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Old January 2, 2010, 05:33 PM   #1
BFaubion
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Beginner Mistake

Hello Firing Line Forums,

Two years ago I bought myself a Benelli Nova Pump 12 gauge shotgun. I love this shotgun, but thankfully I was born left-handed. So after getting over the fact that I got caught up and made a very uninformed decision in buying an excellent right handed gun, I have decided it is time to go back and try this one again.

I am looking at selling the Nova and purchasing a left-handed Remington 870 Express. I realize that the Remington can't chamber 3 1/2 shells, which as far as I can tell are not really necessary. The Remington looks to be the best choice for me because I would like a 12 gauge pump shotgun that I will not break if I beat it up a little bit. I will be mainly skeet shooting with this gun, having gone many times since I got the Benelli. I also need a gun that I can take duck and deer hunting as well. I realize that many left handed shooters shoot right handed shotguns, but I still want a left-handed shotgun. The main reason for this being that safeties are a hassle when using a right-handed left-handed gun, second being the 1 in 20 chance of a spent shell smacking me in the face. I do not know of any other left handed options except the Browning BPS, which ejects to the bottom. I would like to be able to sell me Benelli Nova and put maybe one or two hundred into my next gun. Hopefully any insight you all have on this will help me for the better.

A second question I have is how often do people use say 24" barrels on shotguns. My current Nova fits great, just the 28" barrel on it feels like it is a mile long. What I am asking I guess is how short can I get a barrel before I look stupid, i.e the 20" ones on the HD shotguns. I think the 24" range would probably be my best bet being a 5' 9" 160 lbs 16 year old ( I still will be able to grow into the larger 28" barrel that comes on the 870).

Thank you in advance for any insight on my questions.
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Old January 2, 2010, 05:38 PM   #2
zoomie
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Why not the BPS? I think 24" would be ok, especially for a smaller frame.
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Old January 2, 2010, 05:51 PM   #3
BFaubion
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The main reason I am considering the 870 over the BPS is the price difference. The extra money I would spend on the BPS I could put toward my next gun purchase, a Ruger 10/22.
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Savage 11 FLNS .308 Win (Left-Handed) w/ Bushnell Elite 3200 5-15x40 Tactical Mil-Dot Reticle

Benelli Nova Pump Shotgun, 12 Gauge, 28", 3.5" Chmbr, Synthetic Stock, Matte Finish
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Old January 2, 2010, 06:21 PM   #4
dalecooper51
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Can you swap in a lefty safety and just buy the 10-22?
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Old January 2, 2010, 06:42 PM   #5
BigJimP
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I think the BPS is a better gun than the cheaper 870 - and I think its a gun you'll have a lot longer.

In terms of barrel lenth on a pump or semi-auto, I would not go below a 26" or 28" barrel. The longer barrel helps lengthen the sight plane - and it helps on the follow thru. Shorter barrels tend to make the gun too "whippy" and many of us have a tendancy to not follow thru as well on a shorter gun.

A 28" barrel on the pump gun ( because the receiver is longer ) is the same overall length (from butt to muzzle ) as a 30" barreled Over Under. For me, I stay with 28" barrels on my pump guns / and 30" barrels on my O/U's for my general purpose guns ( for Skeet, bird hunting and sporting clays) and a gun that weighs around 8 or 8 1/2 lbs. For Trap - I go to longer barrels and a heavier gun - 32" O/U and a gun that weighs about 10 lbs ( because in Trap there is less left to right barrel movement ) than there is in Skeet, Sporting or hunting.

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Old January 2, 2010, 06:49 PM   #6
Doyle
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Barrel length is not dictated by your physical size but by how that shotgun is being used. 24" barrels are common on turkey guns where a hunter is sitting in a hidden position and "aims" rather than "swings" on a target.

Skeet shooting (and its cousins Sporting Clays, 5 stand, etc) are most commonly done with 26" barrels. The longer the barrel, the better sighting plane you have and the smoother you can swing on a moving target. However, with Skeet you need to swing quickly so anything more than about 26" slows you down. The same holds true with upland wingshooting.

With trap and waterfowl, a longer barrel really comes into its own. Waterfowlers typically choose a 28" barrel as a compromise between a long sighting plane and reasonably fast swinging. Trap shooters start with 28" and go up to 30" or even 32" barrels.

Equip your shotgun with the barrel(s) that you will need for each usage.
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Old January 3, 2010, 12:10 AM   #7
zippy13
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BFaubion, like the others , I recommend a bottom ejector pump gun for a south paw. With a left handed gun you'll face potential problems with spare parts that are specific to the LH model (like extra barrels). And it may be a slow mover should you want to sell it. An ambidextrous gun is your better bet, by far.

As far as barrel length is concerned, I should tell you that my friend BigJIm typically prefers a barrel that a little on the long side for most folks. He, like some other experienced shooters, like a Skeet gun with a 30-in barrel because it swings very smoothly. But, it may not be the best length for a new or smaller shooter. Forty years ago most Skeet guns had 26-in barrels. Another thing to remember is because a pump has a longer action that an O/U, the overall length of a pump will about the same as an O/U with 2-in longer barrels. If your Nova seemed like it had too much barrel with the 28, perhaps you should at least look at another pump with a 26. Yes, a 26-in barrel is a common size for the Browning BPS.
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Old January 3, 2010, 01:16 AM   #8
mr kablammo
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Sir, I am a right-handed writer but a left-eyed shooter. That means shooting rifles and shotguns left-shouldered. In my opinion, aged 40+, it is better to get the BPS for the ambidexterous features: bottom eject, tang safety. In the short term there is more cost. In the long term you will enjoy a fine shotgun that you can share with right-handed friends, wife, and children. The extra price is worth it.
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Old January 3, 2010, 06:47 AM   #9
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For serious skeet shooting, as has been pointed out, a longer barrel is better....26 at least.

That said I will tell you from experence that you can do just fine with a very short barrel. I use a 20" vent rib barrel with tubes for everything.

While it is not optimum, for the reasons stated, for things like ducks and doves, it works perfect for pheasants. It is also a very nice thing to have a short barrel when toting it through the thick stuff loaded with buckshot.

That was the original reason for the short barrel, the ease of manuvering through the swamp after hogs. Found out on the first trip to the range that it worked more than passing on the skeet field. Not like a REAL skeet gun but still good enough to enjoy the game and build competence for when you're in the field.

I've got a couple of long barrelled guns but every time I reach into the safe I end up with the short on in my hand..........
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Old January 3, 2010, 01:37 PM   #10
Peter Weber
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Let me get this straight. You want to sell a right handed pump shotgun so that you can buy a left handed pump shotgun of lesser quality and buy a right handed .22 rifle?

like was offered before ... why not just have the safety switched on the Benelli? And then again on the 10/22?
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Old January 3, 2010, 09:50 PM   #11
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BF, another 2 cents for the BPS. Ideal for your situation. I have had mine for 20 years and I love it. Bottom ejection, top safety, functions perfectly and still looks great.
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Old January 3, 2010, 10:00 PM   #12
DocSouth
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Here's a question for y'all.

Is the standard 870 going to present a problem for a lefty like me?

Firing rifles and shotguns before, all right-handed guns, and I haven't really had too much difficulty other than the safety.

Is there anything that should cause me concern? I just got an 870 for christmas, and while some nice people have been walking me through the decision making process, I didn't really think handedness would make TOO much of a difference for me.
Was I mistaken?
I assumed I could just switch out the safeties down the road and stick with a solid gun.
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Old January 3, 2010, 10:06 PM   #13
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Doc -

I'm LH as well and one of my favorite guns is a 28 gauge 1100 semi - that's a RH gun. I have had no issues with empties or anything else

Go to a gun club and see if you can borrow or rent a similar gun and try it.
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Old January 4, 2010, 06:09 AM   #14
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Thanks.
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Old January 4, 2010, 08:28 AM   #15
BFaubion
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So I think my best bet is probably going to be to sell my Benelli and buy the BPS. I could switch the safety as recommended by dalecooper51 and Peter Weber but I still would have the problem of some shells hitting me (I know most other left-handed shooters with right-handed guns to not have this problem, but I seem to be unable to shoot without a few shells hitting me, which is more than I would like even though they really don't bother me). So now that I am looking at the BPS, which one should I look at in the 26" barrel. The BPS Stalker appears to be the best option in my opinion, considering it is all synthetic, has a 26" barrel, and can chamber unnecessary 3 1/2" shells that I will never need, but that doesn't mean I wont be able to.
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Savage 11 FLNS .308 Win (Left-Handed) w/ Bushnell Elite 3200 5-15x40 Tactical Mil-Dot Reticle

Benelli Nova Pump Shotgun, 12 Gauge, 28", 3.5" Chmbr, Synthetic Stock, Matte Finish
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Old January 4, 2010, 10:59 PM   #16
drjjpdc
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BF,
It also depends on your frame. For example, I am 6'5" and about 300 lbs. and my BPS has the 28" bbl. I also love the H&R Buffalo guns with the long barrels, but I don't have to worry about carrying them since I target shoot and rarely hunt anymore. I think you have decided on a winning combination. Good luck.
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Old January 4, 2010, 11:07 PM   #17
treyt3495
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Just to throw this in the mix the 870 is made in a express super mag which does chamber the 3-1/2 shells. I am unsure of the left availabilty in the particular model.
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Old January 9, 2010, 01:20 AM   #18
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If you want to duck hunt I would not count out the 3 1/2 shell. I usually us a box a season because some times they are flying farther than the 3" shells will carry. I also use them on the occasional goose that comes lumbering by. While it is not my primary go to round, with the recoil reducer in I can bang those all day and not have a problem.
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