View Full Version : Good soft shooting autoloader

August 27, 2012, 02:42 AM
I have a friend who is looking for a good autoloader. (probably 12 ga)

We were out back shooting some clays with my old Win pump. (his first time shooting clays) And he was having a lot of fun. Problem is, he had to have surgery on his shoulder a few years back and after a short while, he couldn't shoot any more.

Now he seems to be in the mood for a shotgun. He is looking at autoloaders, as they tend to soak up a little recoil in the action vs a pump. Not one just for clay targets, but a good all purpose gun he can also use in a HD role if need be, and maybe even hunt... Slugs, buck, bird... seems he could get by with a Cyl, or Imp Cyl, but a removable choke and a few chokes on hand for different uses might be better.

He isn't looking for a gun that can excel in all these roles, thats impossible/impractical, but decent all around useful.

I seen Mossberg had "combo model" 930s that came with 2 barrels. One short for HD and a traditional length for field use.

CZ has a "utility" model that is 20" and comes with several chokes.

He can't spend a lot, cheaper is better unless quality suffers too much. Utilitarian is best, fancy engraving and wood stocks are not needed and add cost... aim for $600 or less if possible.


August 27, 2012, 04:07 AM
Randy Wakeman swears by the current Mossberg 930 12 gauge auto. Never shot one myself, but his stamp of approval is very encouraging. It's a gas gun which means it's a soft shooter. Click on his review below...


August 27, 2012, 06:51 AM
I had one a few years ago, it would cycle everything but light target loads. I am trying to see if theres anything I can do to get one to cycle the target stuff. I would love to have one again and several barrels to make it very versatile.

August 27, 2012, 09:03 AM
a used Remington 1100 is about the softest shooting gas gun out there due to its weight. Without knowing your friend's budget, it may or may not bear consideration

August 27, 2012, 10:49 AM
OneOzLoad is right on the money...

August 27, 2012, 11:10 AM
I agree that an 1100 with a good recoil pad shooting the lightest loads that will cycle the gun is pretty low on the recoil scale.

Not inexpensive, but the Versa Max does a great job at reducing felt recoil. Mine will cycle super light 3/4 oz 12 ga loads.

August 27, 2012, 11:46 AM
Gas operated semi-autos are probably the way to go ...

Before he sets his budget at $ 600 ...he should at least look at some new guns - so he can evaluate the used market:

Browning has a few offerings .....Silver Hunter, Maxus, etc...all good options.

Beretta has a few offerings...

Remington 1100's or 11-87's are also good options if he finds a nice clean one.

I would put both Mossberg and CZ significantly behind either Beretta or Browning in terms of quality. It isn't just wood and engraving that drives the cost on shotguns.... its also the quality of the internals, and the steel, etc...that makes a big difference. There is a reason that Browning, Beretta and Remington have all remained strong in the semi-auto shotgun market for a long time.

August 27, 2012, 12:20 PM
Another big fan of the Remington 1100. Very soft shooting. Good used ones are easy to find. The design have been around for years and they're very reliable.

August 27, 2012, 01:09 PM
I will let him know.

Yeah, quality determines price, but all things being equal, the plain version costs less than a fancier version of the same model.

He may or may not go for the used idea, will see.

Several people seem to like the CZ... it may not be up there with the big boys, but neither is the price. :p

Target loads will be the primary load fired.

I am sure he wants to keep the price below $600, and the lower the better unless quality suffers severely.

August 27, 2012, 01:28 PM
One thing about the 1100, any gunsmith who really IS one, will know how to to work on it if necessary and parts will not be a problem

August 27, 2012, 03:02 PM
My personal preference is toward either a gas operated Beretta or an inertia operated Benelli. But with a $600 budget and soft recoil as a requirement I'd look hard at the Remington offerings.

Not exactly sure what they are selling for but a Beretta 3901 might come in under $600, if over it won't be by much.

August 27, 2012, 03:45 PM
CZ and Mossberg ....both have very spotty reliability issues / just don't let your buddy fool himself that he is getting the same quality gun ( in terms of steel or internal parts ) from CZ or Mossberg ....that is offered from companies like Beretta, Browning or Remington...

You will find positive things said about guns like Baikal, TriStar, Stoeger, CZ, Mossberg etc on this and other forums.../ but I will tell you they are a waste of money in my opinion - especially when you could have put that money toward something else...used or new...that will last for many years.

Now you might get one that runs for 5,000 shells or more ...with no issues / or you may have cycling nightmares from day 1 ...you can't tell by just looking at them.

Like someone else said ...almost any decent shotgun - gunsmith --- can fix a Rem 1100 or 11-87 and parts are relatively easy to get at a lot of places / that can be a big deal.

August 27, 2012, 06:20 PM
There is another thread on this forum / from a shooter that has a 935 with cycling issues....???/ might want to check it out......

August 27, 2012, 07:43 PM
Just to echo BigJim. I read lots of positive things about the Mossberg 930, but very, very few people use them hard enough to say what the long term durability will be. For the most part only casual shooters even buy those The other guns have a proven track record by guys who shoot ammo by the truckload. I'm really just a casual shooter too, but don't see the point in buying an unproven gun when the cost of a proven design is often less than the cost of a case of ammo more expensive.

The 930 may prove to be a winner, but Mossberg will have a long way to go to prove to me they can build a long term reliable gun, especially their autoloaders. My experince with the 9200 wasn't pretty and they got lots of positive feedback too.

Mayor Al
August 27, 2012, 08:05 PM
Since it is well known that everyone has an opinion just like they have..... well you know.

Mine is this, I have a Saiga 12 Semi-auto with the TAPCO stock kit. I can shoot it comfortably all day, then move the stock to a better position and the wife (1/2 my size in every dimension) can do the same thing (with her using lo-brass ammo). Total outlay for the gun with the new stock was $550 three years ago. I have fired well over 1500 rounds (about half of that Slugs) and am satisfied that it will shoot just as well tomorrow as it did yesterday.

I am sure you all are happy with your Shotguns, well, So am I,

August 27, 2012, 08:10 PM
Is have to second the rem 1100 or even one of the new 1187 sport models does a really nice job with recoil. I am personally an Italian fan and I love my benellis but I can't imagine a week long fowl hunt feeding the benelli 3 1/2s without the comfort tech stock I have a stoeger m2000 and it does decent with the recoil reducer in stock and a limb saver pad.

Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk 2

August 27, 2012, 09:52 PM
He looked at the Remington today.

He will not be shooting a lot, 100-150 rounds in a month would probably be the limit.

He wants one that is good all around... would a 20 inch be a good all around size? Longer seems like it would be a hindrance in a HD situation, and less would not be good for hunting and clay shooting.

August 28, 2012, 04:04 AM
If I were your friend I would either get a combination deal like you first posted about or a gun with a 28" barrel. Many clubs and ranges won't even allow you to shoot a short barrel shotgun. The weight of the extra 8" of barrel will help reduce felt recoil. Also check that any 20" barrel takes choke tubes or it is at least an acceptable fixed choke. It will probably have a fixe improved cylinder choke or an open cylinder (no choke). That would make trap shooting a lot less fun.

August 28, 2012, 04:42 AM
Not sure where you are located , but about a month ago i bought a Beautiful used Browning "Golden Clays" Sporting Clays 12 Ga 30" Ported Barrel for a great price $799 and i absolutely love it . But while i was there looking around they had several used Remington 1100's for $400-600. Ive used 1100's for many years and they are great guns ive also owned a Smith and Wesson Model 1000 and it was a very good gun too they had one there for around $500-600.

So if you live near Ft Worth , Texas Go to Cabelas they had around 100 used shotguns with reasonable prices. If you are not near Ft Worth then go to their website and find the nearest one.

Good luck in finding your friend a new gun.

August 28, 2012, 05:43 AM
i don,t think you could go wrong with good used rem 1100 or 11-87 and that would be my choice, i own several of each and have had no problems at all. my clay games rem,s get cleaned at about 600 rounds and totaly taken down once a year and a new rubble gas seal replaced at that time.most loads fired are 17grs red dot with federal 209 primers, claybusters wads with 1-1/8 hard #7.5 or #8 shot. eastbank.

August 28, 2012, 10:20 AM
Barrel length ...affects the sight plane and swing dynamics...in general a 20" barrel isn't very productive on flying targets...a barrel that short, tends to allow the shooter to "slap" at targets vs executing a smooth swing, bang, and follow-thru. About the only way to overcome barrel length is to add weight ...but on a real short barrel like 20" you'll make it nose heavy probably..which isn't good either.

In general a 26" barrel on a semi-auto makes the gun about the same overall length as an O/U with 28" barrels .....or 24" on semi = 26" on Over Under. I wouldn't recommend going under 24" on the semi-auto.

Gun weight if your buddies friend in terms of recoil / an additional lb in the gun will reduce recoil about 20% or so depending on the shell he's shooting. But having gone thru a major shoulder re-build myself...sometimes a gun much over 8 lbs ...takes its toll on my shoulder / and even rebuilt -my shoulder likes a 7 1/2 lb gun somedays a lot better than 8 or 8 1/2" ...so its a combination of all this stuff ...and what feels right to him. I should also temper my opinions with the fact that I'm 6'5" and 290 lbs and have fairly long arms ...so all of my primary guns ( O/U's even in .410 have 30" barrels ) and when it comes to a light gun like a Benelli Super Sport semi auto I went with a 30" barrel there too - to offset the light weight ( 7.2 # ) to give me better swing characteristics.

Personally - when it comes to HD - I turn to my revolvers or 1911's in handguns ..not shotguns ...even short barrels are clumsy in my view. The other issue on defense ...is you can use any shotgun for "Defense" vs sneaking thru the dark clearing rooms or a "Fighting shotgun"...so I wouldn't focus much on HD as an issue / lots of other ways to go - and better in my view.

Focus on a shotgun that feels good to him on flying targets - 26" maybe, 28" is a good happy medium, or a 30" barrel....

August 28, 2012, 01:09 PM
Yeah... he just mentioned wanting a good all purpose gun. Spending a huge chunk on just shooting clays he can't really justify... or doesn't feel he can anyway.

He lives in the country with lots of acreage, so he will be shooting on his own land, so range rules are not as big a deal. He isn't looking to compete, just have some fun.

I am going to talk to him about a combo gun, and the Remington is something he has looked at too. He is heading to the shop soon to look around at their selection. He might can have something ordered if he does not find something he likes.

He used to have several firearms, but got in some financial trouble years back and sold them. The only thing he owns right now is a 10/22... he at one time had several suitable pistols for HD.

August 28, 2012, 07:20 PM
Another vote for the Remington 1100.

August 28, 2012, 08:12 PM

August 28, 2012, 10:22 PM
i have a Winchester 1300 pump that i use for skeet. earlier this spring i tried out a Kick-eeze recoil pad, and it works great. whichever autoloader your friend gets, have him look into the kick eeze, its the best $30 part/accessory for a shotgun, imho.

August 29, 2012, 08:00 AM
A 935 with feed issues is easily explained... That is a 3 1/2 inch gun so the lightest 2 3/4 shells should be a bit wimpy considering it has to handle full power heavy 3.5's...


August 29, 2012, 08:35 AM
Now, Hogdogs, I have a Beretta A400 Xplor Unico - also a 3.5" gas gun. It not only handles the standard promo stuff from wally world, it also handles my 12 gauge 3/4 oz reloads - those are 28 gauge level - NEVER an issue

August 29, 2012, 07:22 PM
Your Beretta is related to Mossberg how??? But the 3.5 935 is a different gun than the 930... A guy looking for a "soft shooter" will not be shopping much for the "turkey/goose" gun needing a 3.5 inch capability...


August 29, 2012, 08:16 PM
He is still going over options, but I think he has a good handle on what to look for now.

.300 Weatherby Mag
August 30, 2012, 01:39 AM
I'm in the minority here, as I absolutely despise my 1100 skeet model... Even though I shoot it well, its an unreliable POS even when perfectly clean and fed Winchester AA factory loads... The carrier fractured on the thing after only 1500 rounds of 3 dram target loads... I've let other 1100 fanatics go through the gun and shoot it with the same results... Only reason I hold onto it, is that it was given to me by my Grandfather...

I won't condemn the 1100 as I have friends that love their 1100s and they give them no trouble at all and shoot great... Mine is possessed...

The Beretta autos are very soft shooting and very reliable.. The A400 is an excellent gun as are the older 390/391 series...