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10 Great Semi-Auto Shotguns for Hunting, Defense and More

Semi-Auto Shotguns
Savage Firearms/Benelli

These are some of the top semi-automatic shotguns for the money.

Semi-auto shotguns are becoming more and more popular every day for hunting, skeet shooting and home defense purposes. Today the technology and machining behind these guns is better than ever, meaning there's a reliable option to fit a variety of budgets.

Today we'll look at some of the top semi-autos on the market for turkey, waterfowl, defense and competitive shooting

There should be something for everyone's needs and budget here, so let's dive right in.

Browning A5

Semi-Auto Shotguns
Cabela's

We'll start off with a take on John Moses Browning's proven original design. Almost any sportsman will recognize that iconic humpback receiver almost immediately. That receiver gives the A5 a longer sight plane, and as a result, more accuracy. This gun operates off a recoil-operated Kinematic Drive system to cycle rounds quickly. A generous recoil pad helps soak up the kick and keep you on target longer with the fiber optic sights. Browning offers this gun with several different stock materials, from a classic wood walnut finish to camo finishes like Mossy Oak Break-Up Country, Shadow Grass and more. The A5 is also offered as a 16-gauge shotgun known as the "Sweet Sixteen." Browning backs these guns with a 100,000 round or five-year guarantee of operation.

Beretta A300 Outlander

Semi-Auto Shotguns
Beretta

This gas-operated gun has built up a sterling reputation for cycling quickly and reliably. Beretta designed this shotgun to disassemble and reassemble quickly by breaking down into just four major parts. This can be done without any tools, another bonus. It can handle both 2 ¾ and 3-inch shells. A shim system lets you adjust the length-of-pull to your own preferences. The front sight is a metal bead. Beretta also includes an improved cylinder, full and modified choke tube with this gun. They offer several stock/receiver/barrel combos with this shotgun including a classic blued/wood, matte black and a total camo finish of Realtree MAX-5 for waterfowl hunters. The safety can also be quickly swapped from right to left for even more versatility. The A300 is also a lot more affordable than some other higher-end autoloaders on the market.

Savage Renegauge

Semi-auto Shotguns
Savage Firearms

This one was first revealed to us personally by Savage last season and we came away from that first glimpse impressed and wanting to see more. Savage designed this gun with a dual-valve gas system called D.R.I.V. It vents excess gas before driving back the bolt. The result? Less recoil and smoother cycling. The length of pull and comb height are easily adjustable thanks to multiple gel inserts. Savage is offering the Renegauge in models tailored to specific types of hunting too. The waterfowl model has either a 26 or 28-inch barrel length and is finished in Mossy Oak Shadow Grass. A turkey model features a 24-inch vented barrel and comes in Mossy Oak Obsession. Red fiber optic sights help get you on target quickly.

Remington Versa Max

Semi-Auto Shotguns
Remington

The Versa Max continues to be a solid option for the hunter who wants a shotgun to use for a variety of bird hunting scenarios. Remington says their VersaPort gas system uses staggered ports to regulate release and tame the recoil of a 12 gauge shotgun down to something comparable with a 20 gauge. They also claim the reduced recoil allows you to shoot this gun faster than any pump-action on the market. This shotgun can cycle 2 ¾ to 3 1/2 -inch ammo with ease. The synthetic stock is available in a variety of finishes from a simple black to the latest in Realtree and Mossy Oak camo patterns depending on your preferred style of hunting.

Mossberg 930

Semi-Auto Shotguns
Mossberg

While Mossberg is well-known for their pump-action guns, the 930 is a solid, dual gas-venting semi-auto at an affordable price tag. Mossberg offers several different variations depending upon the use you have in mind. For instance, the Tactical shotgun offers an oversized charging handle, picatinny rails for flashlights and other accessories and LPA ghost ring sights. All that while keeping the length compact to under 40 inches for some models. Meanwhile the hunting models offer adjustable fiber optic sights, a vent rib barrel and different camo or blued finishes. They only recently released the 930 JM Pro, which was designed specifically for competition. That gun was designed in conjunction with the world's fastest shooter Jerry Miculek. It has a 9+1 capacity and is designed for quad loading straight out of the box. Simply put, the 930 is a very versatile gun!

Winchester SX4

Semi-Auto Shotguns
Wichester

The SX4 uses an active valve gas system to allocate and direct energy to reliably cycle up to 3 ½-inch shells. This gun features what Winchester calls Quadra-Vents near the front to channel excess gases and cut down on the recoil even more. This is a solid option for anyone looking for a gun that will bring down a spring turkey and fall geese with ease. Winchester made the gun ambidextrous with a reversible safety. They also sized up the bolt handle and release buttons to be easier to use while wearing heavy gloves. The SX4 features length of pull spacers to adjust the fit. While Winchester does make a 12-gauge, they also recently added a 20-gauge version to the line for anyone looking for slightly less recoil.

Benelli Super Black Eagle 3

Semi-Auto Shotguns
Benelli

Benelli redesigned this shotgun two years ago to give it even more modern features. It uses an inertia driven system to cycle up to 3 ½-inch Magnum shells. Benelli says this system keeps all the burnt powder and other messy residue in the barrel and out of the gun's internal systems for more time hunting and less time cleaning. A series of Comfortech shock absorbers, buffers in the stock and a cheek comb pad just add to the comfort of using this shotgun. They offer this gun with a variety of stock finishes from the latest black synthetic, to a classic satin walnut stock. Of course, they also offer finishes in the latest in camo patterns from Realtree, Mossy Oak and more. Benelli is not a cheap brand by any means, but like most things in life, you get what you pay for. This is an ultra-reliable gun that will stand up to years of use in the field chasing waterfowl and longbeards.

Franchi Affinity

Semi-Auto Shotguns
Franchi

When you start looking closely, you'll see this gun is near identical to the Benelli we just mentioned, but that's not surprising since they're coming from the same parent company. The big difference is that the Franchi costs half as much. Catch a sale on the right day and this shotgun can be had for under $700. This gun also uses an inertia driven system to operate. Franchi says it can cycle up to 3 ½-inch magnum loads with ease. The system is purposely designed with as few parts as necessary for ease of cleaning and maintenance. Franchi offers this gun with either a 26 or 28-inch vented barrel. Stock and forend finishes include a classic satin walnut look as well as black synthetic and Realtree and Mossy Oak camo patterns. The receiver is also drilled and tapped if you want to add an optic.

Stoeger Model 3500

Semi-Auto Shotguns
Stoeger Industries

Another shotgun that utilizes an inertia drive system to cycle, this is a great option for waterfowl or turkey. Stoeger offers a specialty turkey model with a steady handgun-style grip for even more accuracy. The vented and stepped rib barrels feature fiber optic front sights. Stoeger includes three different choke tubes and the receiver is tapped and drilled for a weaver-style scope base right out of the box. The stock is available in a matte black synthetic finish or one of several popular camo patterns. The Stoeger is highly affordable too. The matte black version is just $600, making it a solid option for the hunter on a budget.

CZ-USA 712 G2

Semi-Auto Shotguns
CZ-USA

If you are looking for a gas-operated semi-auto for under $600, the CZ is a solid choice. This gun can cycle 2 ¾ to 3-inch shells. CZ offers this gun with either a classic Turkish walnut stock or a Cerakote camo or synthetic finish. This versatile gun features a 28-inch barrel and could be used for waterfowl in the fall, deer in the winter and turkeys in the spring with ease. You'll be hard-pressed to find another semi-auto shotgun with as many positive user reviews as the CZ for a $550 price point like this.

For more outdoor content from Travis Smola, be sure to follow him on Twitter and check out his Geocaching and Outdoors with Travis YouTube channels

NEXT: THE 5 BEST HOME-DEFENSE SHOTGUNS

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10 Great Semi-Auto Shotguns for Hunting, Defense and More