View Full Version : Really Confused On Best SG for Me

September 14, 2005, 07:19 PM
I'm looking for a solid HD shotgun. I hunted with a shotgun years ago, but have forgotten most of what little I knew. I’d greatly appreciate some insight.

I currently have an old Mossberg 500A 12 gauge, which kicks like a son of a gun. A half dozen rounds of 00 makes my shoulder sore. Could be due to a shoulder injury I sustained several years ago, but a friend once commented “man this thing kicks” (compared to his 12 gauge). Whatever the reason, I'm considering switching to a 20 gauge, but not yet 100% sold on it.

Q: I"m fairly short, standing 5'6". What length of pull should I be looking for, and between the Remington, Mossberg, and Winchester, does one "out of the box" fit my size better.

Q: What am I really giving up by moving to a 20 gauge - just range? How much range? What is the effective range of a 20 vs 12 gauge? I know that at "across the room" distance, maximum
effective range isn't a consideration, but I'd still like to know (blame it on my Army days I guess).

Q: A very general question about loads. Does each bigger shot load have more recoil - ie, does #2 shot always kick less than a #1, which always kicks less than 00, etc?

Q: I've read conflicting things about how much less recoil a 20 gauge really has vs 12 gauge, and I get further confused by reading about things like the Limbsaver pad and the CompStock, etc. Is a 12 gauge with a Limbsaver or Compstock comparable to a 20 gauge without one of those? Would one of these allow me to stay at the 12 gauge level but get the recoil of a 20 gauge? I've read comments like "it makes magnums feel like field loads", when talking about recoil reducers, but that doesn't mean much to me as the only thing I've shot in the past 15 years is 00, and then slugs before that, in my hunting days. Going back to length of pull, will these devices adversely affect my length of pull, etc? And backing up even further, I’d hate to cough up an extra $100 for a recoil reducer for a 12 gauge when I could just as easily have purchased a 20 gauge and have been done with it. I’d really like some thoughts on this.

Q: I'm eyeing a Winchester 1300 Defender, in part because that's what the local gun shop started off handing me each of the two times I've been in. I've also read good things about the pump speed with the rotary bolt action. Any specific reason to NOT get a Winchester? From the threads it looks like they are solid, and everyone has their own preference, but I thought I'd throw this out now - I hate to buy anything then find out something really bad about what I just bought.

Q: Any take on a reasonable price for a new 1300 Defender in Florida? The gun shop I've been to has them for $400. In Virginia, my father got a price of $330 (?).

Q: And lastly, are gun shows good or bad places to get a shotgun, compared to just shopping around and buying at a shop? Do prices differ at gun shows compared to at the shops?

I’d appreciate any comments you have, I’ve already learned a lot from this forum.

September 14, 2005, 08:02 PM
OK, ill try an answer some of your questions, but the likes of far wiser men i hope comment on this.

To your first question, your height doesnt have much to do with LOP, your forearm length usually has alot to do with this. I am 5'7 and own and love my remington 870 in 12 gauge. I think it fits pretty well out of the box, but i could use a bit shorter.

With the 20 vs 12 the only thing your truely giving up is a variety of ammo, but 12 is still quite potent, but like Dave on this site usually says, a shotgun is a close to medium range weapon, i think of Dave as a god here.

As to the recoil of certain shots not sure, although i hear 00 is best, you can get law enforcement low recoil 00 buckshot. The confliction about the 12 having more recoil, or the 20, its usually that 20 gauges are lighter made, and kick very close if not more to 12 gauges.

As to the winchester your looking at it, any of the big 3 are great, winchester, mossberg, and remington, remington being my favorite.

Reasonable price, not sure, i live in colorado, and that gun here is 320-400 depends which shop your at, it could be more expencsive for you cause of recent events with katrina, and everyone wanting to prepare for more looters im guessing.

Usually gun shows tend to be cheaper, and most of the time are good, but from a shop, you can bet its from factory, where at a gun show, it could be just a well taken care of gun.

Hope this helps, and i hope some wiser men can help me on this.

September 14, 2005, 08:46 PM
I'm 5 6" and my first shotgun was a Mossberg 500 Persuader (basically the same gun with a shorter barrel). I now am the happy owner of a Remington 870 Police Magnum.

Recoil. Your friend was partially correct with respect to the felt recoil of the Mossberg. My Mossberg kicked quite a bit more than my Remington. I suspect switching to a wood stock helped a bit, but I think the advantage the Remington 870 has over the Mossberg is a machined steel receiver instead of a cast aluminum receiver. The Mossberg's aluminum makes for a lighter gun, but it also makes for more felt recoil. I don't find the 870 to be too heavy, but I appreciate a little extra heft from the receiver.

However, nowadays, you can get "reduced recoil" loads for both buckshot and slugs. They go a long way to making for a more comfortable shooting experience. Unless you need extended ranges, these loads are more than enough for self defense. Even better, follow up shots are easier with the reduced recoil loads, which makes them even more suited for self/home defense.

Reduced Recoil 00 Buck out of my 870 feels like light target #7 load. It's really quite comfortable.

Size/LOP. I've never compared the LOP of the two guns, but my Mossberg did not fit me very well. It felt awkward and I had to stretch my left arm to reach the forend. Plus the gun felt bulky and kind of rough. On the other hand, the first time I held an 870 it was like putting on a perfectly fitted glove. The 870 fits my smaller frame perfectly. The grip is a little more slender and the LOP is right where it should be. It has better balance and really feels like a natural extension of my body.

So, I switched to the 870 because it fit me better and I liked the walnut stock and forend option on the police mag. But, if recoil is the only issue, ammo selection probably matters more than more weight in the receiver etc.

12 v. 20 gauge. The reduced recoil loads, in my opinion, make switching to a 20 gauge unnecessary. Moreover, a big disadvantage of buying a 20 gauge is that there's more ammo available in 12. More selection means better prices, more options and, best of all, the ability to take advantage of surplus police ammo when it comes on the market. You can get buck and slugs for 20 gauge, but you'll pay more and you'll have less to choose from.

Far better to buy the 12 gauge that fits you right and stay with the reduced recoil loads.

Winchester 1300. Also has an aluminum receiver. Although I've never fired one, I suspect it will kick more like the Mossberg.

September 14, 2005, 08:52 PM
One other thing, MOST PEOPLE generally consider the Remington 870 Express (riot) and the Mossberg 590A1 to be the two best pump home defense shotguns, so if I were you I would look there first.

September 14, 2005, 09:15 PM
Another alternative is to do what I did and buy at a pawn shop. I had a gunsmith check it out and cut the barrel down to 18".

My Winchester 120 has performed flawlessly, cost me $125 +$50 for the gunsmith work.

September 15, 2005, 06:39 AM
Thanks much to each of you for the information. I know I could ask the gun shops, but I much prefer to get information from people that are knowlegabe but also not trying to sell me anything at the same time.

I will be sure to check out the Remington also. Like the comment from vitesse9, my mossberg also just never seemed to fit me right.

I thought seriously about a pawn shop but I'm just weird about guns. Guns are the one thing I want to know the history of.

Now that you guys have "armed" me with a better understanding of some things, I'm eager to get out there. Got a gun show the first weekend in October - yea!

Oh, one more thing - do most gun shops sell the reduced recoil ammo, or is that more of a speciality thing?

Thanks again for you help.

September 15, 2005, 07:56 AM
Oh, one more thing - do most gun shops sell the reduced recoil ammo, or is that more of a speciality thing?

I don't see it at many gun shops around here. But you can get it on line for good prices. It's getting more popular, so I would imagine gun shops in bigger towns probably carry it.

Here are some good sites for ammo (all should carry reduced recoil buckshot and slugs):


Here are specific examples of what I'm talking about:



September 15, 2005, 11:55 AM
I am also 5'6, and own a Moss 590 Mariner. The factory stock doesn't suit me, at the shop I've held 870's which felt even more ackward. I have a Knoxx SpecOps Stock on order, which has an adjustable recoil reducing system. A bit costly but it has received very positive reviews from all of the forums.

Well worth the money if it performs as advertised. The Video on their product page has a clip of a petite female empting a mag with no problems..


September 15, 2005, 12:19 PM
I actually own four HD shotguns. Two are Mossberg 500s, two are Winchester 1200/1300s.

I have found the best way to reduce recoil in a HD gun is to use appropriate low recoil HD ammo. Save the goose loads for geese. If you shoot a dozen rounds in a home invasion, something is not going your way, and you will likely not care much about the recoil or sore shoulder. The low recoil ammo will make the follow-up shots more manageable though.

The Winchester 1300 is a solid gun. I have had no problems with either my Winchester 1200 or 1300. They have a lot of mileage on them. I bought one for $65, the other for $89. Yep, pawnshop guns. Speaking of that, unless your last name is Rockefeller, you might want to get over this adversion to the poor man's banker. If you are only going to buy new, you will find little difference between a gunstore and a gunshow.

FWIW, my preference is the Mossberg, but that is mainly because of the shell lifter function and the safety location. The Winchester is nice because the slide release is in the same location as the Mossberg.

September 15, 2005, 12:28 PM
personally i would rate them in the following order:
1. winchester
2. remington
3. mossberg

i'm not sure why, but mossbergs just don't do a lot for me. the 870 is cool, but for reasons i again cannot explain, i would rather pay a bit less for the winchester but still have good quality.

i think i prefer the 1300 simply because of how it looks. yeah, the 'fastest unlocking action blah blah blah' may have had something to do with it, but who cares if you can unload 5 shells a few tenths of a second faster than a 870?

with all that said, and being as i'm 5'5" when gravity is at its lightest, the winchesters lop is a bit too long for my tastes. i'm probably going to wind up getting the ar-style collapsible buttstock/grip for it eventually.

thats something to consider as well, if you are already accustomed to shooting an AR may as well have your HD SG be as close as possible to its ergonomics.

September 15, 2005, 09:48 PM
My last name is definately not Rockefeller, that's for sure. But I'm thinking I may be on to something by buying new anyway. When I told my wife the price I was quoted, she said "you'd darn well better get out and shoot that thing for that much money". Gee dear, if you insist. :)

Thanks once again for everyone's input, I am finding it very useful. I've got a buddy that belongs to a local club. He's going to take me out soon, then on to the show. I'm feeling much better now that I will actually be able to know what to look for and be able to ask some decent questions when I walk around the booths.

September 16, 2005, 08:30 PM
Been thinking some more about the pawn shops. Gonna follow that advice and at least look. Anything I should know about buying a gun from a pawn shop, anything to look for, or watch out for?

And thanks for the ammo links above.

September 17, 2005, 12:57 AM
Have a gunsmith check out any firearm you buy from a pawn shop. It's not a complex or time-consuming procedure, so it shouldn't cost much.

As I said above, only $50 for a gunsmith to check the weapon, cut down the barrel, re-install the bead front sight and clean up the cut-down job so it looks like the gun was manufactured that way.

September 17, 2005, 06:28 AM
Anything I should know about buying a gun from a pawn shop, anything to look for, or watch out for?
Most importantly, know the average going rate for a particular gun in your area. For example, in my area, a Winchester 1300 sells for about $100, a Mossberg 500 for about $125, and a Remington 870 for about $150. These prices may be lower than in others regions because I'm in the duck hunting capital of the world. If you know the going rate, it is difficult to make a bad deal. Most pawnbrokers set the price a bit high in anticipation of a haggle. If the price is $25 over the going rate, this is what he is doing, so haggle. If it is at the going rate, just pay the price. Occasionally you will cross paths with the pawnbroker who prices $100 or more over the going rate. He is looking for a sucker, don't waste your time. I expect a 10% discount just for asking.

Realize that guns end up at a pawn shop because someone needed money. That is the only reason they ended up there. They are not bad guns, just used guns. The pawnbroker usually just wants to clear out inventory with a bit of profit. He has already profited on the loan. If you treat him with respect, chances are he will work with you.

Know the patterns of wear. Most of these shotguns will last forever if not abused. Be willing and able to strip them down and clean the crud out. Look at quite a few guns in all stages of condition to get an idea of what to look for on certain models and makes. You have to expect some wear marks, but after a while, you can read them almost like a book and tell how the gun has been used. Buying A Used Pump Shotgun, by Dave McCracken (http://www.gunshopfinder.com/articles/buyingusedpump.html)
I will often ask for a test shoot, or a one ammo box guarantee. At my favorite pawnshop, I am given a 30 day guarantee. With over 25 guns, I have never had to use it.

I would advise cutting down the barrel yourself if you have the tools and the skills. If you do not, then the tools will cost you $25, so you may as well pay the gunsmith. If you decide to do it yourself, ASK questions here before you cut!!!! PM me if necessary.

Harley Nolden
September 17, 2005, 06:47 AM
With respect to recoil:

Many times it depends upon how you stand, hold and shoulder the gun. Heel should be high on the shoulder, maximum pull back into the shoulder, lean forward at the waist, and don't fight the recoil. Roll with it.

By leaning forward assists in returning to the line of fire, and with the body rolling back with the recoul, will tend to reduce it. I have been on a police range and fired numerous gun loads of 12 Ga slugs through the course of presinting a course of fire. (in excess of 25 rounds) and did not experience the brusing you mentioned. Brusing is usually relative to light or loose pressure to the should. You will ntotice that skeet and trap shooters do the same thing. Although they shoor lighter loads, they still use good posture procedure.


September 17, 2005, 08:40 AM
The Mossberg controls are better set-up than those on the Remington, That's subjective.

Stick with the Big 4 and you will find one for you.


Not listed in any particular order

September 18, 2005, 08:46 AM
Just wanted to say thanks one more time. Here's the game plan. Two weeks to the gun show. I'll start there just to put my hands on several different ones at one time and see what they look like new. Then, there is a string of pawn shops I'll check out. There's several in this area, so maybe I'll find a keeper. Finally, once I get one, I'm gonna try to find a class around here and get some instruction. When I was firing off a single round during my hunting days, excellent form wasn't nearly as important as my shoulder tells me it is when I'm running through several boxes.

Great forum, I'm learning a lot!