Thank you for your comprehensive response, I really appreciate it. And thanks for your offer to answer my inevitable follow-up questions. Which are...
1. Do you recommend any particular ammo - both shot and slugs? I want to start with target shooting with shot, but since I mainly shoot at the NRA headquarters, I need to use slugs (they don't allow shot at the range).
2. In addition to learning proper technique (do you have any tips or resources on this, by the way?), what do you think is the best strategy for softening recoil? You mention weighing down the rear stock, how exactly should I do that? What about recoil pads for the gun? Or pads worn by the shooter? My only concern with adding pads is that my reach is just about at its limit - and I don't want to buy a shorter stock and install it...
Thanks again, much obliged,