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Old October 15, 2009, 01:15 PM   #9
BigJimP
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Join Date: February 23, 2005
Posts: 11,340
These guys are giving me too much credit / but I am a big supporter of Browning shotguns ( and I have several, so I am biased - but the reason I prefer the Browning is "fit" - and how it fits me personally).

I think the Browning is a much stronger and better made gun than the Ruger.

In general, Beretta and Browning both give you a lot of gun for the money / but they are very different when it comes to stock dimensions, weight, size of the grip, etc. Browning and Beretta make some very nice guns / but picking a shotgun is not about looks - its about fit. I would consider the Ruger in the next tier of guns below Browning and Beretta / and some are fine and some aren't. In terms of resale value - you will always get more out of a Browning or a Beretta than a Ruger on the used market.

As an example the Citori Lightning 28" 12ga - I bought new in 1988 for around $ 700 / even used now - with thousands of shells thru it, is easily worth $1,000 today.

The length of pull, drop at comb, drop at heel are probably the biggest issues - and unless you really know what your personal stock dimensions are - you can't tell by holding them in a retail store.

The Citori lineup has about 25 different models now - some like the 625 have a lot of drop at the comb and the heel / some like the Lightning a little less / some like the XS Skeet or XS Special - have combs that are parallel to the rib. The gun that will fit the most people, because its adjustable, is a gun with a parallel and adjustable comb insert ( like the XS Skeet ). The XS Skeet model, is my primary gun for Skeet, Sporting Clays and for bird hunting. I prefer it with a 30" barrel and around 8 1/2 lbs - but that gun is in the $ 2,750 price range now / so out of the range you want to spend - unless you find a good used one around.

Fit is the issue - because your eye is the rear sight - so as you mount the gun / you want the gun to hit where you look. You also want the gun to recoil under your cheek bone / not into the cheek bone .. Guns with a lot of drop at the comb - have a tendancy to smack shooters in the cheek bones - it hurts ....(that is my problem with the 525 and 625 series, too much drop at comb - so they beat me up).

Brownings website does not list stock dimensions on the Hunter / but I suspect its similar to the White Lightning. If, when you pattern the gun, you find it shoots a little high or a little low - you can put adjustable "jones pads" on the butt for drop, cast and length of pull / or adhesive pads on the comb to change the angle where you mount the gun.

If you buy the Ruger - it may or may not give you some trouble / it may be fine... If you buy the Browning - I'm confident it'll give you trouble free usage for 10,000 shells ....if you take care of it. Both guns - will need to be "fit" to you - after you take them to the pattern board / but you and a buddy can do that / unless you're the one percent that the Browning Hunter fits right out of the box ...and you might be...

Good luck / and no matter what - have fun with your search and selection .
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