Lewis Potter reflects on the modern shotguns of particular interest that he has tested for Shooting Times and selects his top six from hammergun to semi-auto.
Akkar Triple Crown
The Akkar Triple Crown is not a shotgun you would ever be likely to forget. Anything so big, bulky and with three barrels will always grab anyone’s attention, and on test it performed as well as more conventional guns.
Memorable features: What came as a surprise was to find that the lock work was amazingly simple, which is always an aid to reliability. It did mean that there is a fixed firing sequence in the following order: right barrel, left barrel, top barrel. At around 8¾lb loaded with 3in magnums, the Triple Crown is not a light gun, but the handling turned out to be smooth with good swing characteristics.
Price: £1,811 www.edgarbrothers.com
If anyone had predicted 25 years ago that the early 21st century would see a new 3in- chambered hammergun on the market with screw-in chokes, they would have received some very odd looks. Yet with the Huglu that is just what we have and, while not a sophisticated gun, it is an honest piece of work.
Memorable features: The provision of a non-automatic safety button on the top strap is a novelty, and the ability to open the gun with the right-hand hammer still cocked is a good safety feature. For the shooter who likes the idea of a traditional gun but with the convenience of a modern shotgun, the Huglu fits the bill.
Price: £755 www.edgarbrothers.com
Boxall & Edmiston over-and-under
The Boxall & Edmiston 20-bore over-and-under is built in a style that harks back to those exotic British over-and-unders made in the early 20th century. However, the methods of design and manufacture applied to this gun reflect a century of progress.
Memorable features: Comparatively light, fast handling and pleasing to the eye, it is a beautiful piece of work. The user does have to be on form to get the very best out of its performance, but when you are shooting at your best it can be a real confidence booster. It might be made in rural Shropshire but it speaks of Best London.
Price: £18,800 www.boxallandedmiston.co.uk
Hushpower sound-moderated 20-bore
It has always been notoriously difficult to moderate the sound output of a shotgun, but Hushpower succeeded with the Investarm-based 20-bore over-and-under. With the full-length moderator sleeve, the gun is long but light, the baffles in front of the muzzle contributing to the overall length.
Memorable features: Noise reduction is truly impressive, with a decrease in measured noise of 20 decibels with the best-performing cartridges compared with an unmoderated gun. The neatness of the sound moderator design is impressive, as well as the ease of stripping for cleaning, which is a requirement on a sound-moderated shotgun.
Price: £830 www.saddleryandgunroom.co.uk
Hatsan Escort Magnum Xtreme
One of the most recent guns I have tested, this will remain memorable not only for its looks but also its performance. With the startling blue receiver and fore-end cap, it shouts “bling”, but that should not detract from the fact that the Hatsan Magnum Xtreme is actually a very functional, affordable and practical semi-auto.
Memorable features: This Hatsan turned out to be easy to use. Recoil proved to be quite acceptable with even the larger loads on test, bearing in mind that at 71⁄4lb this is a light gun for the bore, chambering and type. Most impressive was the reliability when feeding a variety of cartridges of different lengths and loadings.
Price: £500 www.shootingsuppliesltd.co.uk
Benelli Super Nova
You do not often get the chance to test a pump-action shotgun, so it is something that sticks in the mind. With the Benelli this would certainly be the case, with its Gothic styling and high-tech features.
Memorable features: From the steel skeleton receiver overlaid with a form of fibreglass to its semi-rotary bolt head, the Super Nova reeked of the latest technology. In fact, with this gun, Benelli has lifted the pump action from mundane utility gun role to something rather special. A bit of a Marmite gun perhaps but, love it or loathe it, you cannot help but admire the extravagant styling and cutting- edge design.
Price: £700 www.gmk.co.uk