Rabbit hunting has a lot of late-season excitement for small-game hunters. Covering a lot of ground to discover bunnies necessitates using a lightweight scattergun, which is preferable. Fortunately, rabbits’ thin skin makes them perfect prey for smaller gauges, so you may make use of the weight savings that smaller-bore weapons typically afford. We’ve compiled a list of the great rabbit guns for every budget, including a lever gun that adds to the fun.
1. The H&R Topper Deluxe Classic 20 Gauge
Rabbits rarely require a follow-up shot to finish them off. I’ve retrieved rabbits in which I couldn’t find a single pellet hole, suggesting that I frightened them to death. So, with a single-barrel shotgun, you can go out and hunt for animals with confidence. The H&R is one of the most popular and successful single-shots—and it’s the type of gun you’ll most likely come across in pawnshops and large retail chains alike. For the last century or so, Harrington & Richardson has been producing its popular single-shot shotgun under various names. The Topper Deluxe Classic is the newest edition, reintroducing the Topper name and adding some refinement that wasn’t previously seen in the range. With a nickel-plated receiver and checkered walnut stock for a touch more elegance, the Topper Deluxe Classic 12-gauge offers a 28-inch vent-rib barrel and a 3-inch chamber. At the same time, the Topper Deluxe Classic 20-gauge includes a 30.5x60mm chambering with an 18.5″ length of pull to enhance distance dispersion. Of course, you may get a second-hand gun from a local dealer for a lot less, and the gun’s robust construction and basic procedures make it very unlikely to be broken.
2. Mossberg 500 All Purpose Field
Pump-action shotguns are the ideal utility infielders in the hunting world, able to fill any function. Few weapons have filled as many roles for as long as the Mossberg 500. Since its debut in 1960, the pump has served in military, police, and backwoods duty. The 20-gauge 500 is a great rabbit gun in its own right. The 20 uses a smaller receiver than the 12, weighing in at around half a pound less. The gun is more easily carried over long distances than its larger sibling—though it’s still not lightweight at 7 pounds. The 500’s twin action bars, extractors, and anti-jam elevator keep it running for a long time, but they are heavy. The 500 All Purpose Field comes with an ambidextrous top-mounted safety, and the entire length of the vent rib allows you to stay on target. The 500 All Purpose Field’s length of pull is around 14 inches, making it suitable for shooters with smaller hands and plenty of room for warm clothes on late-season bunny hunts.
3. Beretta A400 Upland
If you’re a recoil-averse shooter, this could be the rabbit gun for you. Beretta is known for its soft-shooting semi automatics, thanks to a gas system that absorbs a lot of kick before reaching your shoulder. The company’s Kick-Off technology also reduces the thump through hydraulic dampers in the stock, saving around 50% of the impact energy. The A400 Upland’s functional system is hidden in a wonderfully figured walnut stock with a matte-nickel receiver containing engravings of flushing game birds. Both the 12- and 20-gauge versions feature 3-inch chambers and shoot 2¾- and 3-inch shells without any modifications. The A400 is also light, weighing only about 6½ pounds in both gauges.
4. TriStar Arms Bristol SxS
I adore side-by-side swings. When the barrels are activated, they appear to want to keep moving, pulling themselves through the target. While most modern side-by-sides demand a high price, the new TriStar Bristol SxS is affordably priced and features a finish for which you’d expect to pay considerably more. The unique shotgun is the Bristol (12-gauge, 20-gauge, 28-gauge, and.410 bore), which comes in two trims: Bristol and Bristol Silver (12-, 20- and 28-gage, respectively). The lightest of the bunch, the .410 shell fired from a 12-pound gun has a muzzle energy of over 745 foot-pounds. At 6½ pounds, the 20 gauge is a touch lighter. The English walnut stock and color case hardened receiver on the Bristol trim is ideal for fans of straight-wristed shotguns. The Bristol Silver is a European version of the American Remington 870 Express. It’s got a nickel-plated receiver with laser-engraved markings, 24K gold inlay, and a pistol grip stock that more closely resembles those found on hunters in the United States. A single, precise trigger is found on all versions.
5. Benelli Montefeltro
Benelli shotguns are well-known for their waterfowl guns, but their upland models should not be overlooked. Break out three grand and purchase the Benelli Performance Shop’s Ethos Upland if you want to spend a few mortgage payments on the Ferrari of the upland world. That beauty comes pre-tuned with unique features that guarantee excellent patterning on running rabbits, fast flushing grouse, and erratic timberdoodles. If you’re looking for an excellent semiautomatic with an affordable price tag, the Montefeltro in 20 gauge is a great option. This inertia-operated autoloader aims in the same direction as Benellis in general and on the clay range, which is why it’s so popular among gun enthusiasts. Even with a 26-inch barrel, the Montefeltro weighs just 5.6 pounds, making it easy to carry while hiking through the bushes. It also includes an anodized receiver, blued barrel, and walnut stock, making it attractive.
6. Franchi Instinct L
While you probably don’t want to bring a high-end, excellent over/under into the briar patch, you won’t mind kicking brush piles with Franchi’s Instinct L in hand. The Instinct L is less expensive than many field guns despite having an almost identical fit-and-finish to some of the top echelons over/under. The A-grade walnut stock is cut in a Prince of Wales design with gentle curves that provide a nice compromise between straight-wristed guns and pistol grips while placing your finger in the ideal location for the single selective trigger. The Instinct weighs 6 pounds in smaller gauges, including 12, 20, 28, and .410. The 28 appears to handle exceptionally well, making the Instinct L an excellent choice for bunnies below ten gauge.
7. Browning A5 Sweet Sixteen
The Browning Auto 5 is perhaps the most famous and well-known rabbit hunting weapon. The Browning Auto 5, which was designed by John Moses Browning in 1898 and is considered the first mass-produced semiautomatic shotgun with a production run that lasted almost a century, was initially created by him. The Auto 5 is a .22 LR with an over/under firing arrangement. Its popularity was legendary, and it became one of the few objects saved from a residential fire in one song. The Auto 5 was produced in various gauges, but the 16 became popular, hence the name “Sweet Sixteen.” A 16-gauge has an excellent balance between recoil and heft, with a payload comparable to a 12 gauge but less penetration than a 20. In 2014, Browning reintroduced the A5, and in 2016, they produced a “Sweet Sixteen” model. This gave ammunition manufacturers a reason to ramp up production, making it simpler to come by shells. Though the brand-new model has a distinctive humpback design, it replaces the original’s long-recoil mechanism with a contemporary short action. If you prefer the classic version, look for granddad’s barn; you might find something there that will suit you.
8. Henry Lever Action .410 Shotgun
The Henry’s Lever Action .410 Shotgun is a hefty 7.5 pounds. However, for the smiles that this shotgun provides and traditional lever-gun enjoyment in a package that fires 2.5-inch .410 shells, the extra pound is well worth it. The gun fits comfortably in a saddle scabbard if you’re fortunate enough to be trailing dogs on horseback due to the quick handling design. The Browning M1917 is a lever-action rifle that has been around since the early 1960s. It comes in two barrel lengths, as well as a loading gate and flexible Invector-style choke tubes. The brass front bead and interchangeable Invector-style chokes are ideal for hunting moving games with the 24-inch version. If you want a smaller, handier weapon for use in a tight brush, the 20-inch model is the one to get. The Compact 12 is available in three barrel lengths: 24, 26, and 28 inches. It does not include interchangeable chokes, but the factory cylinder-bore constriction is likely the best option for tight shots in heavy cover. The adjustable semi-buckhorn rear sight and brass bead front sight make this a viable slug gun when deer season arrives.
9. CZ Upland Ultralight All-Terrain
Please take a look at CZ’s All-Terrain series of shotguns, which all have a protective Cerakote finish on the barrels and receiver to protect them from the elements. If you spend the bulk of your rabbit hunting, battling through dense vegetation in terrible conditions, this might be the shotgun for you. The Upland Ultralight All-Terrain in 20-gauge is a great rabbit gun with 28-inch tubes and a lightweight of fewer than 6 pounds. The inclusion of the rare-earth magnet on each ejector is another distinctive feature of the All-Terrain series. This keeps shells from falling out when the chamber is open, even if the gun is turned upside down. You’ll never have to worry about your shells tumbling out of your opened gun again when you pass it over a fence line. The features include a 3-inch chamber, single selective trigger, manual tang safety, and checkered Turkish walnut stock.
10. Savage 42 Takedown
In 1908, Marble launched the Game Getter. The rifle/shotgun was designed to provide hunters with the appropriate projectile for whatever creature they encountered by simply sliding the striker to the barrel they wanted to fire. Other American firms subsequently began producing their combination weapons as a result of its popularity. The Model 22-410, a .22LR over .410 bore combination that debuted in 1938, was created on the Stevens’ factory line and given to US Army Air Corps service members as a survival rifle for use in World War II. In 1950, Stevens discontinued production of the 22-410, giving way to Savage’s reign as a manufacturer of the Model 24. The Model 24 was produced continuously in a range of calibers and gauges until 2010 when it was discontinued. (Used versions are still a fine—and sought-after—small-game rifle.) But the design wouldn’t stay down for long, and Savage resurrected the combination gun with the 42 Takedown. The 22/410 is an excellent rig for still-hunting rabbits. The double-barrel break-action allows more extended pokes at stationary bunnies while still pulling off snapshots on moving bunnies with the .22LR barrel and. The Model 42 also makes an excellent truck gun, breaking it into two pieces and fitting in its storage bag.