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Old November 8, 2004, 10:45 PM   #1
jimfrompa
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help with first time shotgun purchase

I've decided to buy a 12 gauge pump shotgun. I've been around guns my whole life but this will be the first one that's all mine. Main purpose will be home defense.

Budget is a key factor for me (under $250 would be nice), and i'm not adverse to getting a used or entry-level shotgun.

I've got a few questions.

1. How much can i expect to pay for a half decent shotgun?

2. Ive been looking at the maverick 88. what's the difference between this and regular mossberg 500? are they any good, or should i steer away from them?

3. Is it fairly easy to find a used shotgun in decent shape at most gun shops?

4. What should i look out for when buying a used shotgun?

5. Is it going to be a pain in the ass? (how much paperwork is required, will there be a long background check\waiting period?). i live in PA.
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Old November 8, 2004, 11:32 PM   #2
mikikanazawa
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For the price difference, my reaction would be to buy a new shotgun. (I bought my Mossberg 500 on a promo deal for $100.) That notwithstanding, new 500s are going for under $300. You can probably save $50-$100 on a used gun, but for defensive firearms I would think the inconvenience of paying the extra $100 outweighs the inconvenience of a gun you can't shoot at the bad guys with.

The Mavericks are similar to the 500s. Barrels are interchangeable. The 500 uses a thumb safety and the Maverick uses a crossbolt safety at the front of the trigger guard. Mavericks come standard with vent-rib barrels or rifle sights. The low-end 500s have plain barrels with bead sights.

I installed a midbead sight on my 18.5" 500 and it does a real good job at trapshooting, with no choke! However, if using 00 buck, I'd have to switch to the 1911 for ranges past 15-20 yards or so, if I didn't want to pepper whatever was behind my intended target with buckshot.
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Old November 9, 2004, 12:20 AM   #3
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ON any firearm purchase I recommend "try before you buy". Gun fit and such varies with shooter and firearms. Range Rentals, friends, and on a shotgun you need someone that knows about gun fit for a shotgun - naturally.

That said , Stay with any of the Big 4 ( Rem, Win, Ithaca, or Mossberg). If used , have someone shotgun savvy assist. New , still not a bad idea to have a savvy person to assist in buying the one you tried and fits you. .

For example near me Sports Academy is selling the 870 Express for $199. Rem until Nov 30 has a $25 rebate, $174 + tax for a new gun.
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Old November 9, 2004, 07:33 AM   #4
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Maverick Arms is "owned & operated" by Mossberg. The Maverick has the safety control on the trigger guard, while the Mossberg safety is up on the receiver tang. MOST of the Mossy 500 parts directly interchange with the Maverick, barrels must match guage and magazine capacity.

I have owned a Maverick 88 since 1990; no issues of any kind.
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Old November 9, 2004, 09:22 AM   #5
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Used guns can be fun, ask 9mm Mike

$174 for a new 870 express is a steal. You can add stuff as you can afford it.

I would suggest the wood stock version and a barrel with interchangeable choke tubes.

In PA you should have no difficulties buying a shotgun, IF you have been a good boy and listened to your mommy

A background (NICS check) check is all you need to purchase.
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Old November 9, 2004, 02:14 PM   #6
Megaloman84
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Good Shotgun.

I've been very satisfied with my Benelli Nova Pump SP. It's got an 18.5" bbl and ghost ring sights, so it's a perfect home defense gun. The 3.5" chamber gives a lot of flexibility in choosing loads to feed it, but the big magnums can be pretty punishing with such a light gun. The steel/polymer construction is very sturdy, and I simply can't imagine damaging mine by doing anything short of running it over with a cement mixer. It strips down easily and has a short-shuck proof design.

There are only two caveats that I can think of. The stock and receiver are integral, so you can't add a folder or a pistol grip. This isn't a problem for me, since I like my wrists, and wouldn't want to fire a 12ga without support anyway. Also, there aren't as many add ons and accessories as there are for some of the more popular scatterguns, like the remington 870. However, you can get a magazine extension and a recoil reducer that fits inside the buttstock.

I got mine for around $280 two years ago. If you look around, you can still find them in the same price range.
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Old November 9, 2004, 02:40 PM   #7
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Megaman has a good point with a gun that is able to take 3.5" shells. You never have to use over 2 3/4", but you have the empty flying out of a space able to throw a longer hull. It might help with cycling the gun in an excited state, when it could be possible for the front of the hull to jam the bolt. I know duck hunters with 3" chambers shooting 3" loads and this has happened to them. Some manufacturer's have spacers available to give more lop. I like controls on a moss because I can reach and work them well. Other people hate moss and love the 870, neither is better or worse, find what works, benelli has some very innovative designs and features. Find what works for you, customize until it is perfect, like fitting a suit.
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Old November 9, 2004, 07:00 PM   #8
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Jim,
Make sure that you look in a lot of different places if you are thinking about buying a used gun. I picked up a Mossberg 590A1 (9-shot, ghost ring sights) for only $180 because I went about forty miles away from my town. Also, look for a place that does consignment. The gun dealers in my area jack up the price on used guns because they had to buy it from the original owner, but they sell consignment guns for only what the owner wants for it, plus a small fee.
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Old November 10, 2004, 05:25 PM   #9
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Maverick 88 was my first (and only) shotgun and I love it, couldn't be happier with it. I have used a mossberg 500 and The maverick cycles and functions just as well. The only difference was the 500 had a wood stock and pump whereas the maverick has an all composite stock with a ribbed pump. I also like the safety better on the maverick anyway. You can not however, put a forward pistol grip on it.
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Old November 10, 2004, 06:04 PM   #10
9mmMike
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Hit the local shops and get a used 870. They are a delight and the fun will never stop.
I just busted another 40+ clays on an 80 bird sporting clay course with my 20" barrel'd 870. Too fun to be legal.
Good used 870's can be found between 100 & 200 clams easy and they will likely still outlast a couple generations of shooters.
Mrs. 9mmMike's latest started as a 25.00 16 ga. Wingmaster that I added a 100.00 fixed-choke VR double bead Skeet barrel and refinished stocks. It's a beauty with minimum cash invested.
I am working on putting together my own version in 12 gauge. They should make a neat pair when I get the second one done.
Fun fun fun.....
Let's go shooting!

Mike
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Old November 12, 2004, 12:30 PM   #11
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I bought for HD

Mossberg 500 "Special Purpose" on sale (new)for $225 at Dunham's...20" barrel, cylinder bore 8+1...Installed pistol grip folding stock so overall about 28" (legal most everywhere I think). Have never owned anything but Mossberg pumpguns (35 yrs now), never had a problem with any of them (not to say others aren't just as good).
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Old November 12, 2004, 05:41 PM   #12
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When I got a shotgun, I went to Wally World (Wal-Mart) and got a Remington 870 Express in 12 ga. for under $300; great gun, great price. I also picked them clean of their stock of 12 ga. slugs and 00 buck.

Oh, and by the way - get yourself a magnum recoil pad that goes on like a shoulder holster. 12 ga pumps recoil is pretty stiff!
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Old November 20, 2004, 04:48 PM   #13
Fred1972
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big 5

big 5 has the remington 870 for 239 frigen steal!!
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Old November 21, 2004, 08:43 AM   #14
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I also vote for the Remington 870. The price, about $250.00 here in northern Indiana. Law Enforcement has relied on them for decades. Mossbergs are great shotguns, their only weakness is that they tend to kick a bit more than the Remington.

Stay away from Winchester's 1200 or 1300 series. From what I have heard they have a vital part that was made out of steel but is now made out of plastic.
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Old November 21, 2004, 05:49 PM   #15
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How do mossbergs kick more than remingtons? Are the mossbergs lighter or something? Well, you sure can't go wrong with an 870 or a 500, (or a maverick 88) pick the one that fits YOU. I don't think it is possible to be dissapointed with a new 870 or 500.
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Old November 21, 2004, 06:55 PM   #16
WillBrayjr
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Maybe it's the design. Mossberg does have have an alloy receiver and the Remington's is steel. I have fired both, a Mossberg Slugster with a 24in rifled barrel and a Remington 870 youth turkey model with a rifled barrel both 20GA. I think it's in the stock. The Mossberg had a standard length buttstock where the Remington had a youth length buttstock. There is no real difference in weight between the two. However the Mossberg did kick quite a bit more.
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Old December 6, 2004, 07:36 PM   #17
Irishmtnmn2001
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I think the Remington 870 is a great choice! Cheap and reliable. Just avoid the 3 1/2 inch Magnum version! I bought TWO of them and they both malfunctioned with the 3 1/2 shells. The first one would not eject and the second wouldn't pick up the next shell. I double checked everything, including MYSELF to make sure I was short-stroking it.
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Old December 8, 2004, 01:13 AM   #18
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Remington 870 all day long.
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Old December 13, 2004, 04:38 PM   #19
rogerwilco
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Remington 870 is a great reliable and affordable shotgun, And it's been around forever. Mossberg 500 is another great shotgun. I have them both, Not much difference in the way they shoot. There is only a few differences in the ergonomics of the gun. The Mossberg safety button is on the top of the shotgun (in my opinion a much better place) Than the Remington. Which is on the trigger guard. The Mossburg safety button is made of plastic and is susceptible to breaking. (mine did). Also the extractor button on the Mossberg is on the back of the trigger guard (a much better place in my opinion). Where the Remington is on the front of the trigger guard. Overall you can't go wrong with either one. Price's are generally close. Around $200, But the Mossberg always run a little cheaper. If I had to choose between the two...HMMM .... Its a toss up. It comes down to going down to the gun shop and finding out which one just feels better.
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Old December 13, 2004, 05:45 PM   #20
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The Remington 870 safety is to the rear of the trigger guard.
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Old December 21, 2004, 02:45 AM   #21
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i just purchased a remington 870 express and am very happy with it.
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Old December 25, 2004, 05:15 PM   #22
ScottFrench
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Congrats! Excellent choice! I have an 870 Express in 12 gauge and 20 gauge and love them both!

Scott
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Old December 26, 2004, 03:18 AM   #23
38splfan
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Maverick

I've been through several different shotguns and for GP/Home Defense I am very happy with my Maverick 88. I picked it up on a store promo for $159, then got my 10% military discount. Add on 8.8% sales tax, up to $156. NOt a bad deal.

Interchangeable with Mossberg for the most part, and rugged. Great first gun with lots of promise.
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Old January 5, 2005, 02:32 PM   #24
jimfrompa
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i was thinking about the maverick but now i'm completely sold on the 870. 12 gauge. i went on a very nice goose\duck hunting trip about a week ago and had a chance to try out a bunch of different shotguns. i like the 870 a lot. it's a solid gun. looks like i'm going to have to get a sporting barrel of some kind in addition to the riot barrel.
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Old January 5, 2005, 02:36 PM   #25
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By gosh, I never thought of that! I guess it wouldnt take much at all to put a longer barrel on in lieu of my 18inch one I have now. Where can I get em?
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