Best shotgun – we survey 1,300 shooters to find out

Got your shotgun licence? Want to buy a shotgun? Baffled by the choice? Here is what the viewers of Fieldsports Channel shoot.

We put our Fieldtester survey in front of you in March 2020 while lots of people were twiddling their thumbs in coronavirus lockdown, and 3,500 people got back to us. Our shotguns survey is our biggest for responses: more than 100 brands, nearly 200 models, and the opinion of 1,300 shotgun owners.

Put together everything that shoots shotshells – over-and-and-unders, side-by-sides, pumps and semi-autos, .410s, 20-bores, 12-gauges, punt guns – and two companies dominate. In fifth place comes the Beretta 687, in fourth, it’s the Browning B725, in third, the Beretta 686, in second place is the Browning B525, and the most popular shotgun among our viewers is the Beretta Silver Pigeon.

Now, that doesn’t mean Beretta and Browning win every prize. We asked for all kinds of views from you and you told us that, for customer service, the winning shotgun company is Perazzi. For reliability, you put Turkish gunmaker ATA in first place. For value for money, you went for Lanber, for fit, it’s Perazzi again, and the gunmaker that makes the best looking guns is, you said, and I think this one will come as a big surprise, Benelli.

That’s the makers. When it comes to the guns, your favourite for reliability is the Blaser F16, your choice for looks is the Miroku MK38, and for value for money, once again, the Blaser F16.

Now, you have these lovely guns. What do you shoot with them? It’s a pretty even split, # with nearly a quarter of you shooting mainly pheasant and partridge, 20% shooting mainly clays, 17% on duck, down to 10% on pigeons.

We started treating your data like Silly Putty. We even worked out that your favourite make for pheasant and partridge, as a proportion of its users, is Cesar Guerini. In the same way, top honours for pigeons is split between Benelli and Blaser – may have to thank Mr Crow for that – and good grouseshooters prefer a Perazzi.

That’s your favourite make, but what about your favourite guns for different shooting situations? Most people use their Blaser F16 to shoot pheasants and partidges, the bulk of cartridges that go down a Beretta 686 are aimed at clay pigeons, and the Browning 325 hits peak performance on grouse.

You certainly hang on to your guns. Lanber made the highest proportion of guns in your hands that are over 20 years old. Those of you with the newest guns choose ATA, with Blaser close behind.

And finally, how much do you pay. Well, no surprise that Perazzi is the most expensive of the guns you told us about. But would you like to know which two makes you are most likely to have inherited? It’s AYA, of course it’s AYA, and it’s Winchester, the thinking cowboy’s shotgun.

There’s a ton more information about shotguns here and you can find it on the Fieldtester pages of our website.


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