Shotguns & Shooting  |  08/17/2022

2022 Shotgun Showcase

Photo by Aaron Black-Schmidt

Reviewed: 9 New Shotguns for the uplands

Story by Rachel Hoveland

Certainly, if one were to speak with most members of Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever, there would be no question that fall is their favorite season. We all impatiently watch and wait for the uplands to change color, for the days to get shorter, and for the mornings to turn crisp and cool: hunting season!

Many of us also hold a special place in our hearts another season: clays season. Eagerly waiting all winter for the chance to bring our shotguns out of the safe again, to smell gunpowder and spent shells, and to stand on the trap line or skeet arc or sporting clays course next to our teammates and call “Pull!

Shotgun Showcase has become our unofficial celebration of summer & clays season at PF & QF. It’s a chance to come together and enjoy a day out on a sporting clays course in each other’s company while testing out the most recent upland options to the firearms market.

Shotgun Showcase is also for many of us a reminder that we better keep shooting the rest of the summer so we can shoot better in the field on wild birds this fall!

That all means there is plenty of friendly banter and cajoling about who seems to be particularly lethal and who couldn’t hit a thing. That’s fun. But there’s also some (albeit fun) work: We come away from the day with hands-on experience and real-life feedback on each shotgun.

As usual, I am excited to share the results with you. This year’s 2022 Shotgun Showcase has something to offer for anyone considering a new upland gun … or ready to start some dreaming.

Jump ahead by model:
Benelli 828U
Franchi Instinct SLX
Weatherby Orion I
Beretta A300 Ultima
Legacy Pointer Field Tek
Mossberg Pro 940 Field
Winchester SXP Upland
Browning Sweet Sixteen Upland
CZ Redhead Premier - All Terrain

Interested in watching the complete set of bonus video reviews?
2022 Shotgun Showcase bonus review videos can be found here.

Benelli 828U

Benelli 828UBenelli 828U

20-GAUGE • WEIGHT: 6-0

The Benelli 828U has gained a reputation as a true upland over-under with its low profile, slim forearm and easy weight, so we were eager to shoot the 20-gauge model at the Showcase. Unique for an over-under, this firearm can be shimmed for drop and cast adjustments. The receiver is distinctive lightweight nickel-plated alloy and the wood is AA-grade walnut.

This was one of the top-rated shotguns of the day for Style — everyone loved the engraving on the nickel-plated receiver. “Modern, yet very classic looking,” commented one reviewer. “Love the contours of the firearm. Shoulders well, easy to follow targets with fluid motion,” stated another.

Includes 5 flush Crio System choke tubes and is available in 12-gauge with 26-inch, 28-inch and 30-inch barrels with anodized or nickel-plated receiver options; or in 20-gauge with 26-inch or 28-inch barrels and a nickel-plated receiver.

MSRP: $3,299

Franchi Instinct SLX

Franchi Instinct SLXFranchi Instinct SLX

20-GAUGE • WEIGHT: 5-13

The SLX is one of the most recent additions to Franchi’s Instinct line of over-unders. Though similar to its Instinct SL model counterpart, the Instinct SLX is designed to be the finer, stylish addition to the lightweight SL line. The wood is an upgraded AA-grade walnut and the forearm is styled in curled, Schnabel fashion. If you look closely, you’ll notice the attention to detail continues: The decorative engraving on the receiver continues throughout the firearm, even onto the action-release.

Reviewers enjoyed the function and balance of the firearm while also rating it phenomenally in the Style category: “Elegant and perfectly built—this firearm has great lines and tasteful scrolling and engraving. On top of that it is light and easy to carry, handle and shoot.”

Includes 5 extended Mobil choke tubes; available in 12-gauge, 16-gauge, 20-gauge and 28-gauge, all in 28-inch barrels.

MSRP: $2,099

Weatherby Orion I

Weatherby Orion IWeatherby Orion I

20-GAUGE • WEIGHT: 6-3

The Weatherby Orion has been a popular option over the years for those looking for a quality over-under at the $1,000 price-point, so we were excited to see it available in 20-gauge again. The firearm features a low profile, tastefully modest black receiver and glossy Grade A walnut stock with a rounded Prince of Wales grip and matching rounded forearm. It weighs in a very manageable 6 pounds 3 ounces, and shoulders and swings nicely.

Reviewers scored the Weatherby Orion I very highly in the Price category, with many commenting on the excellent value of the firearm: “This is a great shooting gun with great balance, phenomenal for the price point.”

Includes 3 flush choke tubes; available in 12-gauge with 26-inch and 28-inch barrels and 20-gauge with 28-inch barrel.

MSRP: $1,049

Watch bonus video review

Beretta A300 Ultima

Beretta A300 UltimaBeretta A300 Ultima

12-GAUGE • WEIGHT: 7-10

Beretta’s newest model to the A300 family, the A300 Ultima’s upgraded features and aesthetics make for a fine addition to the line of mid-priced, gas-powered semiautomatics. The stock combines a unique cheek pad over the comb and Beretta’s internal Kick-Off system, which together really minimize felt recoil. The rib is wider and higher than expected; combine that with a lower-profile receiver, mid-bead and oversized front sight, and this shotgun is a unique shooting experience.

The A300 Ultima gained strong scores in the Comfort and Function categories, and reviewers emphasized the fast swing and light recoil: “Soft shooting and fast cycling, this is the gun you want when you’ve got a lot of action in the field!”

Includes 5 flush Mobil choke tubes; available in 12-gauge and 20-gauge, both with 28-inch barrels.

MSRP: $869

Watch bonus video review

Legacy Pointer Field Tek

Legacy Pointer Field TekLegacy Pointer Field Tek

12-GAUGE • WEIGHT: 7-2

The Field Tek is the most recent addition to Legacy’s shotgun line. The Field Tek is an entry-level-priced gas-powered semiautomatic. Chrome-lined barrels, a Cerakote receiver, ventilated stock and a fiber-optic front sight are included to offer solid performance at a very affordable price.

Reviewers at Showcase were impressed with the value of the firearm, and the solid function and easy price tag make this an excellent option for youth shooters or those new to the sport.

Includes 5 flush choke tubes; available in 12-gauge, 20-gauge and .410 bore, all in 28-inch barrels.

MSRP: $499.99

Mossberg Pro 940 Field

Mossberg Pro 940 FieldMossberg Pro 940 Field

12-GAUGE • WEIGHT: 7-12

Mossberg is known for offering a variety of accessible, sturdy shotgun options, and the gas-powered Pro 940 Field is the newest addition to the 940 line of performance-driven semi-automatic shotguns.

Specifically designed to thrive in tough field conditions, the 940 Pro Field features muted matte-black bluing, oversized controls, a specially designed beveled undercarriage, fiber-optic front sight and configurable, self-draining stock.

Reviewers commented on the versatility and value of the firearm: “Feels solid and reliable — I would be confident taking this in the field in the worst of weather.”

Includes 3 flush Briley Accu-Choke tubes; available in 12-gauge with 28-inch barrel.

MSRP: $931

Watch bonus video review

Winchester SXP Upland

Winchester SXP UplandWinchester SXP Upland

20-GAUGE • WEIGHT: 6-12

The only pump shotgun featured at Showcase this year, the SXP Upland offers up features suited for the uplands from the favored SXP line. Designed to utilize the energy of your spent shell to assist with pumping the forearm back, the SXP line allows for faster follow-up shots than one typically expects when shooting a pump shotgun. Additionally, the SXP Upland features an engraved upland scene on an understated matte-finished receiver complemented with a satin finish Turkish walnut stock.

Reviewers favored the handling and the fast, smooth action: “I’m impressed how fast I was able to shoot with this pump. A great option for the field!”

Includes 3 Invector-Plus flush choke tubes; available with 26-inch and 28-inch barrels in 12-gauge and 20-gauge.

MSRP: $529.99

Watch bonus video review

Browning Sweet Sixteen Upland

Browning Sweet Sixteen UplandBrowning Sweet Sixteen Upland

16-GAUGE • WEIGHT: 5-12

The modern take on the classic humpback and new for 2022, this edition of the Sweet Sixteen was designed specifically for the uplands. The A5 Upland is a recoil-operated semiautomatic built on a true 16-gauge platform that features a smooth brushed nickel receiver, smartly complemented with a lighter-colored, oil-finished Turkish walnut. Additionally featuring Browning’s Speed Load Plus system, the shotgun loads shells directly from the magazine into the chamber. Notable: That chamber is 2-3/4 inches.

One of the overall favorites at Showcase this year, reviewers complimented the shotgun’s style and function: “Great overall package of lightweight, style and shootability. Hands-down the best autoloader in the review today.”

Includes three flush Invector-DS choke tubes; available in 16-gauge with 26-inch and 28-inch barrels.

MSRP: $2,149.99

Watch bonus video review

CZ Redhead Premier - All Terrain

CZ Redhead Premier - All TerrainCZ Redhead Premier - All Terrain

20-GAUGE • WEIGHT: 6-14

The CZ Redhead Premier has been a great crossover option for hunters to transition smoothly from clays to the field. Now a part the of CZ’s All Terrain Series, this edition of the fan-favorite includes a slew of intuitive features to benefit the upland hunter.

The all-metal, single-piece receiver is coated with a weather-resistant, olive-drab Cerakote finish to increase resilience to the elements. The gun features extended choke tubes that can easily be changed in the field without a wrench. The firearm is sling-ready with strategically placed eyelets on the stock and forearm cap. Additionally, there are magnets installed in the extractors, preventing shells from accidentally falling when the shotgun is cracked open.

Reviews emphasized the well-thought design and usability of the All Terrain Redhead Premier: “This gun was built smart with the hunter in mind, feels great in hand and performs even better.”

Includes 5 extended choke tubes; available in 12-gauge and 20-gauge in 28-inch barrels.

MSRP: $1,219

Watch bonus video review

Officially, Rachel Hoveland is Web Developer at Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever. Unofficially, she is the organization’s resident Shotgun Authority.

This story originally appeared in PF & QF's 2022 Upland Bird Hunting Super Issue. If you enjoyed it and would like to see more shotgun-related content in the pages of the magazine, become a Pheasants Forever member today!