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Old February 3, 2014, 06:14 AM   #1
ATN082268
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Shotgun for home defense

Although I will most likely get a handgun first, I'd like some input regarding getting the right shotgun for home defense. What manufacturer, pump or semi-auto etc. Anything else, like ammunition, accessories, etc would also be welcomed Thank you.
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Old February 3, 2014, 08:32 AM   #2
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I have a 12 gauge Remington 870 Law Enforcement...which should work, but it can jam on you if you don't pump it right --- You need sharp and vigorous ejection to prevent jams. Federal's Law Enforcement Low Recoil in 00 or #4 buck --- with #4 buck being the most effective --- or just use birdshot. Use Federal's TruBalled slugs for non-rifled barrels. Don't forget amplified hearing protection, along with a cell phone. Install a Mesa Tactical side saddle shell holder that fits on the left side of the receiver. I do like the ghost ring sights on my 870. For fast follow-up shots...pump during recoil.

View Matt Burkett's "Shotgun Mastery" DVD.
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Old February 3, 2014, 09:03 AM   #3
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Shotguns come in all shapes and sizes. Depending on your surroundings and where you live some will be a better fit than others. If you live in the country and may use it for hunting (fowl) one type and kind would be recommended. If you are a city dweller a different model and type would be recommended.

It will depend on your circumstances so please provide additional information about yourself.

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Old February 3, 2014, 09:18 AM   #4
Fishbed77
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I'll be the first to say you can't go wrong with a new or trade-in 870 Police (avoid the new-manufacture 870 Express) or a Mossberg 500/590. Both are extremely good choices, so it all comes down to personal preference.

My personal choice is a Mossberg M590A1 with 18.5" barrel.

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Old February 3, 2014, 09:52 AM   #5
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Can't go wrong with a Remington 870, Mossberg 500 or 590, Ithaca 37, Winchester 1200 or 1300. Be sure to get lots of triggertime. If you have never fired a shotgun before, be advised that full-power buckshot loads have fierce recoil. As someone else mentioned, reduced recoil buck loads are a most excellent choice for H-D.

Practice target shooting with birdshot; keep it loaded for defensive situations with buckshot. The smallest buckshot size generally recommended for defensive purposes is number 4 buck. #4 buck pellets are .27 dia, slightly over 1/4". 00 buck is a proven fight-stopper.




There are also many excellent new budget shotguns available for under $250:


Savage-Stevens 320 is a Winchester 1300 clone with accessories offered on shotguns costing nearly 10x as much:






Savage-Stevens 350 is a Ithaca Model 37 clone:





H&R Pardner Pump is a humpback Remington 870 clone:





Maverick Model 88 is a Mossberg 500 clone with a different safety location for a great price:




Mossberg 500 looks exactly like the Maverick 88 above:

All of these shotguns are available in different barrel lengths and configurations, and typically have many accessories to to suit your specific shooting needs. You can get a used Remington or Mossberg for about the same price. It's a good idea to increase the versatility of your SG by having a spare barrel with choke tubes for wing shooting birds and waterfowl, and an 18"-20" cylinder choke barrel for things that go "BUMP" at 3am. or blasting a deer for dinner. Avoid pistol-gripped shotguns.

And remember:

Birdshot for birdies
Buckshot for bad guys
Repeat
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Old February 3, 2014, 11:26 AM   #6
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One thing to keep in mind about the foreign-made "budget" shotguns is parts availability. While the feature set may be nice for the price, parts and accessories may be much more difficult to find than they will be for shotguns like the 870 and 500/590.

My brother has one of the Chinese-made H&R 870 clones (that he was given). While it is a decently-made and reliable shotgun, almost none of the parts are interchangeable with a real 870.
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Old February 3, 2014, 11:53 AM   #7
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You can check out the Chinese made Catamount Fury AK shotgun, that has a bolt hold open on the last shot --- compared to a Saiga which does not --- though it does not accept Saiga magazines.
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Old February 3, 2014, 12:10 PM   #8
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The Maverick has a positive in thats its owned by Mossberg. In addition to some of the parts being interchangeable, you'll probably have better access to parts overall.
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Old February 3, 2014, 01:03 PM   #9
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If you do get a shotgun, remember that you do have aim it. It won't clear a room. You do have to know how to run it automatically.

If a pump, you can mess up the stroke. You can get so excited that you eject live rounds and run out of ammo with a lower capacity gun.

You need experience with the recoil and shot recovery. You have to know how to clear it.

Thus - if you buy it - get a touch of training and practice with it. Yep, naive folk protect themselves all the time - but we preach that folks should get tuned up more than that.

As far as the gun itself - I'd add that the Winchester 1300 types run fine. Anyway mine did in matches and shotgun classes.
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Old February 3, 2014, 01:03 PM   #10
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Mossberg?

I live in the country so it would be close to impossible to accidentally hit the neighbors with a stray shotgun blast. I did a cursory look at some Mossberg models and found these two interesting:

SPX-8 (semi-auto)
590 A1 (pump)

Any thoughts? I was also curious to what people thought of adjustable stocks and pistol grips (with a stock). Thank you for the responses so far
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Old February 3, 2014, 01:10 PM   #11
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I have run 870's and Mossy's extensivly. My pref is the Moss 590. 1extra round in the 18" gun. Good sights (yes even shotguns need sights, IMHO) better placement of controls. I just like it better. YMMV

Remember on the Moss the safety is top mounted. Makes it more ambi but prevents the use of pistol grip type stocks. If a PG is something you really want then go 870.
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Old February 3, 2014, 01:13 PM   #12
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Quote:
My brother has one of the Chinese-made H&R 870 clones (that he was given). While it is a decently-made and reliable shotgun, almost none of the parts are interchangeable with a real 870.
It's been my experience that most if not all the parts that will be likely to wear out on a true 870 are interchangeable with the Norinco (Chinese) clones.

This is what I have, with a few basic mods: http://www.iacshotguns.com/982pump.html

Price is right around $200. Well made, including the stock and forend. The stock walls are rigid and clean. Mossberg's I've seen tend to be thinner and ratty inside.
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Old February 3, 2014, 01:22 PM   #13
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My turkey gun is a Winchester 1300, which is supposed to be the fastest of all pumps. I put a jumbo safety on my 870 Law Enforcement, though it's not as big as a Wilson Combat jumbo safety; which I probably would much rather have. Check out the Wilson Combat 870.
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Old February 3, 2014, 08:21 PM   #14
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Don't forget to look at the Rem. 1100.
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Old February 3, 2014, 09:11 PM   #15
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I have both a Mossberg 500 and Remington 870. They are field models, but if I were to favor one for HD, I'd probably go with the Mossberg, largely because of the tang safety. I'm left-handed, so that's part of the reason.

I used to think a pump would be more reliable than a semi-auto, thinking the more complex gun would be more prone to failure. However, a pump is probably more prone to human error. I've short shucked my guns more than once when trying to shoot a quick followup shot at birds or clay target. In a stressful HD situation, I'd likely be better off with a semi-auto.

You mentioned the Mossberg 930 sxp-8. The 930 line has a reputation of being a reliable and a good value, so I'd definitely consider it if you go the semi-auto route.

Regarding stocks, I prefer a more conventional grip as opposed to a pistol grip, but that may just be personal preference. A stock adjustable for length (and maybe comb height) makes sense. A lot of people prefer shorter stocks for HD guns. Some AR style stocks are instantly adjustable for length, but these are mostly pistol grips. Magpul SGA stocks (for Remington and Mossberg pumps) uses spacers and interchangeable comb pieces to give a desired fit, and this has a more conventional grip.
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Old February 4, 2014, 12:12 AM   #16
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I have 2 870's the older one bought back in the 80's if I remember correctly is a great shotgun, and the other one I bought about 3 years ago. The older one has "870 Express Magnum" on the receiver and the newer one just has Remington 870 on the receiver with the extended magazine tube. Both seem to be about the same quality which is good and have never gave me a problem. I also bought the H & R Pardner pump protector. Not too long ago. The much cheaper Pardner (price wise) seems to be a better made shotgun. The receiver is thicker, the barrel, and extractor, and other parts seem to be more heavy duty. It's works as good as the 870's. Some others might see it differently but to me it seems to be built with stronger metal and parts. Even the plastic stock and pump seem more durable than the 870 I bought 3 years ago. The older 870 has the wood stock and pump. I am no gun expert, so this is just what I see. I could be totally wrong.
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Old February 4, 2014, 07:35 AM   #17
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Room Brooms....

I'm not much of a shotty fan.
I would get a NIB left hand 870 12ga or maybe a Ithaca Defender 18" barrel with extended magazine.
Browning had a cool BPS 12ga all-weather(a tough grey-nickel) with a extended mag tube but it was cut about 3 years ago.

In general, the Remington 887 Tactical 12ga is a great value for a home defense or duty weapon. It's safe, robust, easy to service/clean & looks like a ticked off Pit Bull, .
The Mossberg 590 milspec & the 870 lend themselves to after market stuff.
There are many US firms & gunsmiths that do custom jobs.
Wilson Combat is considered a top source for LE grade features.
Magpul's new "furniture"(a UK military term) for the 12ga 870 & 500 series are impressive.
For one hand use or "wounded" methods, Id suggest a pistol grip style(with stock). Massad Ayoob; www.massadayoobgroup.com wrote a gun press item about these shotguns. Ayoob also wrote a Stressfire tactics book for pump/semi auto shotguns.
Surefire markets a bright fore-end light for the 870 series but I prefer the lesser known EOTech version(includes a strobe).
The Warhammer add-on is a smart choice too. It acts as a heat shield & you can use the 1913 rails to add kit(lasers, scopes, lights, etc).
Nordic Components(NC) is well known for custom shotgun features & defense products. I like the magazine extensions but there are other well engineered brands.
Finally, do not use the Knoxx Spec Ops 12ga stock from www.blackhawk.com . They no longer sell these shotgun parts & the tactical stock versions are reportedly unsafe. Blackhawk themselves post a safety warning.

CF
See; www.brownells.com www.midwayusa.com www.surefire.com www.natchezss.com www.galls.com www.cabelas.com www.grafs.com www.policehq.com www.deltaforce.com www.magpul.com www.gunzilla.us www.deltapress.com www.gunvideo.com www.nra.org
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Old February 4, 2014, 07:53 AM   #18
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I live alone so I prefer to keep all of my firearms locked up and rely on my CCW. I'd hate to come home to find someone caught in the act and them with my shotgun pointing at me.

I have what is now I suppose an antique shotgun. What Elmer Keith called "the greatest alley cleaner of them all" the Winchester Model 1897 riot shotgun. Out dated nowadays but made without an 'interrupter' so that you can just hold the trigger back and pump to fire multiple rounds. Mine is the "takedown" model and was made in 1940, an original riot gun. Not modified. Pretty cool shotgun.
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Old February 4, 2014, 08:01 AM   #19
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Pump-action shotguns have a pretty good kick to them when you fire buckshot and slugs. I have a Remington 870P with a Knoxx (now Blackhawk) SpecOps Gen I recoil reducing buttstock. I can shoot buck & slugs all day long with it. Felt recoil is substantially less than my wife's 20 gauge Remington 870 (which is smaller in size/weight because it's proportionately scaled down for the 20 gauge shotshell).

One of the softest shooting 12 gauge shotguns I've ever fired is the Remington 11-87P. Compared to a pump-action shotgun it makes buckshot feel like birdshot and slugs feel like buckshot.

Good luck!

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Old February 4, 2014, 12:58 PM   #20
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I like the Remington 870 Police I have. The only mod I have done is the Blackhawk! Adjustable recoil reducing stock/pistol grip. I installed that so I can keep the length short for my wife (who shoots a 12g well) if I'm not home; otherwise I'd have left it stock.

Without trying to start a flame war, I'll say I like the plain bead-post front sight. I think it provides the fastest and clearest "down the barrel" view of your target, especially in an indoor low-light situation. If I were going for headshots with slugs at 50ft, sure then, ghost ring .

I've shot Mossbergs and Benelli's and would be proud to own either of them as well. Find the one that fits you and functions in a way you're comfortable with.
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Old February 4, 2014, 01:08 PM   #21
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Clint Smith defensive shotgun:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-NSLxxDWpOI
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Old February 4, 2014, 01:15 PM   #22
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There is always someone with a Mossberg knocking the 870 Express. The fact is that both the Mossberg and the 870 Express are good guns. The only knock on the Express is that cheap ammo sticks in the chamber unless you polish it out with some still wool wrapped around a dowel chucked in a drill when it is out of the box. Some swap the mim exractor out for a machined extractor.

As for the Mossberg, the top tang safety is no good if you want a tactical pistol grip. They are also known to develop problem with the latches so that when loading rounds are dropped. Some hate the for end rattle of the Mossberg but most don't mind it much. That safety is plastic and prone to break. If it does break, you cannot fire the gun. Pretty easily fixed, but fix it if you get a Mossberg. (Not sure but the more expensive military model may have a metal safety).

Ask yourself why most Chinese made copies attempt to clone the 870 and not the Mossberg.

Both are good self defense guns, but I am beginning to believe a handgun is better. Best is a handgun and a shotgun.

As for gauge, I am happy with my 12, but some experts suggest a 20 so that the entire family can control it. For the same reason a semi auto might be a better idea then the pump. (The gas system of a semi auto sucks up a lot of recoil, but be careful. Not all auto loaders are gas operated, while some are recoil operated.) Not sure, but I believe Mas Ayoob recommends a youth size gas operated semi 20 gauge for a family home defense shotgun, but again I believe he prefers the handgun over all. Read this by Ayoob

I shoot 12 gauge shells that I reload to emulate a 20, but that is for target shooting. One benefit is that the weight of the heavy 12 gauge target gun sucks up much of the recoil and that is true of the 20 type load, but I would not want to use reloads for defense.

Choice is also dictated to a great degree by your circumstances; rural or city, single family home or apartment, family across the house from master bed room.

There are a lot of accessories for either the Mossberg or the 870.

Besides the interchangeability or lack thereof of parts between an 870 and a clone, consider barrels. There a lot of barrels for both the Mossberg and the 870, but the 870 barrels usually cannot be fit to a clone without some kind of adapter that is usually made out of pvc pipe or conduit. Also, the barrels that fit a Mossberg 500 aren't going to fit the model with the larger capacity magazine.

I think what I am saying is you are doing the right thing by educating yourself before buying. The best gun and ammunition are the ones tailored for your needs.

Last edited by Dreaming100Straight; February 6, 2014 at 01:25 AM.
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Old February 4, 2014, 01:40 PM   #23
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A friend of mine has a Maverick 88, and I wouldn't have it. We were out in the yard shooting chimney-sweeps one evening and as I pumped it, the little corner of the fore-end where the SINGLE action bar is pinned snapped right off. I ordered him another one and got it fixed. The new one lasted less than a month before snapping. My Mossnberg has a metal collar that the TWIN bars attach to, so there is more than a quarter inch of brittle plastic between an operating pump shotgun and a not-so-well-made club.
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Old February 4, 2014, 01:43 PM   #24
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I really like the Mossberg 500s/590s.

The controls feel more natural to me for the safety and slide release (I do not use pistol grip type stocks). Really, that was the deciding factor for me. There are plenty of nice and reliable shot guns to be had at all kinds of price points. I try not to argue over which model/brand is "better", because it's all about what you are comfortable with.

Go out and handle as many as you can and manipulate the controls of the different models. Feel the heft of them. shoulder them and sight down the barrel. I think you will find out what works and doesn't work for you real quick.
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Old February 4, 2014, 04:33 PM   #25
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Quote:
The fact is that both the Mossberg and the 870 Express are good guns. The only knock on the Express is that cheap ammo sticks in the chamber unless you polish it out with some still wool wrapped around a dowel chucked in a drill when it is out of the box.
The newer 870 Express shotguns can choke on high-end ammo too. Ask my friend whose 2012-production 870 Express Tactical seized up completely on Hornady VersaTite, requiring a full diss-assembly of the gun. As such, I cannot recommend a new 870 Express as a defensive shotgun until Remington/Freedom Arms gets their house in order. Fortunately, 870 Police trade-ins can often be found for ~$300.

Quote:
There is always someone with a Mossberg knocking the 870 Express.
FYI - I own numerous Remingtons and only one Mossberg, so there is no bias here. I only speak from experience with the last two 870 Expresses I have had experience with. Both had the same problems.

Quote:
That safety is plastic and prone to break. If it does break, you cannot fire the gun. Pretty easily fixed, but fix it if you get a Mossberg. (Not sure but the more expensive military model may have a metal safety).
The M590A1 has a metal safety & trigger guard/housing (as well as a heavy barrel and a much-superior open-ended mag tube). They can be had for ~$470 new, which is about $150 more than a 500, but several hundred dollars less than an 870 Police.

Quote:
As for the Mossberg, the top tang safety is no good if you want a tactical pistol grip.
Agreed. If you want a pistol grip, you don't want a Mossberg. Now there are some aftermarket oversized safeties out there, but I have no idea if they'll allow you to reach the safety when holding a pistol grip.

Quote:
Ask yourself why most Chinese made copies attempt to clone the 870 and not the Mossberg.
My guess is because metallurgy of a steel receiver is simpler than aluminum and labor for milling is cheap in China.

Quote:
Both are good self defense guns, but I am beginning to believe a handgun is best.
Me too.


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