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Do you need a versatile deer hunting weapon? Well, shotguns are ideal for deer hunting. Unlike other weapons, they are more durable and reliable to take down large-sized game. Also, the maintenance cost on these firearms is significantly lower as compared to the other options available.
Deer hunting requires a swift and potent shotgun that will easily keep up with these speedy animals. Luckily, firearm makers provide us with a wide variety of options to choose from, each of them explicitly made for this hunting genre. Considering that there are hundreds of potential prospects, it may prove tedious to some while it is fun to most.
It is best to make an informed decision for the best selection. And this is where this article comes in handy as we embark on the best and currently available deer hunting shotguns. The picking of our list involves comments from the respective gun companies’ specifications and useful customer feedback.
Best Deer Hunting Shotguns
The existence of a handful of firearm makers dedicated to the making of hunting weapons means that there is more than one classification of these shotguns. These options are according to their action to the size of bullets used by their manufacturers. Each category best suits a particular application, hence the need to determine your use of the firearm before reading through this piece.
Best Slug Shotguns for Deer Hunting
Most shooters may not expect to find spectacular firearms in this list because of the concerns regarding their ownership inconsistencies. Despite this setback, Ithaca products are well-respected for their superb performance and sleek designs. Directly derived from its title, it is a terror to the deer family and a favorite to most because of this attribute.
Over the years, it has continued proving its worth in the hunting genre with reliable and consistent performance. A unique feature regarding it is its bottom ejecting shell mechanism, which is atypical in pump shotguns. This mechanism allows for a smooth cycling action while handling your weapon in the field.
The heavy contour barrel measuring at 24 inches graces its exterior build and improves its accuracy. As an expert shooter, it is a realization that the longer the barrel, the better your chances of accurately hitting your target. In its class, it is among the lightest pieces weighing at seven to eight pounds. Its overall weight will depend on the type of rounds used and whether scoped or not. No matter the hunting approach you decide to take on your deer hunting expeditions, expect spectacular results from this piece of art.
- It is perfect for long-distance attempts.
- It is potent enough for large game hunting.
- It is expensive.
The Browning A-Bolt was, for some time, the unluckiest product from this major firearm brand. It was first introduced in the market in 1995 as an original. Its sales however, did not pick as expected, which led to its discontinuing after a short period.
Its unlucky streak ended recently as browning reintroduced the piece with improved and advanced elements. Among a load of additions, it now came only in 12 gauge and featured a variety of outstanding stocks. Options of this model are available in a walnut, black, or camo synthetic stock, allowing the buyer for a more custom selection.
On its build is a 22-inch barrel fit with a three-inch chamber for excellent and reliable performance. Its use in the deer hunting scene is steadily growing, with hunters commenting that it looks as good as it performs. For hunters in search of a dedicated slug shotgun, this may be your best bargain in the current market.
- It features a polished chamber finish.
- Perfectly fits on the shooter’s hands.
- It has a detachable magazine box.
- It is no longer in production and available in limited retailers.
Simple is the word deer hunters use in describing the mechanism and appearance of the H&R ultra-slug hunter. As described by one of its designers, it is a no-nonsense deer dropping shotgun that should be in every hunter’s catalog. This weapon perfectly blends steel and wood components in its body, allowing for a tough and durable slug shooter.
For a better break-action ability, H&M opted for an exposed hammer that is positioned correctly on the exterior of the gun. This build and other elements are responsible for the dedicated following this piece has in the hunting franchise. Apart from its flawless mechanical structure, it also features a comfortable stock and heavy-duty barrel resulting in extreme accuracy and efficiency.
Being a single shot slug gun and weighing between eight to nine pounds, expect a notorious recoil impact from every shot attempt. The detailed buttstock slightly minimizes this recoil, and with a firm grip on the weapon, you may not feel it as much. There is an ultralight version of the same model which comes at 5¼ pounds.
- It is available in a variety of versions.
- It is lighter than most slug shotguns.
- It has a massive recoil impact.
Tarhunt may not be the most famous brands in firearm production, but their products do meet the required standards for an excellent hunting piece. Proving their dominance and reliability in this genre is the professional version of their RSG series. RSG, which stands for rifled slug gun, is among the most reliable gun models making them one of the few favored options in the deer hunting field.
Unlike previous models of the same line, the professional version comes with a glass bedded action on a fiberglass stock. Also, complementing its action mechanism is a crisp 3½ pound trigger, which releases with a crisp feel and an optimized barrel for premium performance. Simply, this is a rifle like shotgun combining the excellent versions of both.
Depending on whether scoped or not, it weighs between seven to eight pounds. Practically, it is neither the heaviest nor the lightest firearm weapon to carry around in search of deer prospects. However, its performance makes up for its weight. For the best results, I suggest aiding your aim on a bench rest.
- It features a custom jewel trigger.
- A unique and exquisite glass-like finish.
- It has a lifetime warranty.
- It is only available in stainless steel build.
Best Pump-Action Shotguns for Deer Hunting
The Remington 870 pump-action shotgun is not a new weapon to feature in best-lists across the shooting community. This brand brags of dozens of reliable and efficient firearms, and this is also the case in this gun. Its flawless performance allows it to thrive in the deer hunting franchise, as well as sporting and law enforcement applications.
The most common model of this gun is the 12 gauge version, and it is also available in 16 and 20 gauge cartridges. The 12-gauge was first to hit the shelves way back in 1950 and has been in production since then. A few years later, in 1969, the 28 and .410 bore joined the earlier version. However, this time it featured a smaller and more compact receiver than the previous model. 1972 saw the release of the lightweight 20 gauge version, which had a similar receiver to the 1969 version.
In total, this model is available in 15 models scaled down to chamber a variety of rounds. The elements that sum up to this worthy gun are nothing but premium. Based on comments from numerous users, it is an icon to the deer hunting community.
- It comes at pocket-friendly prices.
- It features a solid steel receiver.
Marketed by Winchester as the world’s fastest pump-action shotgun, it is no surprise to find the SXP on this list. Although its initial purpose was bird hunting, it slowly weaved its way through to game hunting, where it is among the best options for taking down deer. You can also find it thriving in sporting competitions and clay hunting.
Among the many reasons for its preference for hunting includes its extreme accuracy from the 28-inch barrel. It is more accurate than most options in the same profile for its long barrel. As some may see this length as an advantage, some see it as a disadvantage. A long barrel will limit the shooter’s ability to maneuver through thick vegetation cover in the wild.
To ensure that minimum or less damage is caused on the barrel of your gun, it features an optimized barrel with three chokes. They allow for a smooth and safe action cycle protecting both the shooter and the gun. It is a breeze to carry even on long hunting trips as it weighs only six pounds.
- It has an anti glare coated finish.
- Comes at an affordable price.
- It is easy to shoulder.
Best Semi-Auto Shotguns for Deer Hunting
Semi-automatic shotguns are a coveted possession by shooters that find the manual pumping of a standard shotgun a bit tiresome. Weatherby brings forth a gun that satisfies all the needs a deer hunter may require from a firearm of its caliber. It is made and marketed by its manufacturer as a hunting weapon and is available in all standard calibers.
Its flawless internal mechanism features a dual valve system that proves useful when switching from light to heavy loads and vice-versa. Unlike most shotguns which require a manual transition, you get an automatic smooth action cycle of your shells.
A total of six versions are available for this gun, and all range within the 12 and 20 gauge calibers. The 12 gauge is most famous for deer hunting because of its improved cylinder and optimized full choke tubes. Also, it weighs only 3.06 kg, allowing for its lightweight nature for easy carriage across the field.
- It offers a great action cycle.
- A durable and lightweight firearm.
- The choke tubes may malfunction.
The Benelli ethos is one elegant semi-auto shotgun that remains to be the most coveted options in hunting shotguns. Not only is it a beauty, but also an excellent performer that thrives in game hunting and even sporting activities. So far, I have not heard of complaints from the gun that may drive a buyer away from it.
Among the outstanding features that make it a favorite to most is the rare inertia drive system. This internal flawless functioning system is among the modern build mechanisms that shotgun makers are choosing for more efficient weapons. Common to most semi-auto shotguns are the massive recoil kick felt, however in this firearm, the kick is reduced by almost half
Its potency is enough to make it a competing option in the medium and large-sized game hunting. It is perfectly balanced for swift swings that, in return, allow for quick and easy target acquisition. Without a doubt in mind, it is an option that every hunter should add to their firearm catalog.
- It is super light.
- It promises a natural pointing and target acquisition.
- The recoil reduction system is not as effective as they claim.
The Benelli super black eagle shotgun series holds its high-end reputation as a top-rated and most reliable hunting weapon. In its long list of weapons lies the super black eagle 3, which is a definition of quality and efficiency from this firearm brand. Its excellent performance is widely sought for in the deer hunting community, making it a preference in most regions.
This firearm is the first model ever to feature the inertia drive system that we see in upcoming modern hunting shotguns. The primary purpose of this mechanism was to reconvert the recoil energy to cycle new shells in the chamber automatically. After its introduction to the market, we then saw this mechanism copied by other major brands.
Initially, the 12 gauge model was for waterfowl hunting. However, after its use in the wild, hunters found that its efficiency can be translated into game hunting. A great feature in its build is the Benelli Surface treatment coating that protects its steel elements from rust and corrosion.
- It features an easy loading system.
- It has an oversized bolt handle and safety.
Best Over-Under Shotguns for Deer Hunting
Over-under shotguns have always been associated with clay shooting rather than hunting applications. However, options such as the Citori 725 are potent enough to take down small and mid-sized animals of the wild successfully. It first hit the shelves in 1973 and featured improved and superior elements of the previous models in the same line.
While previous versions had a blocky shape, this model is streamlined and classically shaped. It is also slimmer than most of its comparatives and correctly fits on the shooter’s hands, increasing your accuracy and target acquisition. Its trigger is reliable in a way that if the first barrel malfunctions, it will still shoot the second barrel reducing your chances of being caught unawares.
If you are to use it hunting, I suggest you go for more massive rounds to increase the efficiency of your shots. Both the 12 and 20 gauge come weighing less than eight pounds which is a considerable weight. For those who are not limited on funds, this is a beautiful and worthy purchase.
- It features a gloss oil finish.
- Its internal build features an inflex recoil pad.
- It has a triple trigger system.
- It is expensive.
For a shotgun to be classified as one-under, it needs to feature two functional barrels on its build. Most of these shotguns are available at hefty price tags; however, if on a tight budget I believe that the CZ Drake is your best bargain. This firearm consists of all the excellent features available in a gun of its caliber at a pocket friendly price.
Its functioning may not be the best in comparison to other shotguns in its caliber; it is more than powerful to get the job done. Responsible for its smooth action is the single selectable trigger that helps the shooter decide on which barrel to shoot first. The laser cut checkering and mid-rib delete allow for a tight and steady grasp on the firearm. It also adds to its exquisite and classy stock.
It is user friendly and suits a wide range of applications since it is chambered in all standard calibers with a 28-inch barrel. While most shotguns do not accommodate left handed shooters, this rifle is friendly to these individuals.
- It fits perfectly, allowing for a steady grasp.
- Features outstanding elements.
All firearms mentioned in this article are potent enough for deer and other deer-sized animals. It is important to note that the efficiency of your gun correlates to the bullet choice. Small targets require lesser cartridges and vice versa. Having this in mind, you can then pick your preferred shotgun and head for the field.
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36 years old, been hunting and fishing my entire life – love the outdoors, family, and all kinds of hunting and fishing! I have spent thousands of hours hunting hogs and training hunting dogs, but I’m always learning new stuff and really happy to be sharing them with you! hit me up with an email in the contact form if you have any questions.