I’m looking to get into pheasant hunting and was wondering what is a good brand of shotgun for performance and price.
First of all, consider a used, but well cared for shotgun. Many gun shops have a selection of used weapons that they have gone over to make sure they are in good shape.
Second, you have several choices of design.
The classic upland bird guns are double barreled, either in a side by side or over and under configuration. These have the advantage of good ergonomics and light weight at the expense of more kickback. Double barreled guns are also generally more expensive, although they are generally very well made and last a long time, because they have fewer moving parts to break.
You can also consider a pump action shotgun. These are my personal least favorite. They still have a lot of kickback, the ratcheting action is often quite noisy, and I don’t find them as fun to shoot. Loads of people love them though, and there is nothing inherently wrong with them.
There are a number of options as far as semiautomatic shotguns go, although in my opinion the two best autos for the job are the Remington 1100/1187/sportsman’s 58, all of which are very similar to each other, and the Browning Auto 5.
A lighter weight gun is a good thing when pheasant hunting, since you are carrying it as you walk, and considering the daily bag limits on pheasant are generally lower than, for instance, dove, you won’t be doing as much shooting. I also prefer wood stocks. I find them more comfortable to hold and shoot, and they look a lot better, although they aren’t quite as weatherproof as synthetic. You also don’t need a shotgun that will fire magnum length shells for pheasant hunting, although you can always use shorter shells in a shotgun designed for magnum length shells. Since most people want the ability to fire magnum shells, you might be able to get a shotgun that can’t for a bit less money than one that can.