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Old February 25, 2013, 05:08 PM   #1
nmbrinkman
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I'm looking to upgrade my 870 express. She's a good shotgun but I don't the way she fits me. I really have to jam my cheek into the stock to look down the rib and I want a 3 1/2" option. I want a do it all shotgun that I can take out for dove in September (2 3/4") and waterfowl in the winter (3"-3 1/2"). I like shotguns that have accessories like a stepped rib, mid bead, hiviz front sight and camo. The sensible side of me says get the less expensive Benelli Supernova ($650) but she's a pump. I know with a pump reliability is a given but the devil on the other shoulder is telling me to max out my budget and blow it all on a autoloader like a Remington Versa Max Sportsman or try to find a Winchester SX3 under $1,100. I've looked at Franchi Affinity but they don't have a 3.5" option. Looked at the 11-87 Sportsman Super Mag but no stepped rib. The regular Versa Max in camo is out of my price range which also means so are the A400, SBE II and A5 class shotguns.
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Old February 25, 2013, 05:17 PM   #2
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Don't rule out the Mossberg 935

Brent
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Old February 25, 2013, 05:35 PM   #3
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Unless you shoot a lot of geese I'd drop the 3 1/2" requirement, especially in an auto. All of the 3 1/2" semi's are more sensitive to shooting lighter loads. I cannot see spending a lot more for a gun that reilably shoots shells I'll rarely if ever use and handicap myself with the shells I'll shoot 98% of the time.

There are more options in 3" guns and as a rule most of them still shoot light loads very reliably. They are cheaper too. For the very rare times you might actually need 3 1/2" shells there are other, more expensive non-toxc shot availible in 2 3/4" or 3" length that will easily outperform 3 1/2" steel. These loads are more expensive, and not what I'd recommend if you shoot steel at geese by the case, but for occasional use they are a better option.

If you MUST have a 3 1/2" gun I'd buy one of the Benelli pumps. I actually like the older, less expensive Nova better than the Super Nova.

With my money I'd buy a Benelli M-2. Although any of the offerings from Beretta are good too. Heard good things about Winchester, but no personal experience.
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Old February 25, 2013, 05:56 PM   #4
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Unless you shoot a lot of geese I'd drop the 3 1/2" requirement, especially in an auto. All of the 3 1/2" semi's are more sensitive to shooting lighter loads. I cannot see spending a lot more for a gun that reilably shoots shells I'll rarely if ever use and handicap myself with the shells I'll shoot 98% of the time.

There are more options in 3" guns and as a rule most of them still shoot light loads very reliably. They are cheaper too. For the very rare times you might actually need 3 1/2" shells there are other, more expensive non-toxc shot availible in 2 3/4" or 3" length that will easily outperform 3 1/2" steel. These loads are more expensive, and not what I'd recommend if you shoot steel at geese by the case, but for occasional use they are a better option.

If you MUST have a 3 1/2" gun I'd buy one of the Benelli pumps. I actually like the older, less expensive Nova better than the Super Nova.

With my money I'd buy a Benelli M-2. Although any of the offerings from Beretta are good too. Heard good things about Winchester, but no personal experience.
What about the nova do you prefer over the supernova? I've never shouldered the nova. Also, why the M2 over the Versa Max Sportsman. The M2 is about $400 more than the Remmy.

Last edited by nmbrinkman; February 25, 2013 at 06:03 PM.
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Old February 25, 2013, 06:04 PM   #5
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I've owned a nova and shot a super nova. I didn't notice a difference. Got rid of the nova and bought a super Vinci. Buy once, cry once.
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Old February 25, 2013, 06:43 PM   #6
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I've owned a nova and shot a super nova. I didn't notice a difference. Got rid of the nova and bought a super Vinci. Buy once, cry once.
That's what I'm afraid of. I buy a pump and later end up wishing I bought or just plain want to upgrade to a SA and/or 3.5". Why I'm kinda leaning towards a Versa Max. I hear a lot of recommendations for $1600 autoloaders over the VM but not too many bad reviews. Is it because it's a newer shotgun and just not enough data out on it?
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Old February 25, 2013, 07:10 PM   #7
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I made that mistake, it costs more in the end. Bought an 870, didn't like it sold it, bought a benelli nova then decided I wanted an auto.
Personally, I don't like Remington's shotguns. Held a VM just to check it out when I was looking for an auto Benelli and it didn't really do anything for me. But in this case, it's whatever feels good in your hands.
Don't get me wrong, pumps are great and someone proficient with a pump should be able to shoot just as fast as an auto. But the Super Vinci is my primary waterfowl gun, so not worrying about pumping is just one less thing to think about when a duck passes over.
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Old February 25, 2013, 07:37 PM   #8
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Well, I really don't like Benellis, or any inertia actioned gun, so I would go with a gas autoloader. I like Remington, but Browning, Winchester, Beretta, Mossberg; they all pretty much work. Maybe look for a used one in excellent condition if price is an obstacle. If you want a 3-1/2" semi auto, GET a 3-1/2" semi auto. That's all the reason you need. You only live once.
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Old February 25, 2013, 07:39 PM   #9
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I made that mistake, it costs more in the end. Bought an 870, didn't like it sold it, bought a benelli nova then decided I wanted an auto.
Personally, I don't like Remington's shotguns. Held a VM just to check it out when I was looking for an auto Benelli and it didn't really do anything for me. But in this case, it's whatever feels good in your hands.
Don't get me wrong, pumps are great and someone proficient with a pump should be able to shoot just as fast as an auto. But the Super Vinci is my primary waterfowl gun, so not worrying about pumping is just one less thing to think about when a duck passes over.
I like my 870 but I'm in a position now where I can upgrade to leather, automatic transmission, power seats, fog lights and a V8 (not the diesel though). My 870 is going to be my boy's shotgun when he's old enough.
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Old February 25, 2013, 08:05 PM   #10
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Well, I really don't like Benellis, or any inertia actioned gun, so I would go with a gas autoloader. I like Remington, but Browning, Winchester, Beretta, Mossberg; they all pretty much work. Maybe look for a used one in excellent condition if price is an obstacle. If you want a 3-1/2" semi auto, GET a 3-1/2" semi auto. That's all the reason you need. You only live once.

Exactly, it's better to not need it and have it then need it and not have it.

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I like my 870 but I'm in a position now where I can upgrade to leather, automatic transmission, power seats, fog lights and a V8 (not the diesel though). My 870 is going to be my boy's shotgun when he's old enough.
I think everyone should have a pump at least once. Some people prefer pump. And I think your boys gonna love it. I did it the opposite. I gave my father my 870. Haha. He wouldn't accept it for free so he paid for it in an oil pan for my Firebird.
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Old February 25, 2013, 08:55 PM   #11
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At $650 for a pump, save up the extra $ to get a decent semi. IMO you only need a 3" shell but if you find a 3.5" gun you want, might as well get it. I recommend any Beretta or Remington semi auto. If you want a pump if recommend an 870 or Mossberg 500
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Old February 25, 2013, 09:09 PM   #12
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At $650 for a pump, save up the extra $ to get a decent semi. IMO you only need a 3" shell but if you find a 3.5" gun you want, might as well get it. I recommend any Beretta or Remington semi auto. If you want a pump if recommend an 870 or Mossberg 500
I own an 870. I have the money for a SA. I'm stuck between spending the money for the the action or not. The two pumps you mention are basic shotguns. I want the extras +\- gas action.
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Old February 25, 2013, 09:13 PM   #13
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Don't rule out the Mossberg 935

Brent
From the reviews I read it has issues shooting light loads. Do you own one? I don't know anyone that hunts with one. I'll take first hand reviews over what I've read on retail site reviews.
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Old February 26, 2013, 08:42 AM   #14
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What about the nova do you prefer over the supernova? I've never shouldered the nova. Also, why the M2 over the Versa Max Sportsman. The M2 is about $400 more than the Remmy.
Mainly the cost differencebween the Nova's. The Super Nova costs a lot more and offers no advantages that I can use.

Back in the 1960's Remington semi's were on the top of the game. The problem is that they haven't improved a bit in 50 years and have been left behind by newer manufacturers.

I don't trust ANY of the 3 1/2" semi's with light loads. Even the best of them are unreliable and they will tell you so in the fine print of the owners manual. If I planned on shooting only 3" and 3 1/2" shells then I'd buy one. But almost all shooters shoot light 2 3/4" ammo far more often. I'd rather spend my money on a gun that is reliable with the ammo I'll actually shoot. 3 1/2 shells offer zero advantages. They simply are not needed for anything except long range goose hunting and even then there are better 3" options.

If I felt I had to have 3 1/2" capability and 2 3/4" reliability in the same gun it would have to be a pump. The Nova's are as good as any for this.

It is really personal preference as to inertia vs gas operated actions. Both are good poven desgns. The gas guns tend to be heavier and reduce felt recoil a bit more. Inertia guns are lighter, simpler and more reliable in harsh dirty hunting conditions. For a clays game gun I'd take the softer shooting gas gun every time. I prefer the simplicity and relibility of the Inertia guns in the hunting fields. The M-2 is about as perfect a hunting shotgun as has ever been made and it can be found for less than most of the 3 1/2" guns.
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Old February 26, 2013, 01:00 PM   #15
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I have an A400 Xplor - the 3.5 green receiver gun. As to it not shooting light loads, I'll call BS. Mine is ONLY used for sporting clays by my wife (and me when she lets me) and I reload a 3/4oz reload - that's a 28 gauge equal - and this gun has never malfed.
Yes I bought it used, and even then it wasn't cheap, but with the KO, it makes any load feel soft.

If you are truly going to shoot 3 and 3.5" behemoths, this is a gun worth looking at, even if it means saving up and buying lightly used.
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Old February 26, 2013, 01:21 PM   #16
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There are a lot of issues being raised in this thread...but in my view, it really comes down to what you want - and what your budget allows.

Semi-autos on the market for gas and inertia guns ...start around $ 800 ..and go up to about $ 2,000 ...and some higher end models are over $2,000. I know I sound like a broken record on the forum...but Beretta, Benelli and Browning give you a lot of gun for the money ..and a lot of models to choose from in semi-autos.

If I was looking for a gas gun on a budget..I'd probably buy the Browning Silver Hunter..../ if I could spend $ 1,500 - $2,000 I'd look at some of the Benelli's ( like the Super Sport which I like a lot, etc ) / but there is also nothing wrong with some of the Beretta offerings either..../ but in all this it comes down to "Fit" and does the gun you're looking at have any adjustability ( shims between receiver and stock, etc )...some models do, some don't...

If you want a pump gun...there's probably nothing wrong with the 870's, the Nova's, or the Mossbergs...but a pump I like a lot is the Browning BPS Hunter model at around $600 - again its a lot of gun for the money.
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Old February 26, 2013, 01:22 PM   #17
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I have an A400 Xplor - the 3.5 green receiver gun. As to it not shooting light loads, I'll call BS. Mine is ONLY used for sporting clays by my wife (and me when she lets me) and I reload a 3/4oz reload - that's a 28 gauge equal - and this gun has never malfed.
Yes I bought it used, and even then it wasn't cheap, but with the KO, it makes any load feel soft.

If you are truly going to shoot 3 and 3.5" behemoths, this is a gun worth looking at, even if it means saving up and buying lightly used.
My Super Vinci shot light loads out of the box. Even cycled 12 gauge low recoil target loads, once. Haha.
But I guess it just depends on the gun. But when I first got it the first thing I did was shoot clays with light loads. Didn't shoot anything more then an oz shot.
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Old February 26, 2013, 04:26 PM   #18
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Benellis will have a harder time than a gas gun with lighter loads. The nice thing about this Beretta is that the gas is self-regulating. Unlike some older gas guns where you swapped barrels or pistons to shoot low or high pressure loads, this is load and shoot. At 7#, even with the KO, I can only imagine what a 3.5"goose or turkey load would feel like....
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Old February 26, 2013, 06:23 PM   #19
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Anybody shoot the Mossberg 930? Doing some research I came across it and it got great reviews. I'm willing to sacrifice 3.5" on a good deal. Hell, I'll buy as much heavy shot as I can with a $400 savings (which won't buy much).
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Old February 26, 2013, 07:22 PM   #20
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The mossberg is not getting good reviews in my area....based on what I hear locally, its marginal at best.../ but its inexpensive...
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Old February 27, 2013, 07:40 PM   #21
nmbrinkman
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Anything against an SX3 in Max-4 camo for $1,200 (pre tax and fees)? I called around and am thinking about going to my local outdoor chain and dropping a deposit on one (none in stock; pay in full when they get a serial no. and start paperwork).
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Old February 27, 2013, 08:45 PM   #22
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Have you checked for the SX3 on line and having a local FFL do the transfer? Might be cheaper than the big box
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Old March 2, 2013, 11:05 PM   #23
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Have you checked for the SX3 on line and having a local FFL do the transfer? Might be cheaper than the big box
I found one online. $1100 in 3.5" with shadow grass camo. Waiting to get 100% of funds to have it shipped to my local FFL. Thanks for the heads up.
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