Gun Dog’s 9 Upland Guns: Our Take

November 7, 2011 | By | 9 Replies More

The Benelli Ultra Light. ( photo, click to see bigger.)

When you see a headline like “9 Upland Shotguns You Should Know About” from one of the magazines, you know it means “9 Upland Guns Our Advertisers Want You To Know About.” And since we all go into it knowing that, that’s okay.

So are the nine guns worth knowing about? Eh, sorta. Below are the guns, along with a couple thoughts from us.

First a couple more overall comments about the article:

> It’s one of those annoying slide-show-type things, where you have to keep clicking to see each gun/page.

> No MSRPs! What the heck?

> We’ll also include here with the top comment on the article: “Now if we could only get [them] in 16ga!”

1. Benelli Ultra Light

At 5.2 pounds, this 20ga is stupidly light. Jay shouldered one a few times (never shot it), and couldn’t believe how light it was. We’d love to take it hunting, especially since it’s an autoloader, which means we get an extra shot!

2. Beretta A400 Xplor Light

( photo, click to see bigger.)

A 12ga that weighs 6 lbs, eh? But…the description talks about so many moving parts we’d be a little afraid to take it on any multiple-day excursion in nasty stuff without a backup.

3. Browning Citori Superlight Feather

Looks nice and the Citori is an ol’ relaible, but this killed it for us: “The single-selective trigger is linked to the traditional Browning top-tang barrel selector/safety.” If you shoot a Citori and that barrel-selector/safety hasn’t gotten stuck yet in the not-over/not-under position as you’re trying o get the safety off, it WILL happen. Browning, fix it!

4. Franchi 48 AL Deluxe

Another light one, a 5.6-lb 20ga. Been hearing from a few buddies about the Franchis, they’re getting a good rep. We’ve never shot nor shouldered one, kinda getting the itch to.

5. O.F. Mossberg & Sons SA-20 All Purpose and Bantam

Well, it’s stealth black. Not our thing. But hats off for the Bantam version with a 13″ LOP, for smaller/younger shooters.

6. Remington Versa Max

“The best semi-auto Remington has ever made” and comes in black or camo. Hmm. A wanna-be Benelli that’s not really an upland gun – maybe? If anyone shoots one and disagrees, let us know.

7. Stoeger Uplander Supreme

Looks like a budget SxS. Nothing wrong with that, just not our thing. Should really have an English stock to make it look better and knock off some weight.

8. Weatherby PA-08 and Entre Rios

( photo, click to see bigger.)

ANOTHER auto-loader. Do that many people shoot autos for upland birds? Anyhow, this one looks pretty nice except for the gauche gold Weatherby on the receiver. The Entre Rios is a 28ga for doves. Interesting that someone would come out with a dove-specific gun.

9. Winchester Repeating Arms 101 Field

( photo, click to see bigger.)

Nice gun. We get that Winchester is reintroducing a classic gun for them, but gotta think the grip and beaver forend add some weight that doesn’t need to be there (gun is said to be 7 pounds). We like the grade II/III walnut, the Pachmayr pad, lightweight barrels and Invector-Plus chokes.


By our quick count that’s six auto-loaders, two O/Us and one SxS. Guess that means the major manufacturers (Benelli, Franchi and Stoeger are under one roof) are mostly pushing autos, and that the makers of “finer” guns aren’t major-enough Gun Dog advertisers to get on the list. But then we knew that going in….

And not that there’s anything wrong with these guns, or that they won’t hit and kill birds with regularity – because they will! (We’re thinking of some 870 shooters we’ve seen who could knock the beak of a mosquito at 40 yards.)

If we could pick one gun to try it’d be the Benelli, followed by the Winchester. Maybe the Franchi after that. You?

Category: Benelli, Beretta, Browning, Franchi, Gun Dog mag, Mossberg, Remington, Stoeger, Weatherby, Winchester

Comments (9)

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  1. E Dudley says:

    Nothing on the list makes me reach for my wallet. The Benelli is the most interesting but I prefer an o/u for any shotgunning other than the duck blind and then it is a Benelli pump for me. The autoloaders are fun to shoot but I’ve seen way too many malfunctions over the years (except for Benellis). I have a Browning Sweet Sixteen that just sits in the safe since my B. Rizzini is selected for any upland hunting whether it be for birds or rabbits. It just feels better, swings better and I shoot better with it. I also have more confidence in its reliability to fire every time I squeeze the trigger.

  2. Mark M says:

    This AM…my dog flushed a rooster…perfect crossing shot…citori saftey stuck!

  3. Kurt Herriman says:

    I own the Citori and the Stoeger. I have read post of issues with the safety/selector on the Browning. I for one LOVE this gun!!!!! Very smooth, comfortable and just plain fits right. The Stoeger is obviously a much cheaper made gun, but if your on a budget, need a back-up for camp or when your buddies come to visit, or just plain want a gun that you arent afraid to beat up in the grouse and woodcock cover, it will do. If I ever have issues with the Citori I will pass them along,(have the 12 gauge field for the Ducks too)but for now Im a fan of the Brownings

  4. Norm Doucet says:

    I currently use a stoeger 20 ga o/u for grouse and it works fine. Ordered extra chokes for more versatilty. Its cheap, shoot/patterns well and not a big deal if you beat it up. (I scratched the barrel second time out on a rock!) The safety is tang mounted and it sticks sometimes. Weights 6.8 lbs. Good gun for the money.
    Also have a Frachi I 12 auto. Very happy with it. I go back 40 years with Franchi. They are light (6.5lbs for my 12), mount great and don’t screw up. 5 chokes come with it CL up to F. For under $1K its a great gun.

  5. Scott says:

    The Weatherby PA-08 is a pump.

  6. Ed Courtemarche says:

    I own 2 Franchis and both are o/u. One is a 20ga, 26″ barrels and weight is under 6 lbs. The other is a 12 ga 26″ barels o/u and weight is just 6 lbs. I hunt mostly Grouse and Woodcock and use the 20 ga most of the time.

  7. Roland Smith says:

    When i went looking for a gun it was all about fit, then looks and pricing. The Stoegar Uplander was perfect.The low price was icing on the cake. When it became available with screw in chokes i bought another one. Double trigers,26″,pistol grip. I have been using less exspensive guns for 45 years so i can’t tell you what a “heavy” gun is. I also hunt 55- 65 times a season so maybe my arms are in shape? It would be interesting to see how these guns stack up to each other if they were shot and not just looked at.

  8. NIK says:

    I carry a CZ Grouse(seriously, that’s the model) when I’m chasing partridge, and a Benelli SBE for ringnecks and woodies.

  9. Sylvaneous says:

    In tight bird cover, where pole timber can easily and abruptly stop your swing, the extra length of an auto is not a welcomed feature. When I bought my 1st serious O/U, I got a 26″ bbl. I have come to appreciate that the extra 2″ of a 28″ bbl. won’t garner any more snags or collisions, practically, than a 26″ stack, though. But it never has fit me well. Shortening the stock & adding drop @ heel still didn’t fix it. I’m having a real stock fitter make it right, otherwise, I’ll be looking for another one. Thankfully, I got a great SKB 100 SXS that fits Besides function and weight, you need a gun that fits you more than anything. And for all the grouse I got on a 2nd shot, I might as well have carried a single barrel. (Not really, but it seems that way) Fit, fit, fit! It’s not a hoity-toity luxury. Its like buying a great scope for a rifle.

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