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Old July 19, 2000, 03:28 AM   #1
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Join Date: October 13, 1999
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It looks like I found a couple of deals on some shotguns:

Benelli M1 Super90, Pistol Grip, Rifle sights. NIB (the gunstore represents it as previously owned, never fired--which matches my own impression, and the dealers there are very honest). $650

Beretta 1201 with extended mag and pistolgrip. I have been told it is all factory, and the "Blue Book" I have also mentions that it was produced that way in 94 (i.e. pre-ban)--I think they call it a 1201FP3. NIB $610

Now, I am wondering how hard and how much to put ghost ring sights on both of these guns? From reading the posts here, I've decided against a side-saddle shell carrier--so the only likely mods to both guns would be the ghost ring sights.

The Benelli is an H & K import 218xxx serial # (post ban)--I seem to remember someone spelling out a trick to have an extra round on the carrier--can anyone tell me how this is done again?

Suggested ammo for both (I know that they are basically the same gun)? I'm looking for clean shooting Slugs, Buck (#00 and #4), and probably some small shot for home defense--I live in an apartment with thin walls. Any suggestions would be a great help.

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Old July 19, 2000, 07:55 AM   #2
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I own a M1S90 in the same configuration as yours. I've also considered adding ghost rings but came to my senses after see the price of this change. First, you have to switch the barrel for a Benelli with the front ghost ring sight. That will cost you around 325 for the barrel. Benelli may sell you a rear ghost ring sight but you will have to drill and tap the receiver to install it. They aren't pre-drilled like the Mossbergs. In my opinion, it is too expensive and my rifle sights work just fine. Hope this helps.

[This message has been edited by Icopy (edited July 19, 2000).]
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Old July 19, 2000, 08:19 AM   #3
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I have a post-ban M1S90 Tactical with ghost ring sights. Mine is also one of the HK stamped guns. I don't know how hard it is to add ghost rings to a rifle sighted gun so I'll pass on that question.

But further,

Make sure the Beretta truly is a pre-ban. The cutoff date for the 1994 Crime Bill was September 13, 1994 -- thus, the Beretta could have been made in 1994 (e.g., October 25, 1994) and not be a pre-ban gun.

But if it's a true pre-ban gun, that's not a bad price. My buddy got his post-ban 1201FP for $459 NIB. Dealer cost is supposedly around $380-420.

I like the Beretta shotguns -- my buddy's 1201FP post-ban handles very nicely. Light as all heck, very handy. But there is a noticeable lack of accessories for the Beretta, in case you do decide to add more than just GR sights down the road. For example, Surefire does not offer a specific Responder unit for the 1201FP3.

To get an extra round, you'll have to do some fancy fingerwork -- in other words, you won't want to try this if you are speed reloading in the middle of a firefight. Load your magazine to full capacity. Next, retract the bolt and insert a shell into the chamber without releasing the bolt.

Now comes the tricky part -- you want to push down the shell lifter and slowly move the bolt forward until you have just enough space to put another shell on the shell lifter, but the bolt has to be far enough forward such that it will NOT pick up the additional shell you just dropped onto the shell lifter.

NOTE: This is not the safest procedure in the world, as you will have a round in the chamber and both your hands are tied up juggling the bolt and the additional shell. Observe all four rules of gun safety religiously when doing this procedure.

If you do this correctly, you will have a fully charged magazine tube (five rounds), one on the lifter and one in the chamber, for a total of seven shells. Your gun is now essentially a 5+2 capacity shotgun.

On the ammunition topic -- both shotguns are inertia operated, which generally means it likes heavy recoiling loads more than light recoiling loads. That said, make sure to test out your gun with a variety of loads (in terms of patterning and reliability) to find the one that your gun likes to digest.
Personally, even though my Benelli is weighed down with a Surefire Responder, it will cycle anything -- low recoil Federal buck or slugs and light trap loads. An acquaintance of mine, Dave Wisniewski, says his two Benelli M1S90s will "cycle air". But others have experienced problems with light loads, so YMMV.

I live in an apartment complex like you. There will be some controversy over any recommendation of ammunition for one concerned with overpenetration.

Some recommend birdshot for those of us who live in places with thin walls and neighbors in close proximity, others say that birdshot does not have enough penetration to do the job on a goblin. Even the "experts" disagree -- read Gabe Suarez's "The Tactical Shotgun" and John Farnam's "The Farnam Method of Defensive Shotgun And Rifle Shooting" and you'll see that Suarez says birdshot is okay at short distances while Farnam says birdshot is basically useless unless your muzzle is a few centimeters from the bad guy.

So the recommendations go from #8 and #6 birdshot to #1 and #4 buck up to 00 and 000 buckshot. I don't think you'll have much use for slugs in a HD situation in a small apartment unless you anticipate a hostage situation, in which case a handgun or rifle is probably the better tool.

But if your shotgun is your only defensive firearm (and there are persons for which this is true, as they either live in cities that basically ban handguns or they cannot afford a $600 SIG handgun), keep your shotgun stoked with shot (bird or buck) and keep slugs handy in a belt pouch or sidesaddle if you anticipate shots beyond the B zone (25 yards). Practice the switch-to-slug drill as outlined in either Suarez's or Farnam's books.

As for "clean shooting slugs", I haven't met one of those yet, at least in the low-recoil tactical slug arena. Both Remington and Federal tactical slugs will put some serious leading in your barrel -- trust me, after each three gun match I have to do some heavy scrubbing. I would recommend that you: (1) clean your shotgun as soon as possible after shooting slugs; and (2) buy a Tornado stainless steel brush for really heavy leading.



Justin T. Huang, Esq.
late of Kennett Square, Pennsylvania

[This message has been edited by jthuang (edited July 19, 2000).]
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Old July 19, 2000, 11:19 AM   #4
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Icopy and Justin,

Thanks for the favor of your replies. I appreciate the information.

Yes, I will check with Beretta as to when the shotgun was made. The dealer represents it as "all factory", NIB. It does have the Pistol Grip and Extended Mag., and is not marked LEO--which should make it pre-ban. Once it shows up at my dealer, I will double check the Serial #. I did not think that there were aftermarket pistol grips or extended mags for the Beretta's, so it is likely the dealer is correct.

I am within the City limits, so you are correct about my inablilty to have anything other than a low-capacity, fixed mag rifle or shotgun. Most of my serious defensive stuff is stored outside the City limits--I would much prefer to have my H & K P7 PSP or one of my other handguns for self-defense, but as it is impossible to get a handgun registered in the city (or an AR would be nice also), I'm going to stick with the shotgun.

Thanks again for the reply.
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Old July 21, 2000, 05:15 AM   #5
Dave McC
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Much as I like the peep sights on HD shotguns, they are NOT required for that mission. With practice and good form, one can come close to shooting a possible with a standard bead.

I've no experience with the Benellis,but one with rifle sights,in trained hands, would
a defensive weapon of tremendous capabilities w/ or w/out a peep sight.

IMO, spending the money on ammo instead makes sense to me...
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Old July 21, 2000, 10:51 AM   #6
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Choate makes a pistol grip stock for the Beretta. As a matter of fact, Choate made the "factory" preban pistol grip stocks for the 1201FP3. The only difference is that the factory stocks had "Beretta" and their logo molded into the stock above the grip and the aftermarket stocks say Choate.
I have an FP3 and love it. I too would like to get some ghost ring sights but it hasn't made it high enough on the priority list to do anything about it. If you get the sights for the Beretta I'd like to hear about it.
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Old July 21, 2000, 04:13 PM   #7
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Jaeger, good info there. I seem to recall a pre-ban 1201FP at certain Valley Forge, PA gun shows a few years back with a Choate stock. I remember wondering to myself as to whether it was a true pre-ban since it had (what I thought to be) an aftermarket stock.

The gun was selling for a decent price and I haven't seen it since.

John Farnam's personal defense shotgun is a Beretta 1201FP, you probably can't go wrong with one.

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