Ernest T Bass, in the price range you indicated I would look for either a Browning Citori or a Beretta 686. Both guns are well made and a good value for the money. While they rarely break, if they do parts and gunsmiths to fix them are easy to find.
If you are not concerned with buying new, then you may find a good deal on a used Browning or Beretta, check the local Clays courses, often they have pro shops or bulletin boards with guns for sale. If you do buy used, have a gunsmith check out the gun before you close the deal.
I would stay away from the Remington and Ruger guns, and any make that is not common, the former because they are not made to the same standards as the B & B and the latter because if they break they may be difficult to get parts for or expensive to repair.
For general use look for 30" barrels with screw chokes, 28" may be good if you are small or have very short arms
Good Luck and good shooting!
Damn!...I need more practice!
Pi$$ off the left, register to vote.
[This message has been edited by K80Geoff (edited October 11, 1999).]