Whether you are new to the firearms world or a seasoned shotgunner, finding the Best 12 Gauge Shotguns for Sale in 2023 can be an arduous task.

Some would claim that sporting shotguns have not radically changed across the centuries, apart from a tendency to stack the barrels one atop the other. However, shotguns, like any tool, normally evolve. Year after year, gunmakers release more and more new models on the market, offering plenty of good firearms out there.

To add a more comprehensive picture, the shotgun offerings range today from the finest examples of the famous English gunmakers, through standard working guns, to shotguns designed as survival kits stashed inside spaceship’s capsules.

Intended use

Since we focus on the 12-gauge as the most popular shotgun caliber and the best all-around option, you may know the 12’s versatility is also suitable for various applications such as small game hunting, home defense or competition shooting.

By application, we can divide 12-gauge shotguns into those intended for small game and big game hunting (with specialized rifled barrels), competition shooting, and those purpose-built for home defense, combat, or tactical scenarios. Keep in mind that all these shotguns have some common features, and most of them can be used interdisciplinary.

For that reason, we will list several shotguns of different purposes that can perform well on all of those occasions.

Comfortable fit

Besides the shotgun application, choosing a 12-gauge shotgun is a personal decision based on your shooting style and comfort, which is of the utmost importance.  As with any weapon purchase, before forking over the cash, you should know that the right shotgun for one person may not be the right one for another.

Bear in mind that the finest London shotguns are tailored to clients’ demands in a process that is as much an interview as it is about getting physically measured up.

Obviously, a shotgun tailormade to fit you is perfection, but most of us would be quite happy with a decent working gun. Unlike classic wood and metal guns, you can choose modular 12-gauge shotguns featuring an adjustable stock or a foregrip as well.

Type of action

When we talk about the type of action, the 12-gauge shotguns offer shooters plenty of options. There is no one firearm system having so many combinations of actions and ammunition types like scatterguns.

A classic break-action open 12-gauge shotgun may come in single-shot or double-barreled configurations. Later configuration is available as a side-by-side or over-and-under variant, and each has its admirers and advantages.

Although there are even automatic shotguns capable of burst fire, civilian shooters have a wide selection of magazine repeaters, including pump-action, semi-auto and lever-action shotguns.

All of them have common features like interchangeable barrels and various choke inserts. At the same time, some more specialized models like a purpose-made defensive shotgun come with high-capacity tubular or box magazines, Picatinny rails, adjustable stocks, and pistol grips.

Like with other firearm types, there is no one-size-fits-all in a world of shotguns. Most gun guides like ours will suggest to you the best 12-gauge shotgun for hunting, the best for self-defense, or one the best for recreational shooting.

But if you need just a single working gun that can perform well on all of those occasions, the 12-gauge pump-action shotgun would be an excellent choice regardless you are a beginner or seasoned hunter.

Trusted brands

Beyond the comfortable fit, the appropriate type of action, and personal taste, we need to consider buying products from trusted brands.

While the market is overburden with hundreds of no-name clones of highly esteemed shotguns, you should look only at those that have withstood the test of users and time.

The Best 12-Gauge Hunting Shotguns

Hunting has always been the privilege of the nobility and the rich. The most appropriate shotgun type would be a break-action double gun either in over/under or side-by-side configuration.

1. Browning A5 Semi-Auto

The Browning A5 is a hundred-year-old design easily recognizable by its humpback-shaped receiver. Featuring the nickname humpback, this legendary semi-automatic shotgun earned a cult-like status amongst shooters due to its long-recoiling action and excellent reliability.

Except for the exterior similarities, the new Browning A-5 semi-automatic shotgun doesn’t share many standard features with an original Auto-5.

As a Browning marketing slogan says: “This ain’t your grandpa’s A5,” the new Auto 5 is an entirely different gun. The new A-5 uses a short recoiling inertia system and lightweight receiver made of aircraft-grade aluminum alloy.

Compared to the long, barrel recoiling design of the old Belgian Browning Auto 5s, the new A5 comes with a much simpler short-recoil operated mechanism called the Kinematic Drive System.

The new system is combined with the Inflex recoil pad to reduce recoil and keeps the internal mechanism noticeably cleaner.

Unlike its elder, the new A5 comes with shims for adjusting stock drop and length of pull.

Browning’s new A5 features a 28-inch barrel with a sleek ventilated rib, providing a 30% longer sight plane.

The shotgun is available with 26-, 28-, or 30-inch barrels topped with the Invector-DS (Double Seal) interchangeable chokes.

Since the 28-inch barrel model weighs just in at 6 pounds, 12 ounces, it might not be a perfect choice for high volume 3 1/2″ goose hunting. However, this 3-round autoloader would be a fantastic solution for upland and duck hunt or even 3-gun shooting.

The Browning Auto-5 is a legendary gun in hunting and shooting sports. Although the A5 shares the same name and profile as John M. Browning’s original autoloader but these guns continue the legacy of reliability, performance and dependability that their namesake has left.

You’ll be amazed how easily the Browning A5 Mossy oak fits into your hand and how seamlessly it blends into the forest. Browning’s Kinematic Drive System makes this hunting gun the fastest recoil-operated, autoloader.

The Browning A5 Mossy Oak has a capacity of four shells and is available in four camouflage synthetic stocks. It also comes with an interchangeable choke set that allows shooters to personalize their shot patterns.


  • Price: $1,771.99
  • Manufactured by: Browning
  • Gauge: 12
  • Action: Semi-Auto
  • Barrel Length: 26 in.
  • Total Length: 44.88 in.
  • Weight: 7.2 lbs.
  • Round Capacity: 4+1

2. Savage Stevens 555

If you want the best 12-gauge shotgun yet affordable and straightforward, the Savage Stevens 555 over/under is an extremely tempting choice.

J. Stevens & Co was founded a century and a half ago in the US, and today this brand is releasing new models under the Savage banner. However, their new Model 555 over-under shotgun is made in Turkey and represents an economical but well-built firearm.

The 12-gauge Model 555 has a lightweight, steel-reinforced aluminum receiver with chrome-lined, 28-inch barrels.

The carbon steel barrels feature 3-inch chambers and a raised 0.275-inch ventilated rib finished with a brass bead.

The Model 555 O-U comes with tang-mounted manual safety and a barrel selector. This affordable shotgun has a wide trigger guard to accommodate a gloved hand and a more-than-decent trigger with minimal creep and about 5.5 lbs. pull weights are ideal for field shooting.

Weighing at only 6.5 pounds, the Stevens 555 isn’t front-heavy and swing smoothly and naturally with a balance point placed at the front edge of the receiver.

The gun is shipped with a set of five screw-in choke tubes, fine checkering, whereas the ejectors and nicely figured laser engraved filigree is available on the Enhanced versions.

With stylish Turkish walnut stock, this good-looking and affordable field shotgun is an attractive everyman over/under to ply the uplands.


  • Price: $824.59
  • Manufactured by: Savage Stevens
  • Gauge: 12
  • Action: Over/Under
  • Barrel Length: 28 in.
  • Total Length: 44.88 in.
  • Weight: 6.5 lbs.
  • Round Capacity: 2

3. Winchester SXP Hybrid Hunter

Winchester designed the SXP Hybrid Hunter Shotgun in order to be reliable, fast, accurate, and strong enough to take on any hunting situation that might require a shotgun. The chrome-plated bore and chamber are protected from the harsh conditions hunters face by a Permacote coating.

To resist corrosion, the aluminum alloy receiver has the same Permacote protective finish. The composite stock of this Winchester pump-action shotgun is extremely durable. Gun kick is made easier by the Inflex Technology recoil pad.

The TRUGLO fiber-optic sight gathers light to allow for fast target acquisitions even in low-light conditions. The Winchester SXP comes with 3 Invector-Plus choke tubes (F M, IC) and sling swivel studs.

The Winchester SXP Hybrid Hunter 12 gauge is a versatile hunting shotgun that everyone can use. It features a 28-inch barrel, TruGlo fiber front sight, and Mossy Oak Bottomlands composite stocks with textured grip surfaces.

The ultimate hunter, the SXP, is suitable for hunting ducks, turkeys, and other upland animals. This shotgun also features the Super X slide action, which makes it the fastest pump action shotgun in the world.

This shotgun is comfortable to use, easy to control, and has excellent recoil control thanks to the Inflex recoil pad. The Winchester SXP Hybrid Hunter shotgun is all you need when it’s time for the field.


  • Price: $389.99
  • Manufactured by: Winchester
  • Gauge: 12
  • Action: Pump
  • Barrel Length: 28 in.
  • Overall Length: 49in.
  • Weight: 7 lbs.
  • Round Capacity: 2+1

4. Mossberg 835 Ulti-Mag

The Mossberg® 835 Ulti-Mag® Turkey Pump-Action Shotgun provides hunters with a reliable and highly functional shotgun that is affordable. The 835 model is fully enhanced for hunting hardcore turkeys. Fiber-optic rear and front sights are quick to acquire in dark woods and can be adjusted precisely for precise patterns that deliver rifle-like accuracy.

Dual extractors provide a firm grip on the cartridge’s edge, dual action bars ensure reliable cycling without binding or twisting, as well as an anti-jam shell elevator. A top lug locks the bolt into a barrel extension, providing a solid steel to-steel lockup. The aluminum receiver is lightweight and balanced.

The top-mounted, ambidextrous safety is easily visible and accessible without having to move the trigger finger. Ventilated recoil pads take the pain out of magnum Turkey loads. Sling swivel-studs enable attachment of a gun’s sling.


  • Price: $529.99
  • Manufactured by: Mossberg
  • Gauge: 12
  • Action: Pump
  • Barrel Length: 24 in.
  • Overall Length: 44.75 in.
  • Weight: 7.5 lbs.
  • Round Capacity: 5+1

Best Side by Side Shotguns

The side-by-side guns deserve their own category inside a wide variety of shotgun arms. As a timeless classic, the side-by-side shotguns became extremely popular for hunting, sporting clays shooting and even self-defense or as coach guns.

Designed with two barrels aligned horizontally parallel to each other, SxS shotguns are light and easy to maneuver. However, the best side-by-side shotguns are also very expensive, mainly when they came from famous British and Italian gun-makers.

5. Tristar Bristol SXS

The Bristol line of Side by Sides delivers beauty, elegance, and performance. Featuring an English Stock with Case Colored receiver. Available in four gauges, each built on a true steel frame with precision laser engraved detail.

The Bristol comes standard with Select Turkish walnut, auto ejectors, 5 chokes Beretta Mobil (SK, IC, M, IM, F), brass bead front sight and a selective top tang safety. A Side by Side with competition grade craftsmanship at Field Grade pricing.


  • Price: $1,058.99
  • Manufactured by: TriStar
  • Gauge: 12
  • Action: Side by Side
  • Barrel Length: 28 in.
  • Weight: 6.74 lbs.
  • Round Capacity: 2

6. CZ Bobwhite G2

CZ’s Bobwhite has been updated to the G2 with a CNCed receiving and modern internals. The action is slimmer and more reliable than the original. Quick choke decisions can be made quickly with double triggers.

Bobwhite G2 comes in a tough black chrome finish, from head to tail. While looking great, it will also resist rust. Its threaded barrel is designed for choke tubes. The Bobwhite G2 ships with five flush chokes, from Cylinder to Full.


  • Price: $799.00
  • Manufactured by: CZ
  • Gauge: 12
  • Action: Side by Side
  • Barrel Length: 28 in.
  • Weight: 7.3 lbs.
  • Round Capacity: 2

Best 12-Gauge Home Defense Shotguns

Among other shotgun types, as stated above, the pump guns offer greater versatility and present an all-around choice for various tasks. Without a doubt, the pump/slide-action shotguns have stood the test of time as tactical and self-defense weapons.

7. Benelli M4 Tactical 

The Benelli M4 tactical gun is a well-respected tactical shotgun that has earned a reputation for being rugged and reliable. The United States Marine Corps has used the Benelli M4 since 1998.

The A.R.G.O. (auto regulated gas operation) technology is used to power the M4. This unique system uses two stainless steel pistons that are self-cleaning and bear directly on the bolt assembly.

This action is extremely reliable and simple. It eliminates all the complicated mechanics found in other semi-automatic shotguns that tend to foul up more quickly and are more difficult to clean.

This means that the A.G.R.O system allows Benelli M4’s to cycle nearly every type of 3-inch shell reliably without any adjustments, from the heavy 00 buckshot to the light field loads.

The stock is made with durable poly/rubber material. Both versions have a picatinny-mounted rail to install an optic and a mount for an ambidextrous shoulder sling.

With its reliable A.R.G.O. gas operating system and its flexibility to cycle most 3″ shells, the Benelli M4 allows for countless applications, such as home defense, protection against Grizzly bear territory, or usage in law enforcement/military.


  • Price: $2,018.99
  • Manufactured by: Benelli
  • Gauge: 12
  • Action: Semi Auto
  • Barrel Length: 18.5 in.
  • Weight: 7.8 lbs.
  • Round Capacity: 5+1

8. Dickinson Arms XX3 Tactical Marine

Dickinson Arms XX3 Tactical Marine 12 Gauge Pump Shotgun. This tactical pump shotgun is high-performance and features molded pistol grips that provide a firm grip and better control even in hot or humid conditions.

The model features a picatinny bar on the top and under the forearm for mounting tactical flashlights or lasers. It also has ghost ring sights and high visibility protected front sights.

This shotgun, like all pump-action models, features double slide bars. There is also an action release forward of the trigger guard. For easy cleaning, the barrel, fore-end, and bolt can be easily removed.


  • Price: $329.99
  • Manufactured by: Dickinson
  • Gauge: 12
  • Action: Pump
  • Barrel Length: 18.5 in.
  • Weight: 7 lbs.
  • Round Capacity: 5+1

Best 12-Gauge Sporting Clays Shotgun

Although you can get started in the trap or skeet shooting with almost any shotgun, few models dominate the clay arenas for a good reason. In general, if you want a dedicated target shotgun, you will need a long and heavy gun to make it swing smoothly and withstand tens of thousands of rounds a year.

Shotguns made explicitly for sporting clays range can cost anywhere from under $400 to over $10,000.

9. Beretta 686 Silver Pigeon I

The Silver Pigeon I Sporting has all the features of premium over-under shotguns, at an extremely attractive price. It features the 686 action, which is extremely strong and compact.

The Optima–Bore and Optima–Choke barrels, which are light-weight, place the shotgun’s point-of-balance right at the hinge pin. This gives the shotgun a lively feel and natural pointability. The Silver Pigeon I Sporting’s select-walnut stock, scroll engraving and stylish design will make it stand out at the range.


  • Price: $2,627.99
  • Manufactured by: Beretta
  • Gauge: 12
  • Action: Over Under
  • Barrel Length: 30 in.
  • Weight: 13.8 lbs.
  • Round Capacity: 2

10. Weatherby Orion Sporting

The Orion Sporting is adaptable and versatile. It features a four-way adjustable comb, which greatly assists in making sure the shotgun comes to shoulder level every time.

Sporting’s 30″, longer barrels provide a more deliberate swing and are ported to help reduce recoil and aid in transitioning to a second clay target

The vented rib helps to dissipate heat as well as optical distortion, when shooting volume is increased. Fiber optic beads also glow in the sunlight. The chambers are automatically emptied of spent hulls by automatic ejectors. Both the extended chokes and the knurled chokes could be easily replaced depending on the target presentation.

The Orion Sporting 12 gauge is made to crush clays.


  • Price: $1,002.99
  • Manufactured by: Weatherby
  • Gauge: 12
  • Action: Over Under
  • Barrel Length: 30 in.
  • Weight: 7.5 lbs.
  • Round Capacity: 2

Final Thoughts

It is a fact that shotguns are the most versatile firearms in existence today, with many purposes. With a massive variety of 12-gauge shotguns, there are a lot of contenders for the best 12-gauge shotgun.

Like with other firearms, picking a shotgun is always a personal decision based on many factors for any sportsman or hunter. The shortest advice for the best shotgun would be to choose one that mounts quickly and swings smoothly, or in other words, “carrying light and shooting heavy.”

Finally, for any attentive observer is pretty clear that the industry rarely introduces some new shotguns to the market. Still, more often, they approach it by making significant improvements to existing models.