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Old November 8, 2012, 08:41 PM   #1
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New guy, looking for some advice

Brand new guy to shooting, will try and keep this short. Been out a couple times to shoot skeet and really caught the bug. Also, skeet is an activity my wife has expressed some interest which allows us to spend a little time together instead of just raising a couple rug rats. I’ve been doing quite a bit of research online and have only shot two 12 gauge guns - Benelli Ultra Light (which was in fact very light) and Browning Citori 625 Field. I’ll try and also articulate the “why” I want to get one. Been through this forum a couple times and will just say I am all ears for any comments and/or advice.

General thoughts:
Would like to have something I can eventually pass down to one of the rug rats and keep in the family. Because of that, I would like to purchase new. Want traditional wood (non-synthetic/carbon fiber). Ideally it could take different size shells (if that's even a consideration). I really like the o/u (the look and ease of loading) but they seem to be fairly expensive considering I don’t know how much I’ll get into this yet. My budget is in the neighborhood of $2k but certainly don't need to spend it.

Skeet/trap. Home Defense (although this is somewhat secondary. I guess if I got serious about this, I would go with a tactical version)

Current identified models/makes based soley on looks, price and specs. Here's where I could really use the experts guidance. I haven't held any of these yet as I would like to narrow the search down before I trek off to the stores. Also, I realize I'm probably missing a ton of options and/or have identified guns that really don't meet my needs:

Browning Silver Hunter (MSRP $1179.99) - love the look of this one and see that pretty much everyone speaks highly of them
Benelli M2 Field Satin Walnut (MSRP $1269) - love the look and have heard nothing bad about the maker
Franchi L (MSRP $1149) - read in Field/Stream that this is a top 10 buy for the money this year
Beretta A300 Outlander (MSRP $825) - love the look of this one

Many thanks in advance to anyone that would like to offer up advice
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Old November 9, 2012, 03:21 AM   #2
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For your purposes and budget, don't get one gun for home defense and for target shooting. Get a target gun for the time being, which can be used for pure self defense though it won't be ideal. You can pick up a good used self defense gun, should you want one, for $150 or a new one for $300 or less.

Also, is this just for you or will your wife be routinely shooting it? I am thinking that you can get a lot within your budget if you look at used Citoris.
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Old November 9, 2012, 06:58 AM   #3
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This would be for me only. With weather turning, we wouldn't get something for her until springtime..
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Old November 9, 2012, 12:13 PM   #4
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Browning / Winchester are the same company now - and both owned by FN...but the shotguns share parts ( and chokes ) - with Browning apparently running the shotgun division.

Beretta owns Benelli and Franchi...Benelli's guns are Inertia operated / Beretta's semi-autos are all gas operated. Franchi has the inertia system - and its often debated on here and other sites whether its identical to Benelli - and I say no, but I can't prove it.

In general Brownings silver series is a solid gun in the semi-auto market. I like the Browning Silver Hunter as a good entry level all around gun.

Benelli M-2 is a solid gun / but if you buy it, buy it with the Comfort Tech recoil supression system in it ...if you go synthetic / but you cannot get the Comfort Tech system in a wood stocked gun. A wood stocked Benelli will give you at least 25% more recoil than any gas operated gun.
Browning and Beretta will give you the most gun for your money in the Over Under market. Browning's Citori line has about 30 models / Cynergy line has quite a few as well ....Beretta has at least 30 models in their O/U line as well. If a Browning Citori fits you ..then the Beretta probably will not. They are different in terms of drop at heel, comb and in general feel...the throat or grip area on Beretta's are more slender, narrow....vs more bulky on Citori - especially if the model of Citori you look at has a "palm swell".

The best all around target grade O/U - does everything really well - and fits 99.9% of the shooters out there the Citori XS Skeet, 28" or 30" barrels, 12ga or 20ga with the adj comb. But new they're about $ 3,600 and selling new in my area for around $3,000.

From the XS Skeet model ...its a compromise in terms of Fit on Citori's ...maybe the 625 is the right gun for you maybe not ( but there are at least 5 versions of the 625 too - and they're different ) it depends on what you're looking at. In general, I think the 625 series has too much drop at the comb to fit most shooters...making Fit a problem. Because of the amount of the drop at comb and heel ....I cannot shoot a 625 model, not any of them ! --- and I'm a big Browning Citori fan ( and own a lot of them )...
Of the guns you list ....I would probably say go with Browning silver hunter. I think its a gun you can shoot for 4 or 5 yrs ...and settle into Skeet a little and then see where the hobby takes you. You need to shoot a lot more shotguns before you jump into the $3K plus market probably ....and over time, what you like or don't like in a gun will become more apparent. Even though its an alloy receiver...I think its a decent long term gun ( 250,000 - 500,000 shells -- if you take care of it ) before you'd have to rebuild it.

If you really want to go with an O/U - the Citori XS Skeet, with adj comb, is a gun that is highly sought on the used market. So its a gun that is really easy to sell down the road if you don't like it for some reason. Its also a gun that will easily hold up to 1 Million shells or more over many generations ...with minimal maintenance.

Its the O/U I shoot, and have shot for a long time, for Skeet, Sporting clays and bird hunting....I like it in 30" barrels in both 12ga and 20ga....but buy a 12ga to make it more versatile. You can download, or buy, shells to 7/8 oz at 1150 fps for a new shooter....or go up to 1 1/8 oz at 1300 fps ...for anything you'll need to do. Now the XS Skeet is a "Target Gun" so it has 2 3/4" chambers cannot shoot 3" shells in that gun ( or 3 1/2" for that matter).

Browning Silver hunter a 3" the price you listed ...but there is a 3 1/2" as well...( I don't think you need a 3 1/2" gun )....

Silver Hunter

Citori XS Skeet...
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Old November 9, 2012, 12:43 PM   #5
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For the price it's hard to beat a Mossberg 500 or Remington 870.

Mossberg does give a better selection of gauges and options than the Remington 870.

The main thing to look at since you have a family is what would be best not just for yourself but for other members your family.
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Old November 9, 2012, 12:56 PM   #6
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While you can shoot Skeet, Trap or Sporting clays with virtually any gun you can hunt with....pump guns, while they are on the less expensive side of shotguns, are not optimal for clay target games.

But nothing wrong with a good pump gun - say with a 28" barrel long as it has changeable screw in chokes - so you can optimize your pattern for the games you want to play.

My pump gun of choice is Browning BPS Hunter model ...good solid gun --- ejects out of the bottom - so its good for a leftie or right handed shooter --- its cast neutral - so again good for leftie or rightie -----and safety is on top of the tang...where its easy to reach, even with gloves on.

BPS Hunter model sells new for around $500 they are more expensive than either pump gun mentioned above ....but I'll tell you the actions are smoother in the BPS than most anything made by Mossberg or Remington - with the possible exception of the Remington 870 Wingmaster which is their higher end pump gun vs express models, etc... / but I see guys every week at my club shooting skeet with good solid pump guns .

I shot Trap singles for many years with a Browning BPS Hunter model ...and while you can train - to operate the pump and still maintain contact with your shoulder - and your face on the comb - as you cycle the pump its probably not the best long term option.

advantage of semi-autos for clays... / cycle quickly, light guns for the most part, gas operated means less recoil than any fixed breech gun like a pump or O/U. have to pick up your hulls all over the place ...and you only have one choke (one barrel). Some of them can be finnicky on shells..resulting in jams ...and maybe lost targets.

Advantage of O/U's ....2 barrels, so 2 chokes if you need them ----no functioning issues from cycling...if you can get the shell in the chamber and close the gun - it'll probably fire that shell -----less moving parts so in general they're going to stand up to more shells over time ----- better triggers in general -----
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Old November 10, 2012, 08:31 AM   #7
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Wow, thank you very much for your thoughts and insight. I can't tell you how much I appreciate the time you've taken to impart some knowledge on me.
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Old November 10, 2012, 06:49 PM   #8
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and no matter what decision you make on a new gun I say often on here...make sure you have Fun in the process ....!
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