Volume 26, Number 2 February/March 2018

This year’s selection of new models encompasses the entire smoothbore spectrum, from personal defense and serious 3-Gun competition to high-end engraved over/unders and practical field and clay-target models. And that’s not all: We’re also seeing new magnum waterfowl guns, turkey guns, and some interesting new sub-gauge field and Mounted Cowboy competition guns. In addition, a number of new camouflage patterns will now be available on proven designs from several manufacturers.

The big news from Benelli this year is the rollout of the new Ethos 12-gauge recoil-operated semi-auto shotgun. According to Benelli, the Ethos is the next generation of the Inertia Driven System, and it will reliably handle 12-gauge loads as light as 7⁄8-ounce target loads right on up to the stoutest 3-inch magnum shells.

Built on a new platform, the Ethos is the culmination of Benelli’s latest innovations and refinements. The new design includes a patented easy-locking system, which features a detent mechanism that has been added to the bolt body that guarantees the rotating bolt will positively lock up even if it is eased forward without force. A new two-part bolt carrier latch, beveled loading port, and redesigned carrier provide fast and positive shell feeding. An enlarged bolt release and improved cartridge drop lever allow easy operation, even if the shooter is wearing gloves.

Ethos stocks are cut from figured AA-Grade European walnut and incorporate Benelli’s patented Progressive Comfort recoil-reduction system to reduce felt recoil and muzzle climb. The barrel sports interchangeable carbon-fiber ribs that reduce weight and are engineered for quick replacement. Interchangeable fiber-optic bars in the front sight are supplied in red, green, and yellow, allowing for quick changes in order to match lighting or background conditions. The receiver, available in either a black anodized or engraved nickel-plated finish, is fitted to a blued barrel. SRP: $1,999, black anodized receiver; $2,199, engraved nickel-plated receiver. (301-283-6981; benelliusa.com)


The Browning High Grade program moves into its second year with a pair of full-side-plate Citori over/unders. The extended side plates create a larger canvas that is perfect for additional embellishment by highly skilled engravers. Sharply checkered, finely finished high-grade wood is hand-fit to the colored, case-hardened receiver. A Grade III and Grade VI 12-gauge model will be offered, each with a 28-inch ventilated top rib barrel. A combined total of up to 500 of these High Grade shotguns will be produced.

The new Grade III Citori High Grade receiver features high-relief scroll engraving with a colored, case-hardened finish. The stock and forearm feature Grade III/IV walnut in a gloss finish and 22-lpi cut checkering. An ABS Elite case is included with the Grade III Citori. SRP: $4,669.99.

The new Grade VI Citori High Grade receiver has a colored, case-hardened finish with full-coverage high-relief engraving that features gold enhancement and mallards on the left, pheasants on the right. The stock and forearm feature Grade V/VI walnut in a gloss finish with sharp 22-lpi checkering. The new Grade VI Citori with be supplied with a Browning High Grade Canvas/Crazy Horse Leather fitted gun case. SRP: $7,339.99.

For 2014 Browning will expand the 725 Citori line to include nimble new 20-gauge models that offer reduced weight along with Browning’s Fire Lite mechanical trigger system, full-width hinge pin and tapered locking bolt design, InFlex II recoil pad, and Browning’s new Invector DS choke tube system. The new Citori 725 20-gauge will be offered in Field and Sporting models. The 725 20-gauge Field will feature a Silver nitride-finish receiver accented with high-relief engraving of game-bird scenes. The stock and forearm are in gloss oil finish in Grade II/III walnut, and it’s available with 26-or 28-inch barrels. SRP: $2,469.99.

The new Citori 725 20-gauge Sporting model will feature a Silver nitride-finish receiver with gold-accented target engraving. Ventilated top and side ribs are featured in 28-, 30-, or 32-inch barrel lengths. The stock and forearm feature a gloss oil finish Grade III/IV walnut stock with close-radius pistol grip and palm swell. SRP: $3,529.99.

Other new additions in Browning’s 725 Citori lineup are the new 725 Trap and 725 Skeet models in 12-gauge only. The 725 Trap will be offered with 30-or 32-inch barrels with a high-post rib, and it will be available with standard or adjustable comb-stock options. SRP: $3,339.99 to $3,739.99. (801-876-2711; browning.com)


î New models in CZ’s pump-action, semi-auto, and over/ under line become the additions to CZ’s new smoothbore offerings this year. Leading the pump-action introductions is the 612 Field (SRP: $389). It is designed as a moderately priced pump-action shotgun that can handle most smooth-bore chores. Chambered for 12-gauge 3-inch shells, it can also handle 23⁄4-inch loads. It features a walnut stock and a 28-inch barrel and is threaded for interchangeable choke tubes (IC, M, and F are included). The metalwork is finished in satin chrome.

The 620 Youth (SRP: $349) pump-action 20-gauge is chambered for 3-inch shells, but also handles 23⁄4-inch loads. It features a synthetic stock with a reduced 123⁄4-inch length of pull to appeal to smaller-framed shooters, and a 24-inch barrel. The barrel is threaded for interchangeable choke tubes (IC, M, and F), which are included with the gun.

The 620 Big Game (SRP: $399) is a 20-gauge pump-action, a synthetic-stocked smoothbore designed for use with slugs. Threaded for inter-changeable chokes, the 22-inch barrel is equipped with an extended rifled choke tube to improve accuracy with Foster-style slugs. A Weaver-style cantilever rail rides atop the barrel to allow the mounting of a scope or red-dot sight.

The 612 Home Defense (SRP: $409) is a no-frills 12-gauge pump-action with a synthetic stock. It features an 18.5-inch barrel with a fixed-cylinder choke and a prominent blade front sight. In addition, a 26-inch field barrel with a vent-rib barrel is included to make it a more versatile gun.

The 26-inch barrel is threaded for interchangeable choke tubes, and accepts all CZ choke tubes. The shotgun comes with a Modified choke.

CZ’s new semi-auto shotguns include a number of very useful models. The 712 Practical (SRP: $699) is the first CZ shotgun designed specifically for the increasingly popular 3-Gun games.

Chambered for 12-gauge shells, it features a 22-inch barrel threaded for CZ choke tubes. Five flush-mounted choke tubes are included. An ATI fluted magazine extension provides a 9+1 capacity; it extends slightly past the barrel to help protect the muzzle and flush chokes when firing from barricade positions. The butt-stock is a six-position adjust-able model that is installed on a commercial-spec tube that allows aftermarket customization.

The 720 ALS (SRP: $599) is a 20-gauge semi-auto with a 24-inch barrel fitted with the fully adjustable ATI Akita butt-stock. This allows shooters to change the length of pull from 12 to 14 inches with the push of a button. It also allows three different comb heights via easy screw adjustments, meaning the 720 ALS can be fitted to a number of shooters.

The Sporter Standard Grade Adjustable Rib (SRP: $3,122) is an over/under designed to allow shooters to adjust their point of impact from a flat-shooting gun for Sporting Clays and Skeet to a higher pattern for Trap. Chambered in 12 gauge, and available with a 30-or 32-inch barrel, it is based upon CZ’s Standard Grade Sporter, but equipped with Moneymaker Guncraft’s adjustable rib and a buttstock with a four-way adjustable parallel comb. The combination allows discriminating shooters to alter the point of impact to suit any clay target game. It is supplied with a set of six inter-changeable Kick’s Tom Mack stainless-steel choke tubes. (800-955-4486; cz-usa.com)


The Mossberg 930 field semi-auto shotgun line expands this year with two new 12-gauge/3-inch High-Performance models featuring an extended magazine tube that offers a 12+1 capacity. For those times when 13 shells might not be appropriate, a five-round magazine tube is also included with each.

Model 85123 features a stock finished in Kryptek Yeti camo, while Model 85122 is in plain matte black. Both models feature a synthetic stock with a 28-inch vent-rib barrel and a fiber-optic front sight threaded for Accu-Set choke tubes. A forward barrel clamp is supplied for the extended 12-shot magazine tube.

Three new models featuring Kryptek’s distinctive Typhon camo pattern on synthetic stocks enter Mossberg’s Competition and Tactical lines in 2014. The 930 JM Pro Series-10 Shot (85133) is built on the 930 semi-auto action and chambered for 12-gauge 3-inch shells. The 24-inch barrel is chambered for Accu-Set choke tubes, features a matte blue finish, and sports a fiber-optic front sight. An extended magazine tube with a stabilizing barrel clamp provides a 10-round capacity with 23⁄4-inch shells. The synthetic stock features Mossberg’s adjustable stock-drop spacer system.

The 930 SPX Pistol Grip-8 Shot (85373) is built on the 930 12-gauge/3-inch semi-auto action with an extended magazine tube to provide an 8-round capacity with 23⁄4-inch shells. The 18.5-inch barrel is a fixed-cylinder choke and sports a Picatinny rail on the upper receiver. It is supplied with an adjustable ghost-ring rear sight and a fiber-optic front sight enclosed in protective wings. The full-length buttstock has a finger-groove pistol grip.

The 590A1-6 Shot (51522) is built on Mossberg’s 590 pump action in 12-gauge/3-inch chambering. The 18.5-inch barrel has a fixed-cylinder choke and sports an adjustable ghost-ring rear sight with a blade front sight. Magazine capacity is six 23⁄4-inch shells.

Two new Mossberg 500 Tactical Rail models enter the line this year with an innovative Center Mass LaserLyte laser designed specifically for tactical shotguns. The Center Mass laser displays a ring of red dots surrounding a center aiming dot. The outer ring of dots expands at the rate of 1-inch per yard—approximating the spread of shotgun loads at close range—while the center aiming dot remains constant in the pattern center. This “spreader pattern” laser provides quick and positive target acquisition while showing a visible reference relating to the pattern spread at any range.

The Center Mass laser is mounted on the bottom rail of two new 500 Tactical Tri-Rail 12-gauge/3-inch 500 series pump-actions, the 500 Persuader Tactical Tri-Rail (50599) and the 500 Cruiser Tactical Tri-Rail (50600). Each offers a full-length bottom rail on the forearm and two smaller side rails to allow the use of lights. The 500 Persuader is a full-stocked gun in black synthetic with a 20-inch Cylinder bore barrel sporting a bead front sight and an 8-round capacity. The 500 Cruiser features a compact black synthetic pistol-grip-only stock with a 18.5-inch barrel and a 6-round capacity.

The Mossberg Flex system allows for easy, toolless changing of forearms, buttstocks, and recoil pad assemblies on any shotgun or rifle within the Flex system line. For 2014, Mossberg brings the 500 pump-action series 20-gauge shotgun into the Flex system with four
new base model guns for field use and personal defense.

Mossberg will link up with the Robertson clan, who have become a national phenomenon with their top-rated TV series, Duck Dynasty. The result is the Duck Commander series of shotguns. The list is extensive, but all feature Realtree’s new Max-5 camo pattern on a synthetic stock and the Duck Commander logo engraved on the stock or receiver.

The Mossberg International SA-20 Field is a semi-auto shotgun chambered for 20-gauge/3-inch shells. It has a five-round capacity and a synthetic stock. The 26-inch ventilated-rib barrel features a bead front sight and is equipped with the Sport Set interchangeable choke tube system. (800-363-3555; mossberg.com)

The American-made Ruger Red Label over/under shotgun has been an American classic for years. The gun was discontinued in 2011, but it returns this year in a redesigned format that features refined inner workings, a new center-of-gravity balance point, and reduced recoil.

The new Ruger Red Label (SRP: $1,399) is available in 12-gauge (it’s chambered for 3-inch shells but is able to handle all 23⁄4-inch shells) and can be had with a 26-, 28-, or 30-inch barrel. All barrels now feature 2-inch lengthened forcing cones and maximum back-boring to produce tighter patterns and reduce recoil. The Red Label’s traditional low-profile receiver is enhanced with a new stainless-steel top lever.

The Red Label sports an American walnut stock with a 1.5-inch drop at comb and a 2.5-inch drop at heel, with a 14.5-inch length of pull. A Pachmayr butt pad helps reduce felt recoil. The finely polished stainless-steel receiver mates with blue steel barrels that are topped with a quarter-inch dovetailed ventilated rib and a front bead sight. The barrels are threaded for interchangable choke tubes, and five Briley steel-shot-compatible choke tubes (two Skeet, and one each of IC, M, and F) are included, as is a Briley choke-tube wrench to help with installation.
The action incorporates a single selective trigger that allows the shooter to fire a second shot without recocking. It also features rebounding hammers for easier action opening. An automatic two-position top tang safety/barrel selector switch allows quick barrel selection and positive visibility. Completeing the package, each Red Label ships with a custom-molded semi-soft case and a safety lock. (203-259-7843; ruger.com)


The VersaMax Tactical 3 Gun (SRP: $1,699) is designed to be a serious competitor in increasingly popular 3-Gun events. Built on the proven 12-gauge VersaMax gas-port action, it features a 22-inch barrel, a green Cerakote receiver with an enlarged feeding port to enable faster reloading, an enlarged bolt closure, safety button, and cocking handle, and an adjustable XS rear sight for increased accuracy with slugs while still providing proper shot load placement. It is equipped with an 8-round one-piece carbon-fiber magazine tube, with a two-shot carbon-fiber extension tube that can provide a 10+1 capacity. QD sling swivel cups are provided on stock and forend.

Two new 870 pump-action 12-gauge models join the Tactical line. The 870 Magpul FDE (SRP: $898.16) features an 18.5-inch barrel with an extended tactical ported choke tube, a one-piece magazine tube, and a fully adjustable XS ghost-ring sight rail with a removable front white bead sight. The receiver and barrel are covered with an FDE Cerakote coating.

The 870 Tactical Pistol Grip (SRP: $496.50) features an 18.5-inch barrel with an extended tactical ported choke tube, a Pachmayr pistol grip stock, bead front sight, matte black finish, and a one-piece magazine tube. It ships with a black synthetic stock. (800-243-9700; remington.com)


New in Winchester Repeating Arms’ SX3 semi-auto shotgun line for 2014 is the SX3 12-gauge 3.5-inch Long Beard turkey model. Unique features found on this model include a Briley X-Full Long Beard Invector Plus extended choke tube designed for Winchester Long Beard ammunition, a pistol-grip stock with three interchangeable recoil pads to adjust length of pull, and three interchangeable comb pieces to adjust drop on the comb. Other features include a TruGlo fiber-optic front sight with a fully adjustable folding rear sight and Weaver-style cantilever scope-mount-rail design on the barrel. With a 24-inch barrel, it’s offered in Realtree Xtra Green camo finish. SRP: $1,269.99.

Winchester’s new offering in the SXP pump shotgun line for 2014 is the Field Compact model. It has a compact, 13-inch length of pull that is scaled down to fit younger shooters and those of smaller stature. The SXP 12-gauge Field Compact (chambered for 3-inch shells) will have a satin-finished stock and forearm with traditional checkering to maintain a sure grip. Other features include black chrome protection on the bolt and other components—it lasts longer than traditional bluing—and a hard chrome chamber and bore. It uses the Invector-Plus choke tube system, features .742-inch Back-Bored barrel technology, a drop-out trigger group, and InFlex Technology recoil pad. Available in 24-, 26-, and 28-inch barrel lengths. SRP: $399.99. (801-876-3440; winchesterguns.com)