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View Poll Results: Read ENTIRE first post, then, which Shotgun would you choose?
Pump - 12ga 75 63.03%
Pump -20 ga 12 10.08%
Pump - other ga 1 0.84%
semi - 12 ga 20 16.81%
Semi - 20 ga 1 0.84%
Semi - other ga 0 0%
Single - 12 ga 0 0%
Single - 20 ga 2 1.68%
Single - Other ga 0 0%
Double - 12 ga 8 6.72%
Double - 20 ga 0 0%
Double - Other ga 0 0%
Voters: 119. You may not vote on this poll

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Old December 23, 2009, 04:22 PM   #1
johnwilliamson062
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First shotgun?

Put your self in the feet of a new shooter. Very little to no shotgunnning experience. You are looking for a shotgun to get started. What would you buy? Consider all the financial, maintenance, retail, use longevity issues involved with a firearm.

Assume you are interested in more than one shotgunning activity so consider if this gun is functional for HD, hunting, clays, etc even if it isn't great for all of them. It doesn't have to work for all of them, but take that as a consideration if it does not. For instance, a trap comp gun doesn't have a safety so VERY few would recommend carrying it through the woods. A single shot is nearly impossible to shoot true pairs with, etc.

Compare to the first shotgun you owned. If this wasn't the same as your first shotgun, except for sentimental value, why wouldn't you choose that same first gun instead?

If you choose a gauge besides 12 or 20 I would appreciate an explanation as to why.

I started out with an H&R 12 gauge. It was a good starting shotgun and it let me get into the field, onto the trap range and greatly increased my HD firepower. I still own it and will only get rid of it if a new shooter I know wants it.
That said, if I had it to do over I would buy a 12 ga pump. Specifically a moss 500 deer field combo. Used if I could find one in decent shape for a good price as these pump shotguns suffer almost no ill effects from responsible use. Pump because it would handle everything very well with only a slight disadvantage at clays b/c it shoots flat. 12 ga b/c it would be the most available. At deer camp there were three guys using the same slug as me this year. Pheasant hunting all but one were using 12 ga in similar loads so we could lend ammo easily if need be. Many times the number of defensive loads as any other gauge.
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Old December 23, 2009, 04:29 PM   #2
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My first shotgun was an 870 Express 12 Ga. I love the way it handles and feels, and the weight soaks up recoil pretty well. It's still my favorite shotgun out the several I've handled. Very easy for a beginner to use for lots of different things too.
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Old December 23, 2009, 04:29 PM   #3
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Quote:
... if I had it to do over I would buy a 12 ga pump. Specifically a moss 500 deer field combo.
That was the first gun I ever owned, a gift from my wife and father-in-law. Still have it, and it wears three different barrels depending on application. Can't beat a 12 gauge pump for a first shotgun, IMHO.
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Old December 23, 2009, 04:29 PM   #4
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What he said^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
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Old December 23, 2009, 04:31 PM   #5
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Ithaca Model 37 Featherlight, 20 gauge pump with 2 barrels, one fixed modified choke and one fixed improved cylinder choke.

I still have it and will never part with it
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Old December 23, 2009, 04:39 PM   #6
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I voted pump, only because I am taking into account purchase cost of something decent and inexpensive and am considering the person to be totally new to guns. Otherwise, I would break HD/SD, hunting and clays into different categories. IF is was upland and clays mostly - an O/U. IF it was waterfowl and clays, a semi. IF it was HD/SD and waterfowl, a pump.

While the pump, with various options and barrels might be considered by many to be the best choice, IMO, it is a jack-of-all-trades, master of none situation. But then, as a FIRST gun, it will do, as long as you follow it up with more use-specific oriented hardware.....
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Old December 23, 2009, 04:44 PM   #7
johnwilliamson062
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Quote:
Otherwise, I would break HD/SD, hunting and clays into different categories.
Don't worry, those come later and at the least the first gun makes a good back up for all the specialized ones
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Old December 23, 2009, 05:10 PM   #8
Wishoot
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I would start with an 12 gauge OU. It's easy to load, shoot and maintain. It may not be perfect for HD, but it will sure do the job. Great for clays and birds.

Don't get me wrong, I love my pump and semi, but the OU is just about the most simple gun to use.
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Old December 23, 2009, 05:11 PM   #9
the rifleer
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i was in that exact same position when i bought my mossberg 500. several hundred rounds later i have no regrets.

Its a great shotgun, highly upgradable. its very reliable and easy to operate and fits me perfectly. I don't think i would trade it for anything else.

its a 20 gauge by the way.
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Old December 23, 2009, 05:55 PM   #10
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Knowing what I know now, I'd start with a nice used 12 ga O/U.

My first gun was a Sears 20 ga pump with a not-removable barrel, no rib and a screw type adjustable choke. I was young and crazy and bought it purely on impulse after seeing it deeply discounted in a sears sales ad. It wasn't to long before I realized that I'd made a poor purchase, and the gun was traded in. I would have avoided a lot of grief, and been money ahead, if I'd started with a 12 ga 870 Wingmaster or 1100.
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Old December 23, 2009, 06:46 PM   #11
Chalupa
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I started on a single shot 12 gauge and think its a bad
choice for a new beginner so, I voted pump 12 ga..

Single shots have more felt recoil and after you know
what your doing...you will want the extra rounds the
pump offers.

I think if you choose a 20 ga...you would end up wanting
the 12 later on. Best to get something you will keep and
shoot for the duration.
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Old December 23, 2009, 06:50 PM   #12
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My only reason for owning a shotgun is for home defense. I have a Mossy 500 with an 18" barrel. Holds 7 in the tube + one in the pipe. Also has a folding stock. It's a sweet gun. I got it as a gift from my wife and I think she paid about $300 for it.
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Old December 23, 2009, 07:44 PM   #13
oneounceload
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Quote:
My only reason for owning a shotgun is for home defense. I have a Mossy 500 with an 18" barrel. Holds 7 in the tube + one in the pipe. Also has a folding stock. It's a sweet gun. I got it as a gift from my wife and I think she paid about $300 for it.
Which is why I made that qualifying statement, because there are a lot of folks like you whereas, my main purpose for a shotgun is clay target shooting, followed by hunting and HD is way down the list

Good thing they make various types for all of us!
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Old December 23, 2009, 07:51 PM   #14
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I have to completely edit my 1st post since I didn't read through the OP. I assumed it was "what was Your first SG"...

New shooter, at MY age (31)? I'd buy the 12 gauge Remington 870 Express Super Magnum I have. Almost endless load choice (12 gauge), lightweight, the Advantage camo is puuur-dee(!) and I prefer a pump over a semi-auto because You have a choice of when to chamber the next round. And as for HD, the 870 can get the job done. It's a little long, but I'll chalk the extra length up to the "All Purpose-ness"...
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Old December 23, 2009, 07:54 PM   #15
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I've bought about 20 shotguns over the last 35 years ....and I've learned a few things in the process - that Fit is the # 1 issue. The other thing is that 12ga is the way to go for the most versatility. I've only sold one of them / a 525 Browning that didn't fit me. My first gun when I was a kid, was a bolt action 16ga, Western Field - but I would not go with a 16ga - let alone a bolt action gun today.

In my opinion - the need for Tactical Defense is overblown / but any decent shotgun can be used for Defense even though it may not be a "fighting" shotgun. #1 if money was no object, I would go with a 12ga O/U that would be suitable for birds, clays - say a 28" or 30" barrels and screw in chokes.

These days I can afford to buy and shoot whatever I want / at least up to
$ 25,000 or so .....but almost anything. But when I was young, first married, kids coming .... there wasn't $ 3,000 laying around. The least expensive option is a good pump gun / a Browning BPS Hunter model 28" barrel in a 12ga is my personal preference / and I still have the one I bought in 1974 - today that's a $ 500 decision and I think its still a great buy.

A pump isn't the best clays gun / but it'll work. A decent semi-auto like a Beretta 390 or 391 is a good semi-auto solution / probably around $ 1,000. If I could affored $ 2,750 my best overall O/U today would be the Browning, Citori, XS Skeet model, 12ga, 30" barrels - it is my primary gun for hunting birds, shooting sporting clays and for Skeet. Its not a great Trap gun / but it'll work. Its a workhorse / should last easily for 100,000 shells - maybe 250,000 shells so again its worth every penny.

So to me, its a budget issue - buy one of these based on your budget - and keep it a long time:
If you only have $ 500 - go BPS pump, 12ga, Hunter model 28" barrel.
If you have $1,000 - go to Beretta Semi-auto 12ga, 28" or 30" barrel
If you have $3,000 - go to a Browning Citori / the gun that fits me the best - and I think the gun that has the most versatility to fit more shooters - is the Citori, XS Skeet model, 30" barrels, 12 ga.

But all 3 guns are " lifetime" guns, in my opinion.
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Old December 23, 2009, 09:08 PM   #16
DRice.72
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I have a Stevens Savage model 77D. This gun is a learning curve for sure. It has a poly choke-hate it. It has a muzzle brake. 5 + 1. it cannot be easily dis-assembled for cleaning. It does not have iron sights. It is basically set up as a "bird only" gun. I have shot slugs through it with some success. I voted for the pump 12 ga. As limited as my gun is, its still a very versitle gun. At the moment its pulling HD duty, loaded up with buck shot and slugs.
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Old December 23, 2009, 09:40 PM   #17
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I would suggest Rem 870 Express Magnum. Cost $350. Fairly cheap price.
12 gauge
Chambers both 2 3/4" 3" shells.
Extremely wide variety of loads in those two sizes.
Inexpensive accesssories, lots of them.
Barrels readily available from 18"-26"

I'm not sure what the parts market is like for the Mossberg 500 but if it is as plentiful as the 870's, I would vote for it also.
It has the safety in a position that makes it a little more suited for folks that are left handed.
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Old December 23, 2009, 10:51 PM   #18
guitar1580
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Winchester 20ga single shot, full choke, when I was 10 yrs old in 1970. $40 from a department store, and I still have it and the original paperwork, warranty, manual, etc., all in exc. condition. Excellent beginner gun for that age.

Shot more bats with it than rabbits.

Josh P
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Old December 23, 2009, 11:04 PM   #19
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While hard to find ammo for, or even find shotguns, I think a 16ga is perfect to start out on. At least, for a boy lol. That way the kid doesn't feel like he's a wuss for shooting a 20ga, but knows that his shotgun won't knock him on his ass.

I started with a pump 16ga. It taught me to shoot slower than if I had started out with my 1400, and also made me learn to take my time and aim at what I was shooting at, rather than just throwing lead like half our hunting party does.
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Old December 23, 2009, 11:37 PM   #20
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I always said if I could only have one gun it would be an 870, you can do everything with it. It may not be ideal for certain disciplines, but it does them all well.
Inexpensive, being the first gun, not sure if you'll stay with it.
Expandable, all kinds of different barrels and chokes available.
And some of those wingmasters are real pretty.
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Old December 24, 2009, 12:36 AM   #21
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I have only one shotgun (well, a pair of only one shotgun), two Winchester 1897s, solid frame, full choke. Nobody knows just how many thousands of ducks those guns have taken from the 1920s to today. I mean it...thousands. The limits way back in the day in North Dakota were crazy high.

Definitely not my recommendation, though. I'm just saying what I've got. I can't disagree with anything that's been said above.
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Old December 24, 2009, 10:34 AM   #22
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Double

12 GA. for versatility.
2 barrels, instant choice of chokes.
O/U or SXS whichever floats your boat.
Esp. for that first gun it's hard to beat a double, maybe not so much if you are not a hunter. The versatility and safety of a good double gun is hard to beat in the field.
And make sure it fits!! Just having a smith correct the LOP makes all the difference in the world 50 bucks or so very well spent.
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Old December 24, 2009, 11:03 AM   #23
bigwrench
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first shotgun

My first was a h&r toper single shot in .410. Kicks like a mule and is a poor choice for a first shotgun imo. The 16 guage guns I own kick harder than the 12 guages in like models. My favorite is the Ithica 37 12 guage. Verry well built shotgun and bottom eject works well for right or left handed shooters.
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Old December 24, 2009, 01:30 PM   #24
glove
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Hello
My first purchase was a 1975 Boito SxS 12 ga. Had that shotgun for over 30 years. Used it for hunting small game some skeet and some turkey shoots. It performed well. I sold it a few years ago picked up a Stoger uplander combo 12/20 ga. I like it as well.
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Old December 24, 2009, 02:21 PM   #25
BigJimP
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Remember, with 7/8 oz loads a 12ga is balistically the same as a 20ga.

With 1 oz loads a 12 ga is the same as a 16ga ....

and you can even load a 12ga down to 3/4 oz / and with loads down to 1150 fps - and the extra weight of a 12ga gun usually - the 12ga is a very soft recoil option. That's why the 12ga is the most versatile option.
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