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Old April 6, 2000, 02:54 PM   #1
Join Date: February 24, 2000
Posts: 36
Hi folks,
Someone give me the bare minimum for the most reliable home defense shotgun.

Pump or auto?
pistol grip or rifle stock?
sights or simple bead?
mag size?
other accessories (light, side saddle, etc)
slugs? OO? Birdshot?

I will probably shoot this gun every now and then for a bit of fun, but mainly I'd like to have it handy in my bedroom. If I'm stuck outside, I plan to shoot my way back to it with my P229, if possible.


We scoff at honor and then are surprised to discover traitors in our midst - Edmund Burke
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Old April 6, 2000, 03:10 PM   #2
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Pump or auto?
Pump. Fewer parts to break.
I prefer blued or parkerized, some prefer stainless.
pistol grip or rifle stock?
Stock. If you go with a PG, be advised that they're much harder to manage and require MUCH more practice.
sights or simple bead?
mag size?
Most HD situations don't require more than 1 or 2 shots, but I say more is better in questions of capacity.
Largest you can shoot quickly and accurately. 12- or 20-gauge.
other accessories (light, side saddle, etc)
Lights: I don't like them. They can give away your presence if you use them for movement as opposed to target identification. They're also one more thing to break. Sidesaddles or buttcuffs are good, but again, you need to practice loading from them.
The general consensus is Remington 870 or Mossberg 590.
slugs? OO? Birdshot?
Depends on the intended use and environment. Slugs in urban/suburban settings are bad juju. 1 Buck is my personal choice, but the walls of my cottage are very sturdy. Bird will turn a goblin into mush at typical HD distances.
Don't base your purchase on the presumption that the gun will never break. They're machines, and they WILL break, eventually. I've heard of shotguns well over 100 years old that are still taken out and exercised regularly, but those guns have been well cared-for.

My personal preference is the Mossberg 500A, 18" cylinder bore with plain bead sight. No lights or slings, and a 6-shot buttcuff.

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Old April 6, 2000, 03:32 PM   #3
Gopher a 45
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Join Date: January 24, 2000
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I'm no expert, but I'll try to take the questions in order.

1. I prefer pump. It's not significantly slower than an autoloader, it's cheaper, simpler (hence probably more reliable), and lastly, the racking noise of chambering a shell will send all but the most determined BGs away in a hurry!
2. Finish depends on the kind of abuse you expect to give it. I have a blued one and it's held up pretty well as long as I keep it wiped down once in a while. Stainless 870s are good, but a little more pricey. Others could probably answer this one better.
3. Go with the regular stock. If you ever shoot 3" shells in it, you'll know why.
4. Sights, again depends on what you want to do with it. A bead will serve fine for HD, but if you ever plan to hunt anyhting other than dove with it, some rifle sights or a ghost ring couldn't hurt.
5. As much mag capacity as you can get w/o making the weapon cumbersome.
6. I'd go with 12, but that's just me.
7. A sidesaddle should be okay as long as it doesn't interfere with the operation of the gun and its controls. Same with a light, just remember the light points both ways!
8. Mossberg 500 series, Remington 870 and Win1300 are all good pumpguns. You'll probably get a lot of votes for the 870. It's a keeper. The other two tend to be a little cheaper.
9. Shot size depends on where you live. If it's an apartment, then #4 would probably be about the maximum since you don't want it to sail thru the wall and ruin your neighbor's day. At indoor HD ranges, in all honesty, #7 1/2 would do fine and make a mess. If it's a house with close neighbors, you might get away with 0 buck, but who knows? If you're all by yourself in the country, by all means go for a mix of slugs/00 buck. I'll defer to the experts on this one.
10. You'll probably never have to replace an 870, but I disremember the cost of one right now. (~$350?) The other two can be had for around $250 for a no-frills package (18" barrel, 7rd mag, blued, and wood or synthetic stock). Used is of course cheaper and you can check the gun shows, but that sweet deal you get may have been run over by a truck at some point. New ones are so cheap that people tend to beat the heck out of these types of guns. Nice thing about a shotgun, is you can swap barrels to go from a wingshooting config straight to HD. Winchester sells a package like this for the 1300 I believe.
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Old April 6, 2000, 04:38 PM   #4
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Good replies. At times, I have had my first shot (or two) loaded as high-brass #1 shot. In fact, I have had #1, #1, 00,00,00, Slug, Slug before.
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Old April 6, 2000, 05:23 PM   #5
Dave McC
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Lots of choices, here's mine....

Remington 870 pump. Its unmatched record, durability and longevity leave the others,most of which are good ones, behind.

Bead sight is just fine for what you want.

PGs are great if you're auditioning for Miami Vice II, but for the real world, go with a full stock.

Practically any load will hit as a solid or near solid at HD ranges. Slugs just plain penetrate too much in most cases. I like 00, but the first two up are #6 lead duck loads.

Forget the bells and whistles, in most cases the money's better spent on ammo and range time. EVERY responsible adult that may use it needs to practice. And not every adult in your house may like shotguns, Provide alternatives for those folks. Wife dislikes shotguns, but does OK with a 38 revolver.

12ga, but 20 will work also.

The best practice is shooting your shotgun, learning the operations until it's nigh instinctive. Clays are nice, and a spot of dove shooting is a good way to learn humility(G).

Used police turn ins should run about $200, new ones(the Express Models) $300 or so.

Good luck..
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Old April 6, 2000, 07:27 PM   #6
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ya know what feature is missing from the moderne HD shotgun?

A Blunderbuss muzzel!

think about it
about a eight inch bell
that'll make the BG's run away

pump 12 gauge blunderbuss with an 18 inch barrel

i saw one on a website that had a biblical saying inscribed around the bell

here is a nice antique flintlock one:

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Old April 7, 2000, 04:47 AM   #7
Ned Roundtree
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Join Date: December 8, 1999
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If you were dong competition I would say Remington 870, without a doubt. But since it is going to sit in the closet the majority of the time as a true HD gun, then pay less for a Mossberg 590 or 590-A1. 590-A1 is 18" heavy barrel pump gun, cylinder bore. It has ghost ring rear sight and front post with orange insert. The model I have has speed stock buttstock that holds four additional shells. I have also added side saddle with four. Dark parkerized finish disappears in the night. The gun is a 5+1, buttstock holds four and side saddle added of 4 for a total response of 14 shells. Too much you say. Well, so be it. I don't keep one in the chamber and I actually only keep two in buttstock to lighten the springs, so I'm packing 11 shots. I use #4 and #00 alternating in tube and side saddle. I keep two slugs in the buttstock in reserve.
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Old April 7, 2000, 01:26 PM   #8
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Good advise all around. My version:

1. Pump or auto? Pump. More reliable and just as fast with practice.

2 Finish? Parkerized. Cheaper and it defines "matte."

3. Pistol grip or rifle stock? Rifle stock. Pistol grips are harder to work with, specialized at best, and usually added as a gimick.

4. Sights or simple bead? Ghost ring sights. They are quick and if you ever need it allow for accuracy. Tritium front sight is a plus.

5. Mag size? It doesn't matter. One is all it takes. That said I like the extended magazines.

6. Gauge? 12. Though if it is too much for someone they move down to a 20.

7. Other accessories (light, side saddle, etc) I like side saddles for slugs. Lights can be an asset, though you must familiarize yourself with light tactics or they will be a liabilty. Lasers are for pointing at chalk boards and entertaining pets. Speed feed stocks are unnecessary.

8. Brand? Remington or Mossberg. Each has its fans. Each will serve you well.

9. Slugs? OO? Birdshot? Never birdshot. The rest depends on your situation. has all the information you will need to make an informed decision.

10. Most impt HOW MUCH SHOULD I EXPECT TO PAY FOR ONE I WON'T EVER HAVE TO REPLACE? You will be hard pressed to wear out a shotgun. That said, there is no dollar amount that insures that you will not.

Hope this helps!


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Old April 7, 2000, 04:47 PM   #9
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Following up on dZ's suggestion of a nice antique flintlock one:

A REVOLVER with a 12" barrel and a massive cylinder packing five 20-gauge shells of #3 buckshot. Muzzle energy would be about 1.4 times that of a .44 magnum though the felt recoil would be less due to the guns weight. A lighter load {12 pellets vs 18 at 1200fps} would lighten up the recoil.
Stainless so it could handle being in a bedroom with humidifiers.
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