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Shotgun showdown: covering the market.

Except for the purely self-defense customer, many shotgun buyers are not just buying a gun, but investing in a work of art. They are a discerning lot of shooters who carefully examine the grain of a wood, seeking the finest European walnut stock. Still others will purchase a shotgun for its intricate English scroll engraving or waterfowl patterned sideplates. They like their shotguns to have a history.

This is not to say, however, that your shotgun customers aren't as serious as handgunners, if not more so, about their chosen sport; they want accuracy along with art. There are a number of superb shotguns on the market today, each designed for a specific sport or purpose. Whether your customer prefers to chase clay birds or go after the real thing, you have the opportunity to keep the shotgun heritage going by selling him the best gun for his money.

Knowing each sport and which gauge, choke, and barrel length is most appropriate for them is the first step in developing a long-term relationship with the shotgun customer, who will undoubtedly return to you for the next addition to his collection.

There are hundreds of standard and custom shotguns on the market today. Here is a roundup of what the latest models can offer your customers.

American Arms

Franchi shotguns have been recognized for more than 30 years as some of the best in the U.S. Imported by American Arms, customers can choose from Franchi's famous lightweight recoil operated 12 and 20 gauge Model 48 autoloaders, all of which have been top performers.

American Arms also imports the Italian Silver Series over/unders, which are recognized for their sterling performance and value, as well as the Spanish Basque Series of side-by-sides. Available in a wide variety of gauges and models -- field, competition, and specialty -- these guns give you everything you would expect from a fine European shotgun.


New for Beretta this year is the Vittoria line of 12-gauge semiautomatics. Available in 24" and 26" barrels, these models offer five-round magazine capacity.

Beretta's famous A309ST is now offered in a deluxe version featuring gold-filled engraving on both sides of the receiver.


Bernardelli, one of the oldest names in firearms manufacturing, has become synonymous with prestige and quality. A Bernardelli side-by-side was even the gun of choice for such notable figures as Ernest Hemingway. But even everyday customers can have a custom side-by-side Bernardelli designed from the many models offered.

Bernardelli over/unders are made from the highest quality materials and feature a one-piece receiver machined from a solid piece of forged steel. These guns are universally acclaimed for their striking aesthetics and world-class engineering and design.

For customers who appreciate a more traditional design, exposed hammer shotguns are also available.


Russian Tzars and British Royalty alike have been proud owners of the popular Churchill shotguns. Bearing such regal titles as Windsor, Regent, and Monarch, these over/unders and side-by-sides combine walnut stocks and forends and engraved antique silver finish receivers in a variety of gauges and choke modifications.

European American Armory

EAA imports the exquisite Antonio Zolis, including two new semi-automatic gas-operated shotguns. The Magic 2010 has a ventilated rib, interchangeable chokes, chrome lined barrel, and engraved receiver. All internal parts that contact gas are stainless steel and self-cleaning.

Harrington & Richardson 1871

The Topper shotgun has been known for its combination of performance and style. A fast-handling shotgun, hunters are sure to gain excellent results on all types of game. Available in 12 and 20 gauge and .410, the Topper features automatic shell ejection and a gold bead front sight for quick target acquisition. A nickel-plated frame and black-finished hardwood stock offer durability and good looks.

For the younger shooters, Topper Jr. and Topper Classic are available in shorter barrels and lighter gauges.

Heckler & Koch

Benelli's Super Black Eagle, imported by Heckler and Koch, is one of the most universal shotguns for hunting and sporting purposes. It is still the only semi-auto shotgun with the ability to shoot 3", 3 1/2" and 2 3/4" shells. Now available with super tough synthetic field stocks, it features an international-style tapered recoil pad, new checkering pattern, and studs for sling swivels. And of course, it has the famous Montefeltro rotating bolt, found on all H&K Benelli shotguns.

Also new from Benelli is the Montefeltro Super 90 in 20 gauge; the M1 Field Sporting Special with 18 1/2" barrel; and the M1 Tactical shotgun with 18 1/2" barrel. A variety of M3 Super 90 combination pump and semiauto shotguns with 19 3/4" barrels and 7-shot capacity are ideal for the self-protection customer.


For your customers who want a reliable self-defense shotgun, the Ithaca Model 87 pumps have become the choice for police departments and private citizens worldwide. The pump 87s are built with the same quick action made famous by the Model 87 field guns, and feature stocks that are sealed with a dull oil finish and metal parts that are parkerized to keep maintenance and reflection to a minimum.


Russian arms manufacturers have historically produced some of the most sought-after shotguns for sporting and competition purposes. Now available in the U.S., the Baikal shotguns are offered in single, over/under, and side-by-side. All have chrome-lined barrel bores and chambers, and are offered in a variety of gauges and barrel lengths.

KBI also imports the sleek European FIAS over/unders, which feature high-lustre blued steel receivers with scroll engraving, gold-plated single selective trigger, extractors, ventilated rib, and checkered walnut stock with high-gloss finish.


Krieghoff offers a complete array of shotguns to suit the needs of virtually every shooter. All the guns use the reliable K-80 receiver, which can be fitted with a variety of barrels and stocks.

For skeet, models include the standard weight and skeet special, the lightweight, the international, and 4-barrel set.

The trap guns share the legendary competitive heritage of the skeet guns, and have been recognized by an increasing number of top shooters as the finest competition trap guns in the world.

Two sporting clays models -- standard and lightweight -- cater beautifully to this increasingly popular sport. These guns blend good balance, soft recoil, and reliability.


MagTech's Model 151 single shot shotgun is based on a design that has proved reliable for more than 25 years. Stocks and forends are made from Brazilian hardwoods that are hand-sanded and finished to a beautiful sheen. All 151s are equipped with automatic ejectors. A .410 youth model with a 25" barrel and downsized stock is available at no additional cost. MagTech also offers a 12-gauge pump action gun.


Marlin manufactures the 12-gauge Model 55 Goose Gun, with a 36" full choke barrel, ideal for geese, ducks and turkeys. This gun has the ability to handle 2 3/4" and 3" Magnum shells interchangeably, and will also handle rifled slugs and buckshot.


For the first time in over 50 years, Merkel shotguns have become available on international markets at extraordinary values due to the German reunification.

Available in 12, 16, and 20 gauge over/under, side-by-side and combination designs, Merkels represent an unparalleled investment in quality and value. All Merkels are made entirely by hand under the tightest quality control procedures, and all bear the German "proof" stamp -- your assurance of quality and safety.

Custom shotguns may be ordered to meet any sporting or competition requirement.


Mossberg is known for setting standards by which other manufactures design their shotguns. Innovative and affordable, Mossbergs continue to be best-sellers worldwide.

The new 9200 Regal Autoloader fires any sequence of 12 gauge loads, from 2 3/4" trap to 3" Magnums with no adjustments. This gun packs in a 5-shot capacity, lightweight alloy receiver, ambixtrous safety, self-adjusting action bars, and solid steel-to-steel lockup of bolt and barrel extension.

Most popular for Mossberg has been the Model 500, which offers the most versatility in a shotgun. A multitude of different gauges, finishes, barrel lengths and choke variations are available on this model, which is considered the best-selling pump shotgun in the world.


When you're going for the gold, you may want to have a Perazzi over your shoulder. Hundreds of Olympians and other world champions have won their shooting events with a Perazzi, which is known as one of the finest competition brands in the world. A variety of models for American trap and skeet are offered in addition to the standard Olympic models. The discerning upland gunner will also be satisfied with the standard hunting models, which feature beautifully engraved receivers accented by selected walnut stock and schnabel forend.


Few guns can match the performance and value of Remington's new "Peerless" over/under shotgun. Based on the classic elements of box lock over/under design its milled frame and bifurcated locking lugs make it remarkably strong. A clean-breaking, single selective trigger allows for fast second shots. The 3" chambered "Peerless" comes with a three-tube set of Remington chokes. An American walnut stock and forend are cut checkered, 20 lines to the inch. Metalwork is deeply blued.


SKB is now offering a 12 gauge Skeet O/U with 30" barrels in all three grades of the '85 series, the 585, 685 and 885. Features include .735 diameter bores, lengthened forcing cones and competition series choke tubes.

Also new for SKB is a 12 gauge sporting clays two-barrel set, featuring 32 and 28 inch barrels.


Tikka shotguns, designed by Sako of Finland and imported by Stoeger Industries, have enjoyed international acclaim for the manufacture of precise sporting firearms since 1918.

The Tikka 412S over/under sporting clays shotgun is designed to accommodate the specific requirements of the shooter in the fastest growing shooting sport in America today. A specially designed American walnut stock with a double palm swell that is finished with a soft satin lacquer providing for maximum protection with minimum maintenance. Other features include a manual safety, customized sporting clay recoil pad, single selective trigger, a blued receiver, and ventilated side and top rib with two iridescent beads.

Sturm, Ruger & Co.

The Ruger Red Label is offered in 12 and 20 gauge with straight stock or pistol grip. It has been designed with American firearms know-how, based on contemporary American skeet and field experience. Barrels are hammer forged, chrome-moly steel that are stress relieved, contour ground, and silver soldered. Stock and semi-beavertail forend are carefully shaped from straight-grain American walnut with deep, hand-cut checkering.

The sporting clays model features reduced weight 30-inch barrels that have been back bored to .743 inches. This means faster follow through on long targets.


Anyone familiar with the name Thompson/Center knows it manufactures some of the most versatile, practical guns on the market. T/C's New Englander 12-gauge shotgun will find favor with waterfowlers, as the Rynite stock will shrug off the adverse effects of the elements. The model comes complete with screw-in choke tubes.


Weatherby's superb line of over/unders, in dramatic departure from traditional Weatherbys, feature a rounded pistol grip and slender forearm for '93. The Athena Grade V Classic Field 12 gauges are available in 26", 28" and 30" barrels; the 20 gauge is offered in 26" and 28". Rose and scroll engraving is reminiscent of the finest British game guns.

The Orion Grade III Classic Field features intricately-engraved, gold-overlay upland and waterfowl scene on the silver/grey nitride receiver. It is offered with 3" chambers and Integral MultiChoke System.

The Orion Grade II Classic Sporting shotgun also features the rounded pistol grip. Its stepped Broadway-style competition matte vent rib with mid-point bead helps improve shooter performance with quicker target acquisition and consistent pointings. It comes with five different interchangeable choke patterns.


The renowned Winchester semi-automatic shotguns have earned a reputation for fast-firing dependability with more than 30 years of experience behind them.

New for Winchester are the performance-enhanced Model 1400s, which cover the full gamut for all shotgunning needs from hunting to the shooting sports. The 12-gauge 1400 with walnut stock comes with three WinChoke tubes, and are able to handle all factory steel shot loads. The 20-gauge 1400 Ranger is a workhorse gun that comes with full, modified, and improved cylinder WinChokes, and is ideal for the younger shooter working his way through the various facets of shooting.

The 1400 Ranger Deer Combo features both a 28" smoothbore ribbed barrel for upland hunting, and a 22" smoothbore slug barrel for shooting buckshot or sabots.
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Author:Smith, Ann Y.
Publication:Shooting Industry
Date:May 1, 1993
Previous Article:Advice for the globe-trotting gun dealer.
Next Article:Rifle roundup: right on target.

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