 and comes in black synthetic or in camo.
JP Sauer Waterfowl SL5 semi-auto
German gunmaker J.P. Sauer has a new line of its SL5 semiautos aimed specifically at waterfowlers. The 3 ½-inch, 12-gauge inertia guns are well-made, fitted, and finished, and have enlarged bolt handles and bolt release buttons that are popular features among those who hunt in cold, wet conditions. The guns also feature a rubber comb insert to reduce recoil. You can choose among an all “Fred Bear Old School Camo” version, essentially old school WWII camo, a gun with “Fred Bear” furniture and Cerakoted receiver and barrel, or an all-black model. They come in 26-, 28- and 30-inch barreled versions and each gun has five Benelli-style Crio chokes. The SL5, with its two-piece receiver, is very similar in looks and design to a Benelli Super Black Eagle. It’s a high-quality inertia gun and one you can trust to shoot reliably in the blind. The guns start at $1,579 for black synthetic $1,579.00; $1,679 for all camo and $1779 for camo and brown Cerakote.
Browning Citori 50th Anniversary
Browning has made well over a million Citori O/Us, beginning back in 1973. Originally made as an affordable substitute for the legendary Belgian Superposed, it has gone on to become a classic in its own right. Like all Citoris, this one is made in the Japanese Miroku factory where a great deal of hand-work goes into every gun. This Citori boasts highly-figured Grade IV Turkish walnut stock, 20 line-per-inch checkering, and a gloss oil finish with a right-hand palm swell. The silver nitride-finished frame is covered in a traditional acanthus engraving pattern.
The 50th-anniversary gun is a 12-gauge with a choice of 30- or 32-inch barrels and 3-inch chambers, making it suitable for the sporting clays course, the dove field, or, perhaps the duck blind or goose pit. It has Browning’s soft Inflex recoil pad and a trigger that adjusts for pull length and has three interchangeable shoes. The anniversary Citoris will be a limited run and they’ll sell for $8,399.
Browning Cynergy CX
The Browning Cynergy comes in a cross-over target/hunting “CX“ model this year in both 12- and 20-gauge. The Cynergy makes a perfect platform for the cross-over treatment, as it has a very low-profile and very durable action, making the gun a natural pointer that can withstand heavy use. The CX has a 60/40 point of impact, flat enough for bird hunting but high enough for skeet and sporting clays and even some trap use. The Cynergy employs a unique reverse striker system that offers a short lock time, clean trigger pull, and, as a mechanical system, it doesn’t rely on the recoil of the first shot to reset the trigger.
The CX has an unadorned finish with a plain, nitride-silver frame and a Grade I satin finish stock with 18 line-per-inch checkering and a soft Inflex recoil pad. The CX guns have 3-inch chambers and come with a choice of 28-, 30-, and 32-inch barrels in 12 gauge and 28- or 30-inch barrels in the 20-gauge. The 20-gauge in particular seems like a perfect fit for the dove field, but any CX will serve dependably in the field and on the range for years. The CX will retail for $2,079.
Browning Citori Composite
Browning is trying something new with the venerable Citori this year, offering a limited run of guns with black synthetic stocks. Intended to be a hunting/target crossover gun, it features an adjustable comb that can be raised up to trapshooting height or lowered for a flatter point of impact. The stock also features rubber overmolding in the grip areas, as well as Browning’s soft Inflex II recoil pad. It has a slightly high rib and ventilated mid-rib on its blued barrels. The guns will be available in 3-inch 12-gauge in a choice of 26-, 28- or 30-inch barrels. It comes with three chokes, IC, M and Full and lists for $2,199.
The Benelli Montefeltro gets a makeover this year, with new, more modern styling and, more imporant, a number of ergonomic changes. It features a relaxed magazine spring and shell latch that take all the effort out of loading the gun, which is especially important in cold weather or during fast-paced dove hunts. It also has the Easy Locking Bolt that eliminates out-of-battery misfires as well as larger controls that are easy to use, swivel studs in the stock and magazine cap and a softer pad. The receiver has been restyled for a more contemporary look and the walnut stock and forend have new lines, too, not unlike those of the Ethos. At $1,499, in 3-inch 12- or 20-gauge, including compact models, it’s good choice if you want a wood-stocked Benelli.
The M2 is the lowest-priced Benelli, and it has always been a rugged, no-nonsense shotgun. Like its stablemate, the Montefeltro, the M2 gets remade this year with features that make it even more useful and reliable, including the Easy Locking Bolt that assures the gun can’t be bumped out of battery, and restyled, enlarged controls. The gun also features a redesigned stock and forend. The forend does away with the bulbous lines of the old M2 that forced shooters to take a longer hold with their front hand. The stock also features a softer Micro Cell recoil pad. The new M2s come in 3-inch 12- and 20-gauge in 24-, 26- and 28-inch barrel lengths in black and various camo finishes. Starting at $1,399, it’s the best buy in the Benelli semiauto lineup.
Benelli 828U Steel
Benelli’s innovative 828U O/U comes in a steel-framed receiver field model for 2023. The all-steel frame adds nearly a pound of weight to the gun compared to the lightweight, alloy-frame models, making this gun a great choice for waterfowlers, dove hunters, and and shooters who want a gun that can serve as a hunting and target gun. The added weight makes the gun handle more steadily, and, combined with Benelli’s unique, in-stock recoil reducer and soft comb, it will reduce felt recoil dramatically. To make the 828U Steel even more versatile, it has Benelli’s proprietary BE S.T. coating to resist rust and abrasion, making this a gun you can take anywhere into the field without fear. It comes in 3-inch 12- and 20-gauge, with 26-, 28- or 30-inch (30-inch in 12 only) barrels and lists for $3,399.
Franchi Sideplate Instinct
Franchi extends its Instinct line this year with 16- and 28-gauge Sideplate models. Decorated with engraved, gold-inlaid, case-colored sideplates, these handsome guns fill out the Instinct lineup, which now comprises 12-, 16-, 20-, and 3-inch 28-guage guns throughout almost the entire Instinct Lineup. The satin-finished, AA walnut stocks have schnable forends and a rounded Prince of Wales grip, and they feature extended choke tubes for quick changes in the field. At $2,399 for an engraved, sideplated gun, these represent quite a value.
Stevens 560 Gas Semi-Autos
Stevens introduces a lineup of value-priced semiautos this year. The 560 series consists of 12-gauges with 26- or 28-inch barrels in both standard and compact models. The guns feature gas operation for reduced recoil and a number of extras not normally found on budget-priced guns. such as front and mid-beads and enlarged controls. They are stocked in Turkish walnut with a satin finish that complements the toned-down, non-glare surfaces of the barrel and alloy receiver. The 560 promises to be a lot of gun for its low price of $499.
Like every other gun in Stoeger’s entire semi-auto lineup, the Model M3000 get an upgrade this year, with sought-after features like enlarged bolt handles, safety buttons, and bolt release buttons, as well as sling-swivel studs. In addition, the guns feature improved recoil pads and rubber inserts in the comb to further dampen recoil and vibration. In all other ways, it’s still the same affordable, 3-inch, 12-gauge inertia semi-auto Stoeger has always offered. The improved Model M3000 comes in 24-, 26- and 28-inch barrel lengths in walnut, black synthetic, and camo finishes. Prices start at $559 for black synthetic.
Stoeger M3020 Turkey
The M3020 is the 20-guage version of the M3000 inertia semi-auto and has received the same upgrade treatment as the M3000s this year. Plus, for 2023, the M3020 has a dedicated turkey gun—a 3-inch 20-gauge with a 24-inch barrel, an extended Extra-Full turkey choke, and a muzzle-to-butt camo job in Mossy Oak Obsession. It comes with a ghost-ring sight to help put tight patterns on target, and sling swivel studs for easy carrying. Stoeger lists the gun’s weight at just 5.5 pounds so you’ll hardly know its there, whether it’s in hand or riding on your shoulder. It lists for $619.