Best New Shotguns of the 2020 SHOT Show

This year’s hottest scatterguns include an all-new autoloader, an impervious SBE, and a slew of new sub-gauge options

There are plenty of good new shotguns on display in Las Vagas this week. But it must be said that there are fewer than there should be. Show 2020, like SHOT 2019, is somewhat notable for which guns aren’t here. Last year Caeasar Guerini left the show. This year Perazzi, Blaser, and Henry bolted too. But, all is not lost. There are still lots of interesting new products among the last guns standing, and even a few to warm my jaded bird-hunting heart. The .410 turkey-gun trend is still going strong, and there are some interesting variations among break actions—plus a brand-new introduction from Savage. Here’s what I found in the aisles of SHOT 2020.

Benelli 828U 20 gauge

Benelli’s excellent 828U O/U now comes in 20 gauge.
Benelli’s excellent 828U O/U is available in 20 gauge for 2020.Benelli

Benelli’s 828U O/U comes in a 20 gauge this year. Given how much American hunters love small bores, I predict Benelli will do very well with it. It’s a light, trim gun built on a scaled-down frame, and while I only had the chance to handle the gun in the booth, it feels lively. In all other ways it’s the same gun as its larger 12-gauge sibling, with a unique, floating steel locking plate inside an alloy receiver; a carbon fiber rib, an effective recoil reduction system; and a shim-adjustable fit. About $3100; benelliusa.com

Remington 870 .410 Turkey

With the right load, Remington’s new 870 .410 Turkey is a 40-yard gobbler gun.
With the right load, Remington’s new 870 .410 Turkey is a 40-yard gobbler gun.Remington

Improbably enough, the .410 is the hot new turkey gun now that Tungsten Super Shot has rewritten the rules of turkey loads. TSS 9 shot, where legal, makes the right .410 into 40 yard gobbler gun, which is great news for young hunters, new hunters, and any recoil-averse hunters. With a with a fiber-optic front bead and a rear peep sight, as well as a rail for mounting an optic, this new 870 promises to be a terrific choice. It has a full camo finish and comes with a screw-in turkey choke. $699; remington.com

Benelli Super Black Eagle 3 BE.S.T.

The BE.S.T is Benelli’s most waterproof SBE yet.
The BE.S.T is Benelli’s most waterproof SBE yet.Benelli

Benelli’s new BE.S.T. (Benelli Surface Treatment) coating consists of a powdered carbon bonded to the surface on the gun, rendering highly abrasion resistant and impervious to rust. Although the coating isn’t new, what is new is that Benelli can apply it to surfaces cold, without having to heat and weaken the steel. The result is the toughest, most weatherproof Super Black Eagle 3 yet, with all of its steel exterior parts and surfaces protected. As of now, you can have the BE.S.T. coating in any color so long as it’s black, and it adds about $200 to the price of the gun. $2,199; benelliusa.com

CZ All-Terrain Series

CZ’s new Cerakoted All-Terrain doubles and O/Us are made for hard hunting.
CZ’s new Cerakoted All-Terrain side-by-sides and O/Us are made for hard hunting.CZ USA

The All-Terrain series consists of all break-actions, and they’re made to be abused. If you like the idea of waterfowling with an O/U or double gun, these are worth a look. The metal surfaces are all Cerakoted (even the insides of the receivers and fore-end irons) to inhibit corrosion and abrasion. The guns all have sling swivel studs so you can carry them hands-free while toting gear. Their most unusual feature, though, are the rare earth magnets in the ejectors or extractors. They’re just strong enough to hold a shell, so you can open this gun up at any angle without dropping your shells in the mud. The magnets make loading and unloading a break action in a blind or pit much easier and safer. In 12 and 20 gauge, O/U and side-by-side models. $690 - $1,123; cz-usa.com

Savage Renegauge

Savage’s first-ever autoloader comes with an AccuFit stock.
Savage’s first-ever autoloader comes with an AccuFit stock.Savage Arms

Savage enters the semi-auto market with the 3-inch, 12-gauge Renegauge shotgun that promises soft recoil and customizable fit. The Renegauge’s DRIV (Dual Regulating Inline Valve) gas system consists of a pair of regulating valves that vent excess gases, allowing the gun to cycle a wide range of loads from light, subsonic ammunition to the heaviest magnums with very little recoil. The Renegauge’s most exciting feature is a stock that adjusts very easily for length, drop, and cast to fit a wide range of shooters. Interchangeable combs let you alter drop, and they are made of a soft, recoil-reducing foam to further ease recoil. A fluted barrel reduces the Renegauge’s overall weight to under 8 pounds, and an enlarged bolt handle and bolt closer will make the gun easier to use with cold and/or gloved hands on those cold mornings in the blind. All in all, it’s an impressive debut—Savage seems to have thought of everything. $1449; savagearms.com

Remington 870 Express Trap

Remington is now offering the 870 Express in a trap model.
Remington is now offering the 870 Express in a trap model.Remington

Remington introduces a dedicated trap version of the venerable 870 Express for 2020. As an SCTP youth trap coach, I used to plead with a succession of Remington shotgun product managers for a bare-bones, affordable trap gun for the growing number of kids who participate in scholastic trap leagues. I have no idea to what degree I convinced them, but there is now such a gun, and it looks like a winner. The new 870 Express Trap has a hardwood Monte Carlo stock, a 30 inch barrel with front and mid-bead, and three chokes to cover singles and handicap distances. And at this price, it’s in reach of almost everyone. $609; remington.com

Franchi Instinct SL 28 and .410

Franchi’s popular Instinct SL O/U now comes in 28-gauge and .410 versions.
Franchi’s popular Instinct SL O/U now comes in 28-gauge and .410 versions.Franchi

Franchi completes the Instinct SL lineup this year by offering 28 and .410 versions of the popular O/U. With its lightweight alloy receiver and attractive looks and price tag, the Instinct SL appeals to upland hunters who cover long distances following their dogs. The 28 is listed at just a hair over 5 pounds, the .410 at about 5½. These should make great carrying guns for thick-cover woodcock and quail hunters who need to keep one hand free for fending off brush, and who need a gun that handles quickly. Like the larger-gauge Instinct SLs, these have bright-silver receivers, rounded Prince of Wales grips, and extended choke tubes. $1,699; franchiusa.com

Stoeger 3500 Predator and Turkey

Stoeger’s newest 3500 is designed for turkey and predator hunters.
Stoeger’s newest 3500 is designed for turkey and predator hunters.Stoeger

The tactical-pistol-grip turkey gun was a trend a few years ago, and you don’t see as many as you used to, which is too bad, as the grips are user-friendly and ergonomic in the extreme, if, perhaps, more practical than pretty. New for this year, Stoeger’s 3½-inch inertia gun comes in a ported, 24-inch-barreled turkey/predator model complete with extended MOJO chokes, a para-cord sling, and a coat of Mossy Oak Overwatch camo. It’s the most expensive M3500 ever offered, but still comes in at well under a grand. $929; stoegerindustries.com

Beretta 695

Beretta 695 shotgun
The new Beretta 695 is an elegant, traditionally styled shotgun.Beretta

Amidst all the plastic and camo, it’s getting harder every year at SHOT to find good-looking, traditionally styled shotguns. Beretta’s 695 was a sight for sore and jaded eyes. The 695 is the highest grade of the new 690 series, which replaces the widely popular 680 line. Frankly, there aren’t a lot of differences between the 680s and 690s, which is a good thing, as the 680 design wasn’t broken in the least. That said, the new gun has overbored barrels and longer forcing cones on the inside for better pattern performance, and on the outside, it has a more elegantly sculpted receiver. The engraving – as is the case with so many guns now – is laser cut, but while lots of laser engraving looks shallow and cheap, the 695 has a good-looking, deep-cut scroll pattern made by a five-axis laser. The highly figured wood has an elegant oil finish that wears the scars of field use more handsomely than the urethane used on so many gunstocks. $4,250; beretta.com

Mossberg 940 JM Pro

Mossberg 940 JM Pro shotgun
The new Mossberg 940 JM Pro is fully tricked-out for 3-gun competition.Mossberg

Mossberg’s relationship with shooting legend Jerry Miculek has resulted in a new gun for 2020, the 940 semiauto. Miculek has been competing in 3-gun with the 930 for some time, and he and the Mossberg engineers redesigned the gun’s gas system to make it more reliable. A solid spacer tube that rides on the magazine tube of the original gun has been replaced with a fluted, ported model that more effectively vents gas away from the action, reducing the buildup of fouling in the system and allowing the gun to run much longer between cleanings. On the outside, the 940 is completely tricked out for 3-gun shooting, with enlarged controls, an extra-large port to permit quad loading, a fiber-optic bead, a stock that adjusts for length, and a 9+1 magazine capacity. The gun is black with gold accents that make it as good-looking as such a gun can be. I wouldn’t be surprised to see waterfowl, field, and clay versions of the 940 in the near future. $1,015; mossberg.com

Winchester SX4 20-Gauge

The Winchester SX4.
For 2020, the Winchester SX4 comes in a variety of 20-gauge options.Winchester Repeating Arms

Winchester’s big news for 2020 is, appropriately enough, a 20-gauge. The SX4 semiauto now comes in a raft of different 20-gauge configurations for waterfowlers, upland hunters, and smaller-framed shooters. And that’s a good thing, as more and more hunters turn to small-bore guns due to age, desire for lower recoil, or just because Americans have always liked sub-gauges. In all ways, the 20 gauge SX4s are just like the 12-gauge versions, but smaller. They have the same proven gas system; the enlarged safety, bolt-handle and release; and, best of all, the same low price. Starting at $699; winchesterguns.com