I’ve always said that I own guns to shoot, not to look at, and the same holds for perhaps my nicest shotgun, a Beretta Silver Pigeon III. It’s no Purdey, but it’s a handsome 20-gauge over/under that I don’t mind sliming with dove field sweat or blood from a forearm raked with quail-patch briars. Still, even I shudder at the thought of pressing that Silver Pigeon into service in the bow seat of my canoe on a float hunt for ducks, or beating it up on a death march into a beaver pond for swamp mallards. Many’s the time I’ve wished there was a solid twice-barrel field gun for duck ponds and even turkey woods. Two barrels, two chokes, two different loads, even, without worrying about losing five grand in value when I use the stock as a walking stick to pull me over a beaver dam.
Wish no longer. The new All-Terrain series of over/under and side-by-side shotguns from CZ-USA does everything I’ve hoped for. The barrels are clad in an olive-drab Cerakote finish, so they turn away slop, grime, and pluff mud—plus the glare of sun in a duck blind or field edge. The shotguns are outfitted with sling swivel mounts (finally!) fore and aft, so they can be toted deep into the dark scary woods when you’re also toting 36 decoys and a mud seat, or a turkey stool and a full-body gobbler or three. Or holding the hand of a wide-eyed eight-year-old who is finally on her first dream hunt.
But the All-Terrain line is also more than olive-drab lipstick on a pretty good-looking shotgun. Each features a nifty set of magnets in the extractors or ejectors, which hold a shotshell in the tube even when the gun is broken open and the breech is pointed down. That way shells won’t fall out of the barrels and into the boat, marsh, or blind, and you can break open the gun and have a mid-field conversation without shells spilling into the brush. Nice touch.
The line is based on several proven CZ-USA models. There are three over/unders: the extractor-outfitted Drake, the Redhead Premier with ejectors, and an Upland Ultralight with extractors. And, by the grace of the mud gods, CZ-USA even dolled up the sweet Bobwhite side-by-side in the All-Terrain get-up. That’ll turn some heads. So maybe CZ-USA didn’t exactly reinvent the wheel with the All-Terrain series. But the gunmaker did open up a few brave, new, sloppy, gritty, storm-soaked worlds where I hope to tread with an All-Terrain double gun this fall. I bet my beloved Beretta will be a little jealous.
Follow T. Edward Nickens on Instagram @enickens.