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 Post subject: New to shotguns - help choosing first gun
PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2018 12:10 am 
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Hi, New to the forum but have been lurking and enjoying what I'm learning. I recently moved to a more gun friendly state, and along with some other life changes, have been able to start pursuing a long held interest - shooting. For the past few months, I have been going to the local ranges once a week on average, sometimes with friends, trying their guns and range rentals to get a feel for what I like. Mostly shooting pistols, but have shot some rental shotguns and really enjoy it. I'm now at the point where I want (not to mention the cost of range ammo is getting excessive) to make my first purchases (plan on getting a pistol as well, hopefully both during the holiday season) and was hoping to get some advice here (my friends shoot pistols so aren't too helpful here. I've mostly been shooting 12 gauge pump but have shot a semiauto as well. I enjoy the pump and considered both the Mossberg 500 series and Remington 870 (which seem the to be the common decision point). I prefer the Mossbergs for two reasons - placement of the safety and price point. That being said, I'm having some difficulty picking the specifc Mossberg configuration. I think I want the 590 or 590a1 (metal trigger assembly and guard) but even there there are so many different minor configuration differences that I'm getting confused.
What do you recommend?
1 - While I expect to purchase additional guns in the future, this will likely be my sole shotgun for some time and thus I want it to serve both for SHTF/HD purposes as well as to become proficient with shotgunning (I guess primary thing until I am skilled with it is that I find them plain fun to shoot).
2 - I plan primarily to shoot stationary targets at the local indoor and outdoor ranges but am considering taking some clay/skeet classes at a local county park. (I've seen posters recommend trying the instructor's guns but this range recommends students bring their own, I'm assuming because they don't have many loaners).
3 - I don't plan on hunting, unless SHTF and I need to for survival.
4 - I like shooting targets, and am getting bored of paper targets (though plan to keep doing so) and I don't have access to private land where I can shoot water jugs and melons hence the desire to try the skeet/clay class to further develop my skills with dynamic targets that shatter.
5 - I'd like to keep the intial outlay under $500 if possible, including any necessary accessories. I can add things later on.
6 - I haven't shot a pistol grip yet. Is it that much different? Can they be easily changed (as in, can I change to the traditional grip for range but otherwise leave the pistol grip)? Is it even something I should consider?

Sorry for the long-winded question and TIA!




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 Post subject: Re: New to shotguns - help choosing first gun
PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2018 7:33 am 
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Joined: Fri Nov 09, 2018 10:07 am
Posts: 71
A post ‘86 870 WINGMASTER that has a flex tab shell lifter (although older guns can be converted) and swap on an 18.5” smooth bore barrel and you will have the best platform to build/grow on. You could literally use 1 gun for everything and the possibilities are endless.
If you want an economical box store type of gun to walk in and buy an 870 Express or Mossberg 590/590 A1 is your answer and no on the pistol grip.


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 Post subject: Re: New to shotguns - help choosing first gun
PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2018 8:09 am 
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Germansheperd wrote:
A post ‘86 870 WINGMASTER that has a flex tab shell lifter (although older guns can be converted) and swap on an 18.5” smooth bore barrel and you will have the best platform to build/grow on. You could literally use 1 gun for everything and the possibilities are endless.
If you want an economical box store type of gun to walk in and buy an 870 Express or Mossberg 590/590 A1 is your answer and no on the pistol grip.


Yes, agree on an 870 Express or a Mossberg model. LOTS of flexibility to grow off of those platforms. One word of warning: Shooting at and learning the nuances of shooting at flying targets is addictive!! It`s also a helluva lot of fun, particularly if you don`t let missing targets get you down when you`re first staring out. Just have fun! As you learn, you`ll hit more targets.

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 Post subject: Re: New to shotguns - help choosing first gun
PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2018 10:40 am 
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Joined: Fri Jun 22, 2012 12:15 pm
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Location: Kentucky
Getting one shotgun for all uses is a difficult task.

Defensive shotguns generally have shorter barrels at 20" or less and greater magazine capacity such as more than 4 in the tube. Both Mossberg and Remington offer guns for sale configured for defensive purposes. Most of these shotguns will have fixed cylinder choked barrels.

"Field" shotguns offer longer barrels in the 24" to 30" range with 28" barrels with changeable choke tubes being very common, these guns also usually have magazine tubes that can hold only 3 or 4 shells.

You will probably find that shotguns with traditionally shaped shotgun stocks are the most comfortable in a wide variety of uses. Pistol grip only shotguns are generally considered difficult to shoot. Shotguns with more traditionally shaped stocks and pistol grips offer some compromise, but many still prefer the traditionally shaped stock.

The long and the short of it is that while you can get a shotgun and a couple of barrels in the long term you may eventually get tired of switching back and forth. Having said that, there is some merit to getting a basic 870 Express or 500 with both defensive and field barrels. These come configured from the factory ready to go. Generally they do not offer greater magazine capacity, but remember, you are dealing with a gun that is a compromise. If at some point in the future you decide that you want to only use it in one configuration you can just leave it set up that way and leave the other barrel in the corner.

If you ever get real serious about shotguns you will probably want two or more specifically configured shotguns for the myriad uses that shotguns have. For general hand thrown clays, occasional hunting, and sitting in the corner of your bedroom for home defense, ONE dual purpose shotgun from Remington or Mossberg would be a good starter choice.

I started with a basic 870 Express sold as a Home Defensive shotgun. This gun had a traditional length magazine tube with a factory 2 shell extension and an 18 1/2" barrel. This meant an 18 1/2" barrel with a 6 shell magazine tube. I later purchased a longer barrel with removable choke tubes and a simple magazine cap. This allowed me to use the gun for "field" uses, a 28" barrel with a variety of choke tubes and a 4 shell magazine. I enjoyed my compromise gun for a few years. Eventually I purchased more shotguns and now I have guns specifically configured for many different uses. For defensive purposes I now have a Mossberg 590A1 with a 20" barrel. For other uses I have pumps, semi-automatics, Over Unders, and Side by Sides. I still have that original 870 Express, it gets used as a loaner gun when I have friends that do not own their own shotgun. The gun is inexpensive and if that friend is not careful and ends up scratching it I don't really worry about it like I would with some of my more expensive guns.

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 Post subject: Re: New to shotguns - help choosing first gun
PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2018 7:47 pm 
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Road Man wrote:
Getting one shotgun for all uses is a difficult task.


Swapping barrels on an 870 is quick and easy. Even if an extended magazine is involved. Besides, you have to take the barrel off to clean it. I have several spare barrels.

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 Post subject: Re: New to shotguns - help choosing first gun
PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2018 7:23 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2018 10:02 pm
Posts: 14
So I pulled the trigger (pun intended) and purchased a Mossberg 590a1 on sale for $419 at a local gun store! Now while I wait for the waiting period to complete, what else should I be purchasing in terms of supplies - cleaning, case, etc? I've read and been told conflicting information as to whether the gun needs to be cleaned or lubricated prior to the first use.
Also, whats a good way of securing it so that curious hands cant get to it but I can in even of an emergency? Hanging it in a closet with a trigger guard?
I would like to get a safe, both to secure this (even if I dont keep it locked in the safe when I'm home, I'd like to secure it when we go away) but also a pistol I'm looking to get and important documents, etc. I don't plan on having a large gun collection but can upgrade in the future as I do foresee buying a couple more as my interests expand and my wife gets into it.


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 Post subject: Re: New to shotguns - help choosing first gun
PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2018 7:26 pm 
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I almost forgot - ammo. What shells/slugs are good for range practice? I have access to an indoor range that allows shotguns and have an outdoor range which I believe does as well.


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 Post subject: Re: New to shotguns - help choosing first gun
PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2018 7:47 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jul 10, 2016 10:08 am
Posts: 28
Some indoor ranges don't allow birdshot, which would be your most economical choice. Before you buy a bunch, I'd figure out what restrictions your local range has, if any


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 Post subject: Re: New to shotguns - help choosing first gun
PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2018 8:00 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jun 22, 2012 12:15 pm
Posts: 946
Location: Kentucky
docshmock wrote:
So I pulled the trigger (pun intended) and purchased a Mossberg 590a1 on sale for $419 at a local gun store! Now while I wait for the waiting period to complete, what else should I be purchasing in terms of supplies - cleaning, case, etc? I've read and been told conflicting information as to whether the gun needs to be cleaned or lubricated prior to the first use.
Also, whats a good way of securing it so that curious hands cant get to it but I can in even of an emergency? Hanging it in a closet with a trigger guard?
I would like to get a safe, both to secure this (even if I dont keep it locked in the safe when I'm home, I'd like to secure it when we go away) but also a pistol I'm looking to get and important documents, etc. I don't plan on having a large gun collection but can upgrade in the future as I do foresee buying a couple more as my interests expand and my wife gets into it.


It is always a good idea to fully clean a new gun. Having said that, if you don't clean it there is little likelihood of anything actually going wrong. There are plenty of YouTube videos showing you how to disassemble the gun for cleaning, and then how to put it back together! Simple basic cleaning supplies like some gun oil, a 12ga. bore snake, and some gun cleaning solvent should get you started. After you have used the gun a bit you will be able to choose what you want beyond those minimal supplies. The manual will go over the basic cleaning supplies list, but I find videos easier to follow for brand new tasks.

For securing the gun you need to consider many requirements. First, if you have children, or even adults, that are not responsible and educated in the safe handling of a firearm you will need to find a way to keep the gun out of their hands. A cheap flimsy cabinet will keep innocents away, but would probably not slow down even the least skillful thief. You could even just run a bicycle cable lock through the action and lock it up, just secure the cable to something stationary that would prevent a thief from just walking away with the gun. However you choose to secure it you will need to balance your desire for ready access in an emergency against easy access for those that you want to prevent from having any access. Even if you don't have any children you should still consider what happens when you have houseguests and how you might want to restrict their access. If you do decide to get a safe you don't need to spend a fortune, but a security box at less than a hundred dollars is not very secure, even a $500 safe is still considered by many to be of generally low quality.

For general practice you can save money by just getting 2 3/4" "Clay Target" or "Dove" loads. These will be around $5 to $6 per box of 25 shells. Get #7 1/2, #8, or #9 bird shot in the 1oz to 1 1/8oz range. Keep the speed of that shell around 1100 feet per second up to 1300 feet per second. For practice you really don't need more than that, if you get faster and heavier shells they will just hurt your shoulder. You really should check with the place you intend to shoot the gun, they might have restrictions on exactly what shells you might need to use.

For transporting the gun you might want a simple soft gun case that is large enough to hold the assembled gun. The 590A1 is pretty much the same size assembled versus disassembled, so just get a cheap case that you can fit the whole thing in. Take it out and practice as often as you can, shotguns are an awful lot of fun!

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 Post subject: Re: New to shotguns - help choosing first gun
PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2018 9:10 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2018 10:02 pm
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Road Man - Thanks for the great advice. Yes, I agree they are a ton of fun! That's the main reason I decided to purchase it as I think whatever method I use to secure it will make it impractical for quick access in the event of a night time burglary when we're home, as I live in a small ranch style house. I enjoyed shooting the Mossberg 88 and the Winchsester 870 at the range (they didnt have this one) as well as the semiauto (was my first time at the range so don't recall the model) but there were certain things I liked about the specs of the 590a1 and at this sale price...well, the decision was easier. I plan on getting a pistol (leaning towards the VP9SK) for keeping locked in hands reach by my bed and evenutally or carry (after many many more hours of training). Not that I wont be able to access the shotgun if need be when there's a little warning (plan on getting a dog in the very near future). Anyways, I digress. I'll check with the range as you suggest. There's also a public clay/skeet range at the same park near me with the outdoor range and they offer classes. I figured its a good way to improve my skills at hitting moving targets, and if I enjoy it enough, eventually can get a dedicated gun for that.
I came across a thread here detailing how to set up bicycle hooks in a closet, which is what I may have to go with until I can get a reputable safe. Can anyone recommend a safe large enough to store one or two long guns, couple of ammo cans and miscellaneous valuables, documents, etc?
Now as for tools, what tools do I need for disassesmbling the Mossberg?


Last edited by docshmock on Mon Dec 03, 2018 10:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: New to shotguns - help choosing first gun
PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2018 9:50 pm 
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Avoid hanging a bunch of "tactical" junk on it. Spend your extra money on shells for practice. As for a safe, the cost to benefit ratio for one or two guns is impractical. Hide them under the couch or behind the refrigerator. BTW, what "curious hands" might touch your shotgun? Mine stays parked right next to the nightstand.

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 Post subject: Re: New to shotguns - help choosing first gun
PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2018 10:22 pm 
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Ezra Smack - Thanks but I have no desire to add anything to the gun itself except for a flashlight.

As for curious hands - children, mine and others that often are at my house. I know the importance of teaching gun safety but I also know the reality as in my field of work, I've cared for too many kids who have been accidentally shot, accidentally shot others or injured in countless other preventable ways, even with the best caregivers. We also have guests over frequently as well as a cleaning lady - all of whom I prefer don't know about my guns or where they are kept, so I am trying to figure the best way to keep the guns out of sight, safely stored but within reach in the unlikely event I need them quickly. Tall order? I hear you about the safe, and will have to just hide it well when I'm not home since I'm less worried about the theft than I am about unintentional injuries/deaths. Sorry for the longwinded answer but hope that clarifies my question.


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 Post subject: Re: New to shotguns - help choosing first gun
PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2018 10:26 pm 
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Does ammo need to be kept locked in a fireproof safe as well? Or can I store it in an ammo can (and out of sight and reach)?


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 Post subject: Re: New to shotguns - help choosing first gun
PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2018 10:31 pm 
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Thoughts?

https://www.amazon.com/Mossberg-Loc-Box ... merReviews


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 Post subject: Re: New to shotguns - help choosing first gun
PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2018 10:59 pm 
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A weapon mounted light is about the only accessory I hang from a firearm that has the potential for use in the dark. That should be pretty self explanatory.

I will get a bunch of panties waded up for this, but I have many guns, and no safe. I have a gun room in the basement with lots of racks and cabinets. My HD weapon at this moment is a short 870, and it resides behind the headboard of our bed. When I feel like using the glock for HD, it's next to the bible in my nightstand drawer.

I have two school-aged young men, and feel comfortable with my weapons storage, and in their upbringing.

I only mentioned all of that, because you can get a safe, not get a safe, it's up to you. I know tons of people who have safes, big fireproof for "3 years" safes. They love em. I just never really warmed up to them. I do have a small fireproof safe for our passports/B.C. 's/will/etc... I try really hard to NOT have our house catch on fire, but I guess most people's houses catch on fire allot?

Anyway, 590A1 is an awesome weapon, and you should be set for life in the HD department. Unfortunately, it doesn't really excel in any other department. That's okay, just know that in the near future, you'll need another shotgun for other "stuff" if you choose to pursue other shotgunning endeavors.

Cleaning...well, it's pretty simple. You need Hoppes #9, a boresnake, a rag and a brush of some sort. Remember this...and I don't care who says any different...the more oil you put in/on that shotgun, the dirtier it will get. Oil is the electric precip. of the gun world. I have oil, I have used oil in the past, I was instructed to use oil the first 25yrs of my life. 10yrs ago, I stopped using oil, well nearly stopped. I put a few drops on my rag, and wipe parts that I've cleaned down with the rag. I assemble the firearm, then again without adding any more oil to the rag, I wipe the outside of the firearm down. I'm confident that what little oil I have left will last me the rest of my days. I just cleaned a benelli nova, didn't use one drop of oil. These machines are not your f150. They are not cycling at thousands of revolutions per minute. "A dot does allot".

These guys on SGW are the best. Well, most of them are. These forums are full of information, and there are lifetimes worth of sage advice. You will enjoy it as we all do, and I'm elated to hear of a recent moveand purchase.

Best of luck.

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 Post subject: Re: New to shotguns - help choosing first gun
PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2018 11:09 pm 
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docshmock wrote:


Yeah. Those are cool. Unlock it at night, lock it back up in the morning.

Playing devil's advocate here, but what if an intruder enters your home while it's locked up, and you're in another part of the house? Idk that's why I'm asking, but I wonder how fast, under stress, you could get it unlocked? Where will you keep the keys?

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 Post subject: Re: New to shotguns - help choosing first gun
PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2018 11:37 pm 
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There are five points of egress in my house. All have firearms near them. Not really for intruders, well not the two legged kind, not primarily. Where we live, four legged predators, and scavengers are our main concern.

My wife and I always have a sidearm of one kind or another on our persons. J- frame(or whatever) in the pocket/ IWB for formal occasions or where not "socially acceptable" to open carry, and a lew horton .44mag for me the rest of the time. Wife prefers the glock 29.

To the point, we're always armed, and other "means" are nearby. There's not allot of crime where we live, but it can be dangerous, and it can take time for help to arrive.

Food for thought.

Lol. My dad isn't crazy, I swear he's not... but he cruises around the house(he works from home) with his favorite varmint rifle. Coyotes and beaver have a perpetual war waged on the old man... if the beaver aren't trying to plug up the spill way from his pond, the coyotes are trying to eat all of his quail! Hahaha! But he has shot a coyote from almost every window in that house. And he doesn't care if he's on a conference call with the pope, he's taking the screen out, and lettin that rifle loose! It reminds me of the dad in the movie The Christmas Story, where he's always at war with the furnace or the bumpkiss's dogs... oh man.

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 Post subject: Re: New to shotguns - help choosing first gun
PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2018 12:54 am 
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uplanddan wrote:
docshmock wrote:


Yeah. Those are cool. Unlock it at night, lock it back up in the morning.

Playing devil's advocate here, but what if an intruder enters your home while it's locked up, and you're in another part of the house? Idk that's why I'm asking, but I wonder how fast, under stress, you could get it unlocked? Where will you keep the keys?


Good question but the reality is, if I'm in another part of the house, how does it matter? Either way I need to get to the gun, right? My thoughts were to keep the shotgun locked (either with some kind of trigger/mount lock like I linked above or in a safe) and have a pistol as my initial go to, at the bedside drawer gun. However, when I'm not in my room sleeping, that gun would either be on my person or locked as well. Reason being is that it comes down to statistics and trust in the Almighty, I guess. I cannot possibly prepare for every eventuality and where I live, statistics show that injuries and deaths due to unintentional discharges (whether by children, nonowner adults, owner adults or even pet dogs) are more common than armed home robberies. My biggest fear is someone thinking we're not home and trying to break in at night when we are actually at home. Second to that. Outside the home, I plan on carrying (concealed as open carry not normally allowed here under most circumstances) 9mm only AFTER I feel that I am properly trained and comfortable carrying. This is all very new to me. I've moved from from gun shy states to gun happy state and am getting used to it still. Been spending at least a couple hours a week at ranges learning the basics, trying out various guns, talking to people etc. Will be signing on for an advanced carry/pistol skills course shortly etc. I'd like to try nonhunting sport shooting (As in clays, targets, etc) but in the meantime I want to feel I can protect my family should the need arise and there are no other options. This site has been great and I'd love to find a handgun version, as well as a local club (the ones I found so far are pretty restrictive)


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 Post subject: Re: New to shotguns - help choosing first gun
PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2018 1:05 pm 
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Very good points about training. I was trained by my father, then again at Ft. Benning, then again by the state of Nebraska. My wife was trained by the state of SD, then again here by the state of Wyoming where she has been for the last 11yrs. I no longer carry a firearm as part of my profession, but I have a great foundation, and still train on my own twice a week.

Which gun-friendly state did you move to? I can only think of 3 states that are actually "gun-friendly".

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 Post subject: Re: New to shotguns - help choosing first gun
PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2018 3:21 pm 
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uplanddan wrote:
... I can only think of 3 states that are actually "gun-friendly".


What are those 3 states?



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