There’s plenty to celebrate with the arrival of 2021, not the least of which is a new crop of affordable hunting guns. This year’s class of budget-friendly firearms for the field includes a broad range of products: basic over/under and stylish pump shotguns, suppressor-ready rifles, even a single-shot turkey gun that comes with an optic for less than $250. There’s no better place to escape the noise and chaos of the modern world than the deep woods, and these guns allow you to enjoy a lot of time outdoors without spending a lot of cash.
1. Mossberg International Silver Reserve Shotguns Mossberg International is offering a brand-new line of Silver Reserve over/under shotguns. Made in Turkey, these affordable stack barrels come with your choice of either a walnut or black synthetic stock and are available in 12-, 20- and 28-gauge as well as .410-bore. Five choke tubes come standard, and there’s a tang-mounted barrel selector and safety. The Eventide model is available in 12-gauge has a matte synthetic stock and matte metal finish, making it the perfect choice for turkey and waterfowl hunters. If you’re in the market for an affordable over/under, these guns are a solid option. There’s also a Youth Bantam version available in 20-gauge with a walnut stock with 13.25-inch length of pull that’s ideal for smaller-statured shooters. MSRP: $636-$692; mossberg.com.
2. Winchester XPR Stealth SR Winchester XPR rifles are affordable enough to compete with other budget bolt guns but they offer features that make them one of the best option in this price class. The new XPR Stealth SR (Suppressor Ready) comes with those same features, such as Winchester’s MOA trigger, Permacote finish two-position safety with bolt unlock in a lightweight, compact, suppressor-ready version with a 16½-inch barrel. Measuring just over 36 inches long, these guns are great for tight spaces like cramped hunting blinds, and even with a suppressor in place, they aren’t so long as to be cumbersome. There is a long list of chambering options from .223 Rem. to .300 WSM, including the straight-wall .350 Legend and Winchester’s popular new 6.8 Western. MSRP: $669.99; winchesterguns.com.
3. Stevens 301 Turkey XP The affordable Stevens 301 single-shot turkey gun is now available as an XP package firearm with a pre-mounted 1x30 red-dot optic. Available in 20-gauge and .410-bore, these guns come with 26-inch barrels with extra full chokes and are optimized for Federal Premium Heavyweight TSS Turkey loads. Both the .410-bore and 20-gauge versions feature synthetic stocks with your choice of Mossy Oak Obsession or Bottomland (pictured) camo patterns and weigh-in at just a bit over 5 pounds. If you’re looking for an affordable dedicated turkey gun with a pre-mounted optic, you simply can’t beat the 301 Turkey XP. MSRP: $249; savagearms.com.
4. CZ 557 Eclipse CZ-USA’s push-feed 557 Eclipse rifle offers a long list of features, including a CNC machined steel billet receiver, an excellent adjustable trigger and a five-round capacity. The billet receiver comes with machined scope bases for rock-solid reliability and the 20½-inch barrel keeps overall length to just 41.5 inches, making this gun maneuverable in treestands and ground blinds. A ⅝x24 threaded muzzle allows you to easily add a suppressor or brake to the rifle, and its durable synthetic stock is better than you’ll find on many competing guns in this price class. There are three chambering options for 2021: 6.5 Creedmoor, .308 Win., and .30-06 Sprg. The Eclipse weighs under 7 pounds, making it light enough to carry all day. MSRP: $659; cz-usa.com.
5. Browning BPS Field Composite With a production life spanning more than five decades, the BPS is one of Browning’s most enduring firearms. Recently, the BPS pump shotgun underwent a refresh, and in addition to the black synthetic and walnut versions Browning is now offering a BPS Field Composite version with Mossy Oak Shadow Grass Habitat full camo dip. Since it utilizes a bottom feeding/ejection design and a tang mounted safety, the BPS is one of the few truly ambidextrous repeating shotgun designs available today. The receiver is machined from a solid block of forged steel, and that makes the BPS slightly heavier than some competing shotguns—which isn’t a bad thing, especially when firing magnum waterfowl and turkey loads. These guns come with Invector Plus flush fit choke tubes and is available in 10-, 12- and 20-gauge. The BPS just slips under the $800 threshold on this list, but reliability and build quality is excellent for a gun in this price class. MSRP: $799.99-$899.99; browning.com.
6. Savage Axis II Overwatch Savage Axis II rifles offer accuracy that rivals that of rifles costing much more, and that makes them a great value. The Mossy Oak NRA Overwatch camo stock and Gunsmoke Grey Cerakote metal finish look great on this gun, and it offers standard features like an adjustable Savage AccuTrigger and an EGW one-piece Picatinny rail. The 20-inch barrel keeps overall length to a minimum and these rifles weigh in at around 6.5 pounds. The stock spacer allows owners to adjust length of pull, and with ten chambering options ranging from .223 Remington to .30-06 Springfield, there’s an Axis II Overwatch model for just about any game animal. Axis II rifles have already proven themselves to be extremely accurate, and the new Overwatch version is no exception. MSRP: $549; savagearms.com.
7. Winchester SXP Hybrid Hunter With the Remington 870 out of production (for now, at least) the SXP is looking to gobble up more of the pump gun market share. The SXP has the chops to compete with any pump on the market: lightweight machined aluminum receiver, inertia-assisted slide capable of three shots in a half-second, chrome-plated bore and chamber, Inflex recoil pad, 3½-inch chamber and more. The new-for-2021 Hybrid Hunter Mossy Oak Shadow Grass Habitat version features a flat dark earth Permacote finish on the metal and a durable synthetic stock dipped in Mossy oak camo. It’s a good-looking pump gun that’ll last your entire hunting career with minimal maintenance, and it’ll work as well for spring gobblers as well as it does for dabbling ducks in autumn. MSRP: $429.99-$449.99; winchesterguns.com.
8. Mossberg Patriot LR Hunter Patriot rifles have proven to be reliable and accurate, and now Mossberg is offering a hybrid target/hunting version of their flagship bolt gun. The Patriot LR Hunter comes with a Monte Carlo target stock with polymer coating and black spiderweb accents, and a Picatinny rail for easy optic mounting. Mossberg’s LBA bladed trigger comes standard, and the LR Hunter also features dual front sling studs and a detachable box magazine. The fluted, threaded sporter-weight barrel is lighter than the heavy target barrels found on competing long range hunting rifles, making the 6½ to 7½-pound LR Hunter is a more practical rifle than many competing guns in the market that weigh 8 pounds or more. MSRP: $766; mossberg.com.