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Just like a favorite point, setter or retriever, a bird gun is special. Although a single-barrel might be a starter gun, it's the pumps, semi-autos, side-by-sides or over/unders that get the nod from upland bird and waterfowl hunters. The action style is important to consider both in terms of what is most comfortable and what is most practical for any particular hunting situation. Below is a snapshot of the hunting guns you'll find at your dealers or in the various manufacturers' catalogs. Whatever your notion of the ideal bird gun is, there is probably one--or more--here that will satisfy your itch for a new gun, a new gauge or just kickin' the tires for fun.

Benelli USA Benelli's big news this year is their Vinci. A modular-designed in-line inertia-operated semi-auto, the sleekly styled Vinci weighs 6.9 pounds and is chambered for 3-inch 12-gauge shells. With a ComforTech-Plus recoil pad and ComforTech stock, the Vinci is fast handling and quick to get on the target for a second shot. The company's Corboda model is available in a Briley-tweaked version with a crisp trigger, lengthened forcing cones and a full set of Briley choke tubes. Benelli's NOVA pump is a slick-cycling pump that also comes in a short-stocked 20-gauge Youth Model.

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BENELLI USA

(301) 283-6981

www.benelli-usa.com

Berretta USA Beretta's innovative SV10 Perennia has a redesigned safety and a new locking system for a more consistent lockup between the action and barrels. The stock is removed through a trap door in the pistol grip, and the same tool removes the trigger from the action for cleaning. In a first-of, Beretta has applied their shock-absorber-style Kick-Off recoil system to a wooden stocked shotgun. The AL 391 Urika 2 continues Beretta's tradition of excellent semi autos, and the 12- and 20-gauge side-by-side 471 Silver Hawks are built to last several lifetimes. Gel Tek recoil pads and Mobil chokes are nearly universal with all Beretta shotguns.

BERETTA USA

(301) 83-2191

www.berettausa.com

Blaser USA Blaser has added 28-gauge barrels to their versatile F3 over/under models. Built on a slim 12-gauge action, the F3's modular construction allows the assembly of a shotgun to fit any hunting situation and taste. Machined to ultra-close tolerances, stocks, barrels and fore-ends can be interchanged without individual fitting. The crisp 3.5-pound selective trigger and in-line hammers/strikers provide extremely fast lock time. The action, despite locking up with a single Purdey-style underbolt, is very slim. Barrels in 12, 20 and 28 gauge are available in 28-, 30- and 32-inch lengths have long forcing cones and Briley choke tubes.

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BLASER USA

()77-2527

www.blaser-usa.com

Browning Browning's new Maxus promises to become standard for semi-auto lovers. Fast handling and smooth shooting, the Maxus expands on the popular Gold with a redesigned gas piston for more reliable function with light loads. A unique catch attaches the fore-end. Browning's 21st Century Cynergy Feather, available in 12-, 20- and 28-gauge and .410-bore, uses a lightweight alloy receiver, pivoting the steel barrels on the Cynergy's clever, longwearing ultra-strong mono-lock hinge. Browning's Silver hunter semi-auto is light to carry and fast swinging. Pump gunners will appreciate the BPS Upland Special pump that is available in 12, 20 and 16 gauge.

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BROWNING

(801) 876-2711

www.browning.com

Caesar Guerini USA New for Caesar Guerini is their Essex Limited. This Italian-made shotgun has a very British look with a solid rib, Purdey-style engraving on the side plates and a sleek "English-style" fore-end making this limited edition really eye-catching and even better shooting. Also new this year is the Caesar Guerini Custom Shop that is capable of producing stocks to custom dimensions within a reasonably short time. All Guerini shotguns have single selective triggers, are standard with five interchangeable choke tubes, and have a lockable hard case. Guerini's Pit-Stop program provides a free, once-a-year tune-up for the first three years of ownership for the cost of shipping.

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CAESAR GUERINI USA

(866) 901-1131

www.guerini.com

Connecticut Shotgun Manufacturing Co CSMS has completed the RBL (Round Body Boxlock) series of side by sides with the addition of both 12- and 16-gauge shotguns. Tapping high-tech manufacturing techniques and skilled hand finishing, these American-made RBLs, also available in 20 and 28 gauge, are currently the best value in a side by side. All gauges are made on properly scaled frames, with standard RBLs stocked with 2X premium walnut in the choice of length of pull and grip style; the bone and charcoal case hardened actions are machined from a solid billet of 86-20 steel, and all come in a hard case with accessories.

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CONNECTICUT SHOTGUN MANUFACTURING CO.

(800) 515-4867

www.conneticutshotgun.com

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Franchi USA always thought upland that hunters have missed Franchi's 48 AL semi auto that is made in both 20- and 28-gauge. The last of the recoil-operated au tos, the 28-gauge weighs a meager 5.4 pounds, and all 48 ALs come with three choke tubes for any conditions. The Italian-made Highlander side by side offers the choice of a color case hardened or silver action. Borrowing Benelli's inertia operating system, the 1-12 Upland Hunter is a versatile shotgun with an excellent recoil pad. Franchi's Renaissance over/unders are available in 12, 20 and 28 gauges, and a 20/28 combo.

FRANCHI USA

(301) 283-6981

www.franchiusa.com

GSI (Grulla and Merkel) German-made Merkel 2000 Series over/unders are offered in 12, 16, 20 and 28 gauges, and for side-by-side aficionados, the Model 47 and 147E are available in 12 and 20 gauges. The more upscale Merkel 47SL and 147SI have Holland & Holland-style sidelocks with the usual "safety" sear, fine trigger pulls and a broader canvas for engraving. Also on GSI's menu are exquisite side-by-sides by Grulla from Spain. Grulla's 209 HL is a Holland & Holland-style sidelock, with traditional double triggers, ejectors, and straight-hand stocks executed in beautiful wood in 12, 16, 20 and 28 gauges.

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GSI (GRULLA

AND MERKEL)

(205) 655-8299

www.gsifirearms.com

Mossberg Mossberg has expanded their Silver Reserve over/under series to a sleek side-by-side. Like the Silver Reserve over/unders, these side-by-sides offer the choice of 26 or 28-inch barrels. Silver Reserve over/under two-barrel combo sets are available in 12/20-gauge on the 12-gauge action and 20/28-gauge on the A 20-gauge action. Both styles of shotguns have select black walnut stocks and fore-ends, single selective triggers, chrome-plated bores and screw-in chokes; Bantam models have 13 1/4-inch stocks for youngsters and lady hunters. For semi-auto fans, Mossberg's SA-20 is a versatile fast handling 20 gauge, and the SA-20 Bantam has a 13-inch stock for young hunters.

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O.F. MOSSBERG & SONS

(203)230-5300

www.mossberg.com

Remington Arms Company Remington's Premier over/unders are available in three grades; the Premier Upland in 12-,20-and 28-gauge has oil-finished wood and case-colored action with gold-accented birds; the 20-gauge Ruffed Grouse has 26-inch barrels and an English-style stock; the Field has a nickel-plated receiver and satin-finished wood. Remington has continued to improve their CTi 105, and it is a good performer in the field. Using a rotating bolt for lock up the CTi ejects and loads through the bottom. Recoil is mild, and handling is excellent. All Premiers have Schnabel fore-ends. The rugged 870 Express, and new 887 Nitro Mag pumps fit almost any budget.

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Smith & Wesson Smith & Wesson's 20-gauge side-by-side Elite Gold is now offered in a double-trigger model for traditionalists who want the instant choice of chokes and ultra reliability. Other options are the choice of a straight, English-style or the sleek, semi-pistol-grip Prince of Wales stock. Like the Elite Gold, 12-gauge Elite Silver over/unders have true bone and charcoal hardened actions, premier-grade Turkish walnut stocks and fore-ends with 24-line-to-the-inch hand-cut checkering. The 1020 20-gauge full-size or Youth, with a 24-inch barrel and 12-inch length-of-pull stock, come with choke tubes and a shim kit Smith & Wesson for adjusting drop and cast. Elite Gold

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SMITH & WESSON

(800) 331-0852

www.smith-wesson.com

Stoeger's Industries Stoeger's 12-gauge Model 2000 semi-auto offers many of the features of the much more expensive Benelli whose Inertia-Driven operating system it shares. Stoeger's bargain-priced Uplander side-by-side Combo offers 12/20 on a 12-gauge action and 20/28-gauge barrels on a 20 with screw-in chokes, and single-barreled Uplanders come in 12, 16, 20 and 28 gauges and .410. Using Italian-style trunnion-mounted barrels that lock using cones that engage matching cuts in the breech face, Stoeger's Condor over/unders are available in 12, 16, 20 gauges and .410. The versatile 12-gauge Stoeger P-350 pump comes with screw-in chokes.

STOEGER INDUSTRIES

(301) 283-6300

www.stoegerindustries.com

Sturm, Ruger & Co The decades-old, dependable over/under Red Label is available in 12-, 20- and 28-gauges; each is made on a properly sized action to fit that gauge. All Red Label barrels are backbored and standard are five Briley steel-shot-compatible (in the open constrictions) choke tubes. The 20-and 28-gauge upland-style Red Labels offer the choice of 26- or 28-inch barrels with pistol-grip stocks; the 26-inch barrel guns also have the option of a straight-grip stock.

STURM, RUGER & CO.

(888) 2220-1173

www.rugerfirearms.com

Weatherby Weatherby's SA-08 semi auto features chrome-lined barrels and a handy magazine cutoff in both 12 and 20 gauges. The 12-gauge has two gas pistons, one for light loads, the other for heavy, and take little time to change. Weatherby's Italian-made Athena D'Italia Deluxe side by side has engraved side plates and the choice of a straight or Prince-of-Wales grip in 20 and 28 gauges. Weatherby's D'Italia 12-, 20-and 28-gauge over/unders stocked with Claro walnut use a patented four-lock action by Rizzini that gives the gun a shallower profile. Their Turkish-made SP-08 aluminum-alloy action pump-action is lightweight for all-around use.

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WEATHERBY, INC.

(800) 227-2016

www. weatherby.com

Winchester The Winchester Super X3, billed as "The World's Fastest Shotgun," uses Winchester's Active Valve that allocates the exact amount of gas to drive the action, allowing the gun to shoot light target loads up to 3 1/2-inch magnums. The stock and fore end are coated with Dura-Touch Armor finish and Mossy Oak's high-definition Duck Blind camo for a positive grip in any weather. The .742-inch backbored barrel combined with a lengthened forcing cone and Invector-Plus choke tubes is optimum for excellent patterning with steel shot. A set of spacers is included to allow up to a quarter-inch of adjustment for drop and cast.

WINCHESTER FIREARMS

(801) 876-3340

www.winchesterguns.com

AyA The AyA No 2 is the pre-eminent "affordable" sidelock double gun, and the most famous model in the AyA line. Since its introduction in the late 1950s, tens of thousands of No 2s have been sold in the United Kingdom, the United States, and everywhere that shooters value the superb balance and handling of a fine double gun. Mechanically, the No 2 is identical to the No 1. Like the No 1, it was originally modeled on the time-tested Holland & Holland system. It is stocked with standard walnut and engraved in a simpler pattern. The No 2 weighs in at 6 3/4 pounds and is available in 12, 16, 20, 28 gauge and .410 bore.

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AYA SHOTGUNS

(860) 338-3989

www.aya-fineguns.com
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Title Annotation:2009 BIRD HUNTER'S CLASSIC: SHOTGUNS
Author:Taylor, John M.
Publication:Gun Dog
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 2009
Words:1880
Previous Article:Tools for training.
Next Article:Field-ready loads.
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