View Full Version : Help Finding the Right First SG

August 21, 2005, 03:17 PM
How's it goin guys, I know this is a typical boring first-post newb question, but I'd appreciate any opinions or help you guys have. Since this is my first post I'll describe myself a bit. I'm 16 years old and average sized for my age. I first shot a gun when I was maybe 12, but I've been getting a lot more interested and focused in the past year or 6 months. I've shot clays on about 5-6 different occassions, but rarely more than 50 rounds at a time and mostly with different guns. That being said, I'm looking for an all-around reliable and fun shotgun for clay shooting (mostly trap, some skeet and sporting clays). It's possible that one day the gun will be used for some pheasant hunting or something, but I'm not considering that at this point, I doubt I would use it for that. I did some research and decided on a pump action because of their affordability, reliability, and of course the really cool [cha-ching] sound they make (just kidding). I decided against semi's because of their price.

I would much rather have a synthetic stock, mainly just for looks. I'm looking to spend no more than $330 before tax and registration fees. I looked around at different companies for a good combo between reliability and price and the Model 870 Express caught my attention. I really like the 870 because of how widespread it is; I don't mind being a follower when it comes to stuff like this. I went down to an overpriced indoor range down the street just to see what they had and sure enough there it was: Remington Model 870 Express 3" Synthetic 28" barrel. I pretty much decided on this, but then last night I was picking up a scope for my rifle at another store and the guy tried to sell me a Benelli Nova Pump. At first I didn't like the looks of it, but it has since grown in to me and I now prefer it as far as looks over the Remington. You probably know, it handles 3 1/2", though I'll never need to shoot magnums and it's got that cool chamber release feature and everything. The Remington is $315 and the Benelli is $330 and it comes with three choke tubes, whereas the Rem just has one pre-installled.

Now onto gauge. Every shotgun I've shot has been a 12-ga (maybe one shot out of a 20-ga or something). Oh plus some .410 bolt that my friend and I messed around with (no clays). I've always been able to take the kick of a 12, but I've never shot that much at once. One time I shot these old, old single shot break-action 12-gauges with terrible recoil pads for about 50-60 rounds over the course of two days and I was on the brink of callapse after that. The other time I shot more than 50 rounds was with a buncha expensive semi's so I hardly noticed the kick on those. I'm probably about 130 lbs, maybe 5' 11" or so, average build. I'm afraid that if I get a 20-gauge that I'll have to make up for the smaller gauge with ammunition/choke combination or whatever and I'll be stuck with it. I think I'd rather get tough with a 12 than be angry about having a 20-ga later on when I'm full grown. Also, I'll only shoot like 75 rounds at a time max and spend the rest of the day shooting my .22 to give my shoulder a rest. If you think a 12-ga is too much let me know, otherwise I'm not gonna look at anything else.

With those choices in mind, what do you guys think as far as those and any other choices (I'd like the peace of mind of having seriously considered more than two)? If there is a nice O-U in that price range that would be practical for this use, let me know, I wouldn't really mind an O-U. I've heard a lot about how you really have to get a gun that fits you personally. I've shouldered both guns in the store but not within the same 4 days or so, so it's hard to really compare. Also, I don't know anybody with one so I can't test-fire them. Both seemed like they would fit just fine, I'm pretty sure I can adjust to different firearms fairly easily. Anyways, thanks for reading through all that crap this far down... let me know what you think and feel free to tell me that the guns I like will suck for trap and over me totally different options or something; I need opinions to see if I'm looking in the right area. Thanks a lot, I can't wait to hear back!


August 21, 2005, 06:34 PM
The most important thing about shotgunning is the fit. If it don't fit, you won't be happy with it. The thing about polymer stocks is you can't cut the stock if you need to make it fit you, you can't take down the comb or shorten them without major surgery to the stock.

I was once in your place, many years ago. I saved the extra money and got an auto. If you compare it to what you put through it in shells, if your are going to be an avid clay shooter, it's nothing. Yes the Remington 870 is undoubtedly the most sold pump out there, the voted are still out on the Nova, very mixed reviews on this gun, some love it, more hate it.

A pump gun will put you at a slight disadvantage compared to O/U's and autos. Not a large disadvantage, but it's there nonetheless. That said everyone should know how to shoot a pump.

I later saved up an bought a Ruger Red Label as a primary skeet competition gun, put over 50-60 thousand shells through it before I sold it. I now have a Beretta 682 as a primary gun and about 20 other shotguns in all configurations and gauges.

With what you plan on doing with it, I would seriously look at saving for a good auto or decent mid-range O/U, you will look back and be glad you did.

My 2 cents worth.

August 21, 2005, 08:47 PM
As long as you practice with a pump you will not be hindered IN THE LEAST.
I shoot a mossy 500 (It also has an 18.5in. barrel) but the mossberg is a great gun, and so is the remington. You are the same height as I am, but a little skinnier (im 150lbs) and the remington 870 fits me great, the nova isn't bad either, but the remington is more proven and less clumsy feeling.

remington 870! If you intend to shoot trap, get a 12, otherwise a 20 will be just fine for skeet.

August 21, 2005, 10:27 PM
If i were you i would look long and hard at a semi auto. I bought a beretta 3901 with a poly stock. 550 out the door or the driveway in my case :rolleyes: Anyway i saw a ad for an academy for 499 for the american model (mine was made in Italy) anyway it is a fabulous workhorse ~4000~ rounds 1 malfunction spit the shell out too far got stuck on the elevator. I cant get over how well it shoots it fits me practacly perfectly. But keep in mind im big for my age 6'2 185 tall and lanky. I would seriously look at one i love mine reliable soft kicking easy to clean. I have actually had more malfunctions with less shells out of my 870's :eek:

August 22, 2005, 06:50 AM
.........due to bad reloads...but whatever. If you can afford a semi, the 3901 is great (the stock is technically too long for me, but it feels fine). Light kicker too.

but, I really love that benelli M2.

August 30, 2005, 01:52 AM
Wow! I just got home from San Diego and read all of the responses. You all have some great things to say... thanks for all of the input. I talked to someone at the closest gun store and he said check what Big 5's got on sale. I got to shoulder all sorts of low-costing 12-gauges and I liked the feel of the Nova and the 870 equally, but I couldn't stand the feeling of the 1300 and the 500 wasn't anything special. I also felt some semi's, but I think I'll just get a pump and invest in a good recoil pad (I heard Limbsavers are best?). Once I check out Big 5, I'll post again and let you know what I think. I've read over your posts several times and it's helped me in my decisions so much. Thanks guys!

August 30, 2005, 08:49 AM
Welcome to TFL!

1) Conduct a Search in this forum under Dave McC username

2) Order Bob Brister's Shotgunning : The Art and the Science try www.abebooks.com

I agree with kudu Gun Fit to Shooter for task is Priority!

Find someone with experience, with their instruction - try a variety of shotguns to see what fits YOU. There is a HUGE difference is mounting gun to face in a store - and doing so when clay birds, upland game, fur critters present themselves for targets.

Wood Stocks not only allow proper stock fitting - wood stocks being denser also lessen felt recoil.

USED older 1100 in 20 ga is what I used to teach a LOT of new shooters Skeet and 5 stand. Best kept secret is an 1100 in 20ga.

I also used Beretta 303s in 20 ga. The 390/391 lend themselves to this as well.

I introduced a LOT of new shooters to shotguns using these 20 ga semi-autos, The Correct Basic Fundamentals must be learned. As Misseldine said Good Shooters are made - not born.

Mike Plaxco said Basic Fundamentals never change - we just keep learning them better is all.

One should learn to shoot a Pump Shotgun - period. Like knowing how to drive a manual transmission. For a time my teaching primarily was getting folks introduced to the Shotgun period. Getting the GUN FIT down pat, focus on Correct Basic Fundamentals. 1100 20 gauges in various LOP, Comb configurations, and such allowed the new shooter to focus on the bird and technique and not on felt recoil - or getting fatigued.

Even the ones I started out with pump guns - so could go Duck Hunting - I harped on gun fit and Correct Basic Fundamentals. I used the lightest target loads.

Both types got really tired of me harping about patterning their Shotguns. See I don't believe a darn word about what a barrel says, a choke says, a box of ammo says - Mr. Pattern Board is the ONLY one that knows and can tell YOU what YOUR gun does with a certain Load.

Got a bunch folks [ ladies and gentleman] bit bigger in size, older in age now from when I taught them to shoot with a 1100 in 20 ga. Oh they can run a Pump gun now, some even went on to O/U and barreled sets or Tube inserts.

Some even have fun with SxS - all seem to have aquired a 28 gauge or two, or three...in some kind of configuration or two, or three for some reason...*ahem*...

They still all have a 1100 in 20 ga, still shoot it, still used for HD, and now they teach folks to shoot with it.

Good shooters have more money invested in instructions, training, ammo and time spent doing the Correct Basics and Fundamentals over and over again than they do in the Price of a Firearm. Anon