Hi Hal, I think you really need to take a look at the guage you buy before worrying about the gun. If you are that recoil sensitive, the 28 or 20 might be your best bet. The 870 in 20 ga. is a great gun. I have more fun and shoot better scores with my 20's than with my 12's.
I agree with you on the store thing. A gunshop in North Augusta SC has a sign in it that points to the Wal-Mart with the words "Yes, they have it cheaper". The point is that if you want to save the bucks, no problem. This guy does not stock the 870 expresses or the Savage 110 packages. But you won't get him to mount the scope free either...