The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Hide > The Dave McCracken Memorial Shotgun Forum

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old January 25, 2001, 08:11 AM   #1
Dave McC
Staff In Memoriam
Join Date: October 13, 1999
Location: Columbia, Md, USA
Posts: 8,812
I keep getting involved in subjects like this, and I've gotten a couple E mails in the last month inquiring about, "What is the best shotgun for _____?".

So, these things are fun to kick around so here's my picks. This is ignoring finances,BTW.

Kindly remember, I'm old, cantankerous and set in my ways....

SERIOUS shotguns for HD, "Tactical", and WIHTF:

A properly set up 870, due to reliability and effectiveness.This doubles nicely for buck/slugs for deer.

Slug guns for deer:

While that 870 is a great choice, if money were no object, I'd probably go with a bolt action, full rifled bbl with a twist suitable from Brenneke/Forster slugs rather than sabots, and a low power scope, like the Leopold 1X4.


Unless a 10 ga really took my fancy(unlikely), I'd stick with an 870 with a 3" chamber here. 3 1/2" shells don't pattern that well, and the guides I know on the Eastern Shore haven't been busting down the gun shop doors buying them.

Upland hunting:

This splits up here. Most upland game can be handled well with an oz of shot, and is shot inside 35 yards, oft well inside. Since this will be carried a lot, and I'm old and feeble, we're talking about a shotgun weighing less than 7 lbs, using the above load, but capable of handling 1 1/4 oz for pheasants and with tubes from Cyl to IM for varying conditions. And make it a SXS with a straight grip stock. Or make it two, a light 16 ga for that load with 26' bbls and another 12 ga, choked around LM/IM with longer bbls for a smoother swing.

Turkey hunting and turkey shoots:

This is as special purpose a shotgun as anything else can be. Mine will be another 870, with cone and choke work. Second choice, a Winchester 37 SS, same bbl mods.

Clay Games:

Here's where it gets kinda complicated. Each game has its criteria that preclude one gun set up one way, being a good choice for all. A common thread, due to the number of shots fired in the course of a day, an auto would be the best choice. The Berreta 390-391 series has lots of fans, but since I prefer keeping all my guns US made, I might have to choose the 11-87, and live with the fact that the others last longer.

Some constants....

All the stocks have to fit me, all the triggers have to go off safely around 3-3 1/2 lbs,and they all have to be quite reliable. Tempermental shotguns are egregious...

There's plenty of OPINIONS here, and we can discuss them to our heart's content, enjoy....
Dave McC is offline  
Old January 25, 2001, 09:43 AM   #2
Senior Member
Join Date: December 20, 1998
Location: NE Pennsylvania
Posts: 3,640

All you need is a K80 and an 870 with all of the extra barrels, sub gauge tubes, stocks and forearms.

If you can't do it with either of these guns, you probably shouldn't be using a shotgun

OK OK... so maybe a nice light euro type SXS for birds.

Geoff Ross

I am no longer a member of this forum. Bye!
K80Geoff is offline  
Old January 25, 2001, 09:55 AM   #3
Senior Member
Join Date: May 31, 2000
Posts: 1,127
My goal is fewer but better shotguns and I expect the battery to be multi-functional where possible.

If it came down to only owning one gun it would be a 3" semi-auto with a short, rifle-sighted barrel with choke tubes for HD/Deer hunting and a longer barrel with choke tubes for turkey, upland, waterfowl and clay games. The Remington 11-87 is about perfect for the job because it can with minor modifications take a magazine extension for HD and is soft shooting enough to manage those long sporting clay events.

The two gun battery would be the aforementioned 11-87 and a good target gun because my main sport is clay targets. It would be a 30" over/under set up for sporting clays and skeet. Any of the popular Berettas, Brownings, etc. would fill the bill or if flush with money a Perazzi or Krieghoff. A dedicated skeet shooter need only add a subgauge tube set. The semi-auto would then become my back-up/loaner gun for clays.

Next to shooting clays, I spend most of my time chasing upland game so the three gun option would upgrade my upland gun. Nothing wrong with a good semi shooting upland but my third gun would be a quality sxs -- straight grip, 12 gauge, 6-1/2 pounds, double triggers, custom-fitted.

At this point, I think you are covered for anything. Three very different guns with different purposes. Were a fourth gun to enter the mix would depend on whether one intended to shoot at lot of ATA trap. If you want to be competitive, a gun specific to trap is a worthwhile investment -- high rib, soft shooting, long barrel, single shot with choke tubes. The Browning BT 99 or 100 are good guns or, if the bank account is swelling, a Ljutic. If you only want to shoot trap recreationally then your 30" over/under or semi will do nicely.

Moving to five guns I would relieve the semi of HD/Deer duties and get a Remington 870 specifically set up for the purpose. The semi would then become my waterfowl gun and back-up clays gun. (This is about where my main battery currently stands except that instead of an 11-87 I own a Beretta 390.)

And beyond? Now I would be indulging myself and a frame specific 28 gauge over/under would scratch the current itch.

Those are my thoughts, all bases covered and enough redundancy to make sure that if any one gun needed to spend a few weeks at the gunsmith's I could continue shooting whatever I wanted.
PJR is offline  
Old January 25, 2001, 12:36 PM   #4
Senior Member
Join Date: April 11, 1999
Posts: 1,904
Maybe not ideal, but novel...

I've wanted (and have part of) an odd set based on the Mossberg 590:
- standard 590 with ghost-rings, 20" barrel, standard stock & Marine-Cote
- mutant/custom 590 with Optima 2000 sight, rifled 18.5" barrel, folding stock & Marine-Cote
- AOW 590 with bead sight, 14" barrel, pistol grip only & Marine-Cote.

Interest is not so much the usability of each, but as a demonstration of how NY & federal laws treat relatively minor variations of the same gun as radically different.
ctdonath is offline  
Old January 25, 2001, 01:06 PM   #5
Christopher II
Senior Member
Join Date: November 22, 1999
Location: Germantown, MD
Posts: 2,349
I'd pretty much go with Geoff on this one.

(1) Kreighoff K80 with assorted 12 and 20ga barrel sets, Briley subgauge tubes, and Phantom lightweight reciever (in addition to the factory reciever.) This takes care of Trap, Skeet, upland game and waterfowl.

I don't know many serious game shooters who use an auto. When I was at the last North/South, the field was probably tilted 3 to 1 in favor of over-unders.

(1) Remington 1100 20ga, 18.1" barrel with tapered forcing cone and threaded for Remchokes, +2 magazine extention, detachable SureFire mount, a few other mods. This is the dedicated HD gun, and will take care of deer handly.

If I could only have one, it would be the 1100. It would work okay for informal skeet and sporting clays and for upland stuff.

"There is no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he does not want merely because you think it would be good for him." – Robert Heinlein

"Contrary to popular belief, your vote does not matter, and you cannot make a difference." - Bob Murphy, "Picking Neither of Two Evils"

My PGP Public Key
Christopher II is offline  
Old January 25, 2001, 04:36 PM   #6
Junior Member
Join Date: October 23, 2000
Posts: 9
battery of guns...

my current collection is...
(I only started collecting SGs three years ago)

Rem 870 express 3" mag 12guage for ducks, geese, doves using light loads, etc... 28" barrel and 20" slug barrel for slugs on deer. Would like to get a cantilevered, fully rifled barrel.

Beretta A390 ST for clay games 30", and skeet, mod, IM chokes.

Old Steven's ( I think) made for someone else 12 guage sxs for dove/pheasants/quail, etc... double triggers, mod and mod, (some day I'll change one side to IC)

Old Mossberg 185d 20guage, bolt action. I use slugs for deer through it, and it is actually quite accurate with rem foster slugs out to 50 yards.( two seasons ago, my then 9 year old took his first 5 pointer, 40 yard shot with it.)

I'd love to get a nice o/u, Beretta 686 or Browning BT100 or Citori, or perhaps even a Ruger Red Label in 12 or 20 guage some day, but the wife already thinks I have too many, and don't need another, but I'm working on her, and the budget...

I could really get into this shotgun collecting thing, especially if I'm just dreaming about it, this is fun.... great post.

smark is offline  
Old January 25, 2001, 10:02 PM   #7
Senior Member
Join Date: October 29, 1999
Location: rural Illinois
Posts: 589
Fun to exercise the possibilities in the mind.

HD and slug deer gun
Mine is an older 870 with 20" rifle sight barrel and 2 choke tubes- rifled and IC.

Upland Game
Maybe the 11-87 Upland Special in 20g (23" barrel, just over 6 lbs)

I like the Browning BPS 12g mag

have to have a double in there somewhere
Citori lightning O/U or Browning SXS

Kingcreek is offline  
Old January 26, 2001, 07:40 AM   #8
Dave McC
Staff In Memoriam
Join Date: October 13, 1999
Location: Columbia, Md, USA
Posts: 8,812
Thanks, guys, we've got some food for thought here....

I could and do get by with just two 870s,since I like a peep sight for deer and "Serious" shotguns and a bead for flying stuff. And I hate taking shotguns apart on a regular basis, which is why I have 3 870s to begin with.

They work well for everything except the games, and I can accept the limits the equipment places on me for those, since I'm not that competitive.

But it's fun to think up alternatives, and dream a bit.
Dave McC is offline  

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 05:47 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2017 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent:
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.06515 seconds with 7 queries