View Full Version : Autoloader

June 5, 2008, 12:29 AM
I am going to buy an autoloader for Duck hunting. Maybe other uses but that is primary concern. Wood stock is a must (so it doesn't look out of place with my pipe). 12ga is a must. robust like a Garand is a must. Everything else is negotiable. Any suggestions? I have only looked at pumps and break actions previously.

June 5, 2008, 01:41 AM
You didn't put a price range. If price doesn't matter go with a Benelli. If don't want to spend quite that much go with a Beretta 391. The Mossberg 930 is an excellent medium price shotgun.


June 5, 2008, 06:33 AM
Well. I have a total allowance for a varmint rifle, light carbine in .223 and this shotgun. I would cap it absolutely at $1000, but would prefer to keep closer to $650

June 5, 2008, 07:28 AM
Wood? Robust? Pipe? There's only one choice... and it has choke tubes so you can shoot steel.




roy reali
June 5, 2008, 07:53 AM
I have mentioned this model of semi auto shotgun on a few other threads. Take a look at the Charles Daly. Talk to anyone that has one and ask them about reliability. Mine has never, ever, failed to cycle any round. The price is just the icing on the cake.

June 5, 2008, 11:07 AM
In the $ 800 - $1,000 price range - look at the offerings from Beretta, Remington and Browning.

There are also a lot of good used semi-autos out there. If you have a buddy that really knows semi-autos get him to go with you, so he can show you how to check out a used gun - places to look for wear, indications of poor maintenance, etc - maybe save a pile of money by doing that. The older Beretta 390 vs the newer 391 was a good gun - and a good clean used one / or one still in inventory at a small shop could be a steal.

All of the gas operated guns - shoot pretty dirty - and to me they are a little slow to cycle on your 2nd or 3rd shell. They do offer soft recoil and these days they are pretty reliable - especially if you keep them clean and lubed. There really isn't that much difference in any of the name brands.

If you like the inertia system - then go Benelli. I'm a big fan of the Benelli with the comfort tech recoil supression system - but its only available in their synthetic stocked guns where a portion of the stock compresses on recoil / and you stay with a wood stock you can't get that system.

As you make a choice at least check out guns like the Benelli Super Sport - the adjustability of them, etc - they're selling in the $ 1500 range right now. But I would shop the market - up to $ 1500 so you know what is out there in terms of choices. But I have to tell you - I've owned a few gas guns over the years - 3 years ago I went with a Super Sport 12ga - now 3 of my buddies have them - and one just bought one for his son as a college grad present / and I added another Super Sport in 20ga last winter for Xmas to myself. They shoot clean, they are soft shooting and they are lightning fast on 2nd and 3rd shell - the looks with the synthetic and bright receiver is an "acquired" taste. The Benelli is the gun I travel with - to do everything ( Trap, Skeet, Sporting clays - and maybe some quail, doves, ducks, etc ...). Its a great gun in the weather ....not the most expensive shotgun in my safe ....but it handles well and does what I need it to do. I prefer it in a 30" barrel ( longer sight plane on a light gun helps a lot to smooth out my swing ).

Jeff Mulliken
June 5, 2008, 03:22 PM
If you appreciate things that are classic in design...like the Garand there is only one choice in an autoloader...a Browning Auto-5.

If you want to to shoot steel get one with the invector choke tube system as they are designed for steel. If your ok with spending money on other no tox shot then the earlier guns have even more class.


1906 straight stock model:


Then the later guns like this '51 16 ga and '82 12 ga are nice too:


And for the more formal hunts you can always dress up the duck blind with a nice grade 3 gun with Germanic jaeger style stock and engraving:


All these were bought for less than $500......sure beats a modern plastic POS.


June 5, 2008, 04:27 PM
Jeff, you know good and well that you can't kill a duck or goose unless you have a 3 1/2 inch shell.

Jeff Mulliken
June 5, 2008, 08:55 PM
I like a 5 1/2" load. That's a double tap with a 2 3/4" 16 ga. load.

I kill a lot of geese with a 16. A decent goose call and some smarts puts enough of them in the kill zone to crowd Luke the Wonder Dog out of his spot in the blind.



Smitty in CT
June 5, 2008, 11:51 PM
Mossberg 930, if you get to look through the boxes you might find one with some nice furniture....



here it is with the short barrel on it, also have a 28":


June 7, 2008, 11:39 PM
I am pretty much sold on the A5. I don't understand the * choke system. Does anyone know what the number of *s means? Is there a site which details this? The chokes are not removable?
is the following correct?
* designates full choke (F).

*- designates improved modified choke (IM).

** designates modified choke (M).

**- designates improved cylinder choke (IC).

**$ designates skeet (SK).

*** designates cylinder bore (CYL).

Jeff Mulliken
June 8, 2008, 07:56 AM
To my knowledge Browning never used the code *s

I am certain that it was never used in the production from Belgium (1903-1976)

Have that choke measured as it might have been opened later by a gunsmith and the "s" added.

The skeet choke is rare and the smith might have thougt marking it would improve the value.... it happens.


June 8, 2008, 08:43 PM
I just meant multiple * Sorry if that was confusing.

Jeff Mulliken
June 9, 2008, 07:43 AM
I am not sure what your question is, you posted the code for reading the asterisk barrel marks so you already have them.

What is it that you dont understand?


June 9, 2008, 06:38 PM
I was just looking for confirmation those are correct. I guess they must be or someone must have pointed it out.

Jeff Mulliken
June 9, 2008, 08:49 PM
Yes, they are correct.


June 9, 2008, 10:04 PM
Wonderfull shotguns.....its a shame all we have are BRANT IN THE PICTURES! hahaha
Cracked me up. I dont know where yo hunt but brant here are the grosest, stupidest geese. They fly by the hundreds and not come into, but go over and peek at all the decs. all the time. You can shoot and take out two of em and blast away at the birds all you want. There like pests out here...like merganzers :P
Anyways good luck with your shotgun.

June 9, 2008, 11:31 PM
The A5 is a timeless classic. It is my all-time favorite. Unfortunately, they quit making them and they are being gobbled up by collectors, although even that has slowed some over the past few years. A good one will run you from $350-$500.

The Benelli is the new A5, rugged, unstoppable, but expensive. A few years ago, Stoeger Arms started selling clones of the Benelli M2, made in the same factory in Turkey as the real deal. Benelli thought they were so much of an improvement that they bought Stoeger Arms. Now the M2000 is one of the best selling shotguns around for folks who want a Benelli but can't choke down the price tag. They run about $600.

Or if you are feeling particularly unsophisticated, you can buy a Remington. They are still a fine shotgun.

June 10, 2008, 08:26 AM
I don't see but three things in Jeff's pictures.

1. Beautiful A5s.

2. A good looking dog.

3. A nice pile of Canada geese.

June 10, 2008, 12:15 PM
"Or if you are feeling particularly unsophisticated, you can buy a Remington."

Spoken like a true Benelli owner. Do I have to genuflect when I say Benelli?


Jeff Mulliken
June 10, 2008, 01:24 PM

Thanks for the nice comments on the guns but, it might be a good idea for you to study up on your waterfowl identification....

Canadas and brant are not hard to tell apart. Though the overall colors are similar brant have a small white neck ring, canada geese have a distinct white cheek patch.

If that is not enough then just look at the size, brant average about 3 1/5 to 4 lbs. The geese in those pictures are greater canada geese running from 8 to 12 lbs.


June 25, 2008, 01:11 AM
So, I am not certain from reading your post if the $1000 in your budget is for just the shotgun or for all three long-guns mentioned. If it is a $1000 for just the shotgun, then you've already been given better advice than I could hope to match. On the other hand, if you are looking for a "good deal"...

My brother-in-law has a Browning Autoloader in 12 gauge. Autoloaders are not my cup o'tea and, frankly, though I admire the man greatly, I think John Browning's recoil operated design is just plain ugly... Then, of course, I got a chance to shoot the shotgun and... Well, I get line of sight on it faster than most other shotguns and the recoil on it is less than on my little .410 bore...

So, I started keeping my eyes open and at a gun show one day, I spotted a familiar outline... It turned out to be a Savage 745. Essentially the same action mounted in a feather-light aluminum alloy. I would guess that it weighs about 20% less than by brother-in-law's shotgun. This particular firearm had a broken stock and a broken trigger guard and was a bit "gummed up." I got it for $95. I put about 20 hours of work into it repairing the trigger guard and the stock and cleaning it up until the action works right. Because we don't bird hunt, I pulled the plug out of it and changed the magazine spring so that it would handle five rounds instead of the original three. When I got done re-finishing it, I gave it to my wife for a 25th wedding anniversary present (being my first autoloading shotgun purchase, it was subject to the 100% DW tax -- so she would have wound up with it anyway :) )

Anyway, the point of the story is, if you are willing to shoot bismuth or one of the other "non-hard on the barrel" lead substitutes (or change out the barrel for one compatible with steel shot), you could probably still get a "deal" on this particular model. I have to admit, it is a great shooing gun -- for an autoloader. ;) It is very light both in overall weight and in felt recoil -- we've allowed people weighing in at 80 to 90 pounds to shoot it w/no problems. It is also rather pretty -- for an autoloader. ;) And, once I got the gunk of 50 years of neglect cleaned out of it and figured out what to do about the magazine spring (essential to proper cycling), it performed flawlessly..

For What My Opinion is Worth (which is almost as much as you are paying for it),

P.S. Here is a sample that looks almost as good as my wife's shotgun did when I got done with it... http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.asp?Item=101446397

P.P.S. If you like, there are also steel-receiver versions... http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.asp?Item=102654338

June 25, 2008, 08:09 PM
Not to puff Jeff up any, but I still hunt with my A5 and the polychoke Belgian barrel. It DOES NOT get fed steel shot. When I save up the $325 for an Invector barrel that may change. I just have this thing about steel shot, and I can't see myself paying $2 a shot for bismuth or whatever. Hell, when slugs broke $3 a box of 5 I started trying to handload them. Steel may be cheaper than lead right now to handload, but I don't want to take a chance on a rusted shot charge KB in my beloved Brownie. If I was going to buy another semiauto, it would be an 1100 or 11-87.