With SHOT Show in virtual swing, we scoured brands to seek out the coolest new hunting guns for 2021, whether you’re a waterfowl enthusiast or a deer hunter.
‘Tis the season for new gear, and the newest hunting guns of the year are here! Thanks to SHOT Show, we’ve been able to track down some of the most interesting firearms coming to the world of hunting today.
Typically, we get a chance to shoot shotguns and rifles in person at SHOT Show. But due to COVID, we haven’t yet had a chance to shoot these firearms. So the following is an overview rather than a review, highlighting notable updates and all-new options for putting meat on the table or shooting clays with your pals.
From rifles to shotguns, there’s a lot to look forward to. And if you’re in the market for a new hunting option, there’s likely something for you below.
New Hunting Rifles for 2021
The new Sako S20 ($1,600) purports to be the first hybrid (read: modular) rifle on the market. And the owner of an S20 can buy different aftermarket stocks (seen above) and forends to accommodate different styles of shooting the same rifle.
It’s innovative. And it speaks to the needs of a modern all-around shooter, who might hunt one weekend then do a precision shoot the next. It’s a pretty slick deal. The S20 is offered in eight calibers and one action length, and a buyer can choose a hunt- or precision-specific package to begin with and add from there.
One thing to note: Sako smartly added a 1913-spec Picatinny rail for scope mounting, a departure from its previous proprietary scope ring system. This means the rifle is compatible with all MIL-STD cross-slot rings, eliminating headaches some might have found in mounting scopes to Sako rifles in the past.
This updated bolt-action from Winchester Repeating Arms takes on harsh conditions with ease. Coated in Tungsten Cerakote on both receiver and barrel, the Model 70 Extreme TrueTimber VSX MB maintains a matte-camo finish that won’t give you away to sharp-eyed game.
A Bell and Carlson synthetic stock with sculpted cheekpiece lightens the load and adds shooting comfort, while a Pachmayr Decelerator recoil pad offers shooting relief.
This is basically a durability upgrade for one of the more popular rifles on the market. The array of calibers and barrel lengths is bonkers. And the price point isn’t so painful that it can’t be aspired to. Depending on the choice of caliber, you’re looking at a cool $1,600 to $1,640.
Howa Carbon Fiber Stalker
A coming firearm from Howa lightens the load. Big time. The new Carbon Fiber Stalker weighs in at a minuscule 4 pounds 10 ounces (sans scope) thanks to a stock collaboration with Stocky’s.
Nine caliber options will be available, and they include options for mini-action, short-action, and long-action rifles. Pricing is not yet available, and the rifle is not yet on the market. So keep an eye out for this one to drop in 2021.
Nosler’s Model 48 (or M48) Mountain Carbon, originally introduced in 2019, is updated with a few new options for 2021. This ultra-lightweight performance rifle is high on tech, ridiculously accurate on performance, and weighs in at 6 pounds.
New for 2021 is a Shale Gray color option in addition to its original Granite Green. Nothing changes in the carbon fiber Mountain Hunter stock besides the coloration. Nosler also added two new chamberings: 6.5 PRC and 280 Ackley improved.
This model tops the list in expense at a retail price of $3,140, but not by much. For its combo of lightness and sub-MOA accuracy, it’s not a bank-breaking purchase.
Savage’s latest hunting rifle is set to hit shelves in March 2021. And it comes in three iterations: Big Game, Hog Hunter, and Predator. The straight-pull bolt-action allows for extremely quick shooting. But the entirety of this factory-platform rifle is impressive, and the sub-$1,500 price point is exciting for folks interested in accuracy at distance.
Following the modular trend, the Impulse features AccuFit, AccuStock, and AccuTrigger. AccuFit allows adjustment for the shooter for length-of-pull and interchangeable comb risers. The AccuStock is a new way of embedding the action into the stock, and I have to say, the video is pretty darn cool.
But perhaps the most exciting of the three is the AccuTrigger. It combines a solid safety platform with adjustability and lightness necessary for accurate long-distance shots.
Each setup is offered in a different finish and different options for chambering, with nods to its respective focus. The Big Game rifle is finished in a Cerakote KUIU camo. The Hog Hunter is finished in matte-black Cerakote, and the Predator rifle is finished in Cerakote Mossy Oak Terra Gila camo.
New Hunting Shotguns for 2021
This ergonomically-minded semi-auto shotgun is designed for the hardcore turkey hunter, and it’s the latest addition to the Franchi Affinity Elite line.
It’s currently available in both 3-inch 12-gauge and 20-gauge options. And at 24 inches, the barrel is long enough for accuracy and short enough for ease of handling.
Chokes include the Extended Rhino Turkey and Turkey XF, and it runs off Franchi’s tried-and-tested Inertia-Driven System. Optifade Subalpine camo lessens a hunter’s chance of being seen, and a $1,249 price tag isn’t too tough a price to swallow for the avid chaser of gobblers.
Another addition to a current line is Stoeger’s Snow Goose offering in its M3500 shotgun line. The use of distressed white Cerakote offers concealment and durability in unforgiving winter landscapes for the snow goose hunter.
Oversized controls make gloved utility much easier, while a 10+1 capacity adds shooting flexibility and less time reloading between shot opportunities.
The M3500 Snow Goose is a 12-gauge 28-inch shotgun, dependent on the same Inertia-Driven semi-auto platform mentioned in the Franchi gun. It’s currently on the market and priced at an affordable $899.
A new line from Mossberg brings a classic — and might I say beautiful — look to a very affordable entry point for upland hunters. The series has two options: the Silver Reserve and the Gold Reserve.
The Silver Reserve series varies in price from $636 to $692. Available in 12-gauge (28 inches), 20-gauge (26 inches), 28-gauge (26 inches), and .410 bore (26 inches), it serves hunters from youth to grown-ups. It’s offered in Satin Silver or Matte Blue finish, with fiber-optic sights available on the matte option.
The Gold Reserve series, on the other hand, is a beautiful gun at a surprising price point of just under $1,000 for most of the series. Competition-ready shell ejectors pair with adjustable stock options for cast, length of pull, and comb height.
A 24-karat gold inlay adds a dash of class to the underside of the receiver. And a Super Sport option ($1,221) boasts fiber-optic sights and an elevated 12mm tall, 10mm wide vent rib.
The Gold Reserve Series is available in 12-gauge (30 inches), 20-gauge (28 inches), .410 bore (28 inches), and the 12-gauge Gold Reserve Black Label version with a 30-inch barrel. All are available now.
The Maxus II is an autoloading shotgun powered by Browning’s efficient Power Drive Gas System. It updates the well-loved Maxus series. I have to admit, the Maxus II shotgun is my favorite shotgun release of the show. I’m loving the drool-worthy, limited-run, retro Vintage Tan camo finish (pictured above).
A SoftFlex cheek pad addition adds shooting comfort, while an oversize bolt release and bolt handle make operation easier. The composite stock can be trimmed, and the shim is adjustable for cast, drop, and length of pull. Three extender Invector-Plus choke tubes — F, M, and IC — are included.
Only offered in 12-gauge, the Maxus II has options that range from a 22-inch rifled deer hunting shotgun ($1,740) to a 30-inch Sporting option ($1,800). Twelve limited editions have been released in addition to five in current production.
A new semi-auto shotgun from Benelli, the ETHOS Cordoba BE.S.T. is designed to conquer high-volume shooting. Features include ported barrels for quick follow-up shots and a recoil-reducing system called ComfortTech for — you guessed it — a more comfortable shot.
The new BE.S.T. finish technology upgrades the ETHOS Cordoba for durability in harsh environments. It incorporates diamond-like carbon particles applied with high-vacuum plasma nanotechnology. And the process is environmentally friendly, with no hazardous chemical byproducts.
The 12-, 20-, and 28-gauge options can handle 3-inch magnums down to the lightest loads (seven-eighths of an ounce). It’s one of the more expensive guns on the list, retailing at $2,350.
The updated 687 Silver Pigeon III levels up Beretta’s reliable performance with an over/under gun that’s both impressive-looking and a workhorse in the field or shooting clays.
Changes in the aesthetic present a gun that looks further out of your price range than it actually is. Set on the reliable 680 platform, the 687 boasts class 2.5 walnut wood, finished in a glossy protective coat.
Engraved by five-axis laser technology, scenes of floral motifs, pheasants, and partridges give a highfalutin edge to a known-to-be-reliable, low-maintenance shotgun. The 687 Silver Pigeon III is available in 12-, 20-, 28-, and .410-gauge varieties and offers two drop options. It retails at $2,700.