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Old December 10, 2002, 08:13 PM   #1
nyetter
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Yet another newbie thread, help me pick a 1st SG

I recently fired a shotgun for the first time, a little informal clay shooting. I must say that was doubtless THE most fun I've EVER had shooting. So naturally I want to take this up, but I really don't know much about it so I could use a hand.

I'm looking to pick up a shotgun, but no hurry, it's too cold to shoot outdoors right now. That gives me plenty of time to shop, and learn. My wife and I went to our favorite gun shop this past weekend, and handled a few models:

Benelli Nova ($280)
Stoeger Condor ($400) & Condor Supreme ($500)
some Beretta I didn't get the model of ($1300+?)
Franchi Alcione Titanium ($?)
Weatherby Orion II ($850, slightly used)
Remington 870 Wingmaster 28ga ($580)

Also, the gun of my buddy's that I shot was, I believe, a Browning Superposed, English grip, with a professionally raised comb.


Now I've been reading the archives, and I've read a lot about the importance of "fit". But, I don't really know how to sense how well a shotgun fits. Any pointers?

The guy who showed me all these guns said they've sold lots of the Stoegers and haven't heard any complaints. They're certainly not as pretty as the big name doubles, and I imagine they won't hold up to 100k rounds. But for a beginner, are they "cheap" or just inexpensive? Would spending the extra money on the Weatherby be worth it in the long run? Or would I be best spending even more on a Beretta or Browning and be done with it?

Or perhaps I should do the sensible thing and buy a pump first. My wife is keen on the Nova, though it seemed excesssively heavy to me. The shop guy said he preferred the Winchester 1300. The Remington 870 seems to be the favorite on this board. Gun Tests really liked the Browning BPS. Are any really better, or should price and preference be my guide?

It seems the best thing to do would be to actually fire a few different guns, but I don't know how I'd go about doing that. Are there any places in the Denver area my wife and I could visit, where we could observe some formal clay shooting and maybe get some trigger time on a few guns?

Thanks.
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Old December 10, 2002, 09:17 PM   #2
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Welcome to the world of clays, extremely addicting, and a whole lot of fun.

Plus everyone has an opinion, it all depends how much you want to spend, if you're on a limited budget like me then here's my advice...I wouldn't recommend the stoeger, they seem to have some parts failure around 2-3 thousand rounds. Not good for an O/U. If you want to get a nice inexpensive O/U look at Lanber, spanish manufacturer, but are very popular overseas and are very well made.

If you want a really pretty O/U but not costly, look at Huglu's, a turkish gun that my friend just got and this thing is gorgeous. A company is having a liquidation sale, http://www.huglushotgunsusa.com and they are selling them very inexpensively.

How I started was to get a beat up old 870 and shot the hell out of it and worked my way up to an O/U.

Don't forget the autoloader, great for those sensitive to recoil, I'd recommend the Beretta 390 or 391.

For research, this is the place, plunge through the archives and who will find a plethora of info.
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Old December 10, 2002, 11:40 PM   #3
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Guess you may have possibly already seen current

http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/...hreadid=144612

Lady friend mentioned there and I recently did a sporting clays course and she appeared to be somewhat handicapped with 20 gauge vs. my 12. She only busted 10 of 50 but still had a blast (pun intented). Hopefully gonna come up with 12 gauge semi-auto soon for her to try next.

Another newbie lady friend just today settled on Remington 11-87. I saw one (maybe a Model 1100) here (Dallas area) in Academy for around $550. Beretta 391 was $729. Clerk was braggin' that they were beating Oshman's by around $20 ...
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Last edited by Greybeard; December 11, 2002 at 06:43 AM.
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Old December 11, 2002, 05:34 AM   #4
Dave McC
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A lot of choices, and lots of good ones to pick.

There's a few different approaches, but let me get this out first.

Visit all the ranges in the area and ask questions,maybe fire a few rounds,then let your wife pick what she wants.

I'd stay with US made pumps for starters, but your Mrs may have other ideas. The Novas have a lot of loud, happy owners.

Buying a quality shotgun means it still will have some value if you decide to sell it later on.

As for "Fit"....

Fit enables one to make the shot go where we're looking, comfortably. Experience counts here, best to find a smith or other gun cognizant person to help you with this. Be advised that there's a lot more folks that think they know than do know.

Aaa stock has to be long enough you don't bump your nose with your thumb, short enough to mount easily, with enough drop to place your master eye where it belongs,pitch and cast that fits the peculiarities of your body, and so on.

Suggestion, most ranges have an instructor that teaches new shooters. This person probably can do a rough job fitting you while teaching you the basics. Get lessons, it takes years off the learning curve.

And use the lightest loads you can find at first. Trust me on this...

HTH....
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Old December 12, 2002, 07:15 AM   #5
beetlefang
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Shotgun lunatic fit syndrome

Riflemen don't rave about 'fit,' so why do shotgunners complain, curse, or laude it?

Basically fit is how ergonomic your gun is to you. To shoot intuitively, w/ repetitive accuracy (e.g clays) one will probably do better with a gun that points to where he/she is looking.

On a scattergun, your eye is the back site. So if you can keep it mounted at the same place everytime - you're well ahead of the game - because you decrease variability between shots.

I believe that rifles are actually 'fitted' too...one scope mounting does not 'fit' all.

Many manufacturers worry about length of pull for the fit..that is how far the trigger is from the butt of the stock. Some even have triggers to change the LOP.

European guns typically come w/ some caste off or caste on. Basically the stock is warped a little to the right or left to accomodate the handedness of the shooter.

Drop at comb and rear comb are measurements based upon an imaginary line extending from the rear of the gun and then measured to the top of the stock. It's like...how high is your stock in relation to the plane your barrels are on. I think this is important, because that's what your face welds too when you're shooting.

If you shoot instinctively like some archers I know...never using sites - only looking at the target - then fit may not be as important. But, it sure can't hurt.

A 'cheap' fitting that I use is mounting the gun and swinging w/ my eyes closed in a store. Then open my eye and see if the gun and my eye are pointed at the same thing. You'd be surprised how far off some guns point w/ this simple fit test. And, how good some point using it too. It has nothing to do w/ price...just dumb luck..my body measurement can fit brand x and y off the shelf.

Some guns are 'easier' to fit too. They come w/ adjustable stocks or shims so one may modify the gun themselves before figuring out how complicated it is and getting it fitted by someone who really knows what they are doing

As for preferences...I had a stoeger for a little while. It was a double trigger side by side - the triggers were kind of hard to pull. And one barrel didn't shoot too straight. It was probably all me and my lack of fit knowledge...but I blamed it on the gun.

I recently purchased a browning citori in 20 gauge and really really like the gun. I have a beretta 390 in 12...it's great too.

If you're in no hurry to buy, I'd just try to shoot other peoples guns at the clay range until you find one you like. Ask them why they like it.

I think you can't go wrong w/ a 390. If you're intimidated by automatics though (some people think they are complicated) then a pump may be the way to go - it's much cheaper price wise. You can shoot it with minimum investment and get somehting that you really want later, when you decide what that is...

Buy a 12 gauge as your first gun. There's more shell variety around off the shelf.

-beetle
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Old December 12, 2002, 08:07 AM   #6
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I'll toss my opinion in here also and suggest an auto with the berretta 390/391 as my first pick. it has some stock adjustment options you can do yourself. the remington 1100/11-87 is also worth a look.
I really like the double barrel guns but to get quality hardware you are going to be in a higher price range vs an auto. pumps represent the cheapest and most trouble-free repeating shotguns and I certainly woudn't steer you away from a pumpgun however if you are thinking of shooting clays I'd opt for the recoil reduction of an auto.
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Old December 12, 2002, 09:56 AM   #7
CMichael
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I would certainly recommend a 12 gauge for your wife. She will get frustrated with a 20 gauge. I think buy a cheaper gun for your wife and perhaps even yourself and see how much you two like it.

If you two start really enjoying it then upgrade to a better gun. I would even suggest getting one pump shotgun that you both share. After doing it a few times she may tire of it and not like it anymore. Before investing about $1,000 I think this would be a more prudent thing to do.

At my range when shooting trap you can only load one shell at a time. Therefore if you both enjoy just trap and not skeet you don't need a semi-auto or an O/U which are a lot more money.

I think start off cheap and see where your interests wander then you can get a shotgun that best meets your needs.

Michael
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Old December 12, 2002, 09:58 AM   #8
CMichael
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One more thing it's not too cold to shoot. i was at the range last weekend and had a great time. It's never too cold to shoot just dress appropriately.

I started out with a Mossberg Persuader with a 20" barrel that I wanted for home defense. Then when I got more into the clay games I bought the optional 28" barrel.

Have fun!

Michael
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Old December 12, 2002, 10:26 AM   #9
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did we stray off the thread slightly or ist it me.....?

Here's my $.02

If you're just starting, go buy a gun in your price range and that "feels good" in the store. Then put several hundred rounds through it. Then look for professional instruction.

If you have friends with guns, invite them out to shoot and you provide the ammo and see if they won't let you try their guns. Shoot as many as you can.

Once you are comfortable with the gun(s) you have chosen and have had a little instruction then "fit" becomes more important.

I have several shotguns. None have been fitted to me, they are all off the shelf. The include:

Browning A5
Browning Citori
American Arms Gentry SXS
Remington 870
Remington 48 20ga
Winchester Pump .410

It is difficult to shoot them all well. I have learned over the years that if I'm not hitting with a gun on a particular day, I can trade and usually start doing better. Sometimes I have to trade several times. If my stance is different or I'm holding my head different it all matters.

I recommend a good auto loader for beginners. By as much of a quality gun as you can afford. If you can afford a $1500 Beretta or Browning by all means get one. They will hold their value if you want to trade it later.

Most of all have fun!
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Old December 12, 2002, 12:25 PM   #10
CMichael
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I know I am contradicting what I suggested above but a semi-auto has less recoil than a pump. In other words better suited for a woman.

Michael
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Old December 12, 2002, 01:02 PM   #11
C.R.Sam
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Quote:
Riflemen don't rave about 'fit,' so why do shotgunners complain, curse, or laude it?
Winning Riflemen who shoot in classes where they have latitude re dimensions of stock are very picky about fit.

Sam
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Old December 12, 2002, 01:24 PM   #12
sm
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Dave McC, CR Sam, one is wise to heed the advice of these guys.

"FIT" is a big deal to me, Shotgun, Rifle, and Handguns.

Its the shooter- not the gun. Best advice I ever rec'd
.
Many ranges have those talented enough to assist with fit, many others will allow one to try before you buy.
Pumps - interesting- in shucking one "re-aquires" the target, allowing to "bird, belly, beak ,boom" (pass through) and is a positive way to learn.

Let the Mrs. choose(on anything, trust us ) and don't rule out a used 1100, if it fits, too many ladies out there will "dust your eye" with a 12 bore. I know-I coached her *g*. Started her out with a model 12 pump, she had $, could buy anything (paid cash for her home and car) what did she buy, used 1100, $250, bought a second one for backup. She'll still take the fun 'shuck shoot" with daddy's model 12 tho. *g*
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Old December 12, 2002, 04:14 PM   #13
nyetter
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Regarding auto-loaders, are they as much of a pain to keep clean as a gas-operated rifle? Will they function with super-light loads like Winchester's 26g "min dr. eq." loadings, or would I not need to go that light with an auto's reduced recoil? FWIW, I didn't have any problem with the recoil of 12ga target loads in the Browning, no pain or bruising in the shoulder, just a little soreness in the cheek.
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Old December 12, 2002, 04:54 PM   #14
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Gas guns can be a pain to keep clean compared to a pump or over/under. They often won't shoot the light loads and the Winchester Low Noise Low Recoil rounds specifically say they will not function in most semi autos.
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Old December 12, 2002, 05:00 PM   #15
sm
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I personally shoot in 12 ga the 2 3/4 or 3dr eq in 1 1/8 shot sizes. I like that extra 1/8 of shot-umm thats where that "golden pellet" might be hiding when the wind kicks up. Clay birds I stick with #8.

Mainly I shoot older guns (my favorite autoloader is a '74 model SX1). It also does fine with the 1 oz loadings. 1100's tend to be the same as do the old Beretta 302 and 303. Not a big fan of the 1187, prefer the 1100-personally. I understand a lot of the newer autoloaders do fine with the smaller loadings, but I've not tried them, again I'm after a certain pattern, BIG Believer in pattern boards. The SX2 and Golden Hunter's I've shot were great with the 1oz loads, didn't notice any reduced recoil so again I stayed with the 1 1/8.
Just and old coot in training I guess, once I find something that fits, and a load that works, I stay with it, practice practice practice and let the others continually play the change game--I don't compete anymore--miss taking their money *g*
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Old December 12, 2002, 08:54 PM   #16
beetlefang
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"--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Riflemen don't rave about 'fit,' so why do shotgunners complain, curse, or laude it?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Winning Riflemen who shoot in classes where they have latitude re dimensions of stock are very picky about fit.

Sam"

Good point Sam...if you read my entire post (I know I was longwinded) you'd see that I recognized that rifles have a fit too; however, the average rifle conversation is usually around velocity and bullet drop...while the average shotgun conversation seems to eventually wind up on the mysterious 'fit.'

BTW post a review of the gun you do buy...I personally find the gun reviews the most useful info for me...

-Beetle
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Old December 15, 2002, 07:34 PM   #17
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Get a quality auto or over/under. Avoid pumps, because sooner or later you'll want to shoot sporting clays and not be at a disadvantage.
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