These shotguns are the latest…but are they the greatest?
It was a tough job but someone had to do it. Editors at Game & Fish/Sportsman magazines had the pleasure of grabbing five of the newest bird guns on the market and putting them through the paces at the trap and five-stand range and in the field.
We found that the Ethos might just be the best autoloader Benelli ever made. And that the Stevens 555 is a fine budget over-under. We also found a few things we’d change on the guns.
But for the most part, we had a blast with these brand-spanking-new firearms.
As we pulled the trigger on clays, birds or squirrels, we tried to put ourselves in your boots and make decisions on the firearms as if we were about to use our hard-earned money on a new hunting gun.
<h2>Benelli | Ethos</h2><strong>Fit & Finish</strong> <br /> The AA-grade walnut stock and the beautifully engraved nickel receiver are likely the first things that will catch your eye when you check out an <a href="http://www.benelliusa.com/ethos/" target="_blank">Ethos</a>. <p></p> <strong>Shouldering</strong> <br /> This is where the Ethos shines. Like the Vinci, it shoulders like few other guns. The gun is rounded where it should be and balanced as you would hope. The LOP is adjustable from 13.8 inches to 15 inches. <p></p> <strong>Mechanics</strong> <br /> No, wait, here is where the Ethos really shines. (You get the idea, this is a fine gun.) The most significant feature is the locking bolt head. You don’t have to let the bolt slam shut; you can actually slowly let it down, if you choose, and it still locks tightly in battery. <p></p> <strong>Takeaway</strong> <br /> When you open the case on the back of a pickup truck in South Dakota or at your local sporting clay range, you’ll probably draw a crowd. The Ethos is a beautiful shotgun that made me feel like a better shooter than I am while breaking clays and toting it in the field during testing. The new Progressive Comfort recoil system sucks up any unpleasant kick, yet all shells, even light dove loads, cycled well. <p></p> Chambering: 12 guage; 2 3/4, 3 <br /> Barrel: 26- or 28-inch, Crio System <br /> Sights: Three fiber optic front sites <br /> Chokes: Three chokes and wrench <br /> Finish: AA-grade walnut, nickel or anodized receiver <br /> Weight: 6 1/3 pounds <p></p> <strong>Price: $</strong>2,199 for nickel receiver (tested); <strong>$</strong>1,999 anodized