If you’re new to the world of upland bird hunting, choosing the ideal shotgun might seem like a daunting task. And even if you’ve been hunting for years, the sheer number of shotguns available today might leave you scratching your head. However, the basic elements of a good upland shotgun have always remained the same.
Easy to carry
Most types of upland bird hunting require lots of walking through tall grass or dense brush. Hunters also need to be able to shoot quickly at flushing or passing birds. The most effective shotgun you can use for upland bird hunting is one that is light enough to carry all day and quick to swing, mount and shoot. The only problem: typically the less a shotgun weighs, the more recoil it will create. Fortunately, many of today’s lightweight shotguns have been engineered to absorb this increase in recoil.
A shotgun must fit the shooter. The weight, barrel length and stock must work together to create a comfortable shooting experience. If you have questions or concerns about what type of shotgun best fits you, ask one of our trained technicians to help you.
The obvious advantage of an autoloading or pump action shotgun is the capacity to hold and fire more shotshells. Autoloaders and pump shotguns will offer you an extra shot at a hard-to-hit bird, which can make the difference between going home with a bird in the hand or empty handed.
A double-barreled shotgun can offer you two different chokes, which gives you a versatility in shot patterns that may make the difference between a hit or a miss.
Double-barreled shotguns come in either over/under or side-by-side configurations. While the choice between the two often falls to personal preference, there are some differences to consider. You may find that the single-wide barrel of an over/under feels more natural if you have more experience with autoloading or pump shotguns. Over/unders are also more popular with today’s shooters and there is a wide selection of shotguns to choose from. Side-by-side shotguns are often favored by traditional hunters who grew up hunting with a side-by-side. Side-by-sides can be lighter than over/unders, making them a good option for carrying on long treks.
How to gauge
Common upland hunting shotguns range in gauge from 28 to 12. Gauge choice is determined by several factors including the size of the shooter and the type of bird and terrain being hunted. One of the most popular gauges for upland bird hunting is the 12 gauge followed by the 20 and 16 gauges. To learn about the differences between these three gauges and others and to learn more about upland bird hunting shotguns in general, stop by to see one of our staff. We’re always ready and glad to help.