View Full Version : Most gun for the Money...

Dave McC
November 30, 2000, 07:34 AM
Something on another thread got me going....

Some of us have the fancy Euro shotguns, and some have classic American doubles. Some run into the tactical stuff, like that USAS 12, or the Benelli/Beretta autos. Some of us have all of the above(G), or equivalents. What none of us has is unlimited funds, to the best of my knowledge.

So, how about a thread about getting the most gun for your money? This can be both about those overlooked and underappreciated models that are bargains, and incredible deals you've gotten.

Here's a couple of models I've found to be lots of gun for the money....

H&R Single shots. Many of us old timers started off with these. Impossible to wear out,light in the field, reliable and rugged, they've made camp meat,provided sport on a budget,and fed and protected families for generations. Downsides include plenty of recoil and heavy triggers that are hard to get to. H&R uses one BIG hydraulic press to put in those action pins.

The Savage 311 series double barrel. While Savage liked to promote a connection between these and the wonderful AH Fox shotguns(acquired by Savage after bankruptcy), it's not a masterpiece of fine design and light weight like the Fox guns are, even the Sterlingworth. What it is, a reliable double that usually shoots both bbls to the same POI, takes heavy loads w/o a bobble,and hold up well. Lots of these are used and/or owned by cops, who appreciate the simple manual of arms and low cost. A couple of B-More Narco cops I knew loved these for serving warrants, bobbed off to 18", of course. Savage also made and still may make a Security model with those short bbls. Downside, it's not the prettiest double on the market,and some longer versions swing like railroad ties.Heavy,too, for a double.

And, the Remington 870 pumpgun, bought used. Of the 4 870s here at Casa McC, the only one bought new was the 20 ga I picked up for the kids, and I should have waited on that.
Two of mine were LE tradeins, and well used before I got them,and very well used now. The 870 can be taken apart like an erector set, lasts for generations even with heavy use, has parts availability if you ever need it, aftermarket goodies to gladden each heart,and is the little pink, drumbeating bunny of the shotgun world.It just keeps going,and going,and....

Shopping wisely,a couple of hundred dollars can get you a good 870 in decent shape,and maybe some change for ammo.
Downside, little on the used market. Remington has made some serious marketing and political mistakes, including that locking safety atrocity, plastic parts,and so on,but these haven't shown up in the used market much yet.

So,what are your choices?....

November 30, 2000, 11:27 AM
I agree with you 100% on the 870. Picked up a wingmaster (26 years old) for $170.00 last month. Stock is 100% blueing is 98%. Also if someone does not want to buy used the 870 express is a good deal.

November 30, 2000, 07:08 PM
All of the above are good choices, I wish I had found that wingmaster for that price.

How about high quality O/Us. Two guns come to mind.

Used Belgian Brownings, John Brownings last design, go for very little money considering they are basically handmade "Best Guns". A new Belgian (Not the Japanese made Citoris) start around 8 thou. Used guns can be had for under 2 grand if you look around. Just read up on Belgians and make sure your gun does not have the 'Salt Wood" problem.

The Krieghoff K32 (OK so I'm prejudiced). These German made copies of the Remington Model 32 are very high quality and can be occasionally found for under 2 grand. Most hardcore shooters want the more expensive K80 and many K32's were traded in on new guns. While they have probably been shot a lot, they are built to last for centuries and can be rebuilt cheaply and brought up to new specs.

I realize that 2 grand is a lot of money to most of us, but when you are in the market for that one special gun for hunting or clays that you want to last your lifetime these guns should be considered. Either one of these guns will end up with your grandchildren (You are going to teach them the joys of shooting aren't you?)

Do these entries qualify?

Geoff Ross

Dave McC
November 30, 2000, 08:35 PM
Thanks, guys, $170 is a good price for something that will outlast us all.

Geoff, you've much more experience with O/Us, than I do. I've only shot two extensively, Pop's old Savage 12,(Stolen around 1970, has a pinpunched number 14 on the receiver, military ID mark)and the SKB 20 ga he was given by friends to replace it.BTW,I would love to get that Savage back, just for sentimentals.

Oh, yes, did shoot a Model 32 a few times,with indifferent results.

A couple of grand is reasonable for a tool/toy that will hold up under truckloads of ammo, but Wife and Daughter are both in college right now, so I thank Heaven that used 870s run somewhat less(G)...

Patrick Graham
November 30, 2000, 08:41 PM
Don't forget the Mossberg 500's.

December 1, 2000, 08:50 AM
I agree, Mossberg 500 and 590 are both fine shotguns.

December 1, 2000, 10:58 AM
i bought a benneli nova for $309
great deal on a shotgun with some great engineering

December 1, 2000, 01:26 PM
Going back to Ruger 357's post - my brother picked up a brand new 870 Express for $205. Not bad at all.


December 2, 2000, 10:26 AM
Is the Savage 311 designed to shoot both barrels to POA or is that an observation? I souldn't mind getting one if it were designed that way and there were a reasonable chance it would do so.


December 2, 2000, 01:42 PM
I believe there are two shotguns that fall into this catogory. 1st is the Browning Auto-5 and the 2nd is the 870.

I purchased a 870 Wingmaster in 1964 sold it in 1969 to buy a parachute when bought it back in the early 80's was used a lot over those years but still in great and shotable shape.

In 1953 my father-in-law purchased his 2nd Browning A-5 and this model was a light weight. He only used is it a couple of times (never liked the 26" barrel) and always used his orginal purchased in 1946.

After I was married 1972 he gave it to me and I've used it ever since till this year. Over the years its been in muddy corn fields, swamps, marshes and also used for upland hunting and it never missed a beat. Looks a little rough today but when you pull the trigger it goes bang in any enviroment.

What am I shooting now? A Benelli Super Black Eagle (I wanted the 3"/3.5" option for waterfowl) it's a great shooter etc. etc. but is it worth the bucks? I paid $999.00 for mine. If I had to do it all over again I'd find a A-5 Lt. Weight 3" NIB or a used one in excellent condition would also probably save 300 plus $$

You all have a good day.


Dave McC
December 3, 2000, 08:34 AM
ljlc, every Savage double I've shot has printed one bbls pattern over the other close enough to work. Others report the same.MANY inexpensive doubles do not print where aimed/pointed, but at typical HD ranges it's not the problem is would be at say, 40 yards.

Shortening the bbls on a double oft cause the POA/POI to differ. The couple short bbled from the factory 311s I've shot didn't. In fact, with a skosh of stock fitting, they'd make good quail guns....

Patrick, we know about the 500s(G)...

Deonc, good price, great shotgun.

Turk, the A-5 is a classic. Works forever, and while initially expensive, cost goes very low on a per use basis.

December 3, 2000, 10:00 AM
I'd second Geoff's vote for the Model 32. Mine is a trap model with feather crotch walnut (not the red wood) circa early 1970's. It was well used (but not abused)when I bought five years ago for $1,400 and I'd put at least 25 thousand rounds through it myself. Last winter I had it rebuilt by Krieghoff for $500 and it is now as good as new.

I've thought about stepping up to a K-80 but can't see the need to spend 4 times as much as I've spent on the gun I now own.

As far as the 870 is concerned, it seems there are two kinds of people: those who love them and those who love them even more.

Dave McC
December 3, 2000, 01:25 PM
32s and a few others are proof that some things just can't be improved from the viewpoint of longevity and durability.

There's many arms out there that will hold up to the demands of field shooting,even fairly high volume stuff like the big dove shoots, but not so many that will function flawlessly going through truckloads of target ammo in any od the clay games.

I know folks that run 5000 rounds a year and regard that as minimal. The average serious clay gamer goes through more ammo,and put his gun through more stress, in a year than a strict field shot will in a couple of decades.

December 4, 2000, 01:33 AM
IMO: Any shotgun (regardless of whom made it) that functions 100% & is bought at the right price. I own around 2 dozen or so shotguns (mostly 12 ga pumps, 2 semi's, 2 Dbls (1 Fox) of various manufacturers (Win (97,12,1200) S&W (916), Savage (67), Stevens (520 & 620a), Benelli (M1S90), High standard (Flight King), Spas 12, H&R single, ect) & all run like champs. The majority of mine are riot guns (18-20", I like them short!). Nothing like going to the range & beating yourself up with a good old 12 Ga! Especially a good old Win 97 (I have 3). You've had good luck with LEO trade ins (Win, S&W, High Standard, Rem, Savage). There's still a lot out there available on the market. Most, if not all were shot 2 times a year (60 rds)& dropped only once. Your in Md, so there should be quite a few out there, as Pd's are upgrading a lot more & sooner than they use too. Keep searching & you will find the right one. Good luck in your quest & I hope this info has helped.

December 4, 2000, 10:17 AM
I'd say the Mossberg 590 with the 9 shot capacity. Get the A1 version if funds permit. I did, and I love my 590A1.

Dave McC
December 5, 2000, 08:09 AM
Manny, my deer 870 started its working life in an Arlington Va, cruiser.

My bird 870 is a parts gun I kitchen tabled. The receiver and that ugly hunk of wood stock started their working life at the Md Pen.

Police turnins are a real bargain MOST of the time. Every now and then a training weapon with thousands of rounds behind it gets surplussed, so Caveat Emptor.

And another vote goes on the board for the Mossy. I demand a recount(G)....