When it comes to goose guns, bigger has always been better. The best shotguns for goose hunting tend to be those that can deliver large payloads of shot for dense long range patterns.
Goose guns have been around for a long time. Early goose guns were punt guns, black powder, and double barrel variants that were cumbersome and difficult to reload quickly.
That all changed in the late 1970’s when the first 10 gauge semi-automatic shotgun was developed. Since then, it and others like it have become some of the most popular shotguns ever used for goose hunting.
Below is the list of the best goose guns ever made and why they became so popular among hunters.
1) Ithaca Mag-10 Shotgun
The Ithaca Mag-10 was the first semi-automatic 10 gauge shotgun ever produced. It hit the shelves in 1978 and was made in 3 different variants: the Roadblocker, Deerslayer, and general use shotgun.
The general use Ithaca Mag-10 was equipped with a 32-inch vent rib barrel with auto loading capabilities. Due to its large frame and extended barrel length, it weighed in at an astonishing 11.25 pounds.
After the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service banned lead shot for waterfowl hunting in 1991, hunters were forced to use steel shot. The Ithaca Mag-10 was the perfect platform that could deliver large steel shot in heavy payloads for goose hunting.
The Ithaca Mag-10 was the only auto loading 10 gauge shotgun available until the mid-1990’s. Its dependability in a muddy goose field and ability to deliver large payloads on target made it one of the most trusted goose guns of all-time.
2) Marlin Super Goose Gun
The Marlin Super Goose Gun was first produced in the 1980’s and answered the call of goose hunters that wanted a large framed gun with the longest barrel possible. And Marlin delivered.
The Original Super Goose gun came in both 12ga and 10ga variants. It featured a bolt action design mounted on a one piece wooden stock and forearm.
The Marlin Super Goose Gun was equipped with an iconic 36-inch barrel that was the longest ever produced for a goose gun. The 36-inch barrel allowed for a greater sight profile for long passing shots.
The Super Goose Gun came with a detachable magazine that could hold and feed two shells without being reloaded. It could fire as fast as the bolt could be worked.
The Original Super Goose gun became one of the best options for pass shooting geese. Working the bolt took some getting used to, but it was a very dependable shotgun for geese.
3) Remington SP-10 Shotgun
Remington purchased the Ithaca Gun Company in 1989 and with it the Ithaca Mag-10 design. After a few tweaks of their own, Remington developed the SP-10 shotgun. It was produced until 2011 and then discontinued.
The Remington SP-10 shotgun was very similar to the Mag-10 in functionality. It had the same internal workings, but the barrel had been reduced from 32-inches to 30. Many of the rough edges on the Mag-10 were smoothed and tapered for a more streamlined look that matched other Remington shotguns at the time.
The SP-10 picked up where the Mag-10 left off and filled the role as one of the few semi-auto 10 gauges available for goose hunters. It proved itself just as dependable and capable in the goose pit.
4) Browning Gold Shotgun
The Browning Gold Light 10 gauge was Browning’s attempt at producing a popular goose gun and it was an amazing success. Not only did it prove to be a dependable shotgun, but it was the lightest 10 gauge semi-auto shotgun ever produced.
Weighing in at just 9lbs 7oz., the Browning Gold Light 10 gauge is almost 2 pounds lighter than the Mag-10. This reduction in weight makes it easy to point and shoulder for quick shots and lessens the burden for long walks.
The Browning Gold Light 10 gauge is available with 26-inch and 28-inch barrels. This is significantly less than the Mag-10 and Marlin Super Goose Gun, but for modern goose hunting it’s more than ideal.
The Browning Gold redesigned the 10 gauge shotgun into a less cumbersome platform that is both easy to handle and shoot.
5) Browning BPS Shotgun
The Browning BPS shotgun is extremely popular with waterfowl hunters due to the wide range of gauges and variations. The most popular model for goose hunter is the BPS 10 gauge.
The BPS 10 gauge is a pump action shotgun that is bottom loading and ejecting. It’s currently equipped with either a 26-inch or 28-inch barrel, but some earlier models had 30-inch barrels.
The BPS 10 gauge is the only 10 gauge pump shotgun that has ever been produced and it’s also the most affordable outside of an H&R single shot. The BPS 10 gauge is popular for its dependability in muddy goose hunting conditions.
Its closed receiver helps reduce mud and grime from entering the chamber and the pump action ensures it will function when an autoloader might jam. The BPS 10 gauge has proven itself as a dependable and affordable goose gun.
What makes a shotgun good for goose hunting?
Let’s face it, while most of the best shotguns ever made for goose hunting are 10 gauges, more geese are harvested in the U.S. each year with the 12 gauge. It’s simple really, as the 10 gauge is a specialized gun that isn’t as versatile or popular as the 12 gauge.
Not to mention, ammunition has come a long way since the lead ban of 1991 and it’s easy to find ballistically equivalent steel shot loads available for each. Also, 10-gauge ammunition tends to be more expensive since it’s not produced on as large a scale as 12 gauge loads.
Recently all these factors have been working against the 10 gauge and its popularity has dwindled dramatically. The amount of diehard goose hunters has fallen as well. Some manufacturers have even discontinued their 10 gauge shotgun production due to low demand.
So what’s next? The 10 gauge will continue to fill a small niche with diehard goose hunters. The 10 gauge really shines with custom reloading, and a 1.5 ounce load of steel shot going 1600fps just can’t be matched with a 3.5-inch 12 gauge.
The 10 gauge shotguns will always be the best goose guns ever made when they are allowed to operate as they were designed. Unfortunately, the popularity of the 12 gauge has phased out a lot of what made the 10 gauge a great goose hunting gun to begin with.
What modern shotguns work well for goose hunting?
- Benelli Super Vinci Semiautomatic Shotgun (click to see at Cabelas) – Shoots 2-3/4″ field loads as well as 3″ and 3-1/2″ magnum loads. ComforTech Plus stock and comb pads reduce felt recoil. Inline Inertia-Driven actions with PSP cycle quickly and reliably.
Benelli Super Black Eagle 3 Semiautomatic Shotgun (click to see at Cabelas) – Reliable Inertia Driven system. Shoots 2-3/4”, 3” and 3-1/2” shells. Third Generation ComforTech 3 stock and recoil pad with soft cheek pad. Oversized bolt handle and bolt release. Weighs 13% to 15% less than similar shotguns.
- Browning Maxus II Wicked Wing Semiautomatic Shotgun (click to see at Cabelas) – Recoil-reducing Power Drive Gas System cycles a variety of loads. Smooth Lightning Trigger with minimal travel to maximize speed. Composite stock with Armor coating for slip-free handling. Low-profile flat, ventilated rib barrel with chromed bore. Oversized bolt release for operation while wearing gloves.
The best goose guns ever made were large framed guns designed to deliver heavy pay loads of shot at max ranges. The most popular and nostalgic goose guns had barrels up to 36 inches and weighed over 11 pounds.
The Ithaca Mag-10 was the first semi-automatic 10 gauge shotgun ever produced. Its name is synonymous with goose hunting. The Marlin Super Goose Gun was a bolt action shotgun with an incredibly long 36-inch barrel that was popular for pass shooting geese.
The Remington SP-10 was built using the Ithaca Mag-10 design when Remington bought out Ithaca Gun Company in 1989. The SP-10 went on to be a dependable goose hunting gun up until 2011 when it was discontinued.
Browning currently makes two shotguns that are extremely popular with goose hunters: the Browning Gold Light 10 gauge and the BPS 10 gauge. The Browning Gold light is the lightest semi-auto 10 gauge currently available, while the pump action BPS 10 is the most affordable option for a goose gun holding three shells.
What is the best goose hunting ammo? Check out our top picks here!