View Full Version : Shotgun questions I am a noob.

September 3, 2005, 06:28 PM
I *might* possbily be getting a shotgun within a year or two for skeet and/or trap, and home defense but I am new to shotguns so can somebody please awnser a couple of questions please?
1. What are chokes? I have no idea what they are.
2. Is a 18" barrel any good for shooting skeet/trap?
3. I can only spend around $200 for a shotgun, are Maverick 88s any good and what are other pump shotguns in that price range that is worth looking out for?
4. Can I use slugs in any shotgun barrel?

September 3, 2005, 07:20 PM
Ok...I'll try to answer some of your questions here. The "choke" of a shotgun barrel is the pinch or restriction at the muzzle( the end). It's small, just hundreths of an inch but directs the shot (pellets) coming out of the gun into a tighter pattern. Some guns have removeable chokes that unscrew and are called choke tubes. A "full" choke will give a tight pattern and keep the pellets close in a 25 yard shot. If you wanna see it, blast away at a piece of cardboard at 25 yards. When you put in other chokes like modified or cylinder, they basically restrict the barrel less and let the shot spread into a larger pattern.

As far as barrel length...18" is good for home defense, might work for skeet, and is basically useless for trap. Skeet is less formal, you go to a field with your box of clay birds and a thrower and blat away and have some fun. Trap is regulated and the station you shoot from is I think 16 yards from the trap box and the bird is fired from a good mechanical thrower which is usually faster than throwing by hand with skeet. I shot trap competitively for years and the serious shooters were using 28" barrels and even a few 30", most with full chokes for a nice tight pattern.

$200 for a shotgun ain't much. I'd recommend buying a decent used gun rather than a new cheapy. My first choice is always the Remington 870 pump. Second choice would be either a Mossberg 500or Winchester and lastly a Savage or Ithaca. Those would all be the pump shotguns. There are automatics but for a first gun, a pump is a nice start. Simple, reliable, easy to maintain. Remington makes an 870 Express that you could probably find used easily and new in places like Walmart for not much more than $200.
Pawn shops are another good place to find a decent gun. I saw a practically brand new 870 by me for $195. Never been fired, had a scratch on the stock.

Regarding slugs....it's been a long time since I've fired slugs so I'm gonna take a shot at this and may be corrected by others. Since most of the guns I've had were full choke, I was told shooting a regular slug down it could damage the choke. The alternative was to use a sabot slug. Basically, a sabot slug is slightly narrower with a paper or plastic sleave around it that won't hurt the barrel. Using the Rem 870 as an example again...IF you wanted to shoot slugs, for instance, for deer hunting...you can very easily by unscrewing one retaining nut/cap, can remove your 28" vent rib trap barrel, and install an 18" or 20" rifled slug barrel with either rifle sights or scope mount. If it takes you more than 30 seconds to change a Remington 870 barrel, you're either asleep or dead.

Good luck

September 3, 2005, 07:35 PM
Hmmm....Thats a lot of info which will help me greatly. I probably will consider a Remington 870 Express or something similiar as long as I can afford. How many shots can Remingont 870s hold? Their website says four. Thanks.

September 3, 2005, 10:18 PM
Is there a gun club around you that rents shotgunsand give instructions?
It maight be the better way to get first-hand info.
You find that the difference between Trap and Skeet involves diferent shotgun,'
trap will place more emphasis on longer barrel ( gives more sighting) with more weight forward to help with the minumum swing involved on a trap range.
Skeet is more tune to hunting, as the clays are crossing in front of you and you have to learn how to swing and maintain a lead for breaking the clays.
A shorter barrel with more open chokes needed here. the shorter barrel allows the barrel swing to speed -up over the trap swing, and is a larger motion/ greater arc of travel.

September 3, 2005, 10:33 PM
No offense, but I think you've kinda got skeet confused with backyard clay shooting. Skeet is very much a formal game with a myriad of rules, not unlike trap. With a more interesting COF, in my opinion.
Sabot slugs are pretty much limited to rifled barrels only. The foster type slugs are for smoothbores with cylinder or IC choke, and usually offer good enough accuracy for most situations.


psycho nut
September 3, 2005, 11:04 PM
Is a 18" barrel any good for shooting skeet/trap?

Unless your shooting them at point blank you want a longer barrel. I use a 20 gauge 870 with a 24 inch barrel, *and* I do very good :cool: . It might be wise to use a longer barrel though. :rolleyes:

September 3, 2005, 11:06 PM
Anthony..Thank you for the skeet education. Where I'm from in northern NJ, the only skeet ranges were bring-your-own-clays kinda places and very informal. Usually fields at a state preserve or range. We had sporting clays here and there and trap ranges everywhere but the only skeet experience I had was throw-your-own stuff. I wasn't aware that there was a formal sport to it.

As far as the slugs go...I knew I might be off a bit there. Haven't been deer hunting or using slugs in...uummm...at least 20 years. The only buckshot I buy now is for self defense.

September 3, 2005, 11:15 PM
Well, if ya got 200.00 to play with I would suggest futher reseach on these forums to help you define just what you want to do with shotgunning as a sport. Shotguns are a very diverse lot in that they come in semi-automatic, pump action, break opens, single bbl., doublebbl.,and over and under. Your best bet is a pump as you've so desired and I can tell you that you can get a nice gun in either a Mossberg 500 or a Remington 879 Express. I recently picked up a nice Remington 870 for 195.00 and also snagged a Mossberg 835 for the same price. There are deals out there.Like I said,read and study these forums and you'll find a wealth of imformation to guide you in you quest for a decent shotgun that will open you to the fun of shotgunning sports. :D

September 4, 2005, 08:20 AM
Okay cool there are a couple places where I can shoot skeet or trap nearby which is nice so I guess I should buy a Remington 870 with maybe a long skeet/trap barrel and another shorter barrel for home defense? There are gun shows in my area with good prices, but I would like a new one so I can have the box and books that come with it brand-new. I'd like to know how many shots do 870s hold and do they have plugs that keep you from using the full magazine? Thanks.

September 4, 2005, 08:37 AM
In NJ, my 870's had a plug that limited them to 3 rounds but I think mine may have held 5 with the plug removed. I can't remember, I never removed it and tried. On Remingtons website, says the new ones hold 4 shells.

September 4, 2005, 09:42 AM
I hope they hold 4 shots with the plug so removing it would let me hold 6.

September 4, 2005, 11:50 AM
My 870 has an extended mag that holds 6 plus one up the spout. Mag extentions are available all over and reasonable in price. Good luck and have fun.

September 4, 2005, 07:03 PM
Okay sweet so I guess when I get a shotgun, i'll look for the Remington 870 :) I actually always wanted an 870 ever since I knew what it was. Thanks again guys.

September 5, 2005, 08:31 PM
I don't know much about trap or skeet guns(yet), but perhaps another option for you is to get just one shotgun with the longer barrel, then get an 18" barrel for home defense. I'm not sure what is available barrelwise for the guns you are looking at, but I have two barrels for one of my shotguns. One is a 28" barrel, and one is a slug barrel. Just a thought.

September 5, 2005, 08:45 PM
I looked at prices for spare barrels and they are too expensive. The place near me is skeet only I think so I guess i'll just get a 870 with a 18" barrel.

chris in va
September 5, 2005, 08:51 PM
If you just do skeet, the 18" barrel will be fine. The clays are really close to you. My friend has a Mossy Persuader with pistol grip and he does quite well with it. The skeet snobs look at him funny but he likes that.

If you find a place with wobble trap, definitely try it. Loads of fun and very easy.

September 5, 2005, 09:01 PM
Great :-D