John Zent's Top 10 Shotguns

Since junior high, NRA Publications Editorial Director John Zent has had a love-hate affair with shotguns. He loves ‘em when he hits; hates ‘em when he misses. Of course, he knows better than to blame the gun, but he has to live with himself and can always switch to a new shotgun—right? Or perhaps he can really be fickle and have 10 favorite wingshooting buddies. Check out John's Top 10 shotguns.

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22 Responses to John Zent's Top 10 Shotguns

Al Pop. wrote:
June 07, 2014

Why wasn't the SKB series mentioned. The Japanese firm that mfg's the shotgun, also makes the barrels for the Browning Citori ?

Warren wrote:
April 26, 2014

I admit I am 'old school.' The Model 12 should be included! However, my favorites have been given me by dear departed friends, field guns. First the Remington Model 17, 20 gauge, 32' pump. The grand lady that gave me this fine piece of history told me that her Daddy fed the family, in West Virginia, during the depression with it! Next, the 12 gauge, side by side, Field Grade, L. C. Smith. The dear departed, second father to me, said his father gave it to him when he was a teen. His Dad purchased it 'mail order' for $12! Let's not forget what got us here!

Ann Daub wrote:
April 25, 2014

I have a 12 gauge Valmet 412S design made by Tikka; chose that over many others to use for Sporting Clays .I tweaked it a bit, ported both barrels,added extended chokes which got barrel length to nearly 30' and put an adjustable comb on the stock. It fits perfectly, balances well and is an excellent ladies gun even shooting trap loads. I will be getting a Guerini Summit Ascent later this summer (provided my husband doesn't see the price tag) but the 412 S is still the go -to gun.

Herb Auger wrote:
April 25, 2014

I am glad to see my 686 on the list. It is my favorite for competition.

kirk macWilliams wrote:
April 24, 2014

I like all of your choices but I think you're like me you just love shot guns. I would have to add the Winchester 101 28 gauge to my list

Cade Collins wrote:
April 24, 2014

Where is the Beretta 391 on this list?

Mike Cee wrote:
April 23, 2014

Nice choices John,870 wingmaster for deer,and Franchi instinct sl for bird,trap, and skeet. You gave it a very good write up ,so i did some homework and bought it ,and i thank you.

Wendell meade wrote:
April 23, 2014

The model 42 is in my top 10

Darrell Dame wrote:
April 23, 2014

Some good choices , I might have added an L.C. Smith.

Tanner Foust wrote:
April 23, 2014

@wayne smith this is a long shot but was that the granite falls turkey shoot? I have a nova and I love that thing.

Wayne Smith wrote:
April 22, 2014

I recently bought the ethos, and I love it,I used it for a turkey shoot recently and it done well

JL Johnson wrote:
April 21, 2014

My first shotgun was a Fox Sterlingworth 16 ga side by side.though I have owned and used many others, invluding the 1100, I have never found one that was of higher quality or that delivered the goods like the Fox. Besides, there's just something about bird hunting with a double barrel shotgun.

Dux wrote:
March 22, 2014

Small disagreement here: The K80 grew from the K32 which grew from the Remington model 32. The 32 was discontinued in the -40's but Remington came back with the 3200 in the 70's. The 3200 in no longer made.

John Zent wrote:
March 13, 2014

Thanks for reading, everyone. Of course this list doesn't cover every great or valued shotgun ever produced, so if it seems like I missed obvious choices like the Model 12 Winchester or truly fine British best and the like, it's because my assignment was to profile my personal top 10. And so for the most part, I stuck with shotguns I actually have a history shooting. Exceptions to that--the Browning and the Kreighoff--are guns had a big influence on me in some way. If, instead, my assignment, had been to compile a list of the '10 Best Shotguns,' I assure you the list would have been much different. That's also a much more difficult job, but what the heck ... I'll get to work on that.

John Butler wrote:
March 08, 2014

I have my fathers Remington 1100 that he bought in the 70's with 2 barrels. Dead on and looks as good today as it did in my Dads gun rack.

John Moore wrote:
March 07, 2014

The model 12 Winchester is conspicuously missing from this list.

Keith Weber wrote:
March 06, 2014

I like many of your choices here. Kind of main stream mass market though. What about the truly fine shotguns like AyA no. 2 round action, Caesar guerini magnus lite, and others like these.

Joe wrote:
March 06, 2014

Hmmm..... I don't see any Mossbergs here.

Elkhunter wrote:
March 06, 2014

Remington 1100 all the way. Purchased mine used in 1982. Have shot ever since without a single failure.

David seigneur wrote:
March 06, 2014

How about the: Remington A5 auto Beretta sxs 426E Francote sxs Knockabout Winchester 12

Pete wrote:
March 06, 2014

I bought a 12 gauge 870 Wingmaster in 1957 when I was 14 years old. I put a Poly Choke on it. I'm not sure how many rounds have been through it, but it's still with me. The words 'shotgun'and'Wingmaster' are almost synonymous, regardless of whatever else we shoot.

Cliff Burgess wrote:
March 06, 2014

Hard to find fault with your top ten, John. While you have the Model 42 which is a fun gun to shoot, the Model 12, its big brother, would be near the top of my list. I have one 42, but six or seven 12's. Probably will have more before I die.