View Full Version : Best Semi-Auto

May 21, 2005, 01:27 PM
I realize that this is a odd post but I must know, Which is better?
Now I have a friend who will sell his 11-87 because he got a new beretta.
All chokes would come with. I am concerned about reliability.
I dont like o-rings.
The stoeger also has all chokes and the benelli system making it reliable.
Another issue is cost. I realize they cost about the same but I could pay off the 11-87 (he is a good friend :) ) I dont know your advice and experience will help!
Thank you in advance,

May 21, 2005, 02:18 PM
The best semi is the one you're happiest with. That will vary with each shooter.
You might want to expand your search to make sure you're buying "the one" for you. If you buy enough guns you will regret at least some of your purchases, as have most of us. When you find the right gun, the price won't matter as much as you might first think.
I've gone through a beretta 390 and a Weatherby SAS before settling for good on my Fabarm H368 L/H. I don't know about o-rings; none of my guns used them. The 390 was clanky and didn't balance right for me. The Weatherby was heavy and I couldn't hit a thing with it.
My Fabarm is a left-handed, synthetic stock field gun with sling swivels. It's light (6.6lbs), well-balanced, and a breeze to clean. It's one of only two shotties I've bought (out of 8) that fit me perfectly out of the box. Most importantly, it feels like an extension of my body, and that shows in broken clays and dead birds. For $550.00 NIB it's the best money I've spent on a semiauto.

May 21, 2005, 03:37 PM
Also a friend of my mother is sellin a beretta 3901 for 600 dollars never fired.
I guess it was given to him as a gift but seing as he already has a plenty nice gun it was reduntant. (you may have heard of him his name is John Michael McGrath) Is this a good deal?

May 21, 2005, 07:10 PM
I guess the question is, what will you be mainly using it for? On a clay course or skeet or trap field, a recoil operated gun like a Benelli is rarely seen. Beretta 390-391's are all over as well as Remington 1100's and the odd 11-87(myself included). Iv'e had virtually no problems with my 11-87, but there was some quality control issues that has left many lemons out there. Why is your friend getting rid of his 11-87? Winchester SX2's are another option as well. I don't like any of the recoil operated guns that I have shot, but that is a personal preferance. Get what feels best to you for your particular purposes.

May 22, 2005, 04:12 AM
After a lifetime of shooting gas autos I made the switch a while back and picked up a Benelli Supersport. With it's Comfort Tech stock the recoil is drastically reduced for an inertia gun. Not to the level of an 1100 or 390 but much softer then any pump or O/U.

I'd look long and hard at the Stoeger. When properly set up it'll be more reliable and dependable then any gas gun.

May 22, 2005, 07:21 AM
I've been through just about all of the mainstream autoloading shotguns and only two really stand out as being worth every penny they cost. The Beretta 390/391 and the Winchester SuperX2, everything else is second rate compared to these two in my experience.

My third choice would be a Browning Gold. I do not like the Benelli's, and the 11-87 is near the bottom of the list.

If you are going to spend the money on a nice shotgun do yourself a favor and buy a quality gun first, it is a LOT cheaper than finding out the one you saved some money on doesn't work well. Eventually if you are serious about shooting you will end up with a quality gun so you might as well start there.

May 22, 2005, 07:31 AM
Beretta is considered the "best" by most people in the clay target world.

"Best" means firing lot's of shells without cleaning, reliable function and few parts breakage.

The Remington 1100, for example, is a reliable shooter, but you will clean it more(lot more) and more parts will have to be replaced at high round counts.
If you like the way it shoots, I wouldn't hesitate to buy one. Just clean it more(10 minutes) and replace some parts and springs BEFORE you need to! :)

May 22, 2005, 02:49 PM
Well the vice president of the board at my range said he would sell me his 1100 sport made in 2000 with an adjustable comb for 500. With the extra o-rings, springs, and extended chockes he had. is this a good deal I think it is.

May 22, 2005, 02:51 PM
1100, 11-87 and a Browning Gold are my three faves.

May 22, 2005, 03:29 PM
the last 1100 12ga i bought i paid $280. it was a field. in excelent shape though. if you want it buy it. if you dont then keep looking.

May 22, 2005, 08:21 PM

The 2005 1100 Sporting is a nice looking gun and the list price is $901. What's an adj. comb worth?

Get what you like.


May 22, 2005, 08:34 PM
I think an adjustable comb installed by my gunsmith of choice is 200$

May 22, 2005, 09:39 PM
I don't know if this helps, but the best semi-auto is the benelli...hands down. Those who say otherwise just can't afford one...not trying to be a jerk, but that is the truth.

May 22, 2005, 09:58 PM
why do you say the benelli is the best semi-auto? i think that berettas and benellis are about the same. i guess i dont really understand the inertia (sp?) system much. i was thinking about a beretta AL391 teknys. its a good gun and it fits me well. any reason i shouldnt buy it? not tryin to hijack your thread.

May 22, 2005, 10:08 PM
The benelli is the simplest, most reliable, easiest to clean and fast functioning semi-auto on the market. Berettas are fine firearms, but the only thing they have over the benelli is less recoil...everything else on them is more complicated...

May 22, 2005, 10:13 PM
sounds like personal preference

May 22, 2005, 11:57 PM
Yeah, I suppose if you don't want all of those advantages...it's personal preference. :rolleyes:

May 23, 2005, 07:36 AM
mathman, I have owned TWO Benelli's and hunt with guys that have them. It has been my experience that they are much less reliable than the Beretta, SuperX2, and even the Browning Gold. Everything is fine with the Benelli when you can get solidly behind the gun, but on high angle or awkward shots where you cannot get solidly behind them they short stroke. Even with 3.5" mags I have seen this happen time and again. A gas gun doesn't care if it has something behind it to hold it strongly enough to cycle, but the recoil operated guns NEED the support.

Try shooting a couple shots from yours from the hip with both arms extended fully or a light grip, you'll see what I am talking about.

May 23, 2005, 08:55 AM
HSmith, what about the Stoeger, in your view?

May 23, 2005, 10:58 AM
Actually, I have shot the benelli from all angles (I hunt waterfowl as well) and never have had a problem...go figure.

May 23, 2005, 04:36 PM
Well I thought about the benelli but the remington is a steal. Also benelli is owned by Beretta.

May 23, 2005, 04:47 PM
The best semi-auto depends on what you intend to do with it.

If you are a waterfowler who shoots clays occasionally take a Benelli. They are simple, robust and reliable providing you are using ammo of sufficient power. They don't get clogged up like the gas guns and the mechanism is very easy to maintain. The price you pay is added recoil and poor functioning with light loads. I've spent far too much time waiting on Benelli shooters to reshoot targets because they didn't bring ammo that was strong enough to reliably work the action. On one outing I even traded my 3 dram 1-1/8 ounce ammo with a Benelli shooter whose 1 ounce light loads were just not getting the job done.

If you are primarily a clay shooter but shoot some waterfowl then the Beretta 391 is state of the art. It is soft shooting, reliable with even the lighest shells, works with the 3" magnums and comes in variety of formats for clay target shooting. Due to the gas system maintenance can be a little trickier but not impossible.

I admire the Benelli for its many qualities but I wouldn't trade one for my Beretta 391.

May 23, 2005, 05:44 PM
Get that 1100. It's unlikely that over 5 years even a trapshooter would put enough shells through it to even break it in good. If it also has extended chokes, those go for anywhere from $25 -$70 a piece.

May 23, 2005, 07:39 PM
First, I don't see how the Stoeger could be any better, and to be honest about it I don't see how it could even be close to as good as the Benelli with the price it is marketed at.

mathman, you must be one of them big fellers that just don't move when the gun shoots.

May 23, 2005, 08:03 PM
It's funny you should say that...actually, I'm not all that big (~205 pounds).

Let me clear something up about the recoil operated system on the benelli. The system depends on rearward movement for the gun to cycle. As the gun moves rearward, the bolt stays in its position which causes a spring to be compressed inside the bolt. It is this spring that cycles the gun, not the force from the blast...it is not a blowback design.

Check out this site for more information: http://www.benelliusa.com/innovations/inertia.tpl (http://)

Actually, this is one of the reasons that the military needed the gas operated benelli...because you cannot mount accessories to the inertia recoil operated shotgun since the added weight will affect it negatively.

To each his/her own...berettas are fine shotguns, as are the remingtons. I like the benellis due to their simplicity...it is the simple beauty that intrigues me. (not to mention it's a hell of a shotgun!)

May 23, 2005, 08:46 PM
FWIW I agree with mathman...I have shot and bird hunted with many different guns...my Benelli Black Eagle is clearly my favorite of them all by a large margin...pick one up before you buy.

May 23, 2005, 09:26 PM
Where would the Franchi's fit in at quality wise?

May 23, 2005, 10:16 PM
if i'm not mistaken, franchi is made by benelli...and their inertia recoil system is very similar, but not exactly the same.

May 24, 2005, 07:46 AM
"Those who say otherwise just can't afford one..."

Bwaahahahahaha...good one. You're kidding, right? I like the gun, just think most folks would be happier shooting a lot of shells with a gas gun. BTW, want to compare checkbooks? ;) After I write the $3,000 check for my real estate taxes this week I'll have, oh, carry the 1, hmmm, this is embarrassing, I really need to buy a CD or some more stocks, five figures in front of the decimal point. IT'S TIME TO GO SHOPPING, the heck with investing, you can't take it with you. :) Maybe I'll buy by dad another Guerini. I wonder if he'd like a .410?

Oh a more serious note, a local dealer has sold a lot of SBEs over the years and a lot of them show up on the used gun rack in superb condition. The story is that they feel great, look good and kick hard. Not to say that some folks don't love them, but they aren't for everybody.


May 24, 2005, 09:40 AM
I own Rem 1100, 870, Moss 500, Winch 1200 and Benelli M121. The Benelli has never failed. In fact I don't think I've cleaned it in Ten years...Chrome bore.

Take the shotgun out for a shoot. Does it feel right? If not could the stock be adapted to you? My 870 and 1100 have Trap stocks that have been modified to fit my "cheek weld", shoulder position, and adjusted for length of pull.

Recoil vs Gas operation has never bothered me while shooting.

Guess what? If I had to grab one and leave it would be the Benelli. Whether for HD or Sporting use (I use wine corks to reduce capacity to make legal.)

May 24, 2005, 11:26 AM
After I write the $3,000 check for my real estate taxes

$3000?...that's it?...try California real estate taxes...ouch!!! :D

May 24, 2005, 11:59 AM
$3000 IMO isn't even fair for a 1350 sq. ft. house built in 1916 on a
22.5' x 90' lot on the fringe of a very nice neighborhood. Fringe = we're on the last block before the 7-11 and the bars. Based on last week's sale directly across the street the $3000 will turn into $4000 next year. Oh well, I only paid $41k for it way back when and now they're pushing $300k without central air. :)

OTOH, I'd like to visit California someday. Maybe. On my way to Hawaii say. ;)


May 26, 2005, 07:46 AM
I own a Benelli SBE, Win SX2, and sold a Benelli Montefelltro. When I take one out of the safe, its almost always the Super X 2. The recoil is so much lighter, and has never failed. I won't take anything away from Benelli, they make a very nice shotgun. I'll let my son take the recoil, he's a stout young man and likes the SBE, and does very well with it. As said earlier, perference. If it fits, shoot it. The cleaning is much easier with the Benelli's, but I enjoy cleaning guns as much as shooting them. The SX2 for me!!!!

June 14, 2005, 10:37 AM
does anyone have opinions about the franchi 712 raptor?