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Old July 8, 2011, 06:11 AM   #1
Major Beef
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New to shotguns, need help deciding...

A friend took me trap shooting and now I want to buy my own shotgun. I tried out a Remington 870 and a Benelli SBE II. While I enjoyed the SBE II a lot, I don't think I can justify that price tag especially since my lack of experience/knowledge did not allow me to notice a discernible difference in their performances.

I'm setting my budget at $800-900. I would like a pump or semiauto, or both if they will fit in that budget. The gun will spend most of its time at home looking pretty. It will occasionally spend time at the range, most of that time spent shooting at the open sky and missing target traps It will also share responsibility with a number of pistols as a home defense firearm.

I've been doing some research and the following guns interest me:
FN SLP Mark 1 22"
Beretta AL391 Urika
Remington 1100
Remington 11-87
Browning Gold Hunter
Remington 870

I can go new or used. I'm not sure if I should throw the whole budget at one gun that is a good compromise between HD & target shooting or if I should get multiple guns within that budget, perhaps you can help me decide on a worthy lone-ranger or a certain combination. I'm open to any suggestions, even ones that aren't currently on my list. Please chime in and help a fellow out. Thanks.
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Old July 8, 2011, 06:21 AM   #2
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Benelli shotgun

If your going to put some good money in a shotgun then I would spend just a little more and get the recoils reducing light and well designed simi auto benelli vecini or the pump action nova. I shoot clays with my mavrick 88 by moseburg it's super reliable and cost me only 130. It's easy to clean and with a sliding buttstock it's not only good for general hunting but home defense as well
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Old July 8, 2011, 08:05 AM   #3
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Of the guns on your list, the 1100 has won numerous competitions over the years and the Beretta 391 is THE competition semi auto, especially on the sporting clays fields, where several champions have used it to win the Nationals

Personally, if this is a gun who primary goal is to make clay pigeons into smokeballs, the Beretta wins hands-down. For that model, you'll be looking at used. There is the 3901, sold by wally world, Cabela's and few other places - mechanically the same, but with plastic stock, matte finish, etc., they sell for about $600 new

Barrels shorter than 28 ( and many would argue 30,32,or34") will be a hindrance on the trap, skeet, 5-stand and sporting clay fields due to the poorer swing dynamics.

Gun FIT is critical to target shooting success.

Before you buy, I would continue to try/rent as many types as you can to get a feel for the ones that seem to fit you the best. Unless you are the average sized person they model their dimensions on, there will always be SOME tweaking necessary for a proper fit.

Personally, I would get one gun for HD and one for targets. If you only get one gun total, then it will need to be a compromise gun - it might do OK at both tasks, but it won't allow you to achieve your full potential.

A used 500 or 870 for HD from pawn shops seem to be selling everywhere (except MY area) for about $150

Good luck
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Old July 8, 2011, 08:09 AM   #4
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Beretta US built 3901 12ga/28" for way less than your budget. Available in synthetic or wood. Much better and less complicated gas system than the 391...
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Old July 8, 2011, 09:46 AM   #5
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Quote:
…my lack of experience/knowledge did not allow me to notice a discernible difference in their performances.
Many new shooters lack your insight. IMHO, don't over think or agonize over your first shotgun purchase. Think of it as temporary gun and a learning experience. You can change guns as you gain experience and develop your potential.

As far as trap guns are concerned, they are unique in the shotgun world. Among the common shooting sports, trap is the only one that doesn't require a quick second shot. In competitive trap, the majority of the guns are single shots. In trap, especially handicap events, you're after a gun with a long sighting radius. When I started competing in ATA events I had a R-1100 Trap model, but soon switched to single shot (combo). The 1100 was a learning experience and I found the auto-loader was a hindrance in trap.

Many new shotgun owners select a combo package (a gun with two barrels of different lengths) for general use and HD. It's fairly straight forward to change barrels on most pumps and auto-loaders these days. For you, a third long trap barrel might be appropriate. There is a vast difference in spare barrel prices between the various gun manufacturers.

As my friend, Oneounceload, mentioned, gun fit is critical. Not only will it get you on target, it will help reduce kick. These days, some guns come with stocks that provide some degree of adjustability. You may find this an attractive feature.
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Old July 8, 2011, 05:41 PM   #6
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I just bought a Benelli Nova tactical. Haven't fired it yet as im still in the waiting period. But I got it for 380 out the door. Have heard nothing but good things, and really cant wait to test it out. but if your price range is that much higher, go for a semi-auto. But if you're a novice like myself, why not go with something cheap and then mod it or buy another once you're comfortable?
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Old July 8, 2011, 06:45 PM   #7
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While the Nova Tactical is a nice gun, rifle sights are a hindrance on clay fields
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Old July 9, 2011, 12:51 AM   #8
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-Sounds like I should shop around for a deal on a 391 or 3901.

-Used 500 or 870 for around $150? I would grab one in a heartbeat, unfortunately they seem to go in the 300 range in my area.

-Any thoughts on the FN SLP 22" being able to serve as a HD and trap gun?
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Old July 9, 2011, 12:55 AM   #9
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my advice is to buy a new pump shotgun for just under 300bucks on the high side I believe: mossberg 500(very high reviews). it gets 7 in the tube and one in the chamber all at once. I was originally going to buy the remington 870 police magnum, but the mossberg was 200something. It is a very good shotgun - don't let the price fool you. I recommend buying a new shotgun rather than a used one. This is just my preference and advice. Good luck.
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Old July 9, 2011, 01:17 AM   #10
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Why new over used? Do people tend to unload problematic guns in the used market?
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Old July 9, 2011, 01:56 AM   #11
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your budget was 800+ dollars I believe you said. why pay $150 for a used one when you can pay about a 100 more for a new one? There is always that issue you mentioned in your last post, but I was refering to my preference and choice only.

as far as your last post's question, there are many honest sellers. That being said, I don't care what anyone thinks: there are definately people out there trying to get rid of the gun that gave them fits while still making a profit or at least getting all or some of there money back! same goes for cars and homes!

the mossberg 500 is an awesome shotgun- some threads on TFL are solely a debate between which is better: mossberg 500s or remington 870s. I was looking for a specific shotgun in the remington 870 police magnum but found the mossberg 500 at a great price, having very high reviews, its been very reliable+user friendly, and I saved a bunch of cash. After that I bought a 6" stainless steel ruger GP100 357 magnum revolver for HD to make it easier and/or to have both options. Then I bought a smaller 357 2" stainless steel revolver for CCW and to travel easier. Then I bought my wife one so she could have a CCW and I could buy another gun(smith&wesson 2 1/8" 357 magnum revolver model 649). Then I bought a rifle in case I hunted w/my work buddies or needed to shoot a grizzly on the swingset, and then I bought a derringer as a backup gun...I think you might be catching my drift...LOL
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Old July 9, 2011, 01:29 PM   #12
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youngunz4life,
The OP excluded the Mossberg 500 from his short list. He's interested in shooting trap with his new shotgun. With your vast experience, have you seen a lot of M-500 shooters with winning trap scores?
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Old July 9, 2011, 01:43 PM   #13
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Quote:
Any thoughts on the FN SLP 22" being able to serve as a HD and trap gun?
Not useful for trap - trap shooting will be better done with a longer barrel and NO rifle sights

You POINT a shotgun at moving targets like clays and birds - no sights necessary
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Old July 9, 2011, 02:11 PM   #14
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I've used my 870 Wingmaster for 12 years on the trap range with the 30'' barrel and full choke. And I've had no problem stomping the **** of guys with thier high ribbed BT99s and other 'trap guns'. The gun is only part of being good at trap shooting, the biggest part is you.
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Old July 9, 2011, 03:09 PM   #15
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zip

it wasn't on his list but he didn't say he wouldn't buy one. what is so much better about the 870 for his purposes? he needs one for HD too + said he is willing to buy two

all the best
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Old July 9, 2011, 03:22 PM   #16
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Yougunz, No one but the OP can tell you why he is not interested in the Mossberg as the choice is often due to personal preferences and personal fit.
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Old July 9, 2011, 04:51 PM   #17
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I wasn't excluding Mossbergs specifically when I made the list. The list was formed based on suggestions from my friend who shoots trap and my own research. In fact, after youngunz brought them up, I have searched online for their prices and will check out the Mossbergs next time I'm at the store.

Thanks for the suggestions. It seems I should add 3901, Mossberg 500 & Benelli Nova to the list of guns I need to check out.
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Old July 9, 2011, 05:10 PM   #18
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@beef

Depends on if you're concerned vs home defense or breaking clays. Almost sounds like clays first and HD is an afterthought for you, so maybe cramming that ultimate versatility into the budget isn't needed...in which case go with the more sports-suited gun vs HD
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Old July 9, 2011, 05:59 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by youngunz4life
zip… what is so much better about the 870 for his purposes?
Remington makes a Wingmaster with a trap stock and barrel. IINM, Mossberg doesn't make a similar model. While everyone I've competed with used a hinge gun, there are those who choose pumps. A pigeon grade W-12 is the preferred trap pump, but I've seen some Wingmasters, like meatgrinder42's 30-inch, used successfully. I've never seen a M-500 at an ATA event. One reason could be because Mossberg doesn't make a barrel longer than 28-inches.

You can't make a reasonable shotgun selection by comparing specs or getting recommendations from other inexperienced shooters. Get some actual trigger time with each gun on your short list before you make your decision. Borrow or rent as many different guns as possible. Spend some time at a trap and skeet club. You'll be surprised how many folks will let you borrow their gun if you express a genuine interest and don't come on like a mall ninja wannabe.

I don't know how many enthusiastic new gun owners I seen arrive at the gun club, eager to try out their new M-500, only to be disappointed. Some years ago one of my business partners bought a M-500 a ran a few boxes through it at club. A few years later I got a call from him asking about rust removal. His M-500 had been lingering in a closet. My friend, Oneounceload, quotes: "The bitterness of poor quality is remembered long after the sweetness of low price has faded from memory.” - Aldo Gucci
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Old July 9, 2011, 06:07 PM   #20
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anonymous, you're right. I have many other HD firearms, so the HD capability of my shotgun(s) probably shouldn't be as big of a factor as I initially thought it should be. Plus I would think that in a pinch, a field or sporting shotgun would be fine as a HD firearm.
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Old July 9, 2011, 07:28 PM   #21
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For an Auto, you can't go wrong with a Remington 1100 IMO. And when you are ready to sell it off it will still have value.

I shoot Browning Citori O/U's and have for 25 years. Love them. Never had one jam like an auto!
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Old July 10, 2011, 12:07 AM   #22
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zippy

Quote:
Get some actual trigger time with each gun on your short list before you make your decision. Borrow or rent as many different guns as possible. Spend some time at a trap and skeet club. You'll be surprised how many folks will let you borrow their gun if you express a genuine interest and don't come on like a mall ninja wannabe.
While I agree this can help, I have to side w/the advice earlier about not making this first shotgun purchase a very complicated decision. If beef does take this advice, I think it will be prudent for him to do more than just to try and borrow everyone else's shotgun to make his decision. I am not saying you were saying this exactly, and there are good people who can help out whether at a club, on the internet, in a gun store, and so-on.

Quote:
Some years ago one of my business partners bought a M-500 a ran a few boxes through it at club. A few years later I got a call from him asking about rust removal. His M-500 had been lingering in a closet.
I have to say that your buddy's issue so many yrs ago is one example only and the rust issue was probably his own fault and/or due to his own inexperience. I would also have to say here that the mossberg is a Good, Quality shotgun in my opinion. I want to make that clear to beef so he gets some more opinions before thinking that the mossberg 500 is junk because of your post.

All of this said, I do admit that I was speaking more of HD and a new shotgun rather than trap shooting. I should've mentioned that with my posting. You guys would be the ones to talk about for that advice - the wingmaster seems like a good firearm too. Depending on how much shooting beef does depend on doing, I guess maybe two wouldn't be a bad option and if less shooting but versatility important, then one really good choice might be the answer.

all the best
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Old July 10, 2011, 12:41 AM   #23
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I didn't say the Mossberg was junk, it offers a lot value; but, it's far from an ideal choice for those looking to get into trap shooting.
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Old July 10, 2011, 02:52 AM   #24
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It seems pretty clear that all Zippy was saying was that his partner's Mossberg 500 grew rusty in the closet because it was purchased for shooting clays and its owner didn't find it was appropriate for its intended purpose. Heck, I bought an 870 for home defense and that led me into shooting clays. I really like my 870, but would be the first to admit that it is low on a list of shotguns for shooting clays. The same would be true of the Mossberg 500 or most any pump.

My vote is for the OP do just as Zippy13 and others suggest, which is what most experienced shooters recommend, and shoot as many guns as possible until he is ready to make a decision.
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Old July 10, 2011, 08:13 AM   #25
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The issues with pumps is that they are a compromise gun - while they can be used for a lot of activities, they are not the best choice for too many, if any, at all.

Clay games that require a second shot especially show the disadvantage that a pump offers - O/U wins that hands down, semi in distant 2nd.
Waterfowl with the uber-loads? Semi wins hands down

CAN a pump be used? Sure, and for a very few folks, it works well - however, it seems the folks always recommending the 500 or 870 have never owned or shot a serious semi or O/U in competition, where one missed bird can relegate you from first to worst

So it will come down to what the OP's desire is - personally, as has been mentioned, get a good semi for targets and a used pump for HD
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