Essentials for Serious Waterfowlers: Choose the Right Shotgun

Waterfowler Ben Cole with his Remington Versa Max shotgun

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Being a successful waterfowl hunter begins with choosing the right gun. A quality, reliable shotgun that won’t fail when you need it is crucial when chasing the elusive waterfowl grand slam, as I am. The slam is comprised of forty one species ducks from all across the United States. Each of these hunts poses its own extreme environmental challenges, whether it’s the frigid salt waters of New England or the blistering heat and humidity of a Louisiana swamp.

I’ve hunted ducks and geese for two decades now using a variety of makes and models of shotguns. But I think I’ve finally found my go-to scattergun; the Remington Versa Max.

Remington's Versa Max Shotgun is reliable, soft-shooting and affordable.

No matter the conditions, your gun has to work flawlessly when that species you’ve been chasing finally presents itself and the American-made Remington Versa Max is in a league of its own. Its ergonomic design and innovative industry-leading Versaport gas system make it tough, reliable and easy to maintain. All at an affordable price point.

Remington's HyperSonic Steel is just the thing to down some of America's most demanding waterfowl species

Pairing it with a box or two of Remington HyperSonic Steel shells makes for an almost unbeatable, deadly combination.

Massachusetts is the most brutal place I’ve ever hunted. It features plummeting temperatures, snow and high, slicing winds. The scenery is breathtaking, but hunting there isn’t for the faint of heart. That’s where you have to go to find Common Eiders, a fascinating breed.

They’re beautiful and one of the largest ducks in the United States. But they fly deceptively fast for their size. There are many ways to hunt these birds; layout boats, rock outcroppings, and even on beaches. These can be challenging, corrosive conditions for a shotgun and missing a once-in-a-lifetime bird because your gun malfunctions is more than frustrating.

The Versa Max’s Versaport gas system reliably cycles loads from 2 3/4 to 3 1/2 inches while reducing felt recoil. It’s a phenomenal design that lets you use one gun on all types of birds — from quail to snow geese — and shoot it comfortably. High felt recoil increases fatigue and reduces the accuracy of your second and third shots. The Versa Max gas system effectively manages that.

Hunting snow geese during conservation season is a prime example of the benefits of that reduced recoil. During one of those hunts, hunters can easily shoot through a case or more of shells, which is very physically demanding. Over the years there have been many instances where my shoulder would be bruised blue after a weekend of shooting geese. Putting several boxes of shells through the Versa Max demonstrated just how impressive the Versaport system is. No bruising or discomfort makes firing hundreds of rounds enjoyable. And means I take home more birds.

Ben Cole bags a Northern Pintail on his way to achieving the Waterfowl Grand Slam

Chasing the waterfowl grand slam is physically demanding enough without stiff recoil and a spotty-performing smoothbore. Settling for a sub-par shotgun, just to get by, can be a costly mistake in the harsh environments where these 41 species are found.

In the Versa Max, Remington has engineered one of the most dependable and advanced shotguns on the market…while pricing it so it’s accessible to the average hunter. I can rely on it to perform, without fail, in the extreme environments necessary to achieve the waterfowl grand slam.

Benjamin Cole is an avid waterfowl hunter and writer based in Alabama. To date, he’s bagged all seven species of geese and 28 of the ducks in his pursuit of the 41-species waterfowl grand slam. 

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