A shotgun has a long and rich history in the game of hunting. It dates all the way back to the 16th century when it was the most popular weapon of choice for many English aristocrats, including Henry VIII.
Back in the day, it was primarily used for bird hunting. Today, it is one of the most versatile firearms you can own.
Hunting with a shotgun is a pure pleasure, but if you are new to the game you will have a hard time choosing the right one as this firearm comes in many shapes and sizes. Don’t worry, you came to the right place.
In this article, we will help you understand what shotguns are best for hunting depending on the game size you are going after.
Hopefully, after reading this article, you will know exactly what type of shotgun will be a perfect choice for your next hunting adventure, so let’s dive right into it.
Best shotguns for small game hunting
Shotguns are classified by bore diameter, aka gauge. The four most common types are 10-gauge, 12-gauge, 16-gauge, 20-gauge, and 28-gauge shotguns. The smaller the gauge, the bigger the shotgun bore.
It’s important to know that shotgun gauges determine the shell size. For instance, a 12-gauge shotgun will only hold a 12-gauge shot.
For small game hunting, you will need either a 16-gauge or 20-gauge shotgun. Anything larger than this is considered to be overkill.
We have created a list of the three best shotguns that are the perfect choice for small-game hunting:
- Mossberg 500 is a very reliable pump-action shotgun. It is lightweight, reliable, and easy to operate.
- Stoger Industries M3020 offers a unique feature of stock shims that can make a gun fit your proportions. It is a lightweight, semi-automatic shotgun with a reliable robust inertia system.
- Remington 870 is a bit pricer option, but it is one of the most reliable and durable 20-gauge shotguns on the market.
Best shotguns for medium-game hunting
A 12-gauge shotgun is a go-to weapon for medium-game hunting as it offers just the right amount of power and range.
Specifically, these three 12-gauge shotguns could be your best choice for this purpose:
- Remington 11-78 is a semi-automatic shotgun known for incredible accuracy. Because it operates on a self-compensating gas system, it creates less recoil upon firing.
- Browning BPS is a pump-action shotgun that offers great reliability and power. Its features include top tang safety, steel receiver, and bottom ejection.
- Winchester Sx4 is a soft-shooting slug gun that offers great reliability and steadiness. Its main feature is a soft recoil pad that significantly reduces recoil power.
Best shotguns for big game hunting
A 12-gauge shotgun will also do the work when it comes to large game hunting. The only difference is in the shell type you should use.
Most shotgun shells contain small lead balls aka pellets, that get scattered upon firing. For large game hunting, you will need slug shots. Slugs are shells that fire a single projectile.
If you want to bring a bear to the ground or any other large animal, any slug shell won’t do, you will need bigger slug shells like Brenneke Black Magic magnum slug shots.
Your weapon of choice should always correspond with the game size you are going after if you want to avoid overkill or causing nonfatal wounds to the animals.
We hope our article helped you choose the right shotgun that will ensure you come home from your next hunting adventure with an admirable catch.