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Old September 12, 2005, 01:00 PM   #1
JayDubyaGee
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Shopping for home defense

I'm shopping for my first shotgun, principally for home defense, but I will also like to use it extensively for practice so I can become proficient in its use. Generally, what are the characteristics that make a shotgun good for home defense? What are some specific models I should consider when I shop?

Reviewing this forum, I keep seeing the 870 come up. Is this everyone's favorite?
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Old September 12, 2005, 01:08 PM   #2
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Well the 870 is not necessarily the favorite, it just had devotition in all its owners, It has been around forever and is a very well build gun, that was the first and only gun i own, but im only 18, generally the top are rem 870/mossberg 500/590 and the winchester 1200/1300. a good home defense shotgun, should have an 18 inch barrel for manuverability as well as be a pump for reliability. Go with the 870 and never look back.

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Old September 12, 2005, 01:12 PM   #3
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First, shotguns are great for point blank to medium range, have amazing stopping power, and are very versatile with loads, and the barrels can be switched out in seconds from a hunting length barrel to a home defense shorter length.

I own a "home defense" 12 gauge Remi 870 Express. My opinion of this shotgun is that it's near perfect. I've shot it many many times. My main complaints are really petty and can be corrected. It would be nice if it held more shells with a longer tube, and that can be corrected for under $30. I prefer the safety placement on the Mossberg better, but that's minor. I currently have a synthetic stock. If I were to make any changes to a factory shotgun, my first change would be to add a sidesaddle or tube extension for more shells, my second change would be to install a combo pistolgrip/full stock for control. Avoid a pure pistol grip because you'll lose accuracy and it'll be difficult to control as well. Shotguns are made to fire from the shoulder, not the hip like in movies.

While I do not own a Mossberg, it's also a great shotgun. It's safe to say that Mossberg 500 and Remington 870 and Win 1200/1300 are the most common and best choices for home defense, and both can be had for around $250 or less, particularly at Walmart (I just saw the Mossy for $200 and the Remi for $250). They are easy to accessorize with a sidesaddle (for more shells), a pistol grip or pistol/stock combo, and other accessories.

I recently saw a Mossberg (not the 500, but a different model) combo with a home defense barrel AND a hunting barrel for $200 at Big 5. I think that sale is over. If I were in the market for a shotgun, that would have been it. Have fun.
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Old September 12, 2005, 01:28 PM   #4
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The Remmy 870 is one of the crowd favorites. The other two favorites are the Mossberg 500 and the Winchester 1200/1300.
The main differences are discussed on this page.

Whether you choose Remmy, Mossy, or Winny, for my money, a shotgun needs several things to be most effective in home defense. First is an 18.5 inch barrel. Then a sidesaddle for extra ammo. I want a forend that does not overlap the reciever. I like dual slidebars, and I insist on 100% reliability. My favorite is the Mossberg, then the Winchester. I have not felt the need to own a Remington.

At most pawnshops you can find Remington 870s in the $175 range. Mossberg 500s for $150, Winchester 1200/1300s for $120. This does not reflect the quality of the guns, but the desirability in the marketplace. The used Remington sells better for some reason, so it is priced higher. Often you can find shotguns for considerably less if you are willing to accept some ugliness. Just today I bought a Winchester 1300 for $89. I trying to decide whether to build it into my fourth HD Shotgun.
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Old September 12, 2005, 05:28 PM   #5
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The Big5 Mossberg is indeed a 500. However, it's a non-standard combo model and unlisted in the Mossberg catalog. It's a generic 500 with a 28" fixed choke barrel and a 18.5" HD barrel. They seem commonly available in 12GA and 20GA, though 12GA is usually the one advertised. Also often sold there at the same price (usually about $220) is a HD 500 with a 20" barrel and 8 shot capacity.

Big5 also sells Winchester and Remington HD shotguns for very reasonable prices. Each goes on sale about once a month. They tend to have a limited selection of firearms but at good prices.
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Old September 12, 2005, 05:54 PM   #6
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Anyone okay with just 2.75 or 3" or anyone feel it necessary for the 3.5" magnums?
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Old September 12, 2005, 06:18 PM   #7
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For HD all I use is 2 & 3/4 low recoil 00Buck. Heck, you are not shooting geese here...........
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Old September 12, 2005, 10:13 PM   #8
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Quote:
Anyone okay with just 2.75 or 3" or anyone feel it necessary for the 3.5" magnums?
What are you gonna do with a 3 1/2 shell?

Quote:
For HD all I use is 2 & 3/4 low recoil 00Buck.
+1


870!!!!!!!!!
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Old September 13, 2005, 12:06 AM   #9
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3in = 6 more pellets in 00 Buck. something to think about at least, and you can always load the smaller shells instead. BTW winchester ranger is the best for 2.75 I think.
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Old September 13, 2005, 01:08 AM   #10
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Any version of the Rem 870, Win 1300, or Moss 500/590 will be fine. All of these have dedicated HD forms, with extended magazines, shorter barrels, and sometimes pistol grips, the usefulness of which is debated. Find whichever one fits you best, and go with it.

As far as 3.5 inch shells go, they are unnecessary for HD. The extra 0.5 inch won't make much difference on the BG's end, and will only recoil more on yours. And believe me, a 3 inch shell has plenty of kick as it is.

Let us know when you find something!
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Old September 13, 2005, 01:14 AM   #11
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Characteristics

Short
Black
Big magazine
12 guage #4 buckshot
Semi-auto (Under stress you might fail to pump the action)

Remington or Mossberg

Benelli is best
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Old September 13, 2005, 01:23 AM   #12
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The remington is far better quality than the Winchester or Mossberg.

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Old September 13, 2005, 03:52 AM   #13
Dave McC
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Any of the Big Four pumps will do. Software's more crucial than the hardware.

A good shotgunner is absolutely deadly with his/her weapon of choice and pretty darn good with the others.

Buy a shotgun. My choice is the 870 but it's not the only good one.

Shoot it until it feels like a body part. BA/UU/R.

Voila!! You're ready.
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Old September 13, 2005, 07:09 AM   #14
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The Mossberg is far better designed than the Remington.

XaviercantankerousoldfartBreath
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Old September 13, 2005, 10:46 AM   #15
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I asked the question about the 3.5" b/c I don't own one, but have considered it for versatility. I don't think I"ll buy one b/c of the extra cost and relative uselessness.
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Old September 14, 2005, 12:47 PM   #16
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Like most have stated you can't go wrong with the big 3. I own a Mossberg 590 and absolutely love it, have never had any type of failure with it and it is light to carry around the property. I love pump shotguns so much that I plan to purchase an 870 as well as a 1300 Defender, just so I can sample all 3 regularly. The 870 Marine magnum keeps drawing my attention as well as the Benelli tacticals. Watch out shotguns can become very addictive.
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Old September 14, 2005, 01:34 PM   #17
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I've had a Remington 870 Police Magnum, a Mossberg 590A1, and an ancient Mossberg 600 (single slide arm, 2.75" only). The 870PM was tighter and better finished, but I prefered the operating system of the Mossbergs much more. If I bought another pump shotgun, it would be a Mossberg.
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Old September 15, 2005, 08:34 AM   #18
oletymer
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Any shotgun will work for home defense. Intruders won't know that they were shot with a field, trap, sporting or skeet gun. The thought that a riot gun configuration is necessary is ridiculous.
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Old September 15, 2005, 09:20 AM   #19
K80Geoff
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Two points:

1. Don't overlook the used gun racks. You can find gems such as the stevens/J C Higgins or an old Ithaca 37 readily available. Both are adequate for HD.

Also I have seen Remington 31's and even Winchester model 12's used. Guns were definitely used but serviceable.

Even the cheapie "Well designed " mossbergs will work.

I would not spend a lot of money on a gun just for HD. "If you have to use it you will loose it". Don't cry over an $800 gun, better to have a $100 beater.

2. 2 3/4" is fine for what you intend. Besides, the first time you fire a 3" mag will probably be the last time. 3.5" is for goose hunters.
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Old September 15, 2005, 10:36 AM   #20
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Quote:
I would not spend a lot of money on a gun just for HD. "If you have to use it you will loose it". Don't cry over an $800 gun, better to have a $100 beater.
This is a very good point.
Some people wonder why I have four (yes, four) HD shotguns. Well, it places one within reach no matter where I am, and more importantly, it ensures I still have protection after I have to use one of them and it is taken for evidence. I am unsure how that would affect my gun buying ability, so I simply bought replacements early. When you consider I average less than $100 per shotgun, it is not much of an investment.
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Old September 15, 2005, 12:36 PM   #21
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Great tips. I'd love to pick up an old Ithaca. I went to school up there and I always enjoyed upsetting the loonies there. What could be better than a shotgun named after their little anti-gun oasis!
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Old September 15, 2005, 06:16 PM   #22
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Another vote for the Rem 870. I just bought myself an Express Turkey 12/21. And with it, the best of all worlds: Hunting, clays, IPSC, home defense... all at the switch of a load and choke.
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Old September 16, 2005, 11:12 AM   #23
3o3brit
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Mine is a Ted Williams 300 Auto (same as Win 1400)
It only holds 2 in the mag but is SUPER reliable I used it for hunting since I was a kid.
I cut the barrel back to "18 when I retired it from hunting and it is now my HD gun.
The point is that any reliable 12 would be fine for HD
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Old September 16, 2005, 04:57 PM   #24
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remington homepage

has a rebate offer on all remington super mags. 50$ --> back and will shoot all three shells. why you say, and why not i said
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Old September 16, 2005, 09:03 PM   #25
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FWIW, Big 5 has the Mossberg 500 combo (18.5" + 28" barrels) on sale for $199 from 9/18 to 9/24. Sweet deal!
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