Top 10 Shotguns for Hunters in 2023

From turkey to clays, 2023's shotgun lineup has something for everyone.

by HuntStand


Some outdoorsmen cut their hunting teeth chasing geese, ducks, pheasants, and quail with a shotgun. The mere thought prompts a wry smile at the corner of their mouth, and a slight pep in their step. Their heart beats a just little faster knowing they get to tote a shotgun to the woods. Obviously, a good scattergun is worth its weight and is one of the few weapons that allows the hunter to pursue a smattering of small and big-game species. Here are our top 10 shotguns for 2023.

Stevens 560 Field

Top Ten Shotguns for 2023

A 3-inch chamber, 28-inch barrel, semi-automatic shotgun with solid reviews and one that hits a price point under $500, the Stevens 560 Field is great for a newbie wing-shooter or a seasoned veteran. Full-size and compact models are available, and the Turkish Walnut stock and forend with a hard-chrome lined barrel give this shotgun flare. The shotgun comes with a trio of chokes (IC, IM, F), and the raised rib with fiber optic front sight will be appreciated whether you’re smashing clays or birds. MSRP: $499

Mossberg 835 and 500 Optic-ReadyMossberg Shotgun

Neither platform from Mossberg needs a lengthy introduction; the 835 and 500 models have proven their salt in the field over the years. New and exciting for 2023 is that the 20-gauge 500 and 12-gauge 835 are now optic-ready, which sweetens the pot. The RMR-style cut allows for a low mount, so you don’t have to take your cheek off the stock to acquire the mounted red dot. This leads to increased accuracy and reduced recoil. Dipped in Mossy Oak Green Leaf, this pair of shooters have great eye appeal, and their durable nature makes them difficult to ignore. MSRP: $644-$693

Mossberg SA-20 Turkey Gun

Once you jelly a head with a 20-gauge, feel the light recoil, and embrace the fact that a good 20 with a top-tier scope will kill as good as any 12-gauge, you’ll never look back. Mossberg has crafted some great turkey makes over the years, but we have our eye on the SA-20. The 22-inch barrel keeps the semi-auto compact and maneuverable, and at 5.5 pounds, you can tote this shotgun all day. The vent rib with fiber-optic Ghost Ring sights promotes accuracy, and if you want to mount a red dot, Mossberg has included a top rail. The gas system ensures smooth cycling, and the shotgun comes with extended turkey chokes. The SA-20 is also available in 28-gauge, and .410 bore as well. MSRP: $816

Browning Silver Field Auric Camo

Top 10 Shotguns for 2023

Browning’s Silver Series is loved by many, and for a good reason, each model has proven field-worthy. For 2023, the Silver family grows with the addition of the Silver Field Auric. As semi-autos go, especially Browning semi-autos, this 3-1/2-inch chamber 12-gauge is economical and will serve every purpose from doves to ducks to upland. The new Auric pattern gives the shotgun a great look, and Browning’s Active Valve Gas System reduces felt recoil and ensures the cycling of a wide range of loads. The Silver Field is available in barrel lengths of 26 and 28 inches and comes with full, modified, and improved cylinder chokes. MSRP: $1,349.99

Browning Gold Light 10-Gauge Field

We haven’t seen a good 10-gauge in a hot minute, but if Browning produced it, we’re all in. Designed for waterfowl lovers that spend a lot of time shooting high-flying birds on the firing line of a reservoir’s edge and those looking for a 3 1/2-inch chamber goose wrecker that leaves no doubt in the decoys, Browning’s Gold Light 10-Gauge Field is pretty awesome. The shotgun comes fitted with a redesigned composite stock with an updated drop for a more customized fit and feel, and the Inflex recoil pad tames much of this gun’s anger. Textured grip areas in the stock and forearm up dexterity when Mother Nature is at her worst. The Gold Light 10-Gauge Field is available in barrel lengths of 26 and 28 inches. MSRP: $1,999.99

Benelli Super Black Eagle 3 20-Gauge Realtree Max-7

Top 10 Shotguns for 2023

Utter the abbreviation SBE in the waterfowl world, and the eyes of hunters glaze over. Benelli’s SBE 3 series is one of the best waterfowl guns ever created, and for 2023, 20-gauge goers can have their Super Black Eagle 3 20 cloaked in Realtree Max-7 — one of the finest waterfowl patterns ever created. Every SBE 3 promises improved ergonomics, flawless shot-to-shot consistency, and shooting joy, making you want to repeatedly take the gun into the field, no matter the bird species you’re after. By splitting the stock diagonally and inserting shock-absorbing chevrons, the SBE 3’s stock is one big pillow, and in an already reduced-recoil 20-gauge, you can shoot boxes of high-magnum goose loads and not feel a thing. Of course, Benelli’s Inertia-Driven System is legendary, and this shooter will handle everything from light dove loads to yellow shells designed to drop big honkers. MSRP: $1,999

Benelli Super Black Eagle 3 BE.S.T 28-Gauge

Benelli Shotgun

If you’ve never shouldered a 28-gauge and dumped ducks back-peddling in the decoys, you haven’t lived, and for some reason, the task is just a little more enjoyable when you’re shooting Benelli’s new-for-2023 BE.S.T 28-Gauge. BE.S.T stands for Benelli Surface Treatment, which is armor for a gun you know will be put against the most challenging situations Mother Nature can muster. Another must-note feature for this small-bore shotgun, depending on barrel length (26- and 28-inch available), is its feather-like 5.5-pound to 5.6-pound weight rating, and Crio Extended Choke Tubes. MSRP: $2,099

Franchi Instinct Sideplate O/U

Already available and cherished by the O/U shotgun crowd, Franchi adds 16- and 28-gauge Instinct Sideplates to its 2023 shotgun menu. The sub-gauge train is rolling, and those on it or looking to get on it, should look no further than these shooters. Showcasing sleek lines, lustrous wood, gold inlaid game scenes, and blued barrels, this dynamic duo are stunners. Handling is second-to-none, and once shouldered, the 28-inch barrel shotguns provide exceptional balance and feel. Both shotguns come with extended chokes of C, IC, M, IM, and F, and the added custom-fitted hard case to ensure safe transport to and from the field is a nice touch. MSRP: $2,399

Stoeger M-Series Semi-Auto Shotguns

Not to give you a list, but Stoeger launched many new models in its M-Series for 2023. Stoeger wanted to provide every hunter, no matter their budget or in-the-field needs, a shotgun that would crush clays, puff doves, pound ducks, and crumble fast-flying pheasants. In short, the M-Series was created to be a working man’s shotgun. All operate on the proven Inertia Driven System, which means no gas, but a rotating steel bolt head that ensures a positive steel-to-steel lockup. The Model 3500 is offered in 12-gauge models and will handle shotshells up to 3-1/2 inches, while the Model 3000 (12 ga.) and Model 3020 (20 ga.) cycle shotshells up to 3 inches. Fitted with more oversized controls, a removable cheekpiece, and a red-designed fore-end, this trio shouldn’t be overlooked. MSRP: starts at $559

Stoeger M3500 Waterfowl Special

Top Ten Shotguns for 2023

We can’t get enough waterfowl action, so we’re excited about Stoger’s M3500 Waterfowl Special. This shooter is a waterfowling dream, a 28-inch barrel semi-automatic beauty cloaked in Realtree Max-7 with Cerakote Flat Dark Earth on all metal components. Equipped with oversized controls and a specially engineered loading port that makes feeding this shotgun a breeze (even in frigid conditions), wearing big gloves isn’t a problem. Add in the large bolt handle and bolt-release button, and the loading and unloading task is simple. The front fiber-optic sight stands out in low light, and the padded cheekpiece with the vented rib ensures rapid target acquisition so you can pull more doubles and triples. The M-3500 Waterfowl Special will handle 2 3/4-. 3-, and 3 1/2-inch shotshells. MSRP: $849


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