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5 Hunting Game Guns

Bruce Potts selects five guns suitable for a spot of vermin control or game shooting but that’s not all they can be used for…


    The Blaser F16 has three models, Game with a silver logo inset and Sporting with a red logo and the high-end Heritage side plate model. Only 12-gauge multi choke is offered and the standard wood grade is 2. The ultra-low profile action gives the F16 a very aero-dynamic appearance and it has a reduced barrel opening too, due to the shallow depth of the action for a speedier and easier reload. The steel action has a grey, hardened coating finish, coupled with a tried and tested twin hammer system, cocked by opening the barrels. Lock-up is maintained by bifurcated bolts, locking into the barrel’s Monobloc. Ejectors only cock at their full extent once the F16 has been fired, ensuring best reliability and strong ejection. One feature I really like is the barrel selector, a small black button tucked away in front of the trigger blade but very easy to operate. The stock is Grade 2 as standard, although upgrades are available with the butt stock having an internal balancer system. The barrels have 3-inch chambers and an 18.6mm bore, so not over-bored and thus more fibre wad friendly with a choice of 28- or 30-inch in the Game version. The forcing cone is long and the barrel is cold forged and chrome plated for longevity and you also get a barrel balancer system, allowing the addition or removal of weights to the barrel mid-section under the forend. A premium gun at a fair price. Price: £2738 Contact: Blaser Sporting Ltd www.blaser-sporting.com



    The versatile X Trail Evo has a silvered action finish that is slim but not that low-profiled but has some nice scalloped detail around the edges with machine cut engraving to all faces. Fit and finish is surprisingly good, which is certainly a product of the modern CNC machined nature of these new Bettinsoli shotguns. Twin stud pins allow the barrels to swivel and at the rear there is a full-length cross bolt that locks on closure to engage the barrels for a very sturdy union. Coil springs are used throughout and form a reliable and positive action and ejection system. The monobloc barrels have well machined lumps and precise cut-outs for a tight, solid feel, so plenty of life to be had in this shotgun. Equally good is the bluing applied to the barrels, it is very even, deep and has a good blacked finish. The barrels are steel shot proofed and have the fleur de lys proof mark. The multi-chokes are flush fitting type with five supplied and the relatively tight bored barrels throw decent patterns. Great value and well made little sporter. Price: £1025 Contact: RUAG www.ruag.co.uk



    The Ultra Light Classic is your typical game gun; its light weight (due to the alloy action and 28-inch barrels) and weighs just over 6lbs 2ozs, yet still retains Beretta’s build quality and strength. A light weight may mean more recoil but this gun is designed to soak it up. The main weight saving is an aircraft grade aluminium receiver and there’s a Titanium insert set into the breech face to maintain a tight action. Side locking lugs rebate into the lowered receiver and secure via twin protruding bolts from the action face. The overall finish is brush polished faces interspersed with geometric swirls and the addition of woodcock and partridge rising. The wood on the Ultra Light is reasonably plain but it is still nice and this model had some nice simple figuring to both sides and laser cut chequering. The cold-hammer forged steelium barrels are 26- or 28-inch (the Gold version has a 24” option too) and contribute to the fast handing properties. The bores are chrome lined and steel shot proofed, five chokes are provided. Weight-wise, it’s a good blend between fast handling and recoil damping and certainly it was very comfortable to shoot. Price: £2100 Contact: GMK www.gmk.co.uk



    The new SX4 is a great semi-automatic shotgun available in black synthetic or camo models and walnut stocked too. The ultra-fast cycling action uses a gas operated system and this is a competitively priced semi with a well-designed stock. The Field model has a walnut stock with a thick satin oiled finish; personally, I would go for the black synthetic or Camo Mobuc finish. Barrels are available in 26- or 28-inch lengths in this Field model, with Browning’s Back Bored technology with chrome lined chambers and bore. Back-boring allows the shot column to form even patterns that are denser than normal barrels and it works. The SX4 is also proofed for all ammunition types up to 3-inches, so OK for steel shot. Multi choked Invector plus are supplied in ¼, ½ and ¾ choke choice and ensures less pellet deformation and consistent tighter patterns. The SX4 aluminium receiver has a hard anodised, smooth satin finish and the redesigned lifter is nickel Teflon coated to reduce friction and avoid any corrosion. It all adds up to a very well made and competent action design that is honed to get the fastest possible reload possible. A well-priced, light, fast and good patterning semiautomatic shotgun. Price: £725 Contact: BWM Ltd www.browning.eu



    This Stealth shotgun is based on the Mossberg Model 500 pump shotgun. It is available in .410, 20g and 12-bore calibres. You can choose between synthetic or wood stock versions and although the plain stock in synthetic may seem the best choice for wear, the wood stock gives better balance. The Model 500 is a typical American pump system that is functional rather than aesthetic. You have twin action bars that operate the slide or pump action and a safety on the top rear of the action for easy access. As such, the Stealth is ultra-reliable, with a positive, solid actioning and the positive twin claw extractors. The Stealth’s 24-inch barrel has a fixed, full choke and an over barrel sound moderator. The barrel is ported 12 times, six holes on each side, with 4.32mm holes and covered by an aluminium sleeve. This is 1.50-inch in diameter and is one piece and 16-inch total length and extends past the muzzle by eight-inches. When you fire, the ports in the barrel bleed off the expanding gases from the firing process and thus vent rearward down the rear section of the moderator cooling as they go to reduce the overall noise levels when they finally vent through the front end of the moderator. In the field, it is best to use subsonic ammunition for maximum sound reduction but you can safely shoot full-power loads as well. Price: £645 Contact: York Guns www.yorkguns.com