View Full Version : A first shotgun novel.

April 20, 2006, 01:02 AM
Hi everyone,

Thanks for taking a look. I need some advice. Surfing manufacturers' websites and the various threads here has me very confused about sporting, field, hunting models. etc. Trips to gun shops aren't helping much either. Seem to be more interested in selling me what's in the rack instead of special ordering a gun that has the one extra feature I'm looking for. I'm not looking for single gun recommendations per se, but help in narrowing the field to a half dozen that fit my needs and can then be compared.

Forgive my rambling and the inordinate amount of ignorance I'm about to display. :) I'll be as specific as possible about myself and wants. Let me know if I leave something out.

I'm 6' 2" / 195 lbs. and have used a shotgun perhaps 3 times in my life. I want a home defense gun or for use in extreme circumstances such as a social breakdown. e.g. New Orleans after hurricane Katrina. However, I'm not one to buy a gun and leave it in the corner. Not being a hunter, most of the use will be clay sports and plinking a few times a month to gain and maintain some level of proficiency. Finances are pretty good but will permit only one gun.

I'm up in the air about many requirements but am certain of a few things:

1. No SxS or O/U.

2. 12 guage - for the variety, abundance, and inexpensive ammo.

3. 3" chamber minimum. I'll probably shoot 90% 2 3/4" loads but I don't want to be limited in dire situations.

4. A "flat" or "straight-shooting" gun. I read in a thread here that trap guns shoot high. I do NOT want that. I'd prefer to adjust my aim as I don't see serious competition in my future.

5. New. I'm completely incapable of judging a used weapon nor do I know anyone that could do so for me.

6. A major brand name. No clones. A proven track record like the 870 or 1300. Anything just released at the 2006 S.H.O.T. show is out.

7. $1000.00 budget.

Now the things about which I'm undecided:

1. Pump or semi-auto. I've read several of the "pump vs. auto" threads but haven't chosen one yet.

2. Barrels. Probably Two. Not etched in stone but will probably start with a longer "one size doesn't exactly fit all but will suffice for most" model for the various clay sports. Pick up an 18" or 20" for HD later.

3. I'm leaning toward a wooden stock for it's adaptability and aesthetics but I won't turn up my nose at a synthetic model. Camo is a definite no - it's just not my thing.

4. Some versatility in modifying the gun. I'm not into tactical guns but it would be nice at least to have the option to add:
a. A recoil reducing pad or stock. Probable.
b. Magazine extension. Probable.
c. Sights of some sort be it rifle, ghost ring, etc. Probable.
d. Weapon light. Slightly possible. I certainly won't disqualify a gun for not having this feature.
e. I do not need a bayonet lug.

5. Import or domestic? Quality first.

6. Current production? I don't know about this...I looked at a 1300 and found it nice but future parts availability is in the back of my mind. Ditto the Ithaca with their erratic history. Just not sure...

I'm leaning toward the higher end models like Wingmaster or Browning Gold etc. Regardless of where my shooting future leads this gun will be around for a very long time. (Bought a Honda new. 15 Years and 228K miles). Buy well, take care of it, keep it forever.

I realize there is no perfect gun. Life is full of compromises. Just looking for help paring down the hundreds of makes/models to half dozen that come close.

Thanks again for taking the time with this.


Tommy Vercetti
April 20, 2006, 06:28 AM
you just can't go wrong with a Remington 870 "Wingmaster" :)

Lion Heart
April 20, 2006, 08:23 AM
$1000.00 budget and permit only one gun! :eek: I have a new REM.11-87 semi-auto and a new 870 Police Magnum. I've got less than a $1000.00 in both guns put together.:D 11-87 sportsman 28" bbl. shoot trap all day long, and the 870 came with 18" bbl. there's your HD gun, and you can accessorize the 870.
Rock solid reputation on both. I think if you shop around you can pick up both of these guns and take care of all your wants and wishes on your list.
Good luck in what ever you choose,and nice to see your going use it and not let it collect dust.:)

April 20, 2006, 09:30 AM
Thank you Tommy.


I guess gun prices here in Phoenix are higher. Figure in sales tax, extra equipment such as a cleaning kit/snap caps etc. and I don't see how it can be done. I don't think I'd get two either way. Too inexperienced. Just want one gun to practice and become competent with. Thanks again,


April 20, 2006, 09:38 AM

April 20, 2006, 10:11 AM
You may get a lot of contrary advice from tackticool wannabes here, but heed the advice of Tommy, DePris, (and me):
For the uses you've outlined, you need only go to the Remington 870. If you want pretty, the Wingmaster model, if you want to save some bucks and don't mind homely, the Express. Same gun, different levels of finish.
Get the 28" barrel, Rem-chokes will take care of the variety of uses to which your sg may be put. Forget the lights, bells, whistles, they just add weight and spoil the balance of a gun that relies on its pointability for its accuracy. And as they say in another sg forum: buy ammo, use up, repeat.
Good shooting!

Lion Heart
April 20, 2006, 10:37 AM
After reading these posts for awhile I can say it looks like I get pretty good Pricing here in Ohio 11-87 was $394.00 and 870 police was $495.00 those are out the door prices! If you want to see the 870 check out my web site at www.lionhearttactical.com I've changed some things on it. Let me know what ya think.:)

April 20, 2006, 11:50 AM
Remington 870
Mossberg Ulti-mag (835?) or 500
Benneli Nova

April 20, 2006, 12:07 PM
i would agree with the remington 870. get the express combo and you'll have both guns you want. at only $500, say $600 with ammo, clays, cleaning kit, sling, $100 more for pistol grips and/or new stock. its way inside your price range.

heck im probly going to pick up one of the base models before too long. my only problem is i love the sound of a shotgun being racked so much im afraid im going to wear it out by just cocking it too often.

personally, i didnt like the remington 1100s, even though they where obviously great guns, but they just didnt fit me. i couldnt get a line of sight to shoot them with. so make sure your guns fits you.

April 20, 2006, 12:40 PM
DPris, thanks for the suggestion.

Slab, I'm looking at higher end models not so much for their beauty but because from what I've read they have better fit and finishing on internal parts. It's completely a values judgement but I'd pay for those things but not for fancy scrollwork.

Lion, thanks for responding again. Nice weapons on your website but I do have some concerns. In the event of an HD shooting and the inevitable litigation that will follow I'm trying not to go too tactical. e.g. I would like the option of some type of sights to aid in shooting but I wouldn't put a thermal imaging system on my gun.

Dean, great input. I'm wanting to do some side by side comparisons once the list is narrowed down to a few like you have done.

Sean, I sort of understand what you mean about fit. Not exactly, and it's tough trying to remember one gun from another while going from store to store. I did shoulder one and said "oh my!" but smiled and handed it back when I saw the $1500.00 price tag.


April 20, 2006, 01:49 PM
Possibly the closest match to your criteria is the Remington 870P Police Model pump shotgun.

The 870P Police gun is the top-of-the-line pump shotgun in the world, and may actually be better finished and fitted than the sporting Wingmaster.

Price, even for the highly accessorized versions is well below your $1000 price range.

You can order the gun from the factory with about any accessory you want, and the 870 has more aftermarket accessories available for it than any shotgun ever made.
Any 870 barrel will interchange with the Police, and spare barrels are quite plentiful.

An added advantage is, you'd be using the SAME shotgun as the police use, and this "looks better" in case you ever have to actually use it.
It's harder for some lawyer to make you out as a crazed "gun nut" when you're using the SAME gun 95% of all American law enforcement use, almost certainly including your local police.

The Police model is as close to an indestructible firearm as has ever been built, and you'll have zero worries about possible problems.
If the cops on the night watch can't tear up an 870P, you're not likely to have any problems.

The Police Model is more expensive than most defense type pump guns and a little more difficult to buy, but you will have the absolute best gun available, and it'll need NO modifications or "improvements".
Right out of the box you'll be as well armed as it's possible to be.

Here's a look at the Police line:

To buy, you can find a local dealer who is willing to special order one for you, or for the best price order from:
Remington Police Guns.
Kevin Wells
Discreet Ordnance
[email protected]

Kevin is a member of some of the gun forums, and has the best prices I've seen.

While there are plenty of brands and types of defense shotguns available, the Remington 870P is the Cadillac to everyone else's Chevy's and Ford's.

April 20, 2006, 03:31 PM
I second the 870P. It is top of the line, can be had with everthing you ask for, and should last at least a couple lifetimes. The fitting is better than the more common 870 Express, and it has a more durable finish. It also has metal parts where the less expensive 870's use plastic.

Lion Heart
April 20, 2006, 04:27 PM
No thermal system on my gun:eek: but now you got me thinking:rolleyes: I do use TAC-STAR lights on my guns very affordable and built specific for shotgun recoil. Thanks for the feed back It's very important in my line of work.:), and if they're in your house I wouldn't worry about letigation defend you and your loved ones as soon as the toe or finger comes in!

April 20, 2006, 11:33 PM
Thanks for even more responses :)

DFaris, thanks for taking the time to be so detailed in your answer to a stranger. I don't get any where near that amount of info as soon as an employee realizes that I'm just researching and not ready for an immediate purchase.

MGDavis, little tidbits like "metal parts over plastic" are good to know.

Lion, I might owe you an apology after reading your reply and rereading my earlier post about thermal imaging. I hope it did not sound like an insult to your product line. I meant it as an analogy about straying too far towards tactical. People will draw the line in different ways. I'm a bit worried about the "appearance" in a legal aspect. My home has been broken into and 2 vehicles stolen. I think I've had my share of misfortune but in the event of a 4th occurence, will an overly tactical gun be viewed as "he took vengeance for the other 3 un-caught, un-prosecuted perps?"

April 21, 2006, 03:52 AM
Sounds to me like you have paired it down to 2 . I would suggest going to your loacal gunshop ,or shooting range and ask and handle the two . I found a long time ago that most people will decide on a gun by the feel when you pull it up . CONGRATS AND WELCOME TO SHOOTING

April 21, 2006, 09:58 AM

Actually, there are still several on the lists; 3 pump/4 semi as I have yet to decide on this issue. I keep going back through the "pump/auto" threads here.

My purpose for this post was like you said - narrow the field then go and compare.

As for gun shops, it's hit or miss. The one that seems most patient is part of a chain and cannot order the 870P. The stores that can are less patient when they find I'm not ready to purchase. One store employee actually told me to stay away from internet forums because they're all opinions. Only partially true because facts are found here. As for opinions, people are different and what works for one won't do for another. I also wonder if that employee realizes his advice is just another opinion; verbal vice written.


Lion Heart
April 21, 2006, 11:55 AM
No offense here, you can't insult me good product developement is based on a manufacturer listening to opinions of their products, but you really did get me thinking if I can get away with thermal imaging:D only if ther units were smaller:(
If you been hit that many times, and there is a police report for each time they're not going to care if you use a cannon:eek:
Be safe and good luck:)

April 21, 2006, 02:54 PM
I listened to Dfariswheel and bought an 870P...never looked back! What a great firearm!

April 21, 2006, 09:11 PM
Lion, thanks :)

Math, glad it's working out for you. Do you do much clay shooting with your 870P? I'm supposing that if you do, you've purchased a longer barrel for it.


April 22, 2006, 01:52 AM
No, I don't shoot clays with it...but I know that I could do it. I mostly use it for its intended purpose...shooting slugs and buckshot. It is extremely smoothe.

June 6, 2006, 07:08 PM

Did you decide on a gun? Pump or autoloader? I'm about to get one for clays, after I try a pump. If it goes well with doubles, I'm leaning toward a 870 Wingmaster. Otherwise, it'll likely be an 11-87 Premier, both easily within your price range.

June 6, 2006, 09:56 PM
Agree with Dfariswheel - it'd be REAL hard to go wrong with a Remington such as this one:


But beyond that, I'd look at the Mossberg 500/500A/590 series of guns, or the Benelli Nova.

If a semi-auto is your thing, then it's harder to stay under $1,000, but you can in some varieties of quality guns: Rem 1187, Beretta 390/391, Browning Gold, Winchester Super X2 (now super x3?), Benelli M1/M2. Or if you want to go a little crazy, get a Saiga-12: