View Full Version : First shotgun help

June 26, 2000, 04:40 PM
Hello folks,

I'm heading to a gun show the weekend after the 4th of July with about $400 to $450 in my pocket for a used shotgun, my first. What I'm looking for are some general 'good deal' types of things that I should keep an eye out for in my price bracket. Who knows what's going to be there, or what condition anything might be in...but I'd like a list of guns to look twice at.

I'm pretty much set on a 12ga autoloader. I'll be shooting alot of informal trap, but the gun needs to do some backup HD duty as well. I'll be getting a dedicated HD shotgun in the future, so I'd emphasise the trap shooting over defense. Meaning it has to be classy, utterly reliable and cycle light loads well.

Leaning towards a Light Belgian A5 w/ a 26-28" bbl or so...but am open to suggestions. For comparision's sake, if I had the $ I'd grab a Browning Gold Hunter (the 'classic' version).

Thanks folks,

- gabe

Bam Bam
June 26, 2000, 07:04 PM
Winchester Super X2? Never shot it, but its gotten lots of praise, as has the Super X.

Dave McC
June 26, 2000, 07:28 PM
Lots of used Remingtons out there, but relatively few 1100s. Most people that have them keep them.Trap and skeet shooters, the folks who burn up thousands of rounds each year,like the 1100.

Lots of aftermarket stuff also,tho that's not as important as you might think...

June 26, 2000, 10:53 PM
The A-5 is a good shotgun for many hunting applications. I own a model 11 remington (same thing) and it works well for me. Recoil is pretty stiff, so I use my 11-87 the most. in that price range i would recomend a remington 1100. They are incredibly reliable, have little recoil, and many aftermarket parts are available. May even be able to find an 11-87 in that price range. best of luck


June 27, 2000, 07:27 AM
While I know almost nothing about hunting shotguns, I will add the line that Dave normally inserts into these discussions: keep the bells and whistles to a minimum.

This past Saturday, I participated in a IPSC three gun match near Allentown, PA. We were in a squad with three Remington 1100 shotguns. Two of the three 1100s had misfeeds or failures to extract in EVERY stage.

One 1100 was stock -- which puzzled the heck out of me, since they are normally reliable. Must have been really dirty, gas guns are prone to malfing when they haven't been cleaned for a while.

But the other 1100 was your typical racegun and it didn't surprise me at all that it was choking. It had speedloader clamps, compensated barrel, JP muzzle attachment and the whole nine yards.

(If I may add the obvious, the Open class handguns in our squad choked frequently as well. Those guys had several reshoots just because of equipment trouble. OTOH, my buddies and I, who use only carry gear and guns, had no equipment troubles whatsoever -- from our handguns or shotguns).


Justin T. Huang, Esq.
late of Kennett Square, Pennsylvania

June 27, 2000, 09:14 AM
Look for a Remington 11-87 or 1100 with a 28" barrel and interchangeable choke tubes. For social purposes, buy a 21" Remington barrel with rifle sights. Get the smooth bore so it can be used with buckshot and slugs, not the rifled barrel. You also might consider an extended magazine for HD.

I owned an 11-87 for years and it worked fine as long as it was kept clean. I replaced the gun when I decided to shoot clays with an over/under.

June 27, 2000, 01:12 PM
Thanks for all the advice so far guys. Keep 'em comin' :) Still a couple weeks to the show!

Justin: I hear you about keep it simple.

PJR: I'm liking that idea. If I could handle both (trap and HD) roles with a barrel swap, I'd be a happy camper. Any idea how much I could expect to pay for a used 11-87 in good mechanical condition (cosmetics aren't that big a deal for me...to a point of course :))

- gabe

[This message has been edited by GRD (edited June 27, 2000).]

June 27, 2000, 02:26 PM
Gabe, let me qualify what I said so you don't get the wrong idea ....

Keeping it simple is a good way to get a reliable gun, but there are certain accessories or modifications that make sense -- and those are the ones that generally do not impact reliability. The racegun example is a good instance of where modifications made a normally reliable gun choke -- it is those type of modifications that should be avoided.

Items like slings, weapon-mounted lights, sidesaddles and the like don't affect reliability and enhance the defensive potential of one's scattergun.



Dave McC
June 27, 2000, 07:41 PM
To enlarge on what Justin said...

The first accessory you should buy for a new gun is lots of ammo. Shoot it,buy more and after a while you have a good idea of just what it needs, not what the guys down at the shop thing you need.

Maybe some stock work to make it shoot where you want it to, or make it more comfortable.

Maybe some choke and forcing cone work, tho folks that get good enough to where mods are necessary to improve their scores and/or effectiveness are not common.

After that, if you're spending more on accessories than ammo and range time, you may want to examine your priorities.

To be totally truthful, my HD 870 has more accessories than Joan Rivers, but...

First, I've shot that one since about 1958, and it served as a test bed for gadgets and gizmos back before there was all this info available on Tactical and HD shotguns. I started modifying that one back around 1980.

Also, I could take that one and my bird 870(only mod, lengthened forcing cone) out and shoot my old qualifier with each,and the scores wouldn't be 4 pellets apart,times identical.

Technology CANNOT substitute for expertise. But, once some expertise is gained, SOME technology can put the cherry on top.

Expertise first, then the fuzzy dice and fender skirts.....

June 28, 2000, 11:04 AM

What kind of IPSC match gives reshoots for shooters equipment failures?? I've never seen it, and it isn't provided for in the rules.

June 28, 2000, 11:15 AM
GRD Quote:
"Meaning it has to be classy, utterly reliable and cycle light loads well.
Leaning towards a Light Belgian A5 w/ a 26-28" bbl"

If you can find one in good condition go for the A5. The A5 is a Classic and they are not produced anymore also the gas rings can be adjusted for the load you are using from light to mag.

Good luck :)

"Lead, follow or get the HELL out of the way."

June 28, 2000, 11:50 AM

We had a special situation -- in our squad was a father/son team. Son was about 11-14 years old, by my guess. The son was too small to handle his father's 12 gauge shotgun (that was the tricked out 1100) so he shot the shotgun stages using his handgun (a .38 Super Open class racegun).

On two occasions, he was unable to get his handgun to fire. I don't know exactly what happened, I just saw a lot of fiddling with the handgun -- ending with him bagging his gun and giving up on the stage. He got to reshoot those stages.

No one in our squad objected to giving him reshoots. I concurred with these decisions -- no need to discourage such a young shooter, especially in a day and age where we need as many young people as we can get. I just thought it unfortunate that his equipment did not work correctly.

In any case, strict USPSA rules were not followed at the match anyway. For example, the kid's father, with the tricked-out 1100 which malfed a few times, also got a reshoot.

Father's gun was an Open class 1911 in some sort of speed holster. On one stage where you had to run over to a rack (your rifle was sitting on the rack) after shooting several targets with your handgun. The handgun was holstered and unloaded at that point.

He ran over to the rack and grabbed his rifle. Rifle tapped holstered handgun. Handgun fell onto the ground. Fortunately, handgun was unloaded and did not break the 180 even when it fell. Stage was immediately stopped -- I was scorer so I got a good view.

To my knowledge, if a handgun falls out of a competitor's holster during the course of fire, that's a match DQ. From the USPSA website, I see:

Rule 10.3: A match disqualification shall be issued for any of the following infractions:

Rule 10.3.5: If at any time during the course of fire, or while loading or unloading, a competitor drops his handgun or causes it to fall, loaded or not, except as follows:

Rule During a holster test in a course of fire before the handgun has been loaded.

Also, US Rule says: If at any time during the course of fire, a competitor drops their handgun or causes it to fall loaded or not, the penalty is a Match Disqualification.

But the chief RO said otherwise and so he got to reshoot the stage.

Note: I didn't care about them getting reshoots. My buddies and I rarely shoot IPSC, we only do the three gun matches -- and we always use carry/duty gear and guns. We also pie corners, use cover, etc -- so we know we're not taking home any trophies, we just go for the experience.

Sorry to digress off the topic.


[This message has been edited by jthuang (edited June 28, 2000).]

June 28, 2000, 07:10 PM
Thanks for all the help folks. I'm pretty psyched about the whole thing, if you can't tell. ;)

As far as accessories are concerned, I'm with you Justin and Dave! :) I'll probably throw a surefire forend lamp and a shell carrier of some flavor or another on the gun right away (unless I end up with a cherry A5, then I'll just leave it as is). The accessorizing would only be applicable if there's an 11-87 or 1100 in the future...crystal ball very fuzzy. Nothing too nuts.

I'm used to A5's as well, I have a couple friends who have 3 models of varying flavors. I average somewhere between 20 to 22 for a round of trap with a 12ga 28" on a good day...with your occasional 17, of course :)

The range is free, I'm a member of the sportsman's club out here and we have a small range with a very nice trap house sunk in the center (remote-triggered 280 clay oscillating pleasure machine :)), so range time is not an issue. I shoot trap quite a bit already, and I don't even own a shotgun :) Always friends (read: mentors)with extra guns around, and I bring plenty of clays and as much ammo as I can carry. I live out on an island in Puget Sound just west of Seattle, and the shooting is always very friendly and mellow.

Again, thanks so much for the advice. I'd have to say I'm keeping my peepers peeled for a nice light 28 or 30" A5, or maybe an 11-87 if I can find one with enough class :) Any more advice is always welcome.

- gabe

Shoot safe!