Tag Archives: goose hunting

The Best Duck Hunting Shotguns


In my younger days, I spent a great deal of time in the duck marsh. Showing up late to my first class in high school was not unheard of, neither was disappearing from my last class. Where I come from, if the weather is right, nothing can stop a determined duck hunter from getting knee deep in cold, icy and muddy waters in hopes of a limit of birds. My swamp was on the shore of the inland sea that is Utah’s Great Salt Lake, the smelly mud-bowl surrounded by marshlands is a waterfowl’s dream come true. To this day when the wind blows out of the west, and that familiar pungent smell is carried in on a breeze, it takes me back to those early mornings and late evenings trying to ID ducks against the pale gray backdrop as the sun set. Shotgunning was my first love affair in firearms, I was drawn to the excitement of connecting with speedy birds skimming across the water. The skill involved was as much instinct as anything. It didn’t matter if you carried a hand me down .410 single shot, or an Italian double you traded for a family sedan, the guy who got the lead right got the birds. With all that in mind, I’d like to share a few of my choice selections for a day in the marsh.


For many of us, shotguns are more of a utilitarian tool than anything. And its hard to get more simple and inexpensive than with perhaps the most common and widely used shotguns, the 12 gauge pump. I grew up using the Remington 870, as did millions of other duck hunters. The 870 is perhaps one of the most well known and used pump shotguns, and for good reason. It is available in a wide variety of configurations to fit nearly any use. For duck hunting I would prefer to get the synthetic version, with a protective finish. Duck marshes can be harsh on firearms, so a well lubed and all weather shotgun is just the ticket for the salty waters we hunt in. My younger brothers chose two different but equally useful shotguns, the Mossberg 500 and the Winchester 1300. All three of these guns are a great place to start, and will take down more ducks than most people are willing to eat.


Though most duck hunting is easily accomplished with the standard two and three-quarters chambering, you may want to go for something with a bit more power. Especially if geese might be in your forecast, something with at least a three-inch chamber like the Benelli Super Black Eagle 3. Or if that’s a little rich for your wallet something like the Beretta A300 might be a better choice. These wing-busting magnums might be just the ticket to getting your limit of birds, and with semi-automatic function they make those followup shots and doubles even faster. Again, if saltwater and bad weather are part of your duck hunting experience, you may want to get all-weather models. And keep those thing cleaned and oiled!
the Beretta A300 is a great choice


Do you get all tweeded up for your hunt? Are you as likely to have a cigar to your lips as a duck call when sitting in the blind? Then perhaps you may want to check out some of the classic double-barreled guns like the Browning Citori. You can feel right at home whether your in a duck blind, or striding through a soy field after pheasants. While they may provide less shooting opportunities due to their lack of a magazine, you can stand there holding your empty chambered double looking classy as feathers when you miss. I feel much better about my poor shooting when I shoot my Fathers Rizzini over/under, the fine European craftsmanship does much to soften the blow of a missed shot. Obviously you’ll want to consider the conditions before taking a fine Italian double into the weeds, but maybe its a good enough reason to get a couple great shotguns on Guns.com. Whatever you choose, make sure to take the time to get proficient and properly trained with it. Use it as an excuse to get some outside criticism on your shooting perhaps. Bringing home a limit of birds is great, but even better is being a responsible hunter and firearm owner. And don’t forget to bring a kid along! -CBM

Why you should try waterfowl hunting

If you weren’t lucky enough to be raised in a hunting family, getting started can be a little bit intimidating. One great way to get your feet wet, is with a little waterfowl hunting. We’ll discuss some of the progressive ways you can experience a good hunt, and by the end you’ll know what I mean by wet feet.

Ducks and geese were my first hunting addiction, it didn’t take long to get hooked on wing-shooting these high speed birds. If you like shooting shotguns at all, then shooting ducks is an incredible and fun challenge. They come in from any direction, at speeds varying from almost a hover to so fast you just hear them zip by as the wind whistles through their feathers.
Waterfowl hunting can be done all over the country, you probably are a lot closer to a marsh than you think. And though you might think it requires chest-waders and expensive equipment and outerwear, you can actually have a great time just hiding in the tall grass in earth toned clothes.

Getting started into water fowling can be done at your pace. If you have a shotgun capable of shooting non-toxic shot, your in business. Most waterfowl management areas require the use of non-toxic shot due to lead contamination in filter feeders.

Some of the best duck hunting spots are all on the water, but you can still have a great time hunting from walkable banks and shores. Decoys can help bring the birds in, but if you play your cards right you can shoot a limit by being in the right place at the right time. A good bird dog with an affinity for water could be an invaluable hunting partner in this case.
Shooting ducks and geese will turn you either into a crack shot, or a nutcase. Their aforementioned speed and agility make them a very challenging target.

I started out as a kid with a classic Remington 870 12 gauge, as have countless thousands. Hard to go wrong with something that simple and tested, but any good shotgun will do if it fits you.
Due to the typical wet and muddy conditions encountered when waterfowl hunting, it would be a good idea to use a gun with synthetic furniture like the Benelli Nova.
If goose hunting is to be part of your waterfowl adventure, then you may also want to consider a shotgun with a three or three and a half inch chamber. The added shot capacity can be helpful with bigger birds.
Whether you choose a pump shotgun, or a semi-auto like the Beretta A300 make sure you practice with it. One thing I love about shotgunning is that a lowly red-neck shooting his Grandad’s model 12 can out-shoot a millionaire with a twenty thousand dollar English double. So don’t fret if your gear doesn’t match the guys on the Duck’s Unlimited calendar.
As with most types of bird hunting, you can get into it as much or as little as you want. You might start by just walking down an irrigation canal wearing jeans and a jacket. Or you can go full Redhead with flat-bottomed boats, motorized decoys, and electronic calls. I would suggest wading into it slowly, and see what works for you. One of the best things you can do is to find a local group or club that can have you along, they can show you the tricks and nuances of your local marsh.
Keep in mind that waterfowl don’t mind the weather, and some of my absolute best days wing-shooting have been in completely miserable conditions. Wind, snow, and cold seem to produce the best hunting days in my neck of the Rockies. Hopefully you don’t have to endure the same just to try it out, but if Im going to go out, it’ll be in a winter storm.

Contrary to popular belief, ducks are edible. They can actually be done quite well if you spend the time to learn to prepare them. So you can add another feather in your cap by enjoying a meal you took from the sky into the kitchen.

Perhaps one of the best parts of waterfowl hunting is the camaraderie between friends and family. There is always plenty of time to talk, take friendly jabs at each others shooting, or tell old hunting stories.

So you might start out with a two-hundred dollar hand-me-down shotgun, and an old musty duck coat. But you could end up knee deep in muddy water with your very best friends, freezing together while discussing shot patterns, retriever breeds, and Pintail whistles, all while your clammy wet feet shiver from worn leaks in your favorite waders. If that sounds like fun to you, then you might need to try duck hunting.