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Old October 26, 1999, 05:30 PM   #1
Join Date: September 17, 1999
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Being told that the shotgun is a far better HD weapon than the dinky 9mm handgun, it is now time for me to explore the shotgun.

Since I can't seem to find anywhere nearby (here in Central/Northern NJ -- anyone want to tell me otherwise?) that allows me to 1) shoot shotgun, much less 2) RENT shotguns, I'm going to be getting scant practice and really no chance to try out the gun before I buy one.

I've never shot a shotgun before in my life. I've shot .22 and 9mm. Is the difference between 9mm and 12gauge like the difference between .22 and 9mm? Or is it just not comparable?

A lot of people have pointed toward the 500, 590, or 870HD types -- something with a 18-22" barrel. Looks good.

Now, the big problem I have is trying to decide between 20gauge and 12gauge.

I'm 5'6", 135lbs sopping wet, and until recently, had problems limp-wristing 9mm Glock.

Sad, huh?

(With my recent acquistion of a USP in 9, I no longer have this problem. )

I'm not exactly your typical 6'2" 190lb American hunk of immovable steel, which means that I'm more recoil sensitive than a bulldozer . In my own defense, lemme say that I've had about two years of TKD training, so I'm not a COMPLETE wuss.

Which brings me to my question.

How is the recoil of that 12 vs the 20?

Am I going to have problems with followup shots, pain, chiropractor bills? Do people my size ever have problems with the 12? I like the 12gauge because everything is made in it, and shells are widely available, as compared to 20, which is a little less widespread. I'd prefer to buy into 12 gauge, unless I take it to the range and proceed to throw my shoulder all the way to Florida.

Is it more like a shove than a crack? Is it something you can get used to with a little bit of practice, kind of like that odd 9mm "snappiness"? Does it cause pain? Or just momentary soreness?

How much practice do you really need with a shotgun to be reasonably good (at ranges of 10-15 yards)? Do I need to be practicing every week? (Mostly I ask because it looks like there might be a handgun range near me, but nowhere to shoot long arms.) Can I just get used to it and then put it in my closet for a while?


-Jon, the super newbie
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Old October 26, 1999, 09:00 PM   #2
Dave McC
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OK, here we go....

In my career with the Md Prison System, I taught a few hundred folks to shot, including with shotguns. My observations were nobody moved past a level of minimum competence, if that, unless they LIKED shooting shotguns and did so recreationally, clays, doves, trap,hunting, etc.

Numerous of those Correctional Officers were sized similiar to you,our force consisted of maybe 40% female when I retired. Of that force, almost all were NOT expert or competent with the shotgun. They regarded yearly qualification as an ordeal instead of shooting up somebody else's ammo and getting paid for it.

I do NOT recommend a shotgun for HD unless one likes to shoot the shotgun regularly. Then, it's possibly the world's best defensive weapon for under 25 yards. The house 870(also highly recommended) is my weapon,Wife and Daughter have alternatives for HD. Sorry, I don't discuss much about my security plans with anyone.

Be this as it may, if you decide to go for the shotgun, the recoil can be handled by someone your size with training and motivation. If you choose to do so...

Get some competent training. Most gunshop commandos aren't as good as they say or think they are, the ones that can shoot well oft aren't good teachers. My Dad was one of the best wing shots I've ever seen, but he couldn't teach me because he didn't know WHY he was good.

The Remington 870 holds up very well,and in 20 ga handles like an M-1 Carbine. But it still kicks,and is tres loud. Choate makes a 2 rd mag extension,which I like not for the extra rounds, but the weight at the muzzle aids recoil control. Face it, if 4 rounds from a shotgun fail to control an A-S scenario, you need backup more than mo' beans in the wheel.

As for the 12, I've seen good work done with 12 and feathermerchants, but not often.

My suggestion, find a trap range and see if you can try out a weapon or two to see how it feels. Or. check with your hunting buddies.

Go with light target loads and get used to the kick in increments, building up to duty loads.

And the idea of"Just getting used to it and putting it in the closet for a while" sends chills up my spine. Expertise, once attained, needs rehoning.

Hope this answers your concerns,if not, say so and I'll give it another shot.
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Old October 27, 1999, 11:23 AM   #3
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is there an Izaak Walton League near you?

skeet range?

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Old October 30, 1999, 03:10 PM   #4
Join Date: October 29, 1999
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Shotguns are far better for home defense especially when specifically loade for defense i.e. bb's or buckshot

Agree completely with Dave McC that you must be comfortable shooting shotguns and must LIKE shooting them.

There is no need to be afraid of a shotguns recoil. If you know how to use them, you will hardly notice it. The key is to grip the shotgum firmly, have it snug in your shoulder with your cheek firmly on the stock. Learn to do this correctly and you'll be ok. Its called mounting and you must learn to mount correctly and consistently.

Pump action shotguns are recommended for home defense as they are as reliable as is possible. They hardly malfunction.

Recoil from a twelve guage pump and a twenty guage pump can often be very similar. Depends on weight differences in the gun and in the shot load. Therefore, use the twelve.

The Remingto 870 marine grade is my favourite and I like it with a full stock, shortest multichoke barrel possible with the longest magazine extension for the selected barrel. I do not like the pistol grips as they are difficult to control and unless you are a real expert, difficult to shoot where you are looking without breaking your wrist.

If you can try this gun do so. If recoil is still your problem, consider a semi-automatic, gas operated, model. There are models with virtually no recoil. However there are some issues that you need to consider. They are not as reliable as pumps and you cannot put pistol grips on them. They need to be shot more often and cleaned more often just to make sure they are working properly. Their operation is slightly different to a pump, they load differently, etc.

Thats a lot of stuff to digest. The moral of the story is, find out where you can learn to shoot a shotgun. Learn technique and learn to like shotguns. When you buy a shotgun, learn to operate it properly. Loading and shooting it must be second nature.

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Old October 31, 1999, 11:23 PM   #5
Join Date: June 26, 1999
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I wanted ask on the topic of kick since I will pick up my new toy Monday. It is a Moss500 with a pistol grip which I will most likely change later when I get the funds. But I have shot 12 gauges before a long time ago! But I want to start shooting it soon as can I will have to shoot it with the pistol grip for a while is that alot more kick that way? Hard on the wrist? I do shoot a 9mm and a 357sig pistol regularly. By the way I am not much biggger 6 foot 150.
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Old November 1, 1999, 07:31 AM   #6
Dave McC
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Re pistol grips:

Back when I was instructing, some issue 870s were equipped with folding stocks for Rapid Response vehicles,and the troops had to be "qualified" in their use. They found it harder to get a good score. Recoil was not the problem, getting hits was.

IMO, a pistol grip w/o a shoulder stock is about as useful as a parachute on a submarine, an answer to the wrong problem. If you'r auditioning for Maimi Vice II, get one. For HD or recreation, stick to the shoulder stock.

I';ve had lots more training than most and definitely more than civilians do unless they shell out mucho dinero for the big name classes. I'd not use a shotgun off the shoulder at more than contact distances.

BTW, while an enthusiastic 870 user, I had a Mossberg 500. Not bad, and the safety is better located.
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Old November 1, 1999, 01:58 PM   #7
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I certainly concur with Dave on the shoulder stock topic. I shoot shotguns quite a bit (gosh I just love em) and have tried it both ways - pistol grip and standard rifle stock. The pistol grip was as useless as the Constitution in a Democrat's office. I found it very difficult to obtain any reasonable accuracy with the pistol grip. The pistol-grip-alone versions should always be purchased with a good dental insurance plan. I've seen this little problems results too.

I have an M1 Super 90 that I tried the pistol grip/stock combo and compared it to just using the stock. The stock alone was much more accurate and faster to bring up to the shoulder "ready" position.

You also mentioned parctice. You bet you need to practice. A scattergun is not the do all solution to poor marksmanship skills. I've seen so many shooters completely miss a target at 10-15 yards - with a shotgun?!? It can and does happen.

ALWAYS practice. Be sure to practice with some of the same loads that you'll be using for HD.


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Old November 1, 1999, 03:26 PM   #8
vince weng
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do you try to shoot a shotgun with pistol grip and full stock (like AR15 or AK). CDT has this kind of stock for sale. Will this be better when use a stock along configuration? The pistol grip really enhances the ergonomics.

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Old November 1, 1999, 05:02 PM   #9
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Yes, I tried that configuration and did not like it at all. It is much faster to bring up to the ready position without the pistol grip. So, in my opinion the pistol grip does not enhance ergonomics. (I have AR15's too...).,

My advice - stick with the rifle stock and practice.


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Old November 1, 1999, 05:17 PM   #10
Dave McC
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Haven't shot much with a pistol gripped shoulder stock. Did shoot a friend's Rem 742 with one,saw no advantage to it but didn't shoot too bad with it from the shoulder.

If it works for you...
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Old November 1, 1999, 05:52 PM   #11
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When I (6'1", 170lbs.) chose a shotgun for my home defense, I had to choose a gun that my little wife (5'4", 110lbs.) could also use competently.

It is true that a light 20 gauge shotgun kicks about the same as a heavy 12 gauge shotgun. However, heavy 12 gauge shotguns like the Rem 870 (over 7lbs. I think) was too heavy for my wife to wield easily.

So, I chose a Remington 870 in 20 gauge with the stock cut to 13" length of pull and barrel cut to 18 1/2". You can also buy a Remington 870 Youth (20 gauge, 13" length of pull and 21" barrel). Or you can buy a Winchester 1300 Defender in 20 gauge (very light, 8-shots and 18" barrel).

These are light and quick handling guns that pack more than enough wallop for the typical "gun fighting" distance at home.

You may also consider an autoloader like the Remington 1100 LT Youth (same as 870 Youth except the autoloading feature). That is one light and light-shooting (meaning low recoil) shotgun.

Hope that helps.


PS. Hate to say this, but two years of TKD still makes you a wuss. A BJJ student of three months will kill you in a few minutes.

For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the supreme excellence. Sun Tzu

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Old November 1, 1999, 11:29 PM   #12
Join Date: September 17, 1999
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Everyone -- thanks for the advice! Good things to know before I go find somewhere I can actually try one out. (Difficult, though, around here... The nearest Izaak Walton league looks about 2.5 hours south, and no range seems to want to let people shoot buckshot, much less rent a SG.)

No way I'm going to consider one of those pistol-grips... oh geez. I have thin wrists already.

I suspect I will indeed like very much shooting the SG (except for the cost...) so that shouldn't be a problem. Good to know that one can get used to the recoil especially if one holds it correctly...

Skorzeny: I know TKD is a fairly useless self defense sport -- I definitely dont think I can defend myself h-t-h, but I was trying to get at the fact that although I'm a light-framed teeny wuss, I'm not a COMPLETE wuss (i.e. still enough muscle mass present to carry my own body on my legs and handle a 9mm, but probably not enough to shrug off the recoil of a .44Mag or 12 gauge )

BTW, what IS BJJ? and where do i learn it?

Again, thanks to everyone!

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Old November 2, 1999, 12:20 PM   #13
Futo Inu
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Though I haven't owned a Mossberg, I will say that I like the location and shape of the pump action release button much better on the Win 1300 (keeps your hand close to the trigger where it needs to be) than the forward-located one on the Rem 870 - the 1300 also has better looks and a little lower cost. I'm sorry I sold my 1300.

As for recoil, I don't think you'll end up at the chiropracter's or even notice the recoil much of the 12 guage, provided you take the above advice about a proper mount. Just use the slightly downloaded 2 3/4 personal defense loads - they recoil much less than a juiced up 3" hunting load.

[This message has been edited by Futo Inu (edited November 02, 1999).]
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Old November 3, 1999, 04:30 PM   #14
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A good stance and hold on the shotgun combined with a well made shoulder pad should aid in decreasing felt-recoil. You can also try reduced recoil rounds. I was amazed how much softer shooting these rounds were compared to their full-house counterparts! Oh, yeah, folding stocks seem to generate more felt-recoil in both pump and semi-auto guns.
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Old November 6, 1999, 06:34 AM   #15
Join Date: November 6, 1999
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I,m new feelas, so be gentle with the advise I give. For recoil reduction you may want to contact Hogue. They have a new recoil reducing stock called the "Comp Stock." Hogue claims it reduces felt recoil by 60%!!
This item retails for Approx $140.00. (it is free for police to use for 90 days with the option to buy for for half price....only 1 per department). I just ordered one. I'll let everyone know it it works!!

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Old November 7, 1999, 05:18 AM   #16
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Recoil don't start until you can shoot 5+ 3"mag in a second or less.heheeh

I have had both stocks and would stay with standard, unless you love to hip shoot, where the pistol-stock will soak up more recoil.I would recomend Federal Tactical 2 3/4" buck 00 or 000. Have shot the 00 from my 870 and recoil was very low compared to full charge 3"mags, I keep my side saddle full with 6 rounds to increase weight some.
Have shot rem 1100 and you might like if you want even lower recoil just test tac loads with this gun to make sure it will cycle ok. Same with M1super90 My M1 is my favorite but the recoil is stiff with full power loads at full cycle rate.
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