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Old November 16, 2000, 11:12 AM   #1
Dave McC
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Heck, yes. It says right on the topic heading,"Some call it the most versatile of firearms". However....

Looking(and drooling a mite) over Oldlightning's collection of fine US made doubles got me thinking, always a dangerous activity. He mentions, with some truth, that this forum tends to focus on HD/Tactical/ LE type shotguns.I think that in these dangerous times, that's only natural. But, there's a lot more out there for folks that really get into shotgunning.

And, shotguns are versatile, no question about it. A GP shotgun can be setup for HD, deer, birds, clays,etc. The trouble is, no GP shotgun will EVER be as good at a specialized task as a shotgun designed and setup for a specific mission. Let me rant on a trifle.

Consider Oldlightning's classics. Most seem to be delightful upland guns, light and responsive.Chances are they'd also be fun and effective on a Skeet Range, or maybe for informal clays.Informal means it's for fun, not for serious competition,and with neither money nor ego needs riding on each and every shot.

But in a goose blind,or up in a tree during deer season, or at trap,or during one of those sphincter tightening AS Scenarios, there may be better choices. And, running heavy loads through those delightful doubles is defeating the purpose, IMO.

So, let's posit an unlimited budget, a craving to experience all that shotgunning has to offer, and plenty of room in the gun safe. Here's my picks by mission....

No brands mentioned, for starters..

UPLAND Game, from rabbits and squirrels to pheasants, with wood ducks and puddle mallards, for good measure. A fairly lightweight double,pump or semi, with tube chokes or bored to put a good 30 inch pattern at the distance most of your shot opportunities come.I'd want it to put more of the pattern above POA than not, and shoot an oz or so w/o brutal recoil. Since this is carried a lot and shot only a few times in a day,bring it in under 7 1/2 lbs,maybe under 7. Since money isn't a problem, make mine a 16 ga Fox or Parker, about 6 1/2 lbs. Bbls should run 25-28" on a double, and a little less on a repeater.

TURKEY. Here a single shot is at little disadvantage, and carries nicely. Regardless of action type, this should be choked tight and capable of taking heavy loads. Sights are a good idea. This should be heavier than most upland guns, make it 7 1/2-8 lbs. Bbl length is up to you, but on the short side works. Sights help.

WATERFOWL. Here a heavier, longer bbled shotgun comes into its own. Make it a 12 or 10 ga,3 inch Mag, capable of taking heavy loads of steel shot. For steel, make it a Modified choke,and weight of up to 9 lbs with at least 28" bbls. Most folks do better on pass shooting with longer bbls.Make mine an 870 with a 30", tubed bbl.

DEER. Here the mission splits, since some folks use buck and some use slugs. For Buck, any fast handling shotgun of at least two shots is called for, and I'd stick to the bigger gauges. A HD/Tactical shotgun would work well here, weight up to you but on the heavy side.

For slugs, the above works well, but since most deer are harvested on the first shot, a well setup Single shot works also. Maybe scope it, and any gauge from 20 up works well.

CLAY GAMES. Whatever works for you,tho pumps are at a disadvantage here. Much as I like my 870s,and SXS doubles for upland stuff, here I'd go with a O/U, probably a 12, and with tubes. Since I won't be carrying this up and down many hills,I'd want the weight up a bit to smooth out the swing and cut the kick. And probably 30" bbls with ports. Naturally, I'd want a trap gun hitting higher than a Skeet or SC shotgun.

HD/Tactical/WIHTF. Not covered here, we've done this(G).

Universals here would include a stock that fits, sights that work for you, and decent triggers.I'm no fan of mid rib beads,for instance, but lots of folks that shoot better than I do like them.And, in a perfect world,
my waterfowl gun would have a shorter stock than my upland or clays gun,since I bundle up there.

Does one NEED all those shotguns to enjoy ALL the shotgunning sports and for self protection? No. I do OK with specialized 870s for deer and HD, and another GP 870 for all the rest. But,the key word's "OK".

Now of course in the real world we have limits on budgets, spouses that fail to understand why we NEED 6 or 7 shotguns, and sometimes personal biases about certain types or brands. SO, how can the average shooter get all the bases covered?

One step at a time...

For most of the stuff, a 12 ga repeater with two bbls and tubes can handle the jobs. Make one bbl a short, rifle sighted tubed number to cover the HD and deer assignments. Make the other a longer, vent ribbed, bead sighted bbl, from 20-28". Learn what loads work for you at the various missions. And learn to shoot them.Next,depending on your inclinations,get something different, like a light 20 for upland work.Or a clay gun, or a 10 ga waterfowl howitzer, or?....
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Old November 16, 2000, 05:36 PM   #2
Join Date: January 6, 2000
Location: Ohio
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Excellent post Dave. I am looking for a new shotgun for skeet right now, but want one I can use for trap and sporting clays as well as some hunting. I'm leaning tward a Berreta 682 E Gold with adjustable stock and 30" barrell. It comes with choke tubes. What do you think?
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Old November 16, 2000, 08:26 PM   #3
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I've had a Mossberg 500 for years. Two years ago, I got a GR version. I like it.

Recently, I picked up a sweet 870 w/ two barrels. I'm thinking of using the 870 for hunting, and the 500 for HD stuff.

I do believe shotguns are the most versatile arm, and I hope to "prove" this...soon.
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Old November 16, 2000, 09:17 PM   #4
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Yep...the 870 is about as versatile as you can get with a single gun. Change stocks and barrels and choke tubes and you can do just about anything with it.

But then my Krieghoff K80 has its merits too. Probably too heavy for a true field gun at almost 9lbs, it would do just fine for Turkey hunting and duck hunting from blinds. I suppose it could be used for deer with rifled choke tubes, probably could even rig a scope mount for it. It even has the capability to shoot different gauges with separate barrels or a carrier barrel and tubes. Stocks can be easily changed and there are several types to choose from. Versatile gun at the other end of the price spectrum.

With both I can do anything, well almost anything.

Geoff Ross

I am no expert but I DO have an opinion.
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Old November 17, 2000, 06:03 AM   #5
Ned Roundtree
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TKL, excellent choice. My O/U Beretta is in 26" for skeet.
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Old November 17, 2000, 06:53 AM   #6
Dave McC
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Damn!! Seems like I need to register again... Hope this posts OK.

TLK, most Beretta shotgun owners seem a happy lot, I hear little sniveling from their camp. The few adjustable stocks I've tried, on other folks' guns, seem to move the balance back too far for my taste, but lots of folks like them.

Geoff, so it's not just me that thinks a dedicated trap gun would work for turkey. Also, Pop had a friend that served as gunner for field trials,he used an old Remington O/U that was his trap gun to take the birds far out with solid hits.

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Old November 17, 2000, 11:04 AM   #7
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Does the pope wear a funny hat?

Yup, I think the first poster covered it pretty well. How do you guys like the new format of the site?
o "The Earth is degenerating today. Bribery and corruption abound. Children no longer obey their parents, every man wants to write a book, and it is evident that the end of the world is fast approaching." Assyrian tablet, c. 2800 BC

o "In the beginning of a change, the patriot is a scarce man brave, hated, and scorned. When his cause succeeds, however, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot." Mark Twain

o "They have gun control in Cuba. They have universal health care in Cuba. So why do they want to come here?" Paul Harvey

o TODAY WE CARVE OUT OUR OWN OMENS! Leonidas, Thermopylae, 480 BC
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Old November 17, 2000, 12:01 PM   #8
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I kind of like this new format, especially since Rich said its going to speed up some also.

I agree, the SG has got to be the most versitile gun in existence.

I use an 870 w/ 30 inch tube for pretty much everything listed above except HD. I've never had any experience with doubles, or autos, or fine trap guns. I've had the Wingmaster since I was 12 years old (and it shows).

With unlimited budget?

I would probably buy a spare 870 tricked out for HD. Maybe get a Benelli Nova for the heck of it, because they seem kind of neat. Maybe just maybe with a truly unlimited budget I would buy a semi, and a o/u, just to be a well rounded person.
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Old November 17, 2000, 03:58 PM   #9
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an extra barrel is part of the fun of owning an 870.

My green plastic factory case has two rem choke barrels, one is a 26 inch vent rib that usually gets a modified choke for upland game and IF i wanted to shoot waterfowl I'd use 3 inch bismuth shells (i've never been duck hunting) For deer/elk and bear I use my 21 inch barrel with rifle sights and a rifled tube. I generally shoot 2 3/4 inch one ounce slugs at maximum (you cannot use buckshot in CO in big game). For turkey I use the same barrel, swap a full choke in it and stoke it with hi-brass #2 shot and cover it up with camo tape.

The hd stuff we've covered before.. I just leave the rifled tube in it and add the mag extension.

I've shot clays and skeet with the 26 inch barrel.

versatile?? you bet
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Old November 18, 2000, 08:44 AM   #10
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Dave: was that Remington a 32 or 3200. The old 32's, especially the Trap version, make great sporting clays guns. The stock dimensions are just about perfect.

The 32 was a great gun, the field models were light and
well balanced. The 3200 was way too heavy for anything but Trap and Skeet.

Bruce Buck (The Technoid) prefers trap stocks on his guns, even apparently for shooting skeet! Seems to me that the trap style stocks are more like rifle stocks and would be a better choice for turkey hunting where the gun is pre mounted for the shot?

Geoff Ross
I am no longer a member of this forum. Bye!
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Old November 18, 2000, 09:57 AM   #11
Dave McC
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Join Date: October 13, 1999
Location: Columbia, Md, USA
Posts: 8,812
Darnfino, Geoff. Long time ago, and I was gone during most of this, college, military, recovering from same,etc. From the age of the memory, could be a 32. It seemed to look old even then. Was the 32 the one with the sliding doodad to lock it up? I think this one did it.

I enjoy the heck out of Shotgun Report and Bruce is one good reason.

Turkey hunting, like deer hunting and HD/Tactical/WIHTF, one of those areas where shotguns are shot more like rifles.
IMO, there's few hardnfast rules about what works best for these areas, and the plain fact is that if someone uses a badly fitting stock long enough, they'll MAKE it work to some degree.They won't ever achieve what they could with proper equipment, tho...
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Old November 18, 2000, 10:29 AM   #12
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The shotgun is the most versatile gun within reason and within range. Try and think of something that it can't do with a semi or pump providing you are trying to do it within 100 yards.

As for the battery of guns for the purposes Dave McC set out:

Trapshooting: A high-rib, single barrel about 34" inches in length with Improved Modified, Full and Extra Full choke tubes.

Sporting/Skeet: An over-under, 30-32 inches with choke tubes. This would also suffice for trap doubles. It would have 3 inch chambers in the event I wanted to use it as a back up for waterfowl.

Upland Game: A 12 gauge sxs, 6-1/2 lbs. 28 inch barrels fixed chokes of .005 and .015.

Waterfowl: A 12 gauge semi-auto with 3 inch chambers, 30 inch barrel with choke tubes. This gun would also be a back up should my sporting/skeet gun need to spend time in the shop.

Deer and Big Game: A rifle-sighted pump shotgun with a short, smooth barrel with choke tubes, extended rifled choke and a scope.

Turkey: Same gun with an extended full choke.

Home Defense: Same gun with an standard length IC choke and without the scope.

Asked to pick just one, it would be the semi auto with two barrels, 30" and 20".
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