View Full Version : Newbie question

March 24, 2005, 04:37 PM
Hi, all -- I'm looking to buy my first shotgun, and would appreciate whatever advice you can offer. The most important use for the gun would be home defense, but I'd also like to be able to be able to take it down to the local range and shoot skeet, which means that I'd need an interchangeable barrel (right?). Other consideration: the missus, who's 5'8" and not terribly fragile, but small enough that I'm thinking 20 gauge.

I've read a bunch of threads in the forum, and understand that Mossberg, Remington and Winchester all have their fans, and that I probably can't go horribly wrong with any of the 500/590, 870, or 1300.

Are any of these guns more suited than others to switching back and forth between an 18 or 20 inch barrel and something long enough to shoot skeet competently with?

Thanks in advance.

March 24, 2005, 09:30 PM
I am in the same kind of predicament, unsure of what to buy. The mossberg 500's are nice as well as the Rem 870's. My pal bought a Charles Daly semi auto for about $300-we shoot clays all day with it, and I would not hesitate to stick it in someone's face if they decided to break into my residence.

March 24, 2005, 09:31 PM
i would get the mossberg 500 or the 870 both of them you can change the barrel in a very short amount of time 20 gauge would probally be best if recoil is a concern also for HD just make sure you use the proper load no tiny bird shot

March 24, 2005, 09:39 PM
Thanks for the replies, and the welcome to the forum.

Re: shot selection, I've read in a few places that there's something to be said for smaller shot -- less risk of unintended shoot-through into another room or adjacent property. But I obviously want to stop whoever I'm trying to stop...so where's the happy medium? Something like #2 or 3 birdshot?

March 24, 2005, 10:04 PM
Sorry, I am too new to shotguns to know the difference. I have read something about frangible ammo, and loads that are designed to be effective at close quarters, but not penetrate drywall....I think it was in Combat Weapons or some other magazine.

novus collectus
March 24, 2005, 10:20 PM
I would use #4 buck shot. Not sure if it would go through walls but at close range it should do the job. They do make 00 buck sized using some kinda hollow shot made form some kinda tough polymer for home defense that supposedly doesn't go through wall easily. Costs about $8 for 3 though.

March 24, 2005, 10:26 PM
Wow, at that price you should just throw a hatchet....but yeah, it was some weird concoction like that, the pellets were the key if I recall the arrticle correctly. Total law enforcement stuff.

Just remember, someone told me this once- always identify your target, never shoot at a sound....of course at 4 am, groggy with sleep as someone is rifling thru your unmentionables, I guess we all just do our best. A Brinks home security system is also a good bet.

Altho, when I lived in Balt city, I tried to be armed at all times. In one year, five people were killed behind my townhome.....mostly failed muggings.

novus collectus
March 24, 2005, 10:43 PM
Brother lives there. Keep trying to give him one of my guns to keep.

March 24, 2005, 10:59 PM
My 1911, now MY DAD"S 1911, was a good choice. It fits nice in a belt. I never could get him to part with the Walther....

chris in va
March 25, 2005, 02:10 AM
You'll do great with a Remington 870. Better yet, try and find an older 870 Wingmaster. I have a Benelli Nova and wish I had gone that route instead.

Oh, one thing about skeet/trap...using a 20ga will make things somewhat tougher than a 12. You can always get something like this...


I've personally used one and it makes shooting 12ga enjoyable.

March 25, 2005, 08:48 PM
Wow, pricey, but if it works....my shoulder is worth $120!

March 26, 2005, 11:49 AM
I love my Mossberg 500 Persuader. You can change these barrels in about 30 seconds and switch from the pistol grip to stock within minutes. Plus, with 8 shells, you have a bit more capacity. My first 4 shots are 00 Buckshot, and last 4 are rifled slugs.

April 3, 2005, 10:31 AM
Hi all, I am a Newbie to this Forum but an oldie to shooting. Most any pump gun will work well for home defense and I would guess that at real close "defense" ranges any shot size will work. Even if someone was wearing a bullet proof vest, a load of #9 shot will hit him so hard, they probably will not want to stick around for another dose. Shot in the head,, well,, it will probably remove most of it.
You said you might want to shoot Skeet with the gun. Skeet is a fast game when you shoot the doubles and many can't pump the gun fast enough to be able to pickup the second shot. If you intend to shoot Skeet you might want to consider something in an auto like a Remington 1100. If you meant Trap, a pump is just fine for singles.
Most of the new shotguns have changeable choke tubes, so you don't need a diffetent barrel and most come with the 3 most popular chokes: full, modified and improved cylender (for skeet).
If you definatly want a 18 to 20 inch barrel and a 26" (some like 28") for skeet, you will have to buy a different barrel. I honestly don't think you will have a defense problem with any length you buy and the additional 6 or 8 inches is not going to slow you down to any degree.
Final comment, I would not personally use large shot or buckshot, chances are if you live in a home of recent manufacture, the walls will be mostly 2 layers of 1/2" drywall, the studs are 16" apart. the bottom line is that 2 layers of drywall isn't going to stop a whole lot. Good luck

April 3, 2005, 04:31 PM
Ruger 4570 You just said it all couldn't agree more,if you are close enough no matter what, that whole load is going to hit in a very small area and put you down.Had to shoot a dog that was attacking my kid years ago all I could grab fast was 12 ga 7 1/2s one shot at 15 feet and the dog never moved after it was hit.Me I love a 410 for home defense Full choke with 3 inch shells and a short barrel.

April 11, 2005, 09:51 PM
Ruger4570: Being a newbie to the forum as well I feel the need to contradict you. My firend rugerdude and I both use pump guns in our competitive skeet league and have no problem cycling rounds for dobles. enough practice and it just becomes like a second nature to us

Death from Afar
April 12, 2005, 01:03 AM
The 870 is an excellent gun and with the selection of barrels and chokes you can do whatever you like with. Birds, skeet, rabbits, whatever.

Shot: I know that OO buck is the LEO standard but I have had very mixed sucess with it. Many reports I have used is that #4 buck is the way to go and I agree. You do have to be careful with over penetration of shot loads, espically a t close range. Even #6 will blow a pretty deep hole at close range.

April 12, 2005, 09:42 AM
Thanks to all, especially skeet and ruger for breathing new life into the thread.

Is there much weight difference between a typical pump and typical semiauto? Which one typically is heavier?

April 12, 2005, 10:04 AM
It is my personal opinion that a light target load (#7 1/2 shot) is ideal for home defense. This is the stuff you can buy at Walmart for $5 per 25 shells and the stuff you would take out for some casual skeet/trap shooting etc.

As others have mentioned, at home defense ranges, the shot will be concentrated in a very tight area. However, if you miss, you are less likely to shoot through drywall and other common building materials. Plus, the recoil will be much more manageable.

This is just my opinion. Others have made very good cases for using #1 or #4 buck for home defense.

As for make and model of a good home defense gun, I'd say the Remington 870. The one advantage the 870 has over the others is that its receiver is solid steel rather than aluminum alloy. This will help tame recoil a bit. Even better if you get a model with a wood stock.

I used to have a Mossberg 500, and the light aluminum receiver plus the plastic stock made for a painful shooting experience.

April 14, 2005, 04:37 PM
Skeetin'870: I appreciate your comment but I had said "many can't pump fast enough" Many can indeed. I have 2 buddies that use pumps and they are almost as fast as a double. I also expect if you want to be good with a pump and are willing to practice the doubles will surely make you fast at a second shot.
Besides I too own 2 870's and 2 Ithaca pumps, I have nothing agains them at all

Dave McC
April 15, 2005, 06:09 AM
Litigator, all else equal, a Remington 1100 auto runs .25 lbs heavier than an 870 pump.

Other brands vary, but most autos are heavier than most currently made pumps. This has both up and down sides.

Balance is as important as weight. The extra weight is in the front of the COG, since the gas system lies 'neath the forend. Heavier to carry, but the weight helps inertia keep the swing going. Stopping the swing is a common fault.


April 20, 2005, 03:43 PM
I recently aquired a Mossberg 590A1 (8 shot) with ghost rings and a 20" barrel.
I put about 50 rounds through it on paper, then I realized that I had a box of skeets... so, being by myself, I had to throw for myself, but I was able to bust 9 of the 10 skeets I threw although they were at fairly close range. I absolutely love this shotgun and would highly recommend it- then go to the range and impress you friends by shooting skeets with ghost ring sights!

April 20, 2005, 04:47 PM
Mossberg 500: 220 bucks at wal-mart + 75 bucks (I think, maybe less) for the 18.5 inch barrel. A skeet and full choke and you are set for trap and skeet.

I use a cheaper version (knockoff) of this gun and it is great for skeet and trap.

The thing that I don't like about the 870 (don't get me wrong, it is a top notch gun) is that the button that unlocks the slide without pulling the trigger is in front of the trigger guard, making it necessary to move your hand away from the trigger to cycle rounds without firing.

If you can get the hang of it, an 18.5 inch barrel with a fixed IC choke will work for skeet. A longer barrel only adds weight to the gun for a smoother swing.

April 22, 2005, 05:15 PM
My 870's are good for home defense and i use #6 shot and if any one broke in I have a 12ga my brother has the 20ga between the two of us we will stop a intruder one doesnt hear the other does if neither of us do lord help us all