There is fierce debate about whether autoloaders or over-unders are better shotguns. That is too broad of a question. Instead, I focus this episode on the merits of each for hunting, particularly hunting turkey, ducks, geese, upland game, and other pursuits under adverse weather conditions. Is one type of shotgun better for hunting? I think that generally speaking, yes, we can point to one that is more advantageous for that particular task.

The over-under shotgun is considered one of the most prestigious firearms ever developed and there are a multitude of fine guns produced by some of the greatest craftsmen in the world. These shotguns can be made to the tightest tolerances with the most beautiful materials and most appreciated features. And it is honestly these strengths that limit the potential of the gun for hunting under adverse conditions.

The autoloader shotgun was designed to be a workhorse. Fine options and versions do exist, but by and large it is a gun built to be a tool first. These guns often have looser tolerances which enable them to operate with some margin in wet, cold, and dirty conditions where you would not want to take a fancy and expensive over-under shotgun. The over-under may potentially be more reliable at the range and on clear sunny days, but they don’t fare so well under the conditions that many waterfowl hunters and turkey hunters find themselves in.

The semi-auto shotgun has long been considered less fashionable, but as a hunting gun, it has certain advantages. More ammunition capacity is appreciated. They tend to weigh a little less, cost less, and have more color options. They be better suited to dealing with poor weather both from the standpoint of coatings and finishes, and synthetic vs. wood options. 

There is not a thing wrong with using an over-under for hunting and when it comes to doves and grouse, many are. But very few come in camouflage, which is a clear indication that their intended use is not under conditions where that feature shines. In the hunting shotgun category and price range, there tends to be more semi-auto options than over-unders as well. 

Comparing the two types of guns on a broad scale produces some conflicting reactions, but when zeroing in on the use case of hunting, the autoloader pulls ahead into the lead due to the features, options, and cost.

Listen to the entire podcast episode for much much more!