View Full Version : Next shotgun for a youth

June 18, 2012, 02:47 PM
My son is outgrowing the hand me down (my dad bought it new for me when I was 11 or 12) 20ga youth wingmaster. I want to upgrade him to a big boy gun. lol. Also my daughter is getting to the age where the wingmaster will be her loaner until adulthood.
He wants a SA Black/walnut 12 ga. I want to buy him a gun that he can have for life. Checked out the auto 5 and its a beautiful gun but a little to the high side price wise. This is a field gun that will hunt everything from rabbit to deer to duck. Any suggestions closer to the $800 or so mark?
I dont like Mossberg or Franchi other than that I am pretty open.

June 18, 2012, 03:07 PM
Winchester SX3 is supposed to be one of the softest recoiling guns out there now. I haven't shot one yet but I'd sure love to.

June 18, 2012, 03:23 PM
Lots of semi-autos out there now ....Browning / Winchester ( both part of FN now ) ...Browing Silver hunter series is a solid gun for the money.


I see them on sale for $ 800 - $ 900 ...

Look at the Beretta lineup of guns ...lots of options in the A300 series, A 400 series, 391 series..etc....

I would stay away from any of the inertia guns for a young shooter.

June 18, 2012, 05:53 PM
Wow!!! This looks like a great choice. Im not a big fan of inertia style guns like Franchi anyway. To be honest I like pump shotguns, but this isnt my gun its his. He will be turning 15 and not a little guy. 6' tall and 170lbs.
How do Berettas hold up in the long run. I envy the O/U and high end SA when I upland hunt or shoot clays. I guess for that reason I never pictured them breaking through brush and mud.

June 19, 2012, 11:58 AM
Its an affordable gun ...I think it will hold up to easily 150,000 - 250,000 shells probably ....without any issues typically - if he takes care of it / keeps it clean and properly lubricated.

If parts wear out ...it can be rebuilt.

O/U's still dominate the competition guns ../ and have for at least 40 yrs...but semi-autos are holding their own these days ....they aren't nearly as finnicky as they used to be / and if kept clean and properly lubed they'll run 100%. My semi-auto of choice -- as a backup competition gun -- is a Benelli Super Sport model ...but new its about $ 1,875 in my area ...and I don't think you need to do that for a young shooter ( but with the comfort tech systems - the Benelli's are soft shooting and very clean shooting guns). The Franchi and Benelli systems are similar - but not identical / I wouldn't own a Franchi either - but I do believe in the Benelli system.

These newer gas guns ...like the one you're looking at shoot cleaner than the older versions did even 15 yrs ago.

Pump guns still have their following ...but not in the competition world / where there are 2 targets in the air at once / not that you can't shoot a pump gun ...and some of us do on occasion just for fun ....but for most of us, our scores are way better with semi-autos or O/U's ...and the O/U's get the edge primarily for reliability over the pump or semi-auto ...but with an O/U you also have the choice to set your chokes different for each barrel vs a one choke option for a semi-auto or pump gun ...and while I may shoot Mod / Mod most of the time...sometimes its an advantage to change the choke in one barrel over the other.

The other factor in picking a gun ...is its adjustability ...does it have shims between the stock and receiver that can be changed ...give you a different comb angle, more cast left or right...etc ......some models come with shims, some don't. How many changeable screw in chokes does it come with ...most of us want to have a gun with a Skeet, a Improved Cyclinder, a Modified, an Improved Mod, and a Full choke ...some guns come with 5 some don't ...and chokes can be purchased at $ 20 for flush mounted / $ 75 for extended chokes....depends on what he wants. But all this adds to the price ...and when you look at various models...keep this stuff in mind.

June 19, 2012, 06:41 PM
Don't get distracted from what the boy wants, a semi auto 12 gauge. It would help if he preferred a black sythetic or a walnut stock. Keep in mind the cost and availability of extra barrels.

June 19, 2012, 07:28 PM
Find a Silver Mallard 390 and buy a synthetic stock set for $175. You get what you want and he gets what he wants for about $800/$1000 tops.

June 20, 2012, 01:08 PM
Don't get distracted from what the boy wants, a semi auto 12 gauge. It would help if he preferred a black sythetic or a walnut stock. Keep in mind the cost and availability of extra barrels
He likes the walnut stock and blued barrel. Classic design.

How are CZ?

June 20, 2012, 02:05 PM
CZ's can be serviceable guns / and some of them can be junk ...they're not in the same class as any of the Beretta's or Benelli's -- or the Browning / Winchester offerings - in my opinion.

Beretta has dominated the gas gun market for the last 20 yrs or so - for a lot of good reasons. Browning / Win - have come late to the party - but seem to be catching up. Benelli ( a subsidiary of Beretta ) has dominated the Inertia gun market for at least 10 yrs. Remington's gas guns have drifted a lot ...almost to an afterthought / where many of us remember 30 - 40 yrs ago - they controlled it. Browning is bringing the Auto 5's back ...with a new system ...guys either hate the old Auto 5's or love them ( I have one / and I'm not a fan - never was even though they were the semi-auto of my youth in the 50's and 60's) .... is the new Auto 5 going to be a decent gun / hard to tell - and I know its been re-engineered ...but things just change.

Check out a used gun shop in your area....look at the values on new and used semi-autos ....and see what is holding its value - and what isn't. If they run a good shop ...they'll tell you what they see / what they can easily sell especially as a used gun. A lot of the old names have gone away these days ...some of them are being made overseas now ( in Turkey or wherever ) ...and not that all the guns made overseas are junk / but Miroku that makes all the Brownings is a far cry from the stuff coming out of Turkey or Brazil for the most part.

There are exceptions to every trend...but I would look at the CZ, Mossberg, Franchi, Weatherby semi-auto offerings as strictly short term guns .... if they run pretty well when they're new ...they'll probably last for 50,000 shells ( which isn't much / when a lot of us put 20,000 shells a yr thru our primary guns ) ...but as a gun for a kid ...maybe its worth the risk...the price points are attractive. Go with a brand you know you can rely on like Beretta - Browning ...or take a risk on a CZ.../ hard to say - its not a yes or no answer...

June 20, 2012, 02:27 PM
He will be turning 15 and not a little guy. 6' tall and 170lbs.
IMHO, at that size he's ready for a "man" gun not just a "big boy" one. I typically recommend the Beretta 3901 RL Target, it's a great value in a youth gun. However, I think your guy is already way too big for that little gun. I'm a Remington 1100 owner, but I suggest you look at the Beretta line for an auto.

June 20, 2012, 02:50 PM
To be honest I have never seen a CZ shotgun. I just know they make a good sa pistol (not that one really has anything to do with the other) and that Tom Knapp is now using CZ. After hearing the comments I would say they need someone like Tom to promote there line. Hopefully I will have a chance to get over to my LGS and talk to him about the Beretta. So far he has never steered me wrong on any other purchases.
I know Franchi probably makes a good gun but I had an older one that I dispised. I also had a buddy with a lawsuit against them for unintentional discharges. A guy in his hunting party almost lost a hoof do to bird shot in the anckle at PB range.

June 21, 2012, 02:15 PM
Even the new Browning Auto 5 ...is basically a copy of the Benelli Inertia system ...and while Browning is calling it a Kinetic action ...it looks to me, now that the patent is off the Benelli system as I understand it, that its a Benelli Inertia system clone.

Like I said before ...I like the Benelli ...but every Franchi I've seen at my club has had issues cycling.../ they're cheaper than the Benelli - and they sure look similar --- but the Benelli system works / the Franchi, not so much ...

Remember Beretta has some higher end semi-autos as well....
Urika 2 Gold parallel is a nice gun listing at $ 1,775 or so / the UGB is about
$ 4,000 - its unique.../ so don't lose sight of where the gun you're looking at is priced in the Beretta semi-auto market...they have a lot of gun models.

June 21, 2012, 03:59 PM
Anything made in America gets my vote. I never heard of that Italian junk.;)


July 17, 2012, 01:46 PM
Took the boy shopping and we looked at everything and in our opinion the offerings from Browning/winchester were the best value. As I said when we started the search I dont want to blow $1200-1500 so that was out. EXCEPT- just down the rack we found a gently loved Browning Gold hunter 3". We agreed this was the best use of our funds and will make an excellent all around shotgun. Without case and with only one choke tube we were able to get it for $565 (plus tax and NIC) out the door for $620.This particular gun has 2 small indentations on the stock and 1 small scratch on the bottom of the receiver. Going to pick it up this afternoon. I dont know who is more excited him or I. Ill post a pick later.

July 18, 2012, 11:17 AM
The older Browning Golds - in 12ga ( they still make them in a 10ga ) ...went out of production a couple of yrs ago ....but they are good solid guns....and I think you made a great buy / smart choice. Well done !