View Full Version : Duck gun dilemma-opinions welcome

August 17, 2002, 12:34 PM
I'm in the market for a new duck and goose buster.
I've been shooting skeet and sporting clays with a Beretta 390 Sporting model and I like it alot and shoot it well. Nice walnut stock and blued sides.
I can get a synthetic stock 390 at Walmart for $528+tax with same familiar fit and function and limited to 3" shells. I can even give it a fair camo for $5.
...or I can pick up a new Beretta Xtrema I just located for $929+tax with nice camo finish and chambered for up to 3.5" shells. In which case I would sell or trade my 3.5" Browning pump to help offset the cost difference.
I am mostly undecided as to the need for the 3.5 12g even tho I have shot some at geese. I think the 3" hevi-shot was more effective than the 3.5 steel. I still like to have the option I spose.
Any thots or comments welcome.

August 17, 2002, 01:03 PM
If your financial situation allows you to use Hevi for ducks and geese I see no need for the 3.5". I shoot steel, so the 3.5" is a big advantage.

If the 390 works well for you that should carry a LOT of weight in your decision. Sucks to drop a grand on a new duck gun that doesn't shoot well for you, I have been there and done that. Hunting with your target gun is the best way possible IMO. I ended up with a Super X2 before I was able to do it.

For steel shooting the 3.5" is a big advantage. You can have high velocity, large pellets, AND a useful pellet count at extended ranges with it. The only other way to get the performance is to buy a 10 gauge.

Hope this helps.

August 17, 2002, 02:52 PM
Does it have to be an autoloader??

August 17, 2002, 03:10 PM
I'm not sure about the advantage of the 3.5" shells over the 3" even with steel. I'd get the synthetic 390 for several reasons including familiarity with the controls and the ability to interchange chokes between your sporting and hunting gun. The Xtrema uses Berettas new Optima system and won't interchange with the 390.

Also, I've owned a 390 and spent a couple of afternoons with a borrowed Xtrema. Frankly, I think the Xtrema is pretty disappointing in the handling and trigger department. I wouldn't put up with one just for the assumed advantage of the 3.5" shells.


August 17, 2002, 10:23 PM
<Does it have to be an autoloader??>


<I'm not sure about the advantage of the 3.5" shells over the 3" even with steel.>

Not sure myself. I've hunted with both.

I've got the browning pump in 3.5 but it weighs a ton and the safety is in the wrong place.
I haven't handled the Xtrema yet. I did handle a Benelli SBE and dropped it from consideration.
Thanks for the feedback.

August 17, 2002, 10:37 PM
I guess I should have mentioned that if you shoot only inside of 40 yards you will not see a big advantage in the 3.5" shells. If you shoot over that the difference is stunning. Steel kills well out to 55 yards in #2 and out to 70 in BBB. Up close it all works. Beyond about 50 yards have fun and I wish you luck in getting a workable pattern with the 3" high velocity shells.

August 17, 2002, 11:01 PM
My nearly complete list of 12ga. 3.5in autoloaders----cause I'm sure I'll forget something.

Beretta Extrema
Benelli SBE
Browning Gold
Remington 11-87 Super Magnum
Winchester Super X-2

10ga autoloaders:

Browning Gold
Remington SP-10

All of them are pretty pricey----and I think I've seen a camo version of each model----none of them are really all that light--but that's not always a bad thing either.

I think that's about all the choices out there for a powerfull waterfowl gun---well autoloaders at least.

August 18, 2002, 08:14 AM
I guess my thoughts are that the 3.5" is over-rated and over-priced but may offer some advantages to the 3" in some circumstances. With the recent purchase of hevi-shot by Remington and competition by the ammo manufacturors we may see more (or maybe less?) reasons to use the 3.5" in the future. My chrystal ball is in for repairs.
If I was doing more goose hunting I might consider the 10g but not at this time. I like to think of myself as a duck hunter with frequent oportunities at canada honkers. Not all my hunting is from a blind so weight is a consideration too. Lots of hiking around the strip mine potholes at times.
I'm hoping to get a chance to handle the Beretta Xtrema soon. I'm told it is only a bit heavier than the synthetic 390 and with similar handling. If not, I will probably just go with another 390 and put the difference into hevi-shot and a premium choke tube. Oh, and $5 for the do-it-myself camo job.
My goal is to have a dedicated do-all waterfowl gun that takes the abuse that goes with waterfowl hunting.

Dave McC
August 19, 2002, 07:11 AM
3 1/2" really doesn't set me on fire, King.Others differ, but I'd be surprised if patterning showed the 3 1/2" stuff was as good as the 3 inch fodder, much less superior.

I did handle an Extrema, and felt it weighed about what a standard 391 does. Both seem a hair on the heavy side for a toting shotgun. I'd add a set of sling swivels,in either case, t'were I thee.

The Walmart 390 sounds like the better deal to me. I suggest getting it, buying a variety of non tox duck and goose loads, and working at the bench until you're confident the equipment will hold up its end.

Good luck and good shooting....

August 21, 2002, 03:29 PM
Dilemma solved with an unexpected twist!
Bumped into a new in box Winchester superX2 in black synthetic for $630. I'm going to shoot it awhile and if I like it will add my do-it-myself camo. sling studs already installed. The handling and the weight seem OK so far.
Thanks for all the info!

Dave McC
August 21, 2002, 03:49 PM
Nice deal, King. How about a T&E after you've a chance to shoot it in a bit?


August 21, 2002, 09:04 PM
Thanks Dave et al,
It is going to go a couple rounds of skeet next week for a wringing out.
If I don't like it (and maybe even if I do) I can still pick up one of the synthetic 390s. atleast this way I still have the option of 3.5 shells just in case I become convinced there is an advantage over 3".
I am seeing LOW prices on new shotguns all over the place all of a sudden. 870 express mags and super mags for $227-259. Benelli Novas for $229 new. Rem 11-87 3.5" was cheap too but I didn't like it- $479 IIRC.
Even shells are marked down. Fasteel 3.5" was 10.59/box of 25, Rem hevi-shot 13.25/box of 10.
looks like time to stock up.

August 24, 2002, 06:39 PM

"Hunting with your target gun is the best way possible IMO. I ended up with a Super X2 before I was able to do it."

How do you like your Super X2? Is it living up to it's reputation or has it been a let down? I myself have read and heard good things about the SX2 and I am contemplating whether that will be me next shotgun purchase...


August 24, 2002, 07:08 PM
Cody, the X2 is the only shotgun I "need" to do anything you can do with a shotgun. I am head over heels in love with mine. It is absolutely reliable, it has gone over 3000 rounds with just a couple drops of oil on the bolt rails every 500 or so and still running like a swiss watch. If it is not oiled on the bolt rails and shot bone dry it will not function long, maybe 250 rounds. I have shot sporting clays, skeet, and trap with it as well as hunting every legal bird in this area. For sporting and skeet I am at or just under the best scores I can shoot, and my best trap scores of my life are with the X2. It is fairly heavy in your front hand compared to a fine O/U, which is responsible for a lost target every now and then, but overall my scores are within a couple % of what I am capable of. The heavy front hand is a good thing on actual birds hunting. The high velocity 3.5" steel is WAY more effective on the ducks and geese than standard velocity, couple that with a high enough pellet count to have a good pattern at 55 yards and it is a fowl SLAYER!!!!! Mine is nicknamed the "annihiliator" by my hunting buddies. All but one of my hunting buddies is now shooting a 3.5" after seeing mine hit ducks, the other is holding out for a cheap 10ga auto.

I really really like mine. It retired 5 shotguns since I got it. I only shoot one other shotgun now, and it is a 6 pound 20 gauge. I have over 25K rounds through mine and it has been simply flawless. 3 guys that I regularly shoot with have tried it and bought one for themselves.

To me the X2 is the holy grail of "do it all" shotguns. If it fits you I think you will love it too. If it doesn't fit keep looking or make it fit. I honestly don't see how anyone could not like it if it fits.

August 25, 2002, 05:39 PM
Please share the info . . . where do you find Remington Hevi-Shot for $13.25/box of 10?

August 25, 2002, 10:20 PM
I was wrong. It was $15.25 for 3" and the big sporting goods sale was this weekend at Farm King. That's also where I bought the Sx2.