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Two Shotguns To Consider For This Fall

Decisions, decisions, two shotguns for this fall.

If you were around for the unveiling of the Winchester Model 12 shotgun in 1912, God bless you. Remington introduced the 870 pump gun in 1949 and by 2009, 10 million 870’s had been produced, the largest selling shotgun in history.

In the autoloader category, the greatest breakthrough was in 1963, Remington introduced the Model 1100. The auto loading shotgun market changed forever, the 1100 blew everyone else out of the water, and the cornfields, skeet fields and grouse woods for that matter. The Remington 1100 ruled the roost for decades.

What the 1100 became famous for was the Remington “pointability”. When you mounted the shotgun to your shoulder it was there, it was on target, it felt “right”. One of my grouse chasing buddies said it best; he carried an 1100 twenty gauge for many years and called it “the bird killing machine.”

The Remington 11-87 came along about 25 years later with a gas operation system that allowed the use of a wider variety of shotgun shells that were now available. It was another quarter century before Remington showed us another autoloader (the VersaMax), but by now things were a lot different in the shotgun market.

And so ladies and gentlemen I give you the Remington V-3 Field Sport shotgun. This shotgun takes the Versa Port technology and puts it into a lightweight, (7.2 pounds, the 11-87 is 8.25) shotgun and kept the famous pointing attributes of the 1100. That in a nutshell is the essence of this shotgun, feels like an 1100 when you throw it up, but has the “shoot anything you stuff in it” reliability of the Remington Versa Max.

I knew you would want more lowdown on this shotgun than that however, so here goes. This Shotgun utilizes the Versa Port gas system that Remington put into the Versa Max, but the Remington people I talked to were quick to tell me that this is not  just a “three inch Versa Max”! End result for you, the shooter? A shotgun that shoots anything from the lightest field load to the most nuclear 3 inch magnum load you care send down range. Tests have shown a less than 1% malfunction rate on cycling reliability. O yeah, almost forgot Remington went back to the Rem Choke system for this gun. (Good move)

The V-3 gets its natural pointing attributes largely from the compact receiver design. Remington took the Versa Port technology and put it into a scaled down receiver, (remember I said it is not a 3 inch Versa Max!) all this and the very low felt recoil of the Versa Max.
I shot the V-3 at the Remington product seminar. After a lengthy session on the range with this gun, the words of my old turkey slayer buddy “Tomcat” Dooley kept running through my mind. This gun shoots like a house on fire! It goes bang every time with whatever shell you pull out of the bag and it swings and points like a dream. MSRP on this gun is going to run about $995.00.

After forty years of chasing turkeys and even longer trudging over the Appalachians, I finally figured something out. You spend a lot more time carrying a shotgun than shooting it. If you like to run and gun for spring gobblers or fall turkey hunt, a light scattergun can be a real blessing.

The CZ-USA Upland Ultralight is a 12 gauge over and under shotgun that weighs 6 pounds, that’s right, 6 pounds! (The 20 gauge is 5.8!) I picked this gun up for the first time at an NRA Convention and it was love at first heft. I had to have one. I ran the Upland Ultralight through several rounds on the trap range and was very pleased with the results.

The anodized and black matte finish begs for this gun to be taken to the turkey woods. New for this year is the Upland Ultralight Green, the anodized receiver is hunter green and it is pretty! Last fall, after a long calling session, a mature gobbler walked up to my setup. The Upland Ultralight nailed him at 40 yards. If you have turkey hunted for very long you know about sitting for long periods, gun up, and not moving. A light shotgun makes this so much easier. This is work horse firearm that will take what you dish out, turkeys to pheasants.

The turkey shotgun world has been obsessed for years now with shooting tighter patterns. Extremely high pellet counts in pie plate sized circles at 45+ yards have been the goal. What nobody talked about until recently is what to do when the gobbler appears at 12 steps instead of the 45 that the gun is patterned for. Quite often what you do is miss.

An over and under shotgun (like the Upland Ultralight), with two different chokes is the answer. Think close and far. Champion Sporting Clay shooter and instructor Tom Mack has developed a set of chokes on that very principle. His “Easy Choke System” screw in chokes are labeled simply close, medium, and far.

The “close” choke is bored for skeet in traditional chokes, “medium” is light modified, and “far” is improved modified. Manufactured by Kicks Industries, these exposed chokes are knurled for easy handling and have convenient cut ring identification.

Install one of these chokes for “close” and one for “far” and you are set for wherever the gobbler pops up. I also like the selective trigger switch, one flick of the thumb and you can change to the barrel you want to shoot. If like me, you feel the need for an even tighter choke on the “far” side, CZ’s shotgun barrels are compatible with many other chokes systems, Carlson’s, Trulock, and Primos to name just a few. I tried the Primos “Tight Wad” choke and got good results. The beauty of having two barrels is that you get twice as many options in selecting your chokes.

Most hunters envision a heavy semi auto or pump for a “turkey gun”, but that doesn’t have to be. The CZ-USA Upland Ultra-Light and your choice of chokes is a turkey killing machine. Also, if I were a grouse hunter, dedicated to long walks in the mountains, this is the shotgun I would be checking out.

I hope that you remember Case’s Shotgun Theorem #3, and that is you can never have enough shotguns. If you have trouble deciding between these two, just do what I did. Get both.