Shotguns are some of the most versatile firearms today. You can use a shotgun as you sit in your duck blind smeared with camouflage face paint and looking like a Robertson family member. You can bust clay pigeons at your local gun club. With a slug you can harvest an 8 pointer, or carry it to Alaska to protect you from a brown bear. If something goes thud in the middle of the night, that .12 gauge you keep by the bed can save your life, and that of your loved ones.
Shotguns can shoot a huge variety of ammunition, they are usually very modular as well. Many pump and semi-auto shotguns simply need a different barrel and you can use it for entirely different applications. Shotguns can be as expensive as a sports car, and many folks who stick their pinkies up while sipping Champaign often own guns that cost as much as all my firearms put together and then some. But that’s not what we’re talking about here.
We are talking about the rusty pickup truck of the firearm world, the inexpensive shotgun. Reliable, deadly, and good enough. Here is my list of 5 cheapos that you could pick up with your next paycheck.
Interstate Arms Hawk 12 Gauge: This shotgun is a slavish copy of the venerable Remington 870. The 870 has long been my favorite shotgun, and I would take one over a fancy Benelli any day. The Hawk 982 is the 870, only made in China and with some different features. Some of the nicest features I like about the 982 include; is the machined steel frame, dual action pump bars exactly like you will find on the 870, solid matte black finish, fixed improve cylinder choke, rear ghost ring sight , front post sight, and a solid polymer stock.
These shotguns hold up well to abuse just like it’s twin brother made by Remington. And these are much cheaper than the 870.
Price: About $180
Mossberg 500: This shotgun has been the main competitor of the Remington 870 for many years. It has some clear advantages over the Remington gun. The safety, for example, is conveniently located where your thumb sits on the shotgun, and the pump release is right behind the trigger guard making the shotgun much faster to bring into battery.
The 500 is an utterly reliable shotgun, I have 2of them and they have never failed to perform, have never miss fed or jammed, and always go bang when the trigger is pulled. They are about the most customizable shotgun on the market along with the 870.
Cost: About $300-350
SDS Imports Lynx: For years I wanted to buy a Saiga tactical shotgun, only problem was at the time they cost over $1000 and I was not willing to dump that on a shotgun, now they are nearly impossible to find due to the import ban. Nothing can ruin a bad guy’s day like a Kalashnikov style shotgun, and nothing can be as fun as dumping a mag on the range. So without shelling out a grand for a Saiga, there is another great AK style shotgun that is just as reliable for under $400.
The Chinese build a beautifully cheap Saiga-ish clone. The SDS Imports Lynx. While a bit different than the Saiga, it uses the same long stroke piston that is iconic of just about all Kalashnikov style arms. The firearm feeds from detachable box magazines, and you can use Saiga mags. The cost in itself, coupled with rugged construction and reliability is a huge reason to grab one of these guns.
Cost: About $400
Savage Arms Stevens Model 320 Security 12 Gauge: This offering from Stevens has remained a popular choice for people on a budget. The Model 320 Security is designed as an affordable, tactical oriented shotgun that is perfect for home defense. It is a durable pump shotgun that features a bead sight and synthetic stock. A basic, no-frills defense gun.
Charles Daly 101: The iconic break action single shot shotgun has allowed millions of hunters to get into the sport with it’s low cost and durability. I have shot more skeet with a Pardner break action than I have just about any other shotgun, and it sure can hold it’s own. Available in either .12 or .20 gauge. Charles Daly has come back to the game with the Model 101, a spiritual successor to the now discontinued Pardner from New England. This hammer gun will last you many years, and is perfect for the small game or upland hunter. It’s great for the beginner shooting trap or skeet. The shotgun points very nicely and is a great choice for a youngster’s first shotgun. Being a break action, this is not the best choice for home defense, but there are worse choices out there.
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