Four great duck guns

FOUR WATERFOWL SHOT­GUNS THAT WON’T BREAK THE BANK

Outdoor Life - - CONTENTS - BY JAR­ROD SPILGER

Waterfowl shot­guns must be re­li­able and tough. Syn­thetic stocks are manda­tory, camo fin­ishes prefer­able. The ex­tra fire­power of a 3 ½-inch cham­ber is also nice. They shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg, ei­ther, be­cause you don’t want to cry over the first scratch, and scratch it you in­vari­ably will. For semi-au­tos, that means a cost of around $1,000 (or less); pumps should be un­der $500. Here are four af­ford­able scat­ter­guns to check out this sea­son that fit the bill.

The new SX4 is the fourth gen­er­a­tion in Winch­ester’s Su­per X semi-auto series. Out­ward up­grades in­clude a thicker re­coil pad and a larger bolt han­dle, bolt re­lease but­ton, trig­ger guard, and safety for eas­ier ma­nip­u­la­tion with gloves. The gun’s er­gonomics have also been im­proved, with a smaller pis­tol grip and a sculpted fore­arm. In­side, the re­li­able Ac­tive

The 935 Pro Series Waterfowl fea­tures sev­eral en­hance­ments over ear­lier mod­els to help it with­stand the el­e­ments faced by hard­core fowlers. Those up­grades in­clude a boron ni­tride coat­ing on the gas pis­ton, pis­ton ring, magazine tube, ham­mer, sear, and re­turn spring plunger and tube to pre­vent cor­ro­sion and im­prove per­for­mance. A stain­less-steel re­turn spring also

The A350 is Beretta’s new­est 3 ½-inch semi­auto. Its soft-shoot­ing gas sys­tem and self­clean­ing pis­ton pro­vides ex­treme re­li­a­bil­ity with a wide range of ammo, from light tar­get loads to the heav­i­est su­per mag­nums. The 28-inch cold-ham­mer-forged Steel­ium bar­rel has a fiber-op­tic front sight up top. In­side, the forc­ing cone has been length­ened (as on high-

The 612 Mag­num Waterfowl pump ac­tion has a 3 ½-inch cham­ber and 28-inch bar­rel that comes with five ex­tended, black choke tubes—cylin­der, Im­proved Cylin­der, Mod­i­fied, Im­proved Mod­i­fied, and Full—to cover ev­ery shoot­ing sit­u­a­tion. Dual ac­tion bars en­able smooth cycling, while the length­ened fore­arm of­fers im­proved er­gonomics and sup­port-hand com­fort. Full-cov­er­age Valve gas sys­tem re­mains un­changed, ex­cept the pis­ton base now has a brass ring rather than plas­tic, for in­creased longevity. Avail­able in 3- and 3 ½-inch mod­els, the av­er­age weight is 7 pounds. Bar­rel op­tions are 26 or 28 inches (24 inches on the com­pact model), with a red fiberop­tic front sight and three In­vec­tor Plus chokes. ($939; winch­ester­guns.com) re­sists rust. The shell stop, bolt slide, and el­e­va­tor are pol­ished to pro­vide smoother cycling and faster fol­low-up shots. The camo fin­ish is Mossy Oak Shadow Grass Blades. Weight is 7.75 pounds. Like its 3 ½-inch 835 pump-gun coun­ter­part, the 935’s 28-inch bar­rel is over­bored to near 10-gauge di­men­sions for bet­ter pat­terns with non-toxic shot. ($959; moss­berg.com) end Beretta com­pe­ti­tion shot­guns) to pro­duce more con­sis­tent pat­terns and re­duce per­ceived re­coil. It comes with one flush-fit­ting Mod­i­fied Op­tima HP choke tube. An ex­tra-thick Mi­cro Core re­coil pad also helps tame felt re­coil. Sling studs are stan­dard, as is a shim sys­tem that al­lows ad­just­ment of drop, cast, and LOP. ($1,150, Max-5; $1,050, black syn­thetic; berettausa.com) Real­tree Max-4 camo keeps the 612 hid­den from wary fowl. It weighs just 6.8 pounds. A stock spacer adjusts LOP, while a set of shims al­lows fine-tun­ing of drop and cast. For folks on a bud­get, the 612 is a true one-gun won­der, as it will han­dle all 12-gauge loads. It’ll also stand up ad­mirably against its peer group in terms of tough­ness and ver­sa­til­ity. ($429; cz-usa.com)

CZ 612 MAG­NUM WATERFOWL

BERETTA A350 XTREMA

WINCH­ESTER SX4

MOSS­BERG 935 PRO SERIES WATERFOWL

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