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View Full Version : novice to shotguns, advice needed


samoand
December 1, 2006, 01:55 PM
Greetings, gentle folks. I decided that my firearm collection is incomplete without a shotgun. Why? Simply because... I don't really have a justifiable reason.

I can take recoil; not trying to fill a specific need and therefore looking for something versatile. Not a novice to firearms, I'd be a novice to shotguns. So I did some reading here and there and compiled a list of questions:

1. How much faster is semi-auto vs. pump, considering that pump operator is quick and well trained and that aim acquisition still takes a moment or two?
2. Is there anything that smaller caliber can do that larger can't? (10 vs. 12, 12 vs. 20)?
3. Is there a reason to go smaller, besides recoil? Why aren't 10 ga as popular as 12 ga? Cost of ammo perhaps?
4. Typically, would chamber designed for 3 1/2 " take 3" and smaller? would chamber designed for 3 take 2 3/4 ? In general, is there a reason to go shorter in chamber if longer can handle short cartridges as well?
5. How useful is stock on a shotgun, considering that it's a "point" rather than "aim" close quarters weapon? Would pistol-grip-only fall far behind stocked in terms of either accuracy or perceived recoil?
6. How much does longer barrel help ballistics? let's say 18.5 vs. 20 vs. 26?
7. Anything else that you think might help with decision?

Best regards, and thanks.

BigJimP
December 1, 2006, 03:45 PM
The best all around shotgun gague is a 12ga ( you can load it light and make it act like a 20ga / you can load it heavy and make it act like a 10ga ).

In general - you will see hardly any 10ga around - maybe goose hunters - but even that's debateable.

The most versatile chamber size is 3" - 3 1/2" chambers will cost you a little more money usually. 2 3/4" chambers are either older guns or "target" guns like for trap or skeet. A gun chambered in 3" will let you shoot either 2 3/4" or 3" shells - a 2 3/4" chamber can only shoot 2 3/4" shells.

I'm as fast with a pump as a gas operated semi-auto - but the biggest deal on "gas guns" is they absorb about 40% of the recoil and it can be significant. In general pump guns are more reliable - but gas guns are fine if you keep them clean.

Benelli, Wilson Combat and the Remington 870's are all guns I'd recommend you look over. There are others - Mossberg, etc out there as well.

Barrel length doesn't change ballistics - but a longer barrel give you a better sighting plane - and more versatility.

I'd recommend you consider a "field grade gun" - like a Browning BPS pump as well - and spend some time at a trap or skeet range with it. Lots of good used pump guns out there - and get some time with a shotgun before you spend a lot of money on one. Then get exactly what you like.

FirstFreedom
December 1, 2006, 05:46 PM
1. How much faster is semi-auto vs. pump, considering that pump operator is quick and well trained and that aim acquisition still takes a moment or two?

A semi is NOT much faster than a pump. It is a scrunt faster, but not enough to make much of a difference. The main advantage of a semi is recoil reduction, not speed, IMO. A pump can be *very* fast.

2. Is there anything that smaller caliber can do that larger can't? (10 vs. 12, 12 vs. 20)?

No.

3. Is there a reason to go smaller, besides recoil? Why aren't 10 ga as popular as 12 ga? Cost of ammo perhaps?

Not really, except for a faster handling, lighter gun, IF the frame is smaller. For example, certain double guns use the .410 frame for 28 guage, which is smaller than the 12/20 guage frame, so it's lighter to carry. In a pump or semi-auto, the frame is the frame is the frame, on a given model, so no weight savings; thus no advantage.

4. Typically, would chamber designed for 3 1/2 " take 3" and smaller? would chamber designed for 3 take 2 3/4 ?

Yes and yes.

In general, is there a reason to go shorter in chamber if longer can handle short cartridges as well?

In a pump, no, no reason - get the 3.5. In a semi, yes, reliability with light 2.75s can suffer in a 3.5 gun, relative to flawless or nearly flawless functioning with light 2.75s in a 3.0 gun.

5. How useful is stock on a shotgun, considering that it's a "point" rather than "aim" close quarters weapon? Would pistol-grip-only fall far behind stocked in terms of either accuracy or perceived recoil?

A shoulder stock is very useful; indipensable in fact, to control recoil and get you back on target for follow up shots fast. Yes, a PGO gun is inferior in both. A PG WITH a shoulder stock is not necessarily a liability, and is a matter of personal preference. Most people think the best for recoil control is a PG with a shoulder stock.


6. How much does longer barrel help ballistics? let's say 18.5 vs. 20 vs. 26?

Longer barrels do help a little with velocity, but *VERY* little, once you get out to 18 or 20 - very marginal returns; not like with smaller bore rifles. However, the reason for the longer barrel is balance, weight for follow through, weight for recoil control, and sight radius for practical accuracy. For hunting fast-moving targets like birds, the best balance of the tradeoffs involved is 26, 28, or 30", usually 26 or 28". For home defense other police use vs. 2-legged predators which move relatively slow and don't fly, the most popular lengths are 18, 20, and 22". 14" inchers are popular for self-defense outside the US, and with LEOs...need a SBS permit for one in U.S. If you want one do-it-all shotgun, a 22 or 24" bbl is probably the best compromise - I'd go 22" for an all-purpose. But better yet, get 2 barrels.


7. Anything else that you think might help with decision?

What's the likely use? Gonna hunt small birds? Turkeys? Squirrels & rabbits? Deer? Or just home defense, or just fun, or skeet shooting, or what?

skeeter1
December 1, 2006, 06:10 PM
What's the likely use? Gonna hunt small birds? Turkeys? Squirrels & rabbits? Deer? Or just home defense, or just fun, or skeet shooting, or what?


Frankly, I've done plenty of trapshooting and hunting with SxS doubles, my favorites.

If you can get to a trap range, my guess is that you'll find shooters there willing to give their shotgun a try. You'll have to pay the range fee, and maybe an ATA membership, but that's not a big deal. Someone there will sponser you. Trust me, been there, done that.

samoand
December 2, 2006, 04:27 PM
Thanks for all the info, that should help. Likely use? probably just fun (skeet shooting and such) I don't see myself using it for anything else, not yet anyway. Doesn't mean it won't happen at some later time though...

Captain Bligh
December 3, 2006, 08:20 AM
If my wife was hounding me to stop buying guns, and I thought I might give in to said hounding, the shotgun I would buy would NOT have a pistol grip. Pistol grips on shotguns, IMHO, mostly have to do with "coolness" factor. If you want an all-around shotgun suitable for many applications, get something with a traditional full stock and skip the pistol grip.

You wanted opinions; that's mine. Your mileage may vary.

samoand
December 3, 2006, 06:21 PM
Captain Bligh: Yes, all opinions are welcome indeed. Hmm.. Doesn't "point and shoot" principle advocate pistol grip on a shotgun? At least more so than on any other semi-auto long arm?

Daves-got-guns
December 13, 2006, 11:34 AM
i would say pump is about 4/5 as fast as a semi, and a pump is almost always ole reliable. 10 gauge slipped, as it used to be used as the main gauge in the 1880s i believe, and then with improvements in this or that, the 12 passed it in the 1890's. Generally speaking the 10 gauge is sposed to pattern better at longer rangers, but this is something i have heard on this forum and have not actually scene other then my mossberg 835 is a 12 gauge bored to 10, and it patterns quite nicely. Umm for somebody new to shotguns, i would say go with the 20, and i know you can downplay the 12, but 20's frame is generally smaller, lighter kicks less, but still has all the oomph youll ever need for home defense. I think if i was gonna get somebody a shotgun for overally hunting home defense it would be a 20 pump or 20 sxs, with a barrel between 20-24" as thats all you really need for a barrel, unless you are hunting those high flyers. Also 12 usually kicks harder in sxs's because they are lighter but if the recoil pad is setup proper and the stock is right for you, kick isnt too bad i spose. IF you have friends who shoot scatter guns, ask them what they think and if theyll let you use their gear first, dont listen to things us yahoos say like its written in the bible!

WeedWacker
December 13, 2006, 01:05 PM
A reliable pump is the remigton 870 express. It has interchangeable choke tubes and the barrel can be removed and two models of rifled bores are available.

The Mossberg 500 is another good pump but I have only used a slug barrel and have no idea what the options are for smoothbore

For semi automatic the remington 1700 is a good choice again because of interchangeable barrels/chokes.

On the other hand if you want firepower the USAS 12, Protecta, or Pancor Jackhammer are always fun :D

mathman
December 23, 2006, 04:56 PM
A pump is not as fast as a semi-auto...plain and simple. I have both and am well trained with both, but I can shoot my semi-autos much faster (and more accurately since I'm not needing to pump...thus moving the gun) than my pumps. I used to buy into the whole 'pumps are best' idea, but frankly, semi-autos are just as reliable if they are kept clean (and Benellis are reliable even when dirty). Pumps can be short shucked (or short stroked) which means a round will not be chambered when the bolt is closed...and this especially can happen in a tense situation. Pump people...please don't flame me for this...modern semi-autos are superior to pumps for most applications. There really is a reason that they cost more money. ;)