Analyzing the results of the shotgun design survey with CZ-USA
We asked and you delivered: The Project Upland Crowd-Sourced Shotgun was a wildly successful attempt to design a shotgun by democracy. Thousands of upland enthusiasts cast votes for their ideal shotgun design. Thanks to you, we are one step closer to releasing the much-anticipated Project Upland shotgun lineup in partnership with CZ-USA. Read on to learn what the people had to say.
The side-by-side was the overwhelmingly favored barrel configuration, receiving nearly two-thirds of the total votes cast. Regardless of barrel configuration, the 20 gauge was clearly the size of choice. Upland hunters across the board agreed that 28” barrels were the best choice for their ideal upland gun, while it seems that very few hunters are looking for sling studs.
Aesthetically, there was a strong preference for glossy black barrels and laser cut diamond checkering.
From there, though, the preferences tended to vary by barrel configuration.
The side-by-side category
The upland community made it clear that certain features are absolutely essential in the ideal side-by-side shotgun: double triggers, a straight grip, and a splinter forend. Aesthetically speaking, the color case finish receiver was by far the most popular choice.
On those 28” barrels, upland hunters prefer a standard flat rib, a classic brass bead, and flush chokes.
A couple of items were too close to call; for that reason, we are opening up the voting one more time for side-by-side enthusiasts to break the tie on the following items:
- Decorative side plates: Do you prefer the look of a traditional boxlock or do you prefer side plates to give the gun the appearance of a sidelock? (With a wide variety of side plate and engraving options, the minimalist choices were by far the most popular – though votes were split right down the middle between these two!)
- Stock wood: Would you choose standard grade wood, or is it worth the upgrade for some gleaming, grade 3 Turkish walnut? (61% of voters wanted upgraded wood of varying levels, with the majority of those opting for Grade 3)
- Extractors: Are basic extractors good enough, or do you need magnets to prevent shells from falling out of your open gun? A patent-pending invention of CZ-USA, this can’t be found on other shotguns on the market.
The over/under category
Over/under enthusiasts may have been outnumbered, but they were very clear in what they wanted out of the ideal upland shotgun. The ideal gun has a steel receiver, shell ejectors, and a single selectable trigger. At the stock end, the overwhelming choice was a pistol grip with a vented rubber butt plate. The upland-style forend was a clear winner over the full-size design.
When it came to aesthetics, though, the crowd was divided in their opinions. The receiver choices of silver chrome or color case finish were too close to call. While it was widely agreed that less is more when it comes to engraving, there was a narrow margin between the minimal or standard engraving selections.
Some of the votes were almost exactly equal in their split. To finalize the design and ensure that we really get this right, we are opening up the following details for a final, tie-breaking vote:
- Mid-rib between the barrels: Should it be vented or solid?
- Chokes: Settle the split between flush or extended choke tubes.
- Weight reduction: Is it worth hollowing out the butt stock to save a few ounces?
- Receiver finish: Do you prefer the sleek silver chrome or the more traditional color case finish?
- Engraving: Keep it super simple with minimal engraving or do a little bit more with the standard scheme found on guns like the Redhead?
- Wood grade: Standard grade or Grade 3? While standard grade wood was the favorite last time, 57% of the votes were split between the upgraded wood options.
Thanks to everyone who cast a vote and helped direct the design of the ideal upland shotgun. We hope you’re as excited as we are to unveil the final products! These guns reflect the people of this community; together, we are designing the future of upland hunting.
Jennifer Wapenski is the managing editor of Hunting Dog Confidential Magazine and co-host of the Hunting Dog Confidential podcast. She has a lifelong passion for the outdoors, dogs, and wildlife; as an adult, she discovered that upland bird and waterfowl hunting were natural extensions of these pursuits. Jennifer lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and their two Deutsch Langhaars.