I disagree with Samilspec on some issues - and I've hunted a lot of ducks - in flooded timber and in blinds - and I've never dinged up a gun or dropped one ..... I'm not saying it doesn't happen / I've seen guys fall out of boats and all kinds of things .... To and from the blind / or in the boat / or to and from the field to hunt birds - I keep the gun in a soft case / scabbard - and I don't throw it around and abuse it. I have a place for guns, place for decoys, etc ...and if I'm on a guided hunt out of state, I usually hang onto my own scabbard in the boat and am careful where I put the gun in the vehicle.
All of my O/U's are Brownings with high gloss stocks ( primarily XS Skeet models, with 30" barrels ). I prefer to hunt with these guns - and have them in 12, 20, 28ga and .410 - so it depends on what I'm doing from ducks, pheasants, quail, etc ...and most of my O/U's are 15 yrs old or so ...
None of my guns will eject an unfired shell - so its not an issue. I do agree that an O/U is a little more reliable - in that if you can get a shell in the chamber, and close the gun, it will probably fire. But O/U's need care and attention as well - and whenever I'm hunting, or shooting sporting clays, on rainy days - the stock comes off when I get back to the lodge or home - everything dried out / lubed - put back together.
I've had a number of semi-autos over the yrs - Browning Auto 5's, Rem 1100's, Rem 11-87 etc - but the only semi-auto I own currently is a Benelli Super Sport. Its my travel gun, when I fly, so I can take one gun to do everything ... and its never malfunctioned .... but I completely strip it when I come out of the field and clean and lube it / put it back in battery. I've never had a semi-auto fail in the field / so its not going to necessarily happen if you take care of the gun. That is not to say that guns can't break firing pins, etc - that would certainly disable a gun .... but I try and stay on top of my maintenance and replace pins, springs, etc on a routine basis.
As far as guns for wet weather - the Benelli is easier to deal with / synthetic stock ( can completely clean and lube it in 15 min / and be back in battery ). I use the Benelli as my "rain gun" for Skeet and sporting clays ...when I don't feel like taking a nice O/U out in the weather ..... but on a nice day in the field, a little bite in the air, birds moving around - I really want one of my O/U's in my hands ...
Recoil is a function of the weight of the gun, the velocity of the shell and the ounces of shot in the shell. It doesn't make any difference who made the gun - but Fit is an issue. The Ruger isn't any different than a Browning on recoil.
Browning makes about 26 different models of the Citori lineup / Browning makes another dozen or more in the Cynergy line / Beretta makes at least a dozen - so there are a lot of O/U's in those 3 lineups ( from $1,000 - $4,000 probably ). If the Lightning series Browning ( their entry level field gun ) fits you, no doubt its a good strong gun / I've still got one I purchased 22 yrs ago ....but Beretta makes some good guns as well ( they just don't fit me ).... but most of the guns Browning makes don't fit me either. Picking a gun is really about Fit ....so it hits where you look. For me, that means a gun with a parallel adjustable comb ( like the Citori XS Skeet or XS Special ) - and I think they are one of the most versatile guns that Browning makes.