Today we are looking at the best shotgun under $300. While deer hunting may have wrapped up for most of us with the holidays, the small game seasons and late waterfowl seasons are still going for many, with turkey season not far off. For all of these seasons, a good shotgun is a must.
If your budget has taken a hit over the holidays, or maybe you have a little (but not a lot of) holiday cash burning a hole in your pocket, a shotgun may seem out of reach. However, there are still many shotguns that are within budget for most. So, let us look at some of the offerings available, and you can pick your best shotgun under $300.
There are a surprising number of shotguns still available for under three hundred bucks. The website for Academy Sports shows no less than 53 models available in that price range, though a couple make the list because of a sale price and 38 models are not in stock at the time of this writing.
Top pick: Mossberg Maverick 88
My go-to recommendation for a budget shotgun is the Mossberg Maverick 88. Chambered in 12 and 20 gauge, with an MSRP of $245 for the field model, the Maverick 88 is advertised as the “Working Man’s Shotgun”. As a bonus, the Model 88 boasts interchangeability of barrels with the Model 500, so users can find accessory barrels easily. Several configurations are available from the factory, including field (28-inch barrel), security (18.5-inch barrel), and slug (24-inch barrel, rifled or smoothbore). These shotguns are hard to find right now, so keep your eyes open if you want one.
Turkish Single Shot
Available in nearly every gauge and configuration, these durable little single shots get good reviews, and are very light weight. They are built in Turkey by several different factories on the same pattern and sold in the U.S. under the Iver Johnson, Midland, Yildiz, and Hatfield trademarks. The coolest feature is that they fold nearly in half, and the 18-inch barrel models will fit in a backpack when folded. Prices for these guns run from $99 to $139, making this a very affordable option.
Looking ver similar to the old H&R Topper action, the Savage 301 represents a good value in an all-steel shotgun. Chambered in 12, 20, and .410, and available in both field and turkey models, the 301 is a solid gun for the price. Most models of this gun retail for $179-$227, depending on the configuration.
Available at my local Walmart for $179.99, the Savage 320 is a great value. A reincarnation of the proven Winchester model 1300 action, the Model 320 gets positive reviews for its smoothness and reliability. Savage offers the weapon in Field, Security, and Turkey models. All models come drilled and tapped for the mounting of optics, making this a very versatile gun.
A proven weapon, the Stoeger P3000 shows up on Academy’s website for $299 for the fully camouflaged 12 gauge. This shotgun is the best value I have ever seen in a waterfowl gun. The Realtree Max-5 camo coating provides resistance to corrosion and scratches from the other gear in the boat. The P3000 would be my choice for a weapon to hunt the frigid marshes of my native Michigan during the late goose season.
Rock Island, ATA, Yildiz, and Hatfield all market pump-action shotguns for under $300 in multiple configurations. The Rock Island and Hatfield Weapons both have good reviews on the web, with few, if any, complaints on durability. The Yildiz pump has few reviews, and they are mixed. Some forum users list complaints about durability, while others state that their weapon has been trouble-free. ATA is relatively new to the U.S. market with little feedback, but the brand’s pump shotguns get high marks on the European sporting sites.
There are some semi-auto shotguns available for under $300. Hatfield, Yildiz, Citadel, and ATA all have shotguns whose street price lands in this range. The ATA and Citadel have the best reviews, while the Hatfield and the Yildiz shotguns get mixed ones.
While the price of used guns seems to be climbing rapidly these days, there are still many good values to be found on the used rack of your local shop or on Gunbroker. A quick perusal of that site showed 249 shotguns listed with a buy now of under $300, and another 98 auctions likely to close under that amount.
Below are some of the models I would seek out.
While this one is getting harder to find under three hundred dollars, it does make the occasional appearance. Solid and reliable weapons, the Savage 311 and its siblings, the 315 and 530 models, are great guns for the woods. They are usually choked tight and can be a great duck or turkey gun, but the use of steel shot may be detrimental to the barrels.
Other double-barrel shotguns appear under $300 in varying makes and conditions. Do your homework before buying because the repair bill on a double shotgun is usually not cheap,
The cream of the used crop, Mossberg Model 500 shotguns can still be found for under $300. The 500 has an enviable track record for reliability, and spare barrels are easy to come by. If you get your hands on one you will not be sorry.
There are a slew of older pump shotguns out there that would make a reliable hunting or defensive arm. J.C. Higgins, Westernfield, and other store-branded weapons were made by companies like Mossberg, Savage, and High Standard, whose pump actions are essentially an all-steel version of a Mossberg 500. The Savage 600 series pump actions are an overlooked bargain. The 600 series tend to be less popular due to their plane looks, which keeps the price down.
Sometimes a Remington 870 express surfaces for under $300. Jump on that bargain if you come across it.
Single-shot shotguns of all varieties are available for under $300. I have disassembled quite a few of them, and the older Savage and Winchester models are my favorites, but there are few wrong choices here. Take the time to find a good-looking one. Be wary of cracked stocks or missing parts since they can cost more than the gun to replace.
So, what is the best shotgun under $300? The one you find that you like, there are few poor choices whether you choose a used gun or a new one. A good shotgun is a lifetime investment, and that investment is still surprisingly affordable.
So, what do you think? Leave your top pick for best shotgun under $300 in the comments below. Happy Hunting!