Semi-auto For Upland


So I have the common question of which gun is the best all-around with a slightly different spin from what I was able to find on your site in recent history. I was able to find a few of your answers to this oh so general question, but it always applied to sport shooting. I am interested in the best all around shotgun for waterfowl and upland shooting. I live in Boise, ID so a lot of the field shooting takes places in areas where I have to hike extreme verticals to get to birds.

I have a Remington 870 currently, and if that simply sticks as my duck gun while the new gun covers the quail, chukar, huns, pheasant, etc. that would also be okay.

So, which semi-auto would you recommend as the best potential all arounder knowing that I will be hiking 10+ miles, likely will be getting stuck in bad weather, I am indifferent to “how pretty” it is, I depend on my body for my line of work so I would prefer to not trash my shoulder – if a slightly heavier gun is required to accomplish this I would rather hike with / carry a heavier gun, and would like to spend under $2k? Please feel free to recommend current production guns and any guns that are out of production, but would still be readily available on the used market.

Thank you in advance for your assistance in wading through all of the options.

Kind Regards,


An auto for upland under $2k? No problem.

But first, what about an 870 Wingmaster 20 gauge? 20 gauge will take any upland bird at a sane distance. It is a nice lightweight gun. It is indestructible. And you already run a pump gun from your 12 ga 870. For hunting in all sorts of conditions for different game, it is tough to beat a pump and the 870 Wingmaster is the best one made today.

The 870 Express is a nice gun, but in 12 gauge they run a whole lot heavier than the 870 Wingmaster with the Light Contour barrel. I don’t know what the weight difference in the 20 gauge Express / Wingmaster is, but a quick phone call to Remington ought to solve that. The Wingmaster is better finished, but if the 20 gauge weights are the same, buy either one.

If you don’t want another pump, but still want an auto, you might consider the Benelli Ethos in 20 gauge. It should be very light at about 5-3/4#. Street price ought to be around $2000.

The other obvious auto choice would be a Beretta A400 at something around $1500. The A400s really are nice guns and don’t seem to have any issues.

If you don’t need that third shot and would like an O/U, it’s hard to beat one of the Beretta 20 ga field O/Us. They range in price from a Silver Pigeon 1 at $2000 on up, depending on the fancy stuff on the outside. The insides are all the same.

Personally, I’d go with either the 870 Wingmaster 20 gauge or the Beretta Silver Pigeon 1 20 gauge O/U. But another shooter would have another answer. Your call.

But I would pick a 20. You have the option of 3″ 1-1/4 oz shells if you really think you need them, though I’ve killed just about everything in the uplands with 1 oz of #6s or less. The lighter carry weight of the 20 will be most welcome at the end of a long day.

Best regards,
Bruce Buck
Shotgun Report’s Technoid

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3 Responses to Semi-auto For Upland

  1. Mark says:

    I just picked up a Franchi Affinity in 12 ga for a Hells Canyon chukar hunt. Light, decent recoil with 2-3/4 inch loads of no. 6. Pretty indestructible too from what I saw. About $800 so not a screaming deal but worth it. Left my wood stocked 20 ga Benelli and Brownings at home and didn’t regret for a minute.


  2. james rennie says:

    Benelli Ethos is a nice upland gun, but the Weatherby sa08 Deluxe is a great reliable semi auto, weighs just 6 lbs in 20ga and 6.5lbs in 12 ga. Priced at about $700 USD.


    • Bill says:

      I don’t disagree with Sir Technoid, but I too second what James Rennie recommends. The Weatherby SA08 Deluxe or Synthetic (if are not into aesthetics) is an excellent choice and the deluxe version can be purchased for $620. The synthetic version sells for $479. They work very well and I particularly like the two piston system to allow for an effective and easy adjustment for loads.


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