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Old April 11, 2019, 03:47 PM   #1
riffraff
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1st 12 gauge? 88, 500, 590.. 870, express, etc.. ??

As my semi auto rifle and handgun collection begins to fill a 3rd safe I'm feeling it's probably time I pickup at least a 12 gauge shotgun.. I do own one shotgun, a 20 gauge, impulse sort of < $200 buy on the used market, nothing fancy but it works and I enjoy it..

We shoot traps a little at the redneck range, not seriously, sometimes 4 guys standing shoulder to shoulder firing at the same damn trap even .. I occasionally put down the rifles and send a few slugs downrange, it's something different. I don't hunt - this is just a toy, maybe for home defense, maybe if I had to hunt, but mostly a toy.

Anyway so the obvious thing is something like a Mossberg 88/500/590 or Remington 870 I think.. I want the shortest barrel you can get in a standard shotgun, ie 18.5 inches. I'm not sure I'm sold on the magazine fed versions, both the Mossberg & Remington mag versions seem to have goofy drawbacks but maybe some day I could try a sidewinder kit if I picked Mossberg..

I don't know much about shotguns, ie can you shoot buckshot in a rifled barrel, chokes, all that stuff - new to me. What I think I want is some smooth barrel version without a choke (use rifled slugs if I want or have 2 barrels), 18.5 inches, 12 gauge, of some quality, with good aftermarket support - not sure what else, I guess it'd be nice to be able to put a picatinny rail on the receiver for a red dot or ghost ring (if it wasn't so equipped).

So say I went with a Mossberg as they seem to have the best aftermarket support if I want to tinker with it later - does anyone know what I'm getting from going to the 88 to 500 to 590 and what specific model I might look at?..

For instance the 590A1, simple looking 12 gauge holds 7 rounds - looks great but I'd like to have at least a ghost ring (not sure if I can or can't accept a rail to mount one)..

500 tactical SPX - has a ghost ring and all tacticool elements but is kinda pricey for what it is, rather skip some options and add them later if I want..

etc.. etc.. - sorting through this - anyone do the same lately? Thanks!
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Old April 11, 2019, 06:03 PM   #2
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We know you don’t hunt and do shoot clay pigeons with your pals... that helps determine your use.

On the used market you can likely find lovely old pump action shotguns, fixed choke, in 12 gauge for under $300.

The “big three” are:
Remington Wingmaster (not the “express”) (really fine gun. I have one.)
Mossberg 500 (i’ve Never shot one but they are highly respected)
Ithaca model 37 (my favorite because it ejects down and feels right to me and it’s family tradition)

I would propose you find a nice used one, with a proper barrel, in modified (or full) choke. The barrels are long so they swing nice and helps you hit flying targets. It’s hard to hit them, by the way.

Although the Ithaca can be slam-fired, please don’t butcher a nice shotgun! I’ve seen some heartbreaking bubba-got-a-sawzall destructions of nice shotguns.

If you want to make some toy for shooting trash cans, get a Mossberg with the plastic stock and short barrel.

If a friend ever says “hey, let’s go hunting... I’ll show ya how” you’ll feel less like a goof walking with the fellas with an old classic. Old guns are not optimal for duck hunting or those places that require steel shot, but you are not planning on hunting at all so no worries.

If you just want to shoot crap, make smoke and bolt flashlights, laser beams and metal detectors to something, get the Mossberg and have fun.
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Old April 11, 2019, 06:10 PM   #3
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You should not shoot anything but sabot rounds out of a rifled barrel. You CAN shoot anything it's chambered for, but your effectiveness will suffer greatly and you will have to clean the lead out of the grooves.
Between an 870 and a Mossberg 500/590; get which one you like best. Nothing has more aftermarket support than the 870, but second is Mossberg. The Maverick is a cheaper gun if that matters to you. They seem to work. I would not even consider an Ithaca based on your purposes. Some people love them but they haven't gone out of business 3 times while Remington and Mossberg have sold almost 22 million over the same time period for nothing.
It's a pump shotgun, not an heirloom SxS. For shooting at flying targets a barrel of at least 26" is definitely preferable. You can get extra barrels for any of them pretty reasonable.
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Old April 11, 2019, 07:55 PM   #4
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I think this is the most versatile shotgun made. It's not exactly what you're looking for but at least think about it.

The 870 turkey shotgun

https://www.remington.com/shotguns/p...ss-turkey-camo


It comes with a 21" barrel threaded for interchangeable tubes. It only comes with one tube and that is an extra full turkey tube. But you can buy cylinder tubes, Improved Cylinder, modified, and full choke to match it to every use. The barrel is only 2.5" longer than the shortest ones and I find it short enough.

The 18.5" barrels are true cylinder bore which throw buckshot or bird shot into a pretty wide pattern and generally shoot slugs well enough. But a modified tube with buckshot will tighten the pattern extending useful range.

And while I know you don't plan to hunt having the option of other choke tubes is there. The 21" barrel is a lot shorter than I'd choose for wingshooting, 26-28" is preferable. But it is certainly usable and a 21" barrel with a modified tube in it would make a better "survive off the land" shotgun than an 18.5" cylinder barrel. And would work just as well as a tactical shotgun. Without the tactical look. Of course you can still add extended mag tubes and all the tactical gear you'd add to any others if you want.

The GA game and fish division purchased a bunch of these for their rangers along with an extra IC tube several years ago. The game wardens loved them.
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Old April 12, 2019, 03:04 PM   #5
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Thanks guys!

I tend to see alot of 835s and 535s pop up on the lightly used market. Wingmasters too.. what steered me away are the barrels, any legal shotgun out of the box starts feeling real long to me to begin with and im thinking i mostly want a spread.

What about taking a Turkey shotgun, extending capacity so it holds 6 shells (if not so equipped) and having a 2nd smooth bore 18.5 inch barrel. Is that practical with some models?.. or how about going the other way and having a long choked barrel for a simple tactical shotgun? Are the parts across say remington 12 gauge or mossberg 12 gauge offerings fairly interchangeable (like say taking a mossberg 500 and being able to install a barrel from a 535 onto it or vice versa).

Thanks!
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Old April 13, 2019, 09:19 AM   #6
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The mossberg 88, 500, 535 setups can't easily be modified to take higher capacity due to the way the barrel attaches. The mossberg 835 can take a larger extension tube.

88 and 500 barrels interchange but 535 probably doesn't due to the larger chamber so I bet the measurement is different so you don't try putting 3.5 inch shells in a receiver that won't be able to eject it.

Mossberg 500 capacity is 6. Not sure if that's 5+1 or 6+1 off their website.
https://www.mossberg.com/category/se...0/500-hunting/
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Old April 13, 2019, 10:43 AM   #7
riffraff
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6 would be ok, maybe could live with 5, but i noticed that turkey shotgun for instance has a very short magazine out of the box... if i went with a 20 inch 590 they have an extended magazine out of the box. Maybe i could get a long barrel for one of those.
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Old April 13, 2019, 12:53 PM   #8
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A Maverick M88 and a Mossberg M500 are the exact same gun. Not really much aftermarket stuff around for either of 'em. The 870 is the king for that.
However, you need to decide on a budget first.
"...buckshot in a rifled barrel..." Any shot fired out of a rifled barrel flies in a spiral sending the shot all over and leaves great big holes in the pattern.
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Old April 13, 2019, 02:53 PM   #9
riffraff
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As far as budget itd be nice to keep it under $500 for the initial purchase, it seems like most of what we are talking about here fits that budget. Occasionally i see a used model in this ballpark pop up but the basic 870/88/500s are so popular it seems like they sell so easily theres not much savings to be found, more likely if i buy one of those it will be ordering exactly what i want and shipping to a local FFL. The hunting models though seem to hang around longer on the used market and sell at what I consider a fair price worth paying.
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Old April 13, 2019, 04:12 PM   #10
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Quote:
any legal shotgun out of the box starts feeling real long to me to begin with and im thinking i mostly want a spread.
Barrel length has ZERO to do with pattern "spread"; that is determined by the choke.
If you are not going to be using it for flying objects, a shorter barrel would no hindrance in that regard. For targets, my semis wear 30" barrels and my O/us wear 32" barrels for better swing dynamics. Shorter barrels like 18.5 and 21 are better suited for more rifle-like activities at stationary targets.

870 vs 500 is the Ford vs Chevy of the gun world
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Old April 13, 2019, 08:15 PM   #11
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I *was* going to say the 88 isn't bad compared to the 500...

But as mentioned above, your "legal" barrel length tells me you don't know what chokes do and that sounds kinda less than being on the up and up.
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Old April 13, 2019, 09:07 PM   #12
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I would say look for an older 870 police or wingmaster.
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Old April 14, 2019, 07:01 AM   #13
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I've owned both the 870 wingmaster and expresses, and mossy 500's. I still own the Mossberg. Bought mine like-new at a pawn shop for $200, picked up clean barrels here and there for $40 each. I have 18 inch for home, 24 inch slug barrel with rifle sights, and 26 inch vent rib for hunting and skeet/trap, plus a no name 20 inch barrel that uses the same chokes as my 26". All the barrels are interchangeable because the gun is the standard 5 round version. If you get the 7 or 8 or whatever round tactical models, limits your barrel selection if you want to swap in/out multiple barrels. 870's are excellent choice as well, just a matter of which one feels better in your hand and which safety and slide release you prefer.
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Old April 14, 2019, 08:13 AM   #14
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This one sounds like what you are looking for:

https://grabagun.com/mossberg-590a1-...rce=igodigital
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Old April 14, 2019, 12:59 PM   #15
riffraff
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kymasabe View Post
I've owned both the 870 wingmaster and expresses, and mossy 500's. I still own the Mossberg. Bought mine like-new at a pawn shop for $200, picked up clean barrels here and there for $40 each. I have 18 inch for home, 24 inch slug barrel with rifle sights, and 26 inch vent rib for hunting and skeet/trap, plus a no name 20 inch barrel that uses the same chokes as my 26". All the barrels are interchangeable because the gun is the standard 5 round version. If you get the 7 or 8 or whatever round tactical models, limits your barrel selection if you want to swap in/out multiple barrels. 870's are excellent choice as well, just a matter of which one feels better in your hand and which safety and slide release you prefer.
Which model are you referring to, the 870 or 500? 5 rounds i could live with if it gave me good choices in barrel interchangeability. Thanks!
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Old April 14, 2019, 01:29 PM   #16
riffraff
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bozz10mm View Post
This one sounds like what you are looking for:

https://grabagun.com/mossberg-590a1-...rce=igodigital
That looks like a good quality model as far as defense shotguns go.
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Old April 14, 2019, 01:48 PM   #17
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You better be quick to shoot trap with a 18 1/2" barrel. For home defense or brush gun for
rabbits and birds would be its only value. A 870 smooth bore barrel was made with slug sights and had screw in rifled choke or you could use the standard chokes. It would be more
practical because of choke selection.
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Old April 15, 2019, 08:13 PM   #18
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A Maverick M88 and a Mossberg M500 are the exact same gun. . . .
No, they're not. The Maverick has the cross bolt safety, whereas the 500 has the tang safety. The Maverick also has the plastic trigger group.
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Old April 15, 2019, 08:15 PM   #19
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The Browning BPS is another option, and it's a really nice pump shotgun. Tang safety and ejects shells down instead of to the side. It's a little more expensive than the Remington 870 Express or the Mossberg 500, but a darned nice gun.
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Old April 15, 2019, 08:45 PM   #20
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No, they're not. The Maverick has the cross bolt safety, whereas the 500 has the tang safety. The Maverick also has the plastic trigger group.
The mossberg 500 also has a plastic trigger group.

They are the same gun to a point. The point is to make the 88 cheaper than the 500. Remove the trigger group and safety and I bet all parts swap. Pinned forearm vs metal assembly. Barrels and stock interchange.
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Old April 15, 2019, 11:39 PM   #21
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I like what Stinky Pete posted,....however, his list came close, but stopped just shy of perhaps the most legendary pump shotgun of all time. It's an all steel and Walnut gun; if there is any plastic on it, it would probably be the buttplate in later versions... And it's machined steel; even the cartridge lifter; not stamped like some other brands.... I don't even need to mention it's name or model as it is so legendary that it goes without saying. They used to be unaffordable for me; but in the last couple of decades, so many young bucks have traded in Grandpa's family heir-loom shotgun, not knowing what they had in their hands, just to get the latest plastic AR-whatever, that now some of the Classics are within reach of those that have long wanted one.
In case anyone is clueless as to what I'm referring to, here's a pretty nice one: https://www.gunbroker.com/item/806824987
More affordably, here's one more like mine: https://www.gunbroker.com/item/799056847
Prices vary a whole lot depending on the usual factors. Mine was made in 1914; the blueing is long worn off to a silvery patina, but it's as solid and reliable as the day it was made. I only paid $225 for mine at the Portland Expo gunshow in 2012. It's over a hundred years old now and it's all good!
They only made a couple of million of them so they are not hard to find. Also, they are all in take-down configuration, separating into two halves without tools in about 2 seconds.... It's a truly brilliant gun!
Here's a little more info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winchester_Model_1912

Last edited by Pathfinder45; April 15, 2019 at 11:43 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old April 16, 2019, 07:53 AM   #22
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It's funny (funny strange)

Pathfinder, I am in 100% agreement with you.

It's also a great platform to build on. Stocks are available from several aftermarket sources.
The beauty there is putting together a gun that fits it's owner.

If the new owner or custodian of one of these fine shotguns should insist choke tubes can be fitted. Mike Orlen is a great choice and offers a discount for forum members.

You can't swing a dead cat here in the PNW without hitting several 12 ga 30" barreled M-12's. They can also be cut down for an excellent HD shotgun.

Given the number of them in circulation there is no concern with destroying a piece of history. Just check before you cut.

The perfect repeater.
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Old April 16, 2019, 10:32 PM   #23
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I thought Pathfinder was going to link to a Winchester 1897! Advantage here is lowering the exposed hammer when one is in the pipe. Disadvantage is some idiot will blow a hole in the carpet.

Like all the pump shotguns, today you’d pay extra for it being a “takedown”.

Being old fashioned, I can’t understand a reason to swap perfectly good walnut for cheap plastic. The lead comes out the fron end just the same. If you really insist on black, take off the stock and spray on a few coats of plastidip. Plastidip. Because later when you wise up to how cool real walnut is you can peel it back off. $6.00
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Old April 17, 2019, 05:10 PM   #24
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Go with what Virginian wrote. I didn't read all the posts, but his is about right. One major thing I believe you said was that you didn't want chokes. Big Mistake. If you are concerned with getting a fixed choke barrel, those are usually found on older guns. You want one with a barrel that accepts screw in chokes.

It is also nice if the gun allows you to easily change barrels, should you decide you want different barrels for different purposes. For example, I keep a short barrel on my 870 when it serves as a home defense gun, but I can easily fit it with a 28" barrel. Were I a turkey hunter I might want a 21" barrel or for deer I would want a cantilever barrel that could take a scope. Those may be rifled. I don't recall, but a smooth bore can do a pretty good job with rifled slugs.

Check me on this, but one of the problems with some Mossbergs has to do with changing barrels and the capacity of the magazine tube. The barrel lug has to be fixed so that that it matches up with the length of the magazine.

Other than that, it is pretty much a toss up between Mossbergs and Remingtons. I prefer a Remington, but that is me.

If you want to shoot Trap, even red neck, you don't want a short barrel without any choke, unless you are just screwing around. Most use a Modified choke from the 16 yard line and some who shoot late go to a improved modified. The other day I didn't have my choke kit with me, when I was asked to shoot some Trap, and I had to do with Skeet chokes. It wasn't a pretty site. Get a gun that takes screw in chokes. Some older ones can be modified to accept them, but they may not be able to be threaded for chokes depending on the thickness of the wall of the barrel at the muzzle.
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Old April 17, 2019, 07:41 PM   #25
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Capacity is only a problem if you let it be. You could get a mossberg 500 or 88 and buy a mini shell adapter and feed it the minis. They're only 1 3/4 inch long and come in all flavors including buckshot and slugs.
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