View Full Version : Winchester Defenders Are they any good?

Cowboy Preacher
October 24, 2000, 10:36 PM
I am looking to buy a new pump shotgun and have seen a few good deals on the Defenders. The store had one pistol grip model and one full stock both 12ga. I need to know are Defender any good compared the Remingtons and Mossbergs? Thisgun will be used mainly for keeping in my Truck and for carrying on camping and long term hikes.

I got a touch of the hangover, bureaucrat. Don't push me.

Dave McC
October 25, 2000, 05:44 AM
CCCCP, lots of old threads about defenders, check the archives and I think you'll find enough to make you happy.

IMO, it's OK.

General Tso
October 25, 2000, 10:02 AM
The Defenders are fine shotguns Preacher. The die-hard Remington guys will poo-poo anything but the 870 :D, but fact is the Defender will likely serve you well.

I currently have a Mossberg 500 and an 870 but I've had 2 Defenders in the past. I liked them, in some ways better than the 870 and the 500. The 18" barrel and 7 shot tube make a nice handy package with good firepower right out of the box. That's the package I like best on the Defender. My last one had a tritium bead installed on and a Sidesaddle and used it as my house gun for a few years until my nieghbor talked me out of it. He uses it for his house gun now.

Reliability was always 100% and it performed well with a wide variety of shot loads and slugs. Perhaps the all steel 870 provides better long term durability than the Defenders alloy reciever but that'd be about the only edge I'd give to the 870 except in terms of customization. there seems to be a lot more aftermarket items available for the 870 (and the 500) than there are for the Defenders.

Dave R
October 25, 2000, 04:46 PM
Have owned a Mossy 835 for several years. My Bro. just got a defender, and we've been shooting together. Hate to say it, but I like his defender better than my 835. Nicer action. Nicer balance.

October 26, 2000, 03:24 AM
functionally, they are fine. I traded mine because the slide release buton was located on the side of the trigger gaurd opposite the ejection port and was so short that I had to turn the gun almost upside down to get it where I could press the button far enough to open the action.

Maybe mine was an oddball.

Dave R
October 26, 2000, 11:36 AM
greentimber, thanks for reminding me about the one thing I really do NOT like abouth the defender. The safety is really hard to manipulate. Could be a problem if unting with it. Much easier when the safety is right under your thumb. Other than that, I like the Defender.

Oleg Volk
October 26, 2000, 12:14 PM
I would like to note that, while steel receiver may be heavier and stronger, Defender DOESN't need it. Its multi-lug bolt locks directly into the barrel lugs, similarly to Weatherby and AR rifles.

I have been happy with my $270 20ga Lady Defender (7-shot tube, fiberoptic front bead). I works for trap, doesn't kick much, comes configured as I want it (i.e. has extended mag, good sight, synthetic stock with swivel studs). It has been very reliable, easy to clean. Only down side: can rust easily if exposed to much moisture.

Accuracy with Slugger/SuperX slugs has been acceptable. Using a bead sight, I can get a three shot touching group every time at 25 yards. Have not had a chance to fire it at longer ranges yet.

The reasons I did not go with the 870 were: (IMO) poor position of the slide release, need to get gunsmith to add a mag extension, sling swivels and fiberoptic sight.

General Tso
October 26, 2000, 02:30 PM
Winchester actually makes what I think may be one of the best all purpose shotguns around (just my opinion, hold the flames please ;)), the Camp Defender.


"The Camp Defender is an all-around camp gun for family protection, the occasional grouse around camp or even as a quick handling slug gun at the business end of a deer drive. Features a rugged synthetic stock. Adjustable open sights. Eight shot total capacity. 22" barrel. Interchangeable WinChoke® system for versatile buckshot, birdshot or slug performance."

Street cost is about $259 if I'm recalling correctly. Not bad considering rifle sghts, Winchoke etc. I've been eyyeing one up for a while now but am torn between it and a Mossberg 590A1. Problem is I want both of them to keep my 870 company :D.

Dave McC
October 26, 2000, 07:41 PM
No need for that asbestos underwear yet, General. The little shooting I've done with Defenders has me recalling that they worked every time and did what I wanted them to. IMO, while I'm a stone cold 870 fan, the Defender is a pretty good shotgun. So's the Mossberg. SO there(G)..