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Old June 11, 2010, 11:39 AM   #28
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Join Date: February 23, 2005
Posts: 12,897
To Deerhunter and others .... in terms of a waterfowl and quail hunting gun ...there really is no "clear - best gun" out there. In my opinion, all you need is a gun chambered in 3" ( not 3 1/2" ) and in 12ga and you'll be fine.

Whether you hunt the swamps or rice fields doesn't matter either long as you take care of a decent gun it will last you a lifetime easily ( even if you drop it in the swamp ...) ....:

There are the "gas operated guns" like Beretta, Remington, Browning, etc - and there are the "Inertia operated guns" like Benelli, Stoeger, etc. You will get more recoil from the Inertia operated guns than the gas guns, the Inertia guns will shoot cleaner than the gas guns (because that gas cycling back thru the action is dirty) but some gas systems seem to be cleaner than others. There are different finishes, synthetic, wood stocks, aluminum receivers, steel receivers ....

The "best gun" for each of us comes down to "Fit" - so it hits where you look. The drop at the comb, heel, length of pull are all critical. Some models and some mfg's have more adjustability than others - comb inserts, shims between receiver and stock, etc ...and some have very little adjustment. You can't tell if a gun "Fits" you by holding it in the store / you will have to take it to a pattern board / although, if you have a lot of experience, you can come close in a store. If you have a gun now - that shoots where you look / take the specs off it - and then go shopping. In a light gun / I like a 30" barrel .... but 28" is ok. A lighter gun / gets a little whippy - and it hurts the handling characteristics / but carrying a lighter gun in the field is easier than a heavy gun its a compromise.

My choice is a Benelli Inertia gun. But out of a dozen or so Benelli models - I only like one / and its based on adjustability and Fit. I go with the "Super Sport model" - with the comfort Tech system in it that absorbs some of the recoil - but that model also has a gel comb insert and different pop in recoil pads. It also has a big price tag / of about $ 1875 around here new ... which scares a lot of buyers away - but it works for me because it has so much adjustability / and the Inertia system shoots real cleanly. It fires 2 3/4" and 3" shells down to 1200 fps without a problem / some inertia guns won't do that / some gas guns are finnicky on ammo too - especially the older technology. The super sport has a bright receiver / carbon fibre stock ( I just use elec tape on the receiver to dull it down for waterfowling ). But waterfowling isn't my primary use for it / for me its a "travel gun" where I can take one gun to do a little of everything .... Trap, Skeet, Sporting clays and quail or upland bird hunting primarily. I also use it as a training gun / because its very light 7.2 lbs with a 30" barrel in a 12ga / 6.2 lbs in a 20ga with a 28ga barrel .... so its a good gun for training young shooters / my grandkids, etc ...

In my opinion saying you should buy a Rem 1100, or an 11-87, or a Benelli M-2, or a Benelli Super Sport ...isn't really valid. Its not that the recommendations aren't a solid heart felt recommendation ...but they're based on what fits that person / not you ( or your budget ).

To pick a new gun / to OP, Deerhunter, etc .....know the stock dimensions that you need to fit you ( and you can't rely on retail stores to tell you what you need - most of them know little, if anything, about fit ), shoot as many guns as you can ( at local Skeet, Sporting clays shoots, etc ) - then make your choice.

We still don't know what the OP wants a semi-auto to do for him ?? If he wants tactical its different.../ if he wanted a competitive clay target gun its different ( the UGB that OneOunce mentioned is a very attractive gun - but around $4,000 ) / depends on his budget too ???
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