Shotgun Blasts Drone “To Smithereens”

A Virginia woman had enough of a drone flying near her property and took action.

Jennifer Youngman, a longtime resident of Fauquier County, became irritated in mid-June with two men flying a drone above her neighbor’s property, the Fauquier Times reports, and when the wind pushed the drone over her pasture, she shot it with her shotgun.

“They were going a little too fast and they went over my airspace. I had my .20-gauge there, so I put two 7.5 birdshot shells in it, and there you are,” she told the newspaper.

Though Youngman doesn’t know who the men flying the drone were, the Fauquier Times reports she lives next to Hollywood icon Robert Duvall. Youngman said a black Range Rover parked in front of Duvall’s residence and the two men got out, set up a card table and began flying the drone.

Youngman told the paper the drone was disturbing her cows, so while she sat on her porch and cleaned her .410 bore and .20-gauge shotguns the frustration continued to build.

“This drone disappeared over the trees and I was cleaning away, there must have been a 5- or 6-minute lapse, and I heard the ‘bzzzzz,’” she told Ars Technica. “I loaded my [20-gauge] shotgun and took the safety off, and this thing came flying over my trees. I don’t know if they lost command or if they didn’t have good command, but the wind had picked up. It came over my airspace, 25 or 30 feet above my trees, and hovered for a second. I blasted it to smithereens.”

Following the kill shot, Youngman told the Fauguier Times the two men yelled at her before fleeing in their Range Rover.

“They were kind of mad, but they knew to not come on my property,” she told the magazine.

Legally, Youngman’s situation could get more interesting.

Yahoo! News reports drones are technically aircrafts, according to FAA classifications, and interfering with drone flight is a federal crime. However, no legal ramifications came in the other two known cases of drones being shot with guns.

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Mossberg Introduces 590A1 and 500 Compact Cruiser AOWs

Mossberg has announced new sub-compact NFA firearms, based on its 12-gauge 590A1 and 500 pump-actions. Classified by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives as AOWs (Any Other Weapon), the 590A1/500 Compact Cruiser AOWs require a $5 tax stamp for transfer, as well as the required NFA transfer paperwork. Two 12-gauge, 3″ sub-compact versions are available with all of the standard features of the 590A1/500 platform that millions worldwide have selected for personal defense and in service to our country. 

Mossberg 590A1 Compact Cruiser AOW; 500 Compact Cruiser AOW shown at top.

The Compact Cruisers are built on Mossberg’s legendary 500 action, which passed the rigorous testing required to meet or exceed U.S. Armed Services MilSpec 3443 requirements—the only shotgun manufacturer to pass these endurance, accuracy and quality tests. The 590A1/500 AOWs are designed for smooth, reliable operation and feature non-binding twin action bars; positive steel-to-steel lock-up; an anti-jam elevator; and dual extractors. Their lightweight, anodized aluminum receivers provide for added durability and for ease of operation, by right or left-handed shooters, the Compact Cruiser AOWs have Mossberg’s universally-recognized, ambidextrous top-mounted safety.

Both the 590A1 and 500 feature the ATI T3 pistol grip, constructed of reinforced polymer and designed to absorb recoil energy before reaching the shooter’s hand. Less felt recoil reduces shooter discomfort and the time required to get back on target. The T3’s non-slip textured finish provides for a positive grip. Adding to the shooter’s comfort and ease of cycling, the Compact Cruiser AOWs have contoured polymer foregrips with a durable, webbed strap. The foregrip can be folded down, assisting in recoil reduction, or folded up against the magazine tube. Both the stock and foregrip feature a non-reflective black finish.

The 590A1 Compact Cruiser AOW (51664) has a 10.25” heavy-walled, cylinder bore barrel with front bead sight; convenient cleanout mag tube with 3+1 capacity; metal trigger guard; metal safety button; and anodized aluminum receiver with Parkerized steel finishes. The 500 Compact Cruiser AOW (51697) features a 7.5” cylinder bore barrel with front bead sight; 2+1 capacity; durable anodized finish on receiver; and Parkerized finish on barrel and mag tube. MSRP: $910 – $980.For more information on the 590A1 and 500 Compact Cruiser AOWs, please visit

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Ask Phil: New Shotgun or New Duck Boat?

I have been saving my pennies to upgrade my 870 express to a Super Black Eagle II or Xtrema 2 ($1500-ish used online) but recently I have been wondering if my money would be better spent on a cheaper used jon boat to hunt out of. A boat would give me access to more hunting grounds and would make hunting more comfortable. 

As someone who makes a living reviewing guns, do you feel that hunters put too much emphasis on which gun they take into the field? And, as a walk-in duck hunter would you give up your high-end semiauto for the opportunity to hunt new location? —David

This is perhaps my favorite Ask Phil question ever. Thank you.

You can kill a duck with any shotgun, but you can’t kill any ducks at all if you’re not where the ducks are.

If the boat will put you under more ducks, absolutely, buy the boat. No question. 

Yes, hunters put too much emphasis on the guns they take to the field. I do, because I like guns. I enjoy owning them, trading them, fooling with them, and hunting with them, but on the list of factors that contribute to me getting birds, guns are way down the list below location, hiding, shooting skill, decoy placement, and calling (in that order).

As a walk-in hunter, which I was for many years and still am on occasion, I would absolutely trade a high-end semiauto for an opportunity to hunt better places. (For the record, I don’t shoot high-end semiatuos. More like mid-level semiautos: Beretta 3901, V3, X2, etc).

Now, ask yourself:  will the boat really get you more ducks? I thought a sneak boat would be the answer to my woes on my local reservoir.  I had some good hunts with it and I’m glad I have it, but I’m not sure how much difference it actually made to my success rate. The heads may not be greener on the other side of the marsh.

Also, I don’t know where you hunt, but the price of an SBE II can buy you just enough jon boat to get yourself killed if you take it to the wrong place at the wrong time. In that case, you’d have been a lot better off spending money on the gun. 

If you do go with the boat, route, I’d suggest you look at sneak boats like the Attbar AquaPod or the MoMarsh Fatboy, both of which are very stable and comfortable to hunt out of as layout boats.

And, I know you didn’t ask, but a lot of hunters I see would be better off spending the price of a new gun on a shooting lesson and a lot of target shooting in the summer. If you hunt where you don’t get many chances at birds, being able to kill the ones you do see in range is the best way of all to improve your success rate.

I hope this helps you make your decision. —Phil

Thanks again for sending in this question. You will receive this Cabelas range bag as a token of my gratitude.


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Shotgun Review: Mossberg 930 DC Pro

This year, Mossberg added a pair of tricked-out shotguns to its Pro-Series line of autoloaders that are designed specifically for waterfowlers. The duo includes the 930 and 935 Magnum DC Pro (DC stands for Duck Commander). Both models have received identical Pro-Series enhancements.

I elected to test the 3-inch 12-gauge 930 DC Pro rather than the 3½-inch 12-gauge 935 Magnum DC Pro. Although having the option to shoot super magnum shells is appealing, the reality is that most of us — myself included — shoot 3-inch ammo most of the time. In fact, I shot all of my ducks and geese (both Canadas and snows), as well as spring turkeys, this past season using 3-inch ammo. It’s cheaper, it kicks less, and it still gets the job done.

My test gun came fully assembled, which was a nice change of pace from other shotguns that often require extensive assembly before you can even see what you’ve got. Other than needing a cursory wipe down to remove excess packing oil, the 930 DC Pro is ready to go right out of the box.

Mossberg’s 930 already enjoys a legion of loyal fans, but what separates the DC Pro from other 930s are its various Pro-Series treatments, many of which are also found on Mossberg’s trio of 930 JM Pro-Series competition models developed in conjunction with shotgunning legend Jerry Miculek.

Several internal parts, including the gas piston and ring assembly, magazine tube, hammer, sear, return spring plunger and return spring tube, have received a nickel boron coating that resists corrosion and simplifies post-shoot cleanup. The return spring is stainless steel to prevent rusting and improve reliability.

Additionally, the bolt slide, elevator and shell stop have been given extra polishing before receiving their final matte finish to reduce friction and provide faster follow-up shots. Likewise, the loading gate is beveled to facilitate speedy reloads.

The stock and forearm are appropriately synthetic, and the whole gun is covered in Realtree Max-5 camo. This was the first time I’d examined up-close a gun dipped in this new pattern, which is well suited to the wetlands and fields we fowlers frequent. The camo was flawlessly applied, and the gun’s overall fit and finish was excellent throughout.

mossberg 930 DC pro adjustmentSling attachments are provided fore and aft, and there’s a thick recoil pad at the butt. Length of pull is 14 inches, and a set of stock spacers and corresponding retention plates allows vertical adjustment of drop or rise, but not cast. The gun comes with the neutral, “no spacer” plate installed, which allows a bit of rib to be seen — nice for going-away, rising, trap-style targets, but not so ideal for general bird hunting use. I installed the drop spacer and plate, which lowered the stock and put my eyes in perfect alignment with the flat rib. Three other spacers/plates allow increasing degrees of rise, for those who prefer the sight picture a raised stock provides.

The 930 (and 935) DC Pro is only offered with a 28-inch barrel. Atop the flat, ventilated rib is TRUGLO’s dual-color Tru-Bead fiber-optic front sight, which has a red center surrounded by a green halo. This was my first experience with this type of sight (which is available on all Mossberg Duck Commander models), but I really like it and may very well install one on my personal shotgun(s). Target acquisition is quick, and it’s easily visible regardless of lighting conditions. Three flush-mount choke tubes are provided: improved cylinder, modified and full.

Other amenities include an oversized bolt handle and checkered bolt release button, which I’m told are both standard fare on all 930s, not just the DC Pro. The trigger guard is also spacious, and the ambidextrous safety is located atop the receiver in typical Mossberg fashion. The whole gun is easy to use even if wearing heavy gloves. The only embellishment that distinguishes this gun from other 930s is the DC Pro logo engraved on the right side of the receiver. Trigger pull averaged around 5½ pounds, which is great for a field gun.

My only minor gripes were the thin trigger blade, which could pinch the index finger at certain angles, and the magazine plug, which could be heard sliding around inside the magazine tube. That could easily be remedied with a small, rubber o-ring around the plug, which is merely a wooden dowel, not plastic. However, the plug easily falls out of the magazine tube by removing the magazine cap and tipping the gun upside down (unloaded, of course). It is ridiculously simple and should be a welcome convenience when unplugged gunning of spring snow geese or turkeys rolls around.

mossberg 930 DC pro

mossberg 930 DC proSince I received the 930 DC Pro in the off-season, I shot a variety of loads at clay targets. Test loads included: Winchester Super Target 1 1/8-oz. 7 ½s at 1,145 fps; Winchester AA Steel 1-oz. 7 ½s at 1,450 fps; Winchester TrAAcker 1 1/8-oz. 8s at 1,145 fps; RC2 Competition 1-oz. 7 ½s at 1,250 fps; Environ-Metal Hevi-Target 1-oz. 8s at 1,200 fps; and Rio Target 7/8-oz. 9s at 1,200 fps. Additionally, I shot a quartet of Rio Elite loads, all with 7 ½s — 1 1/8-oz. at 1,225 fps; 1 1/8-oz. at 1,175 fps; 1-oz. at 1,250 fps’ and 1-oz. at 1,350 fps. I also shot a trio of Gamebore offerings, all with 1 oz. of 7½s — White Gold at 1,295 fps; Black Gold at 1,350 fps; and Evo at 1,260 fps. I even fired a couple rounds of Hevi-Steel 1¼-oz. 2s at 1,500 fps just to see how the semi-auto liked 3-inch magnums.

All told, I fired over 200 rounds through the 930 DC Pro without a single malfunction, which is quite remarkable, considering the wide range of velocities and charge weights used and the fact that I never cleaned it. Overall, the gun was comfortable to shoot and recoil wasn’t bad, thanks to the gun’s 7¾-pound weight, thick recoil pad, and soft-shooting — and reliable — gas operating system.

MSRP on the 930 DC Pro is $919, compared to a standard 930 camo model for $782. However, that extra 137 bucks buys a bunch of enhancements that’ll improve both performance and longevity in the marsh and on the range.

Mossberg scatterguns have a reputation for ruggedness and reliability, which this tricked-out 930 certainly lives up to. If you’ve been thinking of jumping on Mossberg’s bandwagon, consider the new DC Pro series.

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Shotgun Review: Remington V3

Although introduced in 2015, Remington’s new V3 autoloader wasn’t available until this year due to a delay in production. Let’s hope by the time you read this it will be on dealers’ shelves in your area.

It took over six months for my test gun to arrive. Most hunting seasons were over, but I did manage to squeeze in some field time with the V3. The V3 is rumored to be replacing the 1100/11-87 series as Remington’s new flagship semi-auto. That’s a tough act to follow, as the 1100/11-87 enjoys a loyal following of fans — myself included.

There’s a temptation to compare the V3 to its Versa Max predecessor at first glance. However, the two guns are more dissimilar than similar. Suffice it to say the V3 uses a modified Versa Port gas system similar to the Versa Max. Besides that, they are two entirely different guns.

The V3 is currently available only as a 3-inch 12-gauge field gun (the Versa Max has a 3½-inch chamber), but expect target, tactical and 20-gauge models to follow. Load versatility is often better in a 3-inch gun than a 3½, especially on the low-end of the payload spectrum.

Available finishes and barrel lengths include black synthetic with a 26- or 28-inch barrel, Mossy Oak Shadow Grass Blades with a 28-inch barrel and Mossy Oak Break-Up Country with a 26-inch barrel. A wood-stocked model was initially offered, but has apparently since been dropped from the line-up. My test gun was the basic black synthetic model with a 26-inch barrel. A white front bead and steel mid-bead sit atop a slightly raised, ventilated rib.

Three screw-in chokes are provided — improved cylinder, modified and full. These are Rem-chokes, not the Pro Bore tubes of the over-bored Versa Max. This means the same chokes that fit an 870 or 1100 will also fit the V3 — welcomed news for those who, like me, have accumulated a host of aftermarket Rem-chokes.

The stock is capped by Remington’s excellent SuperCell recoil pad, which does a nice job of protecting the shoulder. Sling attachments are integrated into the magazine cap and composite stock.

The forearm is rather wide near the receiver to accommodate the dual pistons residing beneath it. That width may make it difficult for those with smaller hands or wearing gloves to comfortably grasp the gun. Three vents directly above the pistons on each side of the forearm are angled forward to prevent powder residue from blowing back into the shooter’s face. This is a problem on the Versa Max, and the new shape of the V3 vents helps address but doesn’t fully alleviate the issue.

There is no checkering on the stock or forearm, but rather a textured surface, which I found to be rather slick without gloves.

The lightweight aluminum receiver, along with the Light Contour barrel, helps reduce overall weight of the V3 to around 7¼ pounds. The receiver is drilled and tapped to accept a scope mount. “V3 Field Sport” is etched on the receiver’s left side, while “Remington” is etched on the right. The bolt release button is also on the right side of the receiver, along with the gun’s serial number and a QR code. I found the QR code a bit unsightly, but I’m told a lot of guns are stamped with one these days.

A magazine cut-off at the front of the trigger guard simply slides forward to lift and lock the shell carrier in place, preventing another round from being released from the magazine. This convenient safety feature also allows a duck round to be quickly swapped for a goose load, and vice versa. The cut-off button was initially stiff, but eventually loosened, becoming easy to engage. The carrier itself is prone to pinching the thumb when loading the magazine, which didn’t improve over time. A slightly longer carrier might help, but until Remington revises it, you may want to tape your thumb.

The V3’s wide trigger has a notch at its top that can also pinch the trigger finger, especially when shooting heavy loads. A more uniformly shaped trigger might help. Trigger pull on my test gun is a crisp and consistent 5½ pounds. The safety is conveniently located behind the trigger.

The V3’s bolt has no fewer than 17 parts. Space prevents describing them all here. It’s the most complicated bolt I’ve seen and took me the better part of an afternoon to reassemble.

Remington V3 gas pistons

The V3’s dual gas pistons straddle the barrel directly beneath the chamber.

Dual-action springs are located within the V3’s receiver. This means there is nothing inside the stock except the stock bolt, which indicates Remington will likely offer other stock configurations in the near future. The receiver-contained action springs combined with the pistons close proximity to the receiver and the Light Contour barrel means the bulk of the gun’s weight is placed between the shooter’s hands. Indeed, the V3 is very nimble and feels lighter than it is.

The V3 employs a modified Versa Port gas system in which eight ports in the chamber (compared to the Versa Max’s seven) self-regulate gas pressure based on shell length. With 2¾-inch shells, all eight ports remain open. With 3-inch shells, only four ports stay open.

The V3 is designed for reliable operation with 1-ounce target loads up to the heaviest 3-inch magnums. However, the owner’s manual suggests a short break-in period with 1 1/8-ounce loads. While a break-in period is commonly recommended for semi-auto pistols, this was the first time I’d seen one suggested for a shotgun.

Test loads included 1 1/8-ounce Federal Field & Target at 1,200 fps, 1 1/8-ounce Winchester Super Target at 1,145 fps, 1-ounce RC2 Competition Line at 1,200 fps, 1-ounce Winchester AA Steel at 1,450 fps and 1 1/8- and 1-ounce Gamebore Blue Diamond at 1,285 and 1,290 fps respectively. I also fired a couple rounds of 1¼-ounce Hevi-Steel 3-inch magnums at 1,500 fps left over from duck season. Everything cycled and ejected perfectly. Recoil was most noticeable with 1 1/8 ounce and greater loads. The V3 isn’t quite as soft-shooting as the Versa Max, but that’s to be expected from a gun weighing nearly a pound less. During testing, one trigger group pin worked itself partially out, but was easily pushed back in and didn’t come loose again.

Testing was mostly limited to clay targets. However, rabbit season was still open when the V3 arrived in February, so I took it hunting one afternoon and bagged a cottontail using some 2¾-inch Hevi-Metal 1 1/8-ounce number 5s at 1,500 fps left over from pheasant season.

It’s difficult to tell how responsive a shotgun really is until you actually take it hunting. The V3 carried nicely, shouldered quickly and pointed naturally. Any recoil noticed while shooting clays was unnoticed while hunting. In its current configuration, the V3 is definitely a field gun, hence its “Field Sport” moniker.

Time will tell if this latest generation of Remington gas-operated autoloaders will enjoy the longevity of the 1100/11-87 series. The V3 may need a few refinements before it’s ready to enter the target-gun arena, but Remington is on the right track with the reliable Versa Port system.

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Shotgun Review: CZ Drake

Generally speaking, you get what you pay for in this life, and shotguns are no exception. Spending more doesn’t guarantee you a happy, trouble-free gun owning experience, but it lowers the odds of getting a bad gun, which is why I usually steer clear of cheap shotguns and urge others to do the same.*

That said, it always makes me happy to be able to recommend a bargain-priced shotgun. CZ’s Drake is definitely one worth a look. The Drake, like all CZ USA shotguns, is imported from Turkey, where it is made by Huglu (the “g” is silent), one of Turkey’s best gunmakers.**  CZ has been working with Huglu for a long time, and they’ve done a good job of making the Turks elevate the quality of their guns to the level U.S. customers expect.  CZ also stands behind its guns and has a service center in Kansas City. The price of Turkish labor being what it is, CZ is able to sell their guns at very attractive prices. I can’t vouch for their pumps and semiautos, but their O/Us and doubles are good. They were very popular around here when we had lots of pheasants, and people liked them a great deal.

The Drake is new this year, and it’s a bare-bones O/U hunting gun, available in 12 and 20 gauge with 28-inch barrels. The 20 gauge, which I’ve been shooting, weighs in at 6 pounds, 9 ounces, with a weight forward balance that makes it swing and point surely.

The gun is pretty basic: single mechanical trigger, manual safety, extractors not ejectors, no side ribs on the barrels – either to save weight, money or both — and a rudimentary thin black rubber buttpad. Its lone frill is a white Bradley-style bead on the rib.

Appearance-wise, it’s simple as well. The walnut is satin finished and very straight-grained, with machine-cut checkering. The metal is matte black with some perfunctory scroll on the receiver and that’s all there is to the Drake.
But, it feels good when you swing it on a target, it comes with a hard case and five choke tubes, and you get all of that for $629 which is a bargain in O/U shotguns. If I didn’t have too many guns already, I’d want this one as a backup gun, and one to shoot on rainy days, and maybe on nice days, too, come to think of it.

*There are exceptions: H&R and Savage 220 slug guns; Beretta A300 Outlanders. Me, I afford the guns I want by buying them used.

** And yes, they do have some good gunmakers. Not every Turkish gun is junk.

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