Best Shotgun Brands of 2024

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People become loyal to shotgun brands the way they’re loyal to pickup truck brands. My dad was a Browning guy, so it wasn’t a surprise that the first shotgun he gave me was a Browning Auto 5. If we had been a Remington family, that gun would have been a Remington Model 1100. When I started buying guns for myself, I soon learned that if I was going to put together the battery of shotguns I wanted, brand loyalty would only limit me. There are a lot of shotguns on the market from different makers, and all have something unique to offer.

While several stalwart brands remain, the shotgun landscape changes constantly. The United States has lost many of its storied brand names, including Parker, A.H. Fox, and L.C. Smith. Even Ruger and Marlin are out of the shotgun business.

At the same time, foreign brands are much more prevalent in the United States than they used to be. Italian and Turkish-made guns make up a large share of the U.S. market today. It can be daunting to be a gun buyer if you’re not familiar with the major shotgun brands. 

Here is a list of the best shotgun brands to make the search for your next firearm easier.

Swedish immigrant O.F. Mossberg founded the gun company that bears his name in New Haven, Connecticut in 1919. Up until 1961, Mossberg was known for rimfire pistols and rifles, but that all changed with the introduction of the Model 500 pump. The new gun embodied the Mossberg brand. It was inexpensive and it was versatile. One of the first guns to be sold with extra barrels, the Model 500 was, in Mossberg’s words, a “shooting system.” You can find one for any purpose and the 500 has gone on to become the most popular shotgun ever made. 

The lineup has grown over time to comprise semi-autos and a line of affordable imported O/Us. In most people’s minds, however, Mossberg is a pump gun company.

My favorite Mossberg—and my constant companion in the spring turkey woods—is the Model 835. It was the first gun to be chambered for the mighty 3 1/2-inch 12-gauge and it’s essentially a supersized Model 500. It has the top safety that makes these guns left-hander friendly. I shoot an older 835, but the model I’d like is the new 835 Turkey Holosun dot combo. Mossberg has always been an innovator, and they are the first to make a cut in the receiver for a low-mounted red dot sight. This gun comes with a red dot sight mounted. 

Beretta has been in the same family since 1526 in Gardone, Italy, in the middle of Italy’s gumnmaking center of Val Trompia. There are well over 100 gun makers in the Val Trompia, and Beretta by itself makes more guns than all the rest combined. The giant maker can build anything, including pistols used by armed forces around the world, some of the most expensive hand-crafted over/under shotguns, and target shotguns durable enough to win at the Olympic level.

Among American shotgunners, Beretta is perhaps best known for its gas semi-autos. A leader in semi-auto design, Beretta offers the A400 in several variants. The A400 Xcel sporting gun and the A400 Xtreme Plus waterfowl gun have a deserved reputation for reliability and soft recoil. Both the gas operation and Beretta’s own Kick-Off recoil reduction device deliver mild recoil to the shooter while the guns break targets and drop ducks and geese. The A400 comes in 3 and 3 1/2-inch 12-gauge, 20-gauge and the new 3-inch 28-gauge, so there is a model for every purpose.

Benelli made only motorcycles until the 1960s, before going into the shotgun business with a unique semi-automatic operated by what is known as the inertia system. Located far from other Italian gunmakers in the small, medieval city of Urbino, Benelli continues refining the inertia action and building several different models around it.

The gun that made the company famous was the Super Black Eagle, introduced in 1991. It was the first autoloader made for the then-new 3 ½-inch 12-gauge. American waterfowlers quickly learned that the inertia action stayed cleaner, longer, than other types of semi-auto, and that the guns kept working in conditions that shut other shotguns down. Today the Super Black Eagle 3, the third iteration of the SBE, is available not only as a 3 ½-inch 12-gauge but also in 3-inch 12-, 20- and 28-gauges.

Česká zbrojovka, the Czech Armory, is best known for producing the CZ-75 pistol. In 1997, the company established CZ-USA to distribute and service their guns in the U.S. Shortly afterward, CZ-USA began importing a line of affordable Turkish-made shotguns. Those CZ guns became the first Turkish imports to win wide acceptance among the American public. The presence of a well-run service center in Kansas City further set U.S. shooter’s minds at ease, and their low price made them very attractive.

Hunters shopping for a no-frills side-by-side bird gun need look no further than the CZ Bobwhite G2. The lightweight, classic-styled gun has a straight grip, splinter forend, twin triggers and extractors. Unlike older side by sides, however, this one has interchangeable choke tubes and is rated for steel shot, making it a gun you can hunt with anywhere. The Bobwhite G2 comes in 12-, 20- and 28-gauge.

An American icon since it was founded in 1816, Remington fell on hard times in the early 20th century until it was purchased by a group determined to make quality Remington guns again. Remington made its reputation among shotgunners with the 1100 gas semi-auto and the 870 pump. The new ownership has started by making 870s again, and by making them the way they should be made. 

Designed to be produced with common, stamped, and molded-injection-metal parts so it could undercut the hand-fit and finished competition, the 870 turned out not just to be inexpensive, but great. Over 11 million have been made since its debut in 1950. Quality problems that plagued the 870s of a few years ago have been addressed, and once again, this American classic shoots the way it should. The Remington 870 FieldMaster synthetic comes in all-black in 3-inch 12 and 20-gauges, it doesn’t cost a ton of money, and it’s a well-made, reliable gun.

Utah’s John Browning, the greatest gun inventor who ever lived, founded Browning Arms Company in Ogden, Utah, in 1878. Browning—who worked with his brothers and later, his son, Val—was prolific and visionary as a designer of firearms. Many of his guns, like the now 113-year-old 1911 pistol and the M2 .50 caliber machine gun, are still made and used today. The gun he considered his greatest invention, the Auto 5 shotgun, was the first successful semi-automatic shotgun design, and it was a gun so far ahead of its time that it had no serious competition for fifty years after it was introduced. 

Browning’s last invention, the Superposed O/U, changed the tastes of American gun buyers. The over/under, at the time, was available only as a very high-end custom proposition. Browning found ways to make it much more affordable. He died while at work on the gun, which was completed by Val in 1931 and became a huge success during the affluent, post-WW2 years. Today the Superposed exists as a custom gun, while its lower-priced successor, the Citori 725, comes in a wide variety of hunting and target models. The 725 Field is an excellent hunting gun that comes in 12-, 20-, 28- and .410 bore. 

A relative newcomer to the Italian gun trade, Caesar Guerini was founded in 2000 by two brothers, Giorgio and Antonio Guerini, from one of Italy’s leading gunmaking families. The Guerini brand centers around field and target O/Us with traditional decoration and styling, and aimed squarely at the US market. Guerini has become very successful in a short time by listening to American consumers, giving them what they want, and by providing excellent customer service. The company offers both hunting and target guns.

Their first gun, and still mainstay of the line, the Tempio, comes in both a steel and a lightweight alloy-framed model in 12-, 20-, 28-gauges and in .410 bore. 

Tips for Buying a Shotgun

You have a lot of choices when you choose a shotgun. Fit, weight and balance all matter a great deal, because a shotgun is shot instinctively. If you don’t get those things right, the rest doesn’t matter much. 


Make sure it’s a gun that fits well and that you can handle and operate easily. If you’re not sure about how to tell if a gun fits you, consult a gunsmith or even a knowledgeable and trustworthy gun shop employee. No one needs a gun that doesn’t shoot where they look, or that they can’t handle because it’s too long or too heavy for them.


It’s just as important, too, that the gun suit its intended purpose. Although crossover models exist, in most cases, target and hunting guns are not the same. Target guns are often heavy, to soak up recoil and point steadily, with long barrels for a smooth swing. Hunting guns are often shorter and lighter, especially guns made for upland or turkey hunting.


Action type matters, too. The great advantages of gas semi-autos is that they actually reduce felt recoil. Pumps are reliable and inexpensive, but not well-suited for making fast follow-ups in clay target games. O/Us are excellent upland and target guns but have limited firepower (two shots vs three) in waterfowling and they can be awkward to load in a blind.


Gauge is another choice you’ll face. In general, the smaller the gauge (the bigger the number), the lighter and softer-kicking a gun will be, although that is oversimplifying. You’ll take all these factors and more into account when you choose a shotgun.

Budget and Quality

Buy the best gun you can, even if you have to stretch. A shotgun can last two or three generations with proper care.


Q: Can I buy a shotgun online? 

You can buy both new and used shotguns online. However, they cannot be shipped directly to you. You will have to have the gun transferred through a Federal Firearms License (FFL) holder, usually a local gun store, which usually charges a small fee for the handling the transfer. You’ll have to pick the gun up at their address and perform the same background check you go through if you were to buy the gun in person.

Q: How much are shotguns?

Shotguns range in price from a few hundred dollars to the price of a house. Between those extremes (and much closer to the bottom end), you should be able to find a gun that suits your needs. Generally speaking, a good pump gun costs $500 or so. You can get into a good semi-auto for $900 to $1,000. And again, while there are some low-priced exceptions, O/Us that will last forever start around $2,000 or more.

Q: What is the most popular shotgun gauge?

The 12-gauge is by far the most popular shotgun gauge because it’s the most versatile. It’s able to hold very heavy loads of shot for waterfowl or turkey hunting, and also capable of shooting loads as light a smallbore gun’s payloads. The 12 is also the only gun used in trapshooting competition.The larger bore of the 12-gauge gives it some ballistic advantages over smaller bores as well.

That said, a 20-gauge is capable of dropping birds and breaking clays at reasonable distances, and many people prefer shooting the smaller shells and guns.

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