March 30, 2013, 10:32 AM
Join Date: December 20, 2012
Location: The "Gunshine State"
GOOD and under 500 do not go in the same sentence.
Read this: (from Shotgun World)
I've got $0-$600 to spend
Look, I hear you. You want an Over/Under because that's what everybody has. Your options at this price point are limited. Understand what you are getting into and that you're not going to be the next Anthony Matarese with a CZ. There are some guns in this range that have better reputations (like the CZ and other Huglu branded guns). There are others with not-so-great reputations. Understand at this level that there is a greater likelihood that you're going to have problems. For somebody that shoots about 1000 rounds a year or less, you will probably get along OK with a CZ, Mossberg Silver Reserve, or a Yildiz (if you live in the Southeast near an Academy Sports).
For target shooting, I think there are much better options in this price range than an Over/Under. The Mossberg 930 series Semiautomatic is a great choice if you have to have something new. Another great new choice is the Beretta 390 that some big-box stores are selling right around $550. If you are confident in your gun-buying ability or you're just feeling lucky, a used Remington 1100, Browning Gold, Winchester SX2/3, or a Beretta 390/391 are all good choices for target guns.
I've got $600 - $800 to spend
We're into the range where careful shoppers can come out with a nice gun. If you are looking for something new, your first stop is CDNN Investments (http://www.cdnninvestments.com, download the latest catalog). CDNN is retailing a bunch of Lanber 2087 and 2097 shotguns in this range. Lanber guns are reliable and to me handle like a Browning. You can get them in nice target configurations with 30" barrels.
Another new option is the Savage Milano. While these guns are not in production anymore, they have been selling in the $800 range from places like Bass Pro. I don't expect these guns to be for sale much longer. I feel that the Savage Milano (A F.A.I.R. gun) feel most like a Beretta.
On the used gun market, you have more options. Typically in this range you will find older Browning/Beretta/SKB guns with either fixed chokes or short (26") barrels. At one time 26" barrels were all the rage in skeet, so it's not that they're bad, they're just not as desirable today as longer barrels.
I've got $800 - $1200 to spend
This is the sweet spot for bargain hunters. Most of your bargains in this range are going to come from people selling nicely equipped entry-level upper grade guns. Here you're going to start to see things like older Browning Citoris with 28" and 30" barrels. You will also start to see Beretta 68x with Mobilchoke barrels in this range. Another good gun in this range is a Franchi.
Every now and then something will show up in this range that the discriminating buyer will recognize as a deal. Nicely equipped guns like an LL Bean (by SigArms/B.Rizinni) or Weatherby guns (by SKB) will start showing up in this range. Most guns in this range are going to be 28" or 30" barrels.
If you are looking for new, you want to navigate over to CDNN. They have been closing out some Winchesters and Weatherby guns under $1000 with decent barrel lengths. Again, these guns are not current production, but what do you care?
I've got $1200 - $2000 to spend
This is the sweet spot for the target shooter that wants to start getting serious about his equipment but doesn't want to spend an arm and a leg to do it. Toward the bottom of this range ($1200 - $1500) you will be looking at former kings of competition; Browning 425/Ultra/GTi, Beretta 686/687/or a well used 682, and Modern SKBs. In the upper end of this range, you will find the more desirable barrel lengths and better wood.
Most guns in this range are going to be current production guns, but used.
Be educated in this range on what your options are. Some of the F.A.I.R. guns or the B.Riz guns that fall into this range are hidden gems.
If you are patient, you may even find a used Caesar Guerini in this range.
Most guns in this range are going to be 30" or 32" barrels.
Be patient, you will find what you are looking for on the used market. It helps to understand what the gun you are looking for sells for new.
Also, if you are looking for new guns, you should take a look at CDNN Investments again. They run specials on nicely equipped target guns that are closeouts from some of the bigger manufacturers. Recently they have had some very nice Browning Cynergys and 525s in the $1400- $1800 range. In fact, CDNN has some nice JP Saur Sohn branded Caesar Guerinis selling at $1800 or below.
I've got $2000 - $5000 to spend
You're getting serious about your shotgunning now. Here you will be looking at new guns with all the bells and whistles you are looking for. The big names in this range are Browning, Beretta, and Caesar Guerini.
A hidden gem in this range is the Zoli guns from Antonio Zoli.
Feel and fit is important in this range, because you're going to have this gun for a long time. If you are oddly shaped like me, a fitted gun may be in your future and you'll be able to find one in this range.
I've got over $5000 to spend
Dude, why are you asking me? If you're spending this kind of jack, you already know what you want. If you don't know what you want, stick with an off-the-rack gun until you know what you want.