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Old June 15, 2011, 11:57 AM   #1
rhinonewshooter
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New to shotguns - looking for semi-auto - advice on used sought

I'm about to join a nice shooting club here and am looking for a good semi-auto that will be versitle enough to be used for both skeet and trap (they have both available) as well as some introductory hunting. Yes, I want it all.

I am a woodworker by hobby, and certainly recognize the value of crying once over the purchase of a good tool. I have also seen great value in buying used industrial woodworking equipment and was wondering if there is similar value in used shotguns, particularly semi-autos.

I'm looking for a solid and functional semi-auto with a variety of screw in chokes. I'm thinking that I should be looking for something with a 28 inch barrell. The 1100 seems to lead the value proposition. From what I have read, it's a solid gun and parts are easy to find. The drawback - 2 3/4 shells only (is this a drawback?). For a new gun, I have been pointed toward the 11-87. Frankly, I was not particularly impressed with the metal parts nor the wood (for that matter) when I saw one on the rack at the store.

So this gets me back to looking for a pre-owned model. I don't know a ton of guys with safes full of shotguns they are looking to sell, so I'll either need to buy from a store or from a seller I don't know. What should I be looking at? Any particular models I should be looking for? Is there a big difference between spending $400/500 on a used gun and those that can be had for 600/700?

I've been assuming 12 ga, but I wonder about 20. I think there is a remote chance I could get my 12 yo son interested in skeet and/or trap. he loves the first person shooter Xbox games, so if he can get past the kick, I might have a chance to get him engaged on this sport.

I realize that we are different sizes, so the fit will be different - but he's growing and only about 6 inches shorter than me right now, so he could quickly grow into a gun that fits me. In that case would you go with a 20ga as a first semi auto and move up to a 12 later?

I'm new to this, so I really appreciate the help.
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Old June 15, 2011, 12:26 PM   #2
hogdogs
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May I suggest you try as many as possible to see what suits you best.

Unlike most "good tools", these guns are not your basic wrench. One size won't fit all even if equally excellent units.

For me, the field grade Mossberg 930's seem right up my alley but I am already fond of the brand and the ergonomic layout.

There are guys on here that can address the concerns of the clay sport details.

Brent
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Old June 15, 2011, 12:48 PM   #3
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In the used market for high-volume semis, the name Beretta comes up - and rightly so. Several National Championships in Sporting Clays have been won by folks using the 391. Even the grandad of Beretta gas guns - the 303 is an excellent choice in a lower price range.

Others to consider are Benelli's Inertia system line of guns, Browning, Remington's 1100.

As Brent said - shoot as many as you can for a bit to see which ones you like. The Benelli, not being a gas gun, will be a little easier to clean, but without the weight of the gas system, will also have a little more recoil.

Personally, my wife shoots a Beretta A400 Xplor - designed as a hunting semi, it has the right combination of light weight and handling that fits HER.

Berettas and Beneallis also come with shims to help adjust the stock fit a little. If you are serious about competition, you will eventually get the stock tweaked via accessories to adjust it perfectly for you

The joy is in the chase for thE right gun - have fun, shoot them all, buy the one that will last and MOST IMPORTANTLY, fits

Good luck!
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Old June 15, 2011, 01:21 PM   #4
rhinonewshooter
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I'm going to try to get to the shooting club I'll be joining soon and hang out. I'm hoping that if I have a box of (decent quality) shells, I might be able to try out of a few of the guns folks are using.
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Old June 15, 2011, 01:51 PM   #5
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drawback - 2 3/4 shells only (is this a drawback?).
Not unless you need to use it to shoot waterfoul or turkeys. Even those can be hunted with 2 3/4 - its just that for those two bird types most hunters like to throw LOTS more shot when they can do so.

The 1100 is a great shotgun. It's only downside (and it is very slight) is that you will periodically need to replace the O-ring. They are cheap and easy to replace. Other than that, give it a good internal cleaning every dozen boxes of shells or so and it will last you a lifetime.
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Old June 15, 2011, 05:25 PM   #6
BigJimP
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+ 1 on OneOunces and others comments... / and for the record "discerning woodworkers always have better taste " ....

As you get into shotgunning ....its like discussing bandsaws...there's all the
14" stuff out there / then you make a big jump up to 16" and 18" ...and HP and resaw capability. You can make a 14" import work ...but you can make a 1HP 18" work a lot better - with a better tensioning system, bigger table, etc ...either one will work / depends on your budget, what you need, what you want ...what you want to keep long term. In terms of bandsaws - I've used up and broke the cheap 14" imports / I tried the still cheap 16" imports / didn't want to spend the money on the Laguna 18" / but the Jet 18" is an awful nice saw for the money ...a compromise but ...way better than most of the 14" imports ...( and I know you realize what I mean - if you're a woodworker)...

I would certainly say look the Beretta models over carefully ...they're good guns. You'll find a lot of options around $1,000 - $ 1,750 or so ..../ but if the budget is there - the UGB up around $ 4,000 is a very nice gun as well / and unique.
http://www.berettausa.com/products/u...trap-12-ga-30/

here's a parallel target 391 that I like ....they retail around $ 1,500
http://www.berettausa.com/products/a...gold-sporting/
again a lot of gun for the money / good solid gun - no frills.

Browning owns Winchester these days - so the Browning Silver hunter series /and the Winchester SX3 have the same internals ( 3" chambered Browning silver hunter with 28" barrel is selling new in my area for around
$ 850) and I think its a lot of gun for the money - good basic shotgun.

http://www.browning.com/products/cat...unter-firearms

Personally, I like the Benelli Super Sport -- and I have them in 12ga and 20ga. In either gague / its a nice light gun ...and its a gun that a lot of my grandkids and some new shooters like a lot. Kids under 12 yrs old or so / I start with the 20ga / but every kid is different - depends on their upper body strength. But they're nice guns - in the $ 1,875 price range new in my area.

http://www.benelliusa.com/shotguns/b...nd_sport_2.php

Benelli super sport / can be an ugly ducking ...but it depends on who's looking. Its carbon fibre ...and stainless .../ and I find it a very solid, utilitarian - does everything pretty well gun - especially in a 12ga with the
30" barrel.

Nothing wrong with a Rem 1100 or an 11-87 ....but they aren't "refined" ...and they're older technology.

Chances are - whatever you settle on now as a first gun ...or as a do everything gun ...will work / and like most of us, if you get addicted to most of the clay target games ....most of us get into dedicated Over Unders for Trap - and different Over Unders for Skeet or Sporting Clays and bird hunting. Personally, a gun I like very much - does a lot of things well - is a Browning O/U - Citori XS Skeet, with 30" barrels either in a 12ga or a 20ga ...but these days, that's a $ 3,000 gun new. Maybe not what you want to do for a first gun.

But there are lots of options --- shoot some guns ----look at a lot of guns ---talk to a lot of guys. Yesterday, I met a young fella at my club ...new to shotguns ...thought an $ 800 semi-auto was the most expensive gun he'd ever touched ! Prices are all over the board / its the steel -the quality of the internals ...and to some extent - the fancier stocks as well. Its confusing to a new shooter...but buying a good gun / will mean you've got some resale protection there as well. If you buy less expensive ...it won't hold up its value long term. Shop the used gunshops ...and you'll see what holds its price / and what doesn't. Its pretty obvious pretty quickly.

Last edited by BigJimP; June 15, 2011 at 05:48 PM.
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Old June 15, 2011, 06:04 PM   #7
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I buy a lot of used guns ...and what I look for is condition and cleanliness. If its dirty ...I pass on it ....because its an indication of the attitude of the owner ( he didn't even clean it / when he put it up for sale).

You can't come up with a list of all the stuff to look for in a used semi-auto because there are too many variables out there / and too many models.

But yes, there are a lot of great used guns out there / and good values - or you can also get taken, if you don't know what you're looking at. Many used guns will come with extra chokes / or sometimes, if I'm selling a gun, I'm keeping the chokes because I have other guns that will use them - and I sell it with it came with.

A 20ga may not recoil less than a 12ga. These days its pretty easy to buy a 7/8 oz shell for a 12ga ( which balistically, is a standard 20ga load) ...and a heavier gun absorbs more recoil. But if you want a 20ga - and you and your son can both shoot it - sure, do that. Buy a 12ga down the road - when you feel like you want another gun / or know more about your interest in a variety of the clay target games.

This shooting hobby can get expensive ...but like woodworking ...its not just the tool ...its the blades, the wood, etc. In shotgunning - yes, guns are not cheap ....but you'll pay $ 6 for a box of shells and another $ 6 for a round of 25 targets probably --- and if you shoot 4 rounds of Trap a week - that's $ 48 a week X 40 times a year = about $ 2,000 ....

Better guns ...will give you a longer life. A good higher end "target gun" will give you 100,000 shell life ....or 250,000 shell life with no issues ...some of the less expensive guns, just won't do that. 100,000 shells might seem like a lot ....but a lot of us ...and we've done this awhile ...shoot 8 or 10 or 16 boxes a week ...and local tournaments, leagues, or whatever ...and its a great thing to do with a kid or a grandkid .../ and maybe getting into reloading so you can customize your shells ...for the kids, or new shooters , or whatever you like as well....

Its not just the price of a gun ...

But some of the lower priced imports are pretty good ...and some aren't / you'll have to be the judge of different guns / compare how the internals look / ignore most of what you're told in gunshops - or at least check it out / and shooters never lie ( I shot with a guy yesterday, that was bragging about his score --- said he shot a 92 out of 100 at skeet ...) ...he must have forgot that one 19 of 25 he shot / and the other 21 ...( he shot two 23's ...and it somehow got embellished a little ...) ...not that it matters...is just is, what it is...and he had an 86 and wished for a 92 ...?? but who cares...

talk to a lot of guys ...get a trend...
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Old June 15, 2011, 10:26 PM   #8
rhinonewshooter
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BigJim, and frankly everyone else, - thanks for the thoughtful response and all the links. I kinda fear that I'll start collecting guns like I've been collecting (and actually using) ww equipment. Wife understands my woodworking hobby - I make stuff that she can use. Shooting may be a harder sell Look honey - lots of busted up clay pieces . . .

It seems like I need to do a whole bunch more listening and reading before I start spending $. I think I'd rather cry once, but I also need to pay cash on hand so the LOML doesn't quite see the investment.

I'm actually going to talk to the Armorer for my local Police Department tomorrow. I want to make sure what I need to do to stay legal, but I also want to pick his brain a bit.
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Old June 15, 2011, 11:13 PM   #9
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rhino,

You can PM if interested in shooting an 1100 or a Browning. Mine aren't for sale but you can see if you like how they shoot.

Also, if your worried about your son and recoil of the 12ga., the Rem 1100 is heavy and soaks up alot of felt recoil.
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Old June 16, 2011, 12:19 PM   #10
BigJimP
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From one addict to the other ....( my woodworking shop / and reloading / and gun cleaning area ) in my basement...

http://thefiringline.com/forums/atta...6&d=1296760035

http://thefiringline.com/forums/atta...7&d=1296760035

http://thefiringline.com/forums/atta...8&d=1296760035

http://thefiringline.com/forums/atta...7&d=1296838077

As far as shotguns ....
one of my SuperSport models...
http://thefiringline.com/forums/atta...9&d=1226958132

These are my primary guns ( Citori XS Skeet models 30" - in 12ga, 20ga, 28ga and a .410 ...that I use for Skeet, Sporting and bird hunting ) - for Trap I go to a heavier and longer gun ( 10lb O/U, 32" barrels - Citori XT models).

http://thefiringline.com/forums/atta...0&d=1226958180

( I don't buy more guns / they breed in the dark ..) ...and what my wife doesn't know, won't hurt me ...( although she really knows anyway ..)....but I usually just generalize ...( it was too good a deal to pass up ..??) ..its amazing she puts up with me...
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Shop July 08 015.jpg (229.6 KB, 24 views)
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Old June 16, 2011, 12:24 PM   #11
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BigJimP,

Thats some beautiful hardware you have there.
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Old June 16, 2011, 12:30 PM   #12
BigJimP
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Thank You, I've been very lucky ...

and have a beautiful ...and tolerant wife...who allows me to indulge myself in my shooting hobbies...
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Old June 16, 2011, 01:21 PM   #13
rhinonewshooter
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BigJim - nice looking shop - but that line up of shotguns is very impressive. Beautiful wood on those guns as well.

I've thought that at some point I might combine my hobbies and get some 12/4 stock and make my own stock. Could be kinda fun. I've made my own wooden planes before, and there are few things as satisfying as making your own tools and then using 'em.

I just talked to the local PD armorer. He was very helpful, and suggested I take a hard look at the Benellis as well, the M2 and M4 in particular.
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Old June 16, 2011, 01:40 PM   #14
BigJimP
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Thanks.

Browning makes a real solid gun / and a lot of gun for the money ...the models I shoot are the Citori, XS Skeet model, 30" barrels, with the adj comb. You won't find them in 28ga or .410 ...except as special orders ..and then the 28ga and .410 are built on the 20ga receiver - and the barrels are modified of course.

But here is a link to the model at Browning...

http://www.browning.com/products/cat...-comb-firearms

Browning makes about 26 different models, withing their Citori line of guns, and it gets confusing. But the XS Skeet, with the adj comb, is a gun that will fit 99.9% of shooters in my opinion. List is $ 3,400 but in my area they are selling new for around $3,000 ....and there are a lot of them around used / but they're very popular for "general shooting" - not just as a "Skeet" gun. But marketing dept names are just opinions - you can shoot Trap with a skeet gun ...or whatever .../ there are some design issues / and point of impact issues on some models ...but the XS Skeet or XS Special are very versatile models ( but I favor the XS Skeet / I like the finish better).

Nothing wrong with the Benelli M-2 - but its configured more as a field gun - than a target gun / but its not a bad option. The M-4, in my opinion, is a poor option - not a poor gun / but its a "tactical gun" for "fighting" vs targets or general shotgunning.

Benelli is making a dozen or so different models - so you need to read and study more on them as well. Beretta owns Benelli now ....and Franchi, Stoeger, etc ....but the inertia systems used in Benelli are different than the Franchi and Stoeger lines ...and Franchi and Stoeger have very mixed reviews ( but they are cheaper ) - and I hear in gun stores all the time ---oh, they're the same ( no, they're not ...) ...

The Super Sport is Benellis intended "target gun" .../ but I use it for bird hunting too ...and as a travel gun / bad weather gun ...kind of does everything pretty well ...and skeet and trap and sporting clays / when I don't want to carry 4 or 5 guns on a trip.

And no matter what - have fun with your search and this process.
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Old June 16, 2011, 02:03 PM   #15
rhinonewshooter
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Your description on the Benellis makes sense as it came from the Police Dept Armorer. he admittedly never shoots skeet or trap.

I'm thinking I may just go to one of the larger shows nearby and just see what they have. It may be a chance to see a number of different guns at one place.
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Old June 16, 2011, 02:40 PM   #16
BigJimP
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Sure ....it just depends / even on this forum there are a lot of "tactical" guys ...and "Target" guys ...and some do both ..../ and there are guys like me that are addicted to "Target" shotguns ....and I rely on my 1911's or other handguns - when it comes to defense/ shooting and practicing for tactical shooting ( which I love too).

I guess I have about 25 shotguns ( in 12ga, 16ga, 20ga, 28ga and .410's ) ---but not a barrel under 28" long ...and quite a few at 30" and some at 32".

Gun shows are the same ...you may get a lot of one or the other ...or both. In my area, we have some big shows ...but rarely are there more than 6 or 8 quality Target shotguns ...out of 300 tables...

Chances are the guys that shoot Skeet and Trap ( the serious shooters that shoot registered targets ) will tell you where they're buying or ordering their guns locally / or a retailer that might carry some of the models. A lot of retailers carry the "popular stuff" or guns under $1,000 list ...that sell well .../ only one or two in my area carry much high end inventory ....and only 1 out of 30 shops, carries much in the way of good high quality used target grade shotguns...

and it really varies by regions of the country ...for some reason ???
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Old June 16, 2011, 02:59 PM   #17
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Since you appreciate nice stocks ....and just to show you what's out there ...once you know what you want .../ that you might trip over...

I picked this up used about 7 yrs ago - its a Browning Citori XT - 32" barrels with and adj comb and a GraCoil system installed in it. ( with at least a Grade VII, in my opinion, Turkish walnut stock) for about $ 2,600 ...gun was made by Browning in 1996 I think - and I don't know who made the stock ...but its a great looking gun. In all places --- it was in a pawn shop ...and the guy sold it to the pawn dealer for $ 1,800 ...and he marked it up and sold it to me...and we're both happy !!

The other XT - in photo - is a stock Browning XT with 32" barrels as well - in grade IV ....no GraCoil ( the shock absorbed at the butt of the gun ) ...and its a nice gun as well...

http://thefiringline.com/forums/atta...3&d=1299018573

http://thefiringline.com/forums/atta...8&d=1280945127
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Old June 16, 2011, 03:13 PM   #18
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The Citori XT with 32" barrels and the adj comb ---is my preferred Trap gun / but its too heavy -- and swings a little too clumsily ...for faster games like Skeet or Sporting clays ( at 10lbs and 32" barrels ) ...its just better in my opinion for games like Trap, with less barrel movement left to right.

I'm 6'5' and about 285 lbs ...and 60 yrs old ...and swinging it is not the problem ...but heavier and longer just isn't as nimble. I like it for Trap ( although I'm not a serious Trap shooter ) .....but its like swinging a big ole sewer pipe ...when I've tried to shoot it in sporting clays or skeet.

For general guns ...I like the O/U's at around 8 1/2 lbs ...and 30" barrels .../ and like I said before, I hunt Quail, Pheasant, etc ...

I even weight my 20ga , 28ga and .410's ....to about the same 8 1/2 lbs .../ and the Benelli Super Sport - even with 30" barrel, its real light ( 7.2 lbs ) ....so to smooth out my swing ---I use lead golf tape - and put 8 oz under the forend / and 8oz inside the butt stock. That extra 1 lb --- helps me on the follow-thru ... To me, if a gun gets too short or too light ---its gets "whippy" ...and I tend to "slap" at targets vs executing a smooth follow thru on the shot ...

When my grandkids ( from 10 - 19 now ) shoot the smaller and shorter 20ga Super sport / I just take the tape out ....and the 20ga is only 6.2 lbs or so with a 28" barrel ....and the young kids really like that little 20ga. The older kids ( 15 - 19 ) mostly shoot the 12ga or one of my O/U's ...

But its a combination of all this stuff - that goes into picking a gun for yourself ...or for you and your son...

Conversely, I have a buddy that's 6' and 180lbs ....and for his general use guns, he likes his semi-autos at 26 or 28" barrels ...and he thinks an O/U with 30" barrels is too long and too clumsy - but he likes his general purpose guns up around 10lbs / where I prefer 8 1/2 lbs ...so he goes heavier and shorter .... In terms of overall length an O/U with 30" barrels is about the same as a pump or semi-auto with 28" barrel ...because the receiver on the O/U is shorter.

So it just depends -- on what suits you ....
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Old June 16, 2011, 03:20 PM   #19
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I don't know exactly where you are, but if you are close to here:

http://www.jaquas.com/

He's worth the visit
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Old June 16, 2011, 07:02 PM   #20
rhinonewshooter
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funny you mention this shop. The manager of the shooting club told me I should go as well - but leave my wallet in the car. It's about a 2 hour 45 min drive for me. I may call to see if they are going to the gun show in Dayton, and split the difference to see what they bring. The PD Armorer thought that the Dayton gun shows had a much better selection than the Cincy ones.

I have to say that the mroe I read here the more I'm upselling myself. This is going to get expensive fast.
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Old June 16, 2011, 07:18 PM   #21
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Quote:
This is going to get expensive fast.
Use excessive prudence and discretion... These guys love spending your money more than a high dollar hooker at a liquor convention!
Brent
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Old June 16, 2011, 07:23 PM   #22
hogdogs
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Last time I took their advise went broke... Spent my last $2.00 on a shot size bottle of booze and told the wife I drank my paycheck so she wouldn't ban me from TFL... Now I am a non-drinker...
lol... Not really but it is true for many.... Klawman is their latest victim!

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Old June 16, 2011, 07:25 PM   #23
shortwave
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A little closer to you would be the gun show going on this weekend in Cols. at the Westland Mall. Might be worth the trip.
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Old June 16, 2011, 07:47 PM   #24
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Well for that budget I would rule out the Remintons now, I have a 1100 and 11-87 and wouldnt buy them over again. I would look for a used Beretta 391 or Benelli M2 or SBE2 but they may cost a little more. But if new is your style CZ is tuff to beat these days man. Very nice looking at a good cost and they shoot very well for the price.

http://www.cz-usa.com/products/view/cz912/
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Old June 16, 2011, 09:39 PM   #25
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I have a beretta 3901 and it is not the limiting factor when I go shooting.

Got it for $575

Newer than the 390 but does not have the hard cleaning like the 391
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