April 27, 2023
The new Citadel Boss-25 is an advanced AR-style autoloading 12-gauge shotgun that brings the 18th century scattergun into the Information Age. Featuring familiar controls, a detachable five-round magazine, and exceptionally cool particulars, the Boss-25 looks as good as it runs. While home defense and tactical applications are obviously in its wheelhouse, the Boss-25 is also a supremely efficient hunting arm. However, toting this gun into the field in pursuit of wild game requires a slight adjustment to the traditional mindset.
An awful lot of folks are questioning an awful lot of things these days. In an era of revisionist history, toppling statues, and a country that seems to be covered in a thin patina of woke social justice warriors it can be easy to lose track of our roots. While hitting the field in pursuit of wild game might seem a bit anachronistic in the era of civilian space travel, designer lattes, and ubiquitous digital interconnectivity, it is actually such stuff as this that makes us human. Genesis 1:28 says, “God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.’” God put us here to live off of the bounty of the earth. To deny this fact is to deny who we are.
I grew up in the Mississippi Delta, and hunting deer and turkey was an integral component of most normal kids’ lives. Regulated hunting provides the funds that drive wildlife conservation around the world. As incongruous as it might seem, were it not for hunting we would be faced with the widespread extinction of countless rare creatures. There is a weird cognitive dissonance that surrounds hunting as a subset of the American gun culture. Sportsmen who cling dogmatically to their hunting arms while eschewing the more defensive genres are derogatorily referred to as “Fudds,” a veiled reference to the Elmer Fudd hunting character of Bugs Bunny fame. Interestingly, I’m told old Elmer will have his firearms digitally excised from future releases of the cartoon, his side-by-side 12-bore yet another lamentable casualty of the ongoing culture wars. Benjamin Franklin once opined, “We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.” If ever there was a perfect application for that pithy appellation it is in the modern fight over gun rights. All gun owners need to be fighting for all guns.
Martial pressures drive the most powerful innovations in science and engineering. Nothing motivates a people to excel like the prospect of violent gory death. World War II brought us such stuff as pressurized jet aircraft, radar, penicillin, nuclear power, computers, and Silly Putty. As that relates to firearms, it is military applications that render such contrivances most efficient. Although AR-15s were shown to be used for hunting in the 1970s and 80s in gun magazines like Guns & Ammo, we owe a great deal to Randy Luth who promoted AR hunting in his DPMS black rifle catalogs decades ago. His tireless efforts to promote hunting with modern-styled semi-auto rifles has made hunting with MSRs mainstream. Nowadays, game ranging from pigs to seals to deer and elk are regularly hunted with AR-style weapons.
While “scary” features like detachable magazines, pistol grips, and flash suppressors unsettle the less durable among us, such stuff as this makes our tools more efficient. By incorporating technological advancements spawned via military applications into our hunting arms we make them more effective, comfortable, and humane. In the Citadel Boss-25 we see tomorrow’s sporting shotgun.
At its heart, the Boss-25 is an efficient gas-operated autoloading semiautomatic magazine-fed shotgun. The gun comes with five interchangeable chokes as well as a choke wrench all in a handy carrying case. The magazine release and safety are both standard M4 fare. There is a manual bolt hold open in the same spot as that of an M4 as well. The charging handle is a rigid post that reciprocates with the bolt on the right side.
The trim forearm stretches out far enough to let you run the gun like you mean it. It is also liberally adorned with M-Lok slots for accessories should the spirit lead. While M-Lok occupies the sides, the bottom slots are Keymod. There is a generous optics rail up top, and the gun comes with a nice set of polymer flip-up sights. The chamber and bore are hard chrome plated, and the mystical melding of polymer and aluminum keeps the weight down. The buttstock is fixed but includes an adjustable comb to optimize the cheek weld. The forward portion of the barrel shroud is outfitted with an intriguing set of spiral cuts. I’m not sure what this does exactly, but it looks undeniably awesome. The soft rubber pistol grip is as comfortable as a cotton hammock on a pleasant spring day.
The box magazine packs five rounds, and the gun comes with a spare. I have found aftermarket ten-round boxes for sale as well. The chamber is cut to accept three-inch shells, so the gun runs a wide variety of hunting and defensive loads well. There are interchangeable piston rings for light and heavy loads. The gun’s operating system is a fascinating derivation of the WWII-era MKb 42(W), one of two weapons that ultimately begat the StG44 assault rifle. The annular gas system in the Boss-25 taps gas circumferentially around the barrel via three ports to drive a sleeve that itself powers the bolt. The Czech vz-52 rifle operates similarly.
Scattergun Deer Hunting
At least twenty states mandate the use of shotguns for deer in at least some areas for certain parts of the season. The motivations spawn from concerns of overpenetration for high velocity rifle rounds. The use of slugs or buckshot does significantly decrease the risk to folks or property downrange. For deer, this obviously mandates much closer engagement distances. However, even down here in the deep south where I live, it is rare for most hunters to take a shot at a deer beyond a couple hundred meters. Our recent obsession with long-range shooting has indeed moved those ranges much farther out for a certain small segment of the shooting population. I have a dear friend who is a gifted long-range shooter who bagged an elk at 860 meters. However, the typical run-of-the-mill recreational hunter sticks pretty close.
The classic argument for a shotgun as a deer hunting weapon has been stalking game in heavy brush. Even a smidge of grass can throw off the trajectory of a high-velocity bullet catastrophically. However, shooting a deer in heavy brush at close range is more a theoretical construct than a practical one. Given the absolute requirement to verify the nature and orientation of the target no responsible deer hunter should be unloading on an animal unless it is within range, clearly identified, and safe. Another boon to the use of a shotgun for whitetail is downrange thump. We gun nerds can prattle on for days about the nuances of ballistic coefficients, muzzle velocities, bullet weights, and knockdown power. However a one-ounce pure lead slug or nine .33-caliber buckshot mean not having to say you’re sorry in all the world’s recognized languages. I’ve seen a lot of people shot, and close-range shotgun wounds are the most impressive of the lot.
The American Wild Turkey
You simply have not lived until you have sauntered up to a southern table and partaken of a properly prepared wild turkey with all the support stuff. Just typing these words makes me nostalgic for home and hearth. When I was a kid, it was always a competition to see who would be the first to find a piece of lead shot in their holiday dinner. (I’m not kidding).
Hunting wild turkey requires a great deal of practical skill. Where stalking deer well is an undeniable art, the pursuit still entails a remarkable lot of random. You’ve got to be at the right place at the right time. By contrast, to bag a wild turkey you speak to the animal. I always felt just a wee bit sorry for the typical turkey gobbler transitioning from forest to dinner table. The hunter is mimicking the female of the species and enticing the randy male to come a’courting. This poor guy just thought he was going to land a hot date before catching a load of Number 5 shot to the beak. As a guy myself that just seemed a particularly ignominious way to go.
The manual of arms for the Citadel Boss-25 is almost but not quite the same as that of an M4. Firmly seat a loaded magazine and jack the bolt using the right-sided bolt handle. The combination of a well-reasoned design and the gun’s sleek, svelte architecture make it eminently pointable. All 12-bore shotguns are vigorous. However, recoil with the Boss-25 is pleasant thanks to the well-reasoned gas-operated mechanism, soft rubber pistol grip, and recoil pad. The presence of a separate pistol grip allows a not insubstantial component of the recoil impulse to be transferred to the firing hand. The in-line nature of the design focuses the primary recoil force directly into the firer’s shoulder so as to mitigate muzzle climb.
The trigger is entirely serviceable, and follow up shots are essentially instantaneous. On the last round fired the bolt locks to the rear automatically. Magazines need a little snatch when the release catch is activated. Slam in a fresh box, slap the bolt catch, and you are rocking another mag. The adjustable comb is a nice addition, but the length of pull for the fixed stock is ample. Little pygmy folks may have a challenge leaning forward far enough to properly index a magnified optic. I’m a pretty average-size six-foot-tall lanky guy, and the gun fit me well. This is a gas-operated autoloading shotgun, so it naturally prefers full-power rounds. This is not atypical among semiautomatic shotguns in my experience. When fed high-brass, full-power loads it ran 100%. As with any weapon you plan to use for real in either defensive or hunting applications, run it enough on the range to take its measure before toting it into the field. Fed proper fodder I would rely on the Boss-25 every time.
The Citadel Boss-25 is sleek, effective, and fun. Better men than I could likely connect with slugs at 100 meters or more. However, I personally view a scattergun as a fairly close-range tool. When stoked with 00 buck or slugs the Boss-25 packs more raw power than anything that doesn’t come with a tripod or an impact fuse. I hunted throughout my childhood with a beautiful Browning Auto-5 12-bore. That racy rascal kept holidays amply supplied with turkeys, doves, and similar delectable critters. It was also an absolutely gorgeous firearm.
By contrast, the Boss-25 is entirely utilitarian. However, that means the gun interfaces with the human form seamlessly and brings combat-grade ruggedness and ergonomics to the hunting field. Combine this “information age” scattergun with a proper modern optic and you have a tool that is markedly more efficient and effective than even my trusty humpbacked Browning. Whether the mission is home defense, 3-Gun shooting, or hitting the field in the pursuit of fowl, swine, or venison, the Boss-25 represents the state of the art.
Citadel Boss-25 Shotgun Specs
- Type: Semi-Auto
- Gauge: 12
- Finish: Cerakote, black, FDE and Tactical Gray
- Chamber: 3 in.
- Barrel: 18.75-in. Chrome lined
- Overall Length: 14 in.
- Weight: 8 lbs.
- Muzzle Attachments: 5 Chokes including muzzle brake
- Feed System: 2, 5 rds. detachable box magazine
- Sights: Fully adjustable folding sights
- Optics Mount: PIcatinny Rail
- MSRP: $579
- Contact: Legacy Sports
About the Author
Will is a mechanical engineer who flew UH1H, OH58A/C, CH47D and AH1S aircraft as an Army Aviator. He is airborne and scuba qualified and summited Mount McKinley, Alaska, six times…at the controls of an Army helicopter. After eight years in the Regular Army, Major Dabbs attended medical school. He works in his urgent care clinic, shares a business building precision rifles and sound suppressors, and has written for the gun press since 1989.
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