Difficult weather, retrieving dogs, ducks, and geese…we could only be discussing one thing in this article – waterfowl hunting. While it’s true that semi-automatic shotguns dominate the arsenals of most dedicated waterfowlers, there’s still plenty of room for those with love for pumps and Over/Unders. When the name of the game is durability under duress, these guns have you covered.
Browning Auto 5 Semi-Auto
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For over 100 years, John Browning’s Auto-5 or A5 semi-automatic shotgun platform has taken down every kind of game and bird imaginable. The trademarked “humpback” design is immediately recognizable while the recoil-driven action sees both the barrel and bolt recoil together.
Though older round-knob Belgian versions of the Auto-5 are most collectible, Browning still produces the gun to this day in several durable finishes and iterations with modern embellishments as well. The Wicked Wing camo, Cerakoted version with oversize controls is a waterfowler’s dream.
Plus, the 100,0000-round guarantee on the new A5 is hard to beat in the industry. Look for the A5, priced around $1,500, for waterfowling success.
Winchester SX3 and SX4 Semi-Autos
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Though many quality waterfowl specific semi-autos exist on the market, few have proven as durable and user-friendly as Winchester’s SX3 and SX4 shotguns. These scatterguns accept all sizes of shells without adjustment – a definite perk. The action cycles so quickly, waterfowlers can pull from bird to bird, filling the bag limit in no time.
While we prefer the earlier SX3 made in Belgium, the newer Portuguese SX4’s sport some very hunter-friendly control upgrades. With models available in a compact size for smaller-frame shooters, finishes in all sorts of camouflage or wood, and many other options, the Winchester SX is a real hunter’s shotgun.
Hunters can find the SX series of shotguns from Winchester as low as $300 with certain models reaching well over $1,600.
CZ Swamp Magnum
Over/Under shotguns are seldom associated with waterfowl hunting, but only because they’re not usually built for such harsh conditions. (Not to mention they often won’t chamber the largest waterfowl rounds.) CZ, however, is looking to change the game with its Swamp Magnum.
Available in camouflage or black, Swamp Magnums are chambered for 3.5-inch full-power hunting rounds. The 30-inch vent rib barrels are topped with extended, interchangeable chokes. Recoil is stout, but knockdown power is even stronger, and the O/U action is a durable, time-proven design.
Though more non-traditional, Swamp Magnum doubles are claiming plenty of big geese and trophy ducks all with an MSRP of $952.
Mossberg 930 Snow Goose
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When firepower is at a premium with no limits, shotguns with extended magazine tubes excel and few are as purpose-driven as the Mossberg semi-auto Model 930 Snow Goose. With its Kryptek Yeti wintry camo, 28-inch barrel, and 12+1 magazine tube capacity, snow geese everywhere have been put on notice.
The front fiber optic sight is quick to acquire, while interchangeable chokes offer hunters plenty of pattern options. Plus, this gun turns heads with both its looks and bakers-dozen shell capacity. Of course, it’s not limited to snow geese and does equally as well on other waterfowl as well.
The Mossberg Model 930 Snow Goose retails for $1,022.
Benelli Super Black Eagle
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Most hardcore waterfowlers will have a strong preference for the brand of semi-automatic shotguns, and the Super Black Eagle from Benelli is always in the top two of that conversation. Recently introducing the latest in the Super Black Eagle family, the Super Black Eagle III, the newest shotgun accepts all shells up to 3.5-inches and comes in a variety of finishes and options. Benelli also shows some love to southpaws with a lefty friendly model.
The brand new SBE3 is not a necessity for waterfowl though, as older models are every bit as good. The Super Black Eagle namesake is equipped with Benelli’s inertia-driven, semi-automatic actions. ComfortTech stocks help negate the stout recoil of heavy waterfowl rounds and extended Crio chokes are hard to beat for tight patterns on ducks and geese.
Nab the SBE3 for a cool $1,899 or save a few bucks on older models starting around $1,500.