If you’re a trap or skeet shooter, the question of “What’s the best gun for me?” has probably crossed your mind. You might have even thought about picking up a 12 gauge shotgun. After all, they’re pretty popular.
The bad news and the good news is, you have a lot to choose from.
But having more options isn’t a bad thing. It just means that there’s a better chance of that perfect gun sitting out there just for you.
So, in this list, we provide you with a template of 12 gauge shotguns fit for every kind of person: whether you’re tight on a budget, are short or tall, or if you simply need less of a pump or a different action.
This list will have you covered.
How We Choose Our Lists
We understand that quality must come first when shooting.
And that’s why we not only look for the best prices and features but we also thoroughly read the reviews and comments by those that actually use them.
Because when you’re handling firearms while trap or skeet shooting, you need to have a reliable gun that you can count on.
The Best Bang for Your Buck: Stoeger Condor (3 Stars)
This over/under 12-gauge shotgun is by far the best gun for any budget.
The Stoeger Condor pictured above has options that come in at prices just below $500. That’s insane considering how reliable and sturdy it is.
Just read these reviews with nothing but praise for it.
“This isn’t some piece of junk, borderline cardboard boomstick that will fall apart after 2 or 3 shots either. This thing is rugged, heavy and ready to get out there and work.”
“These double barrel guns hold 2 shells and are accurate as can be. They are also the preferred gun of choice for shooting clays.”
It’s available in other gauges, too, but the 12 gauge is the one you want for trap or skeet shooting.
The Stoeger Condor has very few moveable features making it ideal for fast-action shooting. It is also relatively light for how cheap it is and weighs in at around seven pounds. Even better, it usually comes with three choke tubes.
Where people usually get turned off by the Stoeger Condor is the aesthetics. It’s not necessarily a “beautiful” gun, but if you don’t need that extra eye-appeal, then this isn’t a concern for you.
If nothing else, it’s perfect for a beginner, a youngster, or merely someone who loves to shoot trap or skeet but doesn’t compete.
For Beginners, Youth, and Women: XLR5 Velocity FR Compact (4 Stars)
The XLR5 Velocity FR is a 12 gauge shotgun that allows for a softer pull.
This makes it ideal for people with thinner wrists or slimmer bodies, especially since it has adjustable triggers to match the size of anyone’s hand.
It is, however, much more expensive than the Stoeger Condor, with prices at just over $2,100.
Its performance is outstanding, though, and is designed for a shorter length of pull as well as flat-rib shooting. In addition, the XLR5’s system allows for minimal recoil, which is good for anyone’s shoulder after a nice round of shooting!
The XLR5 also has a nicer finish than the Stoeger Condor, if you’re looking for a little more style.
Better yet, it also includes five EXIS choke tubes that are competition-ready. And if you are too, then maybe consider trying it out next time you are at the range and see if it’s for you.
Ultimate Beauty: Guerini Magnus Sporting (4.5 Stars)
There’s not much else to say about this one, other than “wow!”
If you want a 12 gauge that’ll turn heads at a competition or at any range, then the Guerini is for you.
It really is a beautiful gun, being hand-carved with a fine oil finish. It shines like no other gun on the market and is defined by those two golden birds sitting right above the trigger.
And it’s not bad at shooting, either – and for just under $6,000, it better be a good shot. But keep in mind, there is a price tag on the aesthetics that this gun brings to the table. However, the reviews online have been nothing but excellent and, from all accounts, this is as good of a gun as you can ask for.
It comes in 30”, 32” and 34”, and ranges from 7 lbs. 14 oz. to 8 lbs. 2 oz.
The Guerini also offers not three, not five, but six MAXIS choke tubes.
That’s all you can ask for.
Like the XLR5 above, it also allows for adjustable trigger sizes and weights.
Best Performance: Blazer F16 (4.5 Stars)
This gun is popular world-wide for its great performance in competitions.
It may not be as pretty as the Guerini, but it shoots exactly where you aim it every time.
That’s what all the reviews rave about, and it’s very hard to impress some of these experienced shooters.
The Blazer F16’s 12 gauge shotgun pictured above has a low profile allowing for a lower center of gravity that makes hitting your targets even easier.
And, if that weren’t enough, the time it takes for your shot to transfer from thought to action is amazingly low because of the quick trigger pull and fast lock times. Like the others above, the Blazer F16 comes with up to five choke tubs –- some for an additional charge.
For extra comfort while shooting, this gun comes with a rubber recoil pad that can withstand even the most intense rounds.
Weights range from 7 pounds 5 ounces to over 8 pounds, allowing for the right build for every body.
And you get all of this for just over $4,000. Not bad for the setup and performance that it comes with.
Overall Package of Performance and Beauty: Beretta 692 (5 Stars)
Here it is, the number one gun on the list if pricing isn’t an issue for you.
At a price ranging from just under $4,000 to just over $5,000, this is one of the more expensive guns on this list. But, hey, it takes a lot to be at the top.
And it earns the price because this 12 gauge shotgun was specifically designed to handle competitive trap and skeet shooting. In fact, you can even choose from different styles conveniently labeled “692 Trap” or “692 Skeet,” both designed to be ideal for either trap or skeet shooting.
Beretta’s labeling on the 692 is also helpful when trying to pick out that perfect action shotgun you need to go up another level.
There are plenty more options than just that, too. The Beretta 692 is designed with a longer barrel for maximum accuracy and consistency with every shot.
But, be warned, it’s not as light as the other guns in this list, as it weighs-in at over 8 lbs. This means it may not be the ideal shotgun for your average beginner. Although it does come installed with easily adjustable features that allow you to make it your very own, unique gun.
The Beretta is also the best gun on the list for trap and skeet shooting because it combines ultimate performance and extreme beauty into an overall great gun.
Buyer’s Guide for Your 12 gauge Shotgun
So, now you know what guns are out there.
But now you need to narrow those options down for what you specifically need.
When you’re looking for your first gun or just your next gun, keep these in mind:
- Length of Barrel: The length of barrel you need will depend on a few factors. Mainly, the distance from which you’re shooting your target. It’s not necessarily that long and short barrel shotguns fire differently, but longer ones are easier to point and shoot quickly and accurately.
- Action: This can be pump-action, semi-automatic, and double barrel. Pump-action guns are the cheaper of the three, but even some over-under double barrel shotguns compete in price. For example, the Stoeger Condor above.
- Price: If you’re just buying a gun to use when you and your buddies want to go and shoot some trap every once in a while, perhaps a lower budget gun could be your best option. However, if you’re a daily or weekly shooter and need the reliability of a higher-performing gun, then take a look at the other, more expensive options. They’re more expensive for a reason.
- Weight and Size: As mentioned in a few of the options above, weight will come into play if you have smaller hands and wrists, or if you are a new shooter and need to get used to the weight of a firearm. Be sure to be honest with where you are in your shooting game before choosing a gun that may not be a right fit for you.
- Appeal: For some shooters, they not only want to show off their shooting skills but also their taste in style. Of course, to get this you need to be willing to pay extra. So the question is, are you willing to do that? If so, then there are plenty to choose from, with two of them mentioned above.
- Choke Tubes: These are essential for competitive shooting because they allow you to shoot for more distance, and most guns will have options that include these with it. The right kind of choke tube will depend on how far your target is.
An Available 12 Gauge Shotgun for Every Shooter
And there you have it.
No matter the reason you’re in the market for your first shotgun, this list has you covered with the best options for all.
Be sure to take a look at the buyer’s guide included, as well, because this will go further into detail about what you may need.
What is your favorite 12-gauge shotgun? Tell us all about your favorite in the comments!