The moment the bird season ended last winter all the shooting seemed to stop and real work begun. I did not have much time to shoot or write. This winter was extremely busy for me outside of the shooting sports. Life’s true responsibilities always come first. The end of winter did not signal the end of work but for some reason I found more time to pick up a gun and have some fun. Is it the nicer weather, longer days or just coincidence?
It doesn’t really matter. What’s important I shot some brand new CZ shotguns this spring. I will try to share my experiences and many other shooters’ in this “field” report. It was a lot of fun to break clays again. You don’t realize how addicting it is until you have a great gun in your hand and see the clays break or turn into dust. Her are few shotguns that really stood out for me.
This is a 2017 offering from CZ-USA targeting the waterfowl hunters among us. Interestingly enough I believe I’ve had reasonable success hunting ducks past three years yet only used 3 inch shells for half dozen shots. I never moved up to 3 1/2 shells nor would I want to.
I must disclose my success rate is mostly due to my friend’s amazing ability to find the right spots and call the ducks in close. I’ve never watched the show Duck Commander but those guys can not possibly be as good as my Louisiana “duck commander” friend. But this is not about ducks, this is about duck gun.
I picked up the Swamp Magnum during one of our CZ-USA demo days in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. (We are planning to hold these events there annually so please stay in touch with us or CZ-USA via any of the social media). What attracted me to this gun initially was the 30 inch barrel. I did not realize this is not just some kind of big over/under meant strictly for the swamps, rivers or lakes. The combination of the two barrels with the black or camo colored polymer stock made it feel at home at the five stand. The length of the barrel, some might say too long for field gun, provides shooters with more control. You do not swing through as easily as with shorter ones. More and more people I come across during these events realize it only after they try it. I could not believe how well we all did breaking clays with a gun supposedly meant for field or swamp only. It is not a target gun but you still have to practice with it before heading to your boat or blind. The tang safety automatically resets each time you open the action. Well thought out feature for a field gun even though I pulled the trigger couple of times before taking the safety off at the five stand. It takes getting used to. I would love to have this gun in my safe and maybe someday I will ” graduate” to 3 1/2 shells but not yet. This is a gun built to last. It might not be the classic walnut stock over/under that you pass on from generation to generation but you will pass it on anyways because one hunter can not possibly wear out gun like that.
628 Select is much different shotgun. This is much smaller pump gun with 28 inch ported barrel. If Swamp Magnum is good to get some extra heavy work done then you take the 628 out to have extra fun. The gun is handy, accurate as most CZ-USA’s 28 ga shotguns are and most importantly FUN. It does not mean it will not kill birds. More and more good hunters are going with 28 ga shotguns for a lot of birds(don’t get me wrong here, there is definitely limit to what and how far you can can be effective in the field) ). The pump action is smooth and provides you with extra fun action while you’re on skeet range, hunting grouse, quail in the desert or teal on the bayou. I simply can not wait for the bird season to start to see how good of a shot I can be with the old fashioned pump in spectacularly exciting modern package. You should try it, everyone should try it. You are not talking spending all kinds of money. The gun’s MSRP is at $429.
I have shot and hunted with quite a few shotguns in my few years of clays and bird hunting. From Upland Ultralight to Super Scroll. They all have their purpose. Getting more involved with wing shooting led me to start reading books and magazines about the history and adventures through the decades. One constant always appears in most of the publications. The classic side by side. Whether it’s old drawing of duck hunting era gone by, picture of Irish setters bringing grouse back to a hunter in the old northeastern woods or pheasants falling down from the sky somewhere in the Great Plains. The classic side by side shotgun is very hard to duplicate with any of the modern guns but CZ-USA did it.
I made a decision to buy one, practice with it throughout the summer and hunt almost exclusively with it this coming bird season. The only problem was I have tried several of side by sides before and could never be comfortable enough with any of them. Until the Sharptail Target. While visiting Kansas City’s CZ-USA’s headquarters I had an opportunity to pick one up and also had the stock extended to my preferred length by Neale Flynn from Pads by Neale. He’s done many of my shotguns and he’s always right on the money.
The opportunity to begin practicing came with the arrival of spring in Wyoming at the end of May. I do not really know how to explain what is much better about this gun than all the other side by side I have tried but it’s just is. Don’t forget I am not professional writer or professional shooter. I am just a guy who loves breaking clays and hunting birds.
Sharptail Target does have 30 inch barrel. Point of aim seems the same for both barrels and the balance is excellent without being heavy at all. Remember it’s very hard to do that when you have 30 inches of solid steel all in the front. That’s enough of my “expertise”. The point is this gun is as easy to get good with as any other over/under or semiauto. I can not wait for the season to start and create some classic moments on the bayou, in the mountains or in the dessert. Christmas all over again and again and again.