View Full Version : Shotgun For A Small Lady

October 1, 2001, 11:37 PM
My wife is interested in shooting trap with me so I need to get her a shotgun. The problem is that my wife is very petite and can't handle any of my 12G guns. My wife is only 5' tall and 100 lb with matching short torso and arms. Last time we went out she used my Rem1100 but after about 10 shots she could not support the weight of the gun any more.

I believe recoil operated guns recoil more than gas operated gun so I'm looking for a light weight 20G gas operated shotgun with "youth" size stock that will cycle "low brass" 20G shells. My primary concern is low recoil and light weight. I was thinking about 20G Rem11-87 or 1100 with 24" barrel and "youth" size plastic stock/forearm but I don't think such shotgun exist.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

October 2, 2001, 12:23 AM

I found Remington makes a youth model 1100 in 20G with 21" barrel. I think this may be what I'm looking for but I wonder if there is lighter shotgun out there. According to Reminton websight this 20G weights 6 1/2 lb which is only 1/2 lb lighter than my 12G. I remember reading about a auto 20G that was only 5 1/2 lb and I think the recoil was mild too but I can remember the model.

On the plus side, as far as I know Rem1100 has lowest recoil of any shotgun.

October 2, 2001, 01:11 AM

You may want to look into the Beretta AL391 Urika "youth" model in 20 gauge. The 391 is a soft operating gun in 12 gauge, and even moreso in a 20. The youth model has a stock dimension that should fit your wife quite well. In case that kicks too much there seems to be a lot of recoil reducing products on the market for the 391, and from what I read, I gather that the 391 can cycle lighter loads better than any gas-gun out there.

hope this helps.


October 2, 2001, 07:09 AM
I'm with Kev-SpazzTrap on this one.
Beretta 391 women/youth is on my shopping list for my wife who is same size as yours.

Dave McC
October 2, 2001, 07:39 AM
The Franchi auto is recoil operated, but it's barely 6 lbs in 20 ga.

Low weight and low recoil butt heads here. More weight = less FELT recoil, and vice versa.

In these circumstances, having the lady shoot a variety of shotguns and letting her pick it out make sense.

Since it's trap she wants, trying out a lighter SBT makes sense too. Most of these run heavy, but there's not many shotguns better handling recoil than a fitted SBT,with its long and often custom overbore,ported,coned, and choked bbl.

Wenig makes a Lady's stock for many guns, including the 1100 and the Beretta autos.

October 2, 2001, 07:45 AM
Taco, my wife is likewise petite, and she is shooting a Remington 1100 Youth Model. The weight is something that your wife will soon get used to, and lighter guns will kick too much to be pleasant to shoot for her. Be sure to use good shells. Remington STS or Winchester AA's will kick a lot less than promotional dove and quail loads. Good reloads fall into that same category, and if she shoots much, you'll want to reload. The 1100 is a wonderful gun for short-statured people. I have taught many women and children to shoot with that piece. I use a standard-length 20 ga 1100 for most of my shotgunning too. It is exactly the same gun with longer stock and longer barrel.

October 2, 2001, 11:48 AM
I will eventually be doing the same thing (looking for a GP skeet/trap/claybusting) shotgun for the wife. I can't do that whole 'let her pick it' routine- she'll say that she'd rather me not spend the money, and will just use my 870 (which is sized decidedly not-right for her), which will lead to her not enjoying herself, which will lead to her not going shooting with me. So I get to go pick one for her. :rolleyes:

Without having invested much thought in this (yet, purchase is a ways off), I have been leaning towards Ithaca and 16 or 20 ga. Ithaca because its different, and 16 or 20 because it kicks less than a 12.

Plus, my wife once saw a VERY VERY nice and very old Ithaca shotgun and actually said (I swear I am not making this up) that it was 'kinda pretty.'

Hey, go with what works. :D


October 2, 2001, 01:05 PM
I've been looking at both the Remington and Mossberg youth models for my son, but in pump rather than semi-auto. Mossberg calls its youth model the Bantam, and I think Remington may use the same term generically. The slide action, of course, will take more muscle power than a gas-operated semi-auto.
(For what it's worth, Remington, I believe, is still offering a discount coupon on some models, but time may be running out. You can check their Web site. Mossberg -- and maybe Remington, too -- also used to offer a discount coupon to re-stock the Bantam model -- for when my son gets bigger. Not a factor, I realize, in your wife's case.)
However, your desire for a light-weight gun seems to be working at cross-purposes with your desire to reduce perceived recoil. From what you said, it seems the weight of the gun is the bigger problem -- so the muscle factor works against a pump model, too.
Proper training, I think, can help any shooter deal at least to some degree with perceived recoil. "Perceived" being the key word, in my view. That said, Remington has a factory instruction program, that might make a nice gift or vacation getaway for the two of you. I think the weekend package includes lodging, meals -- and a gun. The school is offered in Ilion, NY, but I think they have a travelling program, too. Details on their website. I've thought about doing it myself.
I also agree with the remark above that your wife will probably build up her muscles a bit, over time, to where the gun's weight won't be as much of a problem. Some PT designed to exercise her upper body -- arms, back, shoulders, neck -- might help, too.

October 4, 2001, 04:57 AM
Another suggestion is to use a NEF single shot shotgun in 12 or 20 gauge, you can get youth stocks or just have smith shorten them, and use low velocity low recoil loads.

12 gauge can be loaded down to 20 gauge level and in theory at least should have better pattern because of shorter shot colume => less pellet deformation.

Wal Marts and such carry the NEF and you can get them for less than $100.00 so you can afford to have a smith fit the gun to your wife. Plus add mercury recoil reducers or whatever else (porting?) to reduce recoil. The single shot will be much lighter than any auto, so she should suffer less from muscle fatigue, and you can have smith taylor balance by shortening barrel or adding weights to forarm or butt stock.

Bam Bam
October 4, 2001, 09:53 AM
right now Ithaca is offering a special Ladies Commemorative shotgun. It is sized just for Her. Check it out at www.ithacagun.com Also Ithaca runs a contest for a free shotgun every month.

FWIW, I would go with a Franchi or Benelli SA in 20ga. It may cost but it will be lovely and reliable.

October 4, 2001, 06:40 PM
Might want to check out the Benellis as previously posted. The new 20ga M1 Fields are under 6 pounds. Add a recoil reducer and you'll have one very low recoil gun.


October 4, 2001, 09:36 PM
i guess a 10 gauge is out of the picture :)-u could look into a 28 gauge or a 410 if u wanted.... just my .02 seeya

October 4, 2001, 11:15 PM
Don't overlook a 28 GA gun. Great gauge that is easy to shoot and has no recoil.

On the Skeet field the 28 is at home, if it wasn't for akeet the 28 would have gone the way of the 24 and 32 gauges.

More people need to start shooting 28's.

28 would be a real challenge at trap, but it will work.

Geoff Ross

October 5, 2001, 12:02 AM
Thanks for all your replies.

We are planning on going to couple of big gunstores this weekend to see what is available. I'm leaning towards 20G Remington 1100 Youth model but I was told by a coworker that his ex-wife used to like her 20G Franchi Lightweight which he said weight only 5 1/2lb. According to my wife my 12G Remington 1100 didn't kick that bad and felt she could shoot 25 rounds of it. The problem was the weight of the gun. We'll see.

October 5, 2001, 07:20 PM
And me with a Beretta A303 (English) 20 ga. for sale. Go figure.

October 7, 2001, 02:35 AM
I faced a similar dilemma a couple weeks back. We were looking for a good upland gun for my wife to get started on quail/dove and one that would be good for her to play at clay busting.

Going to stores and trying different guns out for fit/weight is probably the best thing you can do, finding a couple for her to try is even better. Main thing I've found in gun shopping for my wife is to let her make the decision, only she can tell what fits/feels best to her.

All that said, we (I should say she, it is no longer our gun, its hers) ended up with a Remington 11-87 Upland Special (20 ga., 2-3/4 & 3"). This model comes with a 23" light contour" mid-bead barrel (Remchoke w/3 tubes), "scaled down" receiver and a straight "English" stock. Light-weight, with fancy engraving and a gold trigger too. She just loves it, and I liked it too (the couple times she let me shoot it). Now I'm planning on getting one in 12 ga. for myself.

I posted a link to this particular shotgun on here about a month or so ago - Do a search using 11-87 upland special, and that thread should show up.

Daz :cool: