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good affordable waterfowl gun

2579 Views 16 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  AimingHigh
I'm looking for a good waterfowl gun at a resonible price. I've been thinking of a maverick 88, or a mossberg 835. It can be chambered in 3'' or 3 1/2''. Something in the $150 - $325 range any comments on this subject would be appreciated.


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I like the MP153. It takes up to 3.5" shells, is inecpencive and has all the features of the more expencive guns plus some. The gun is a work horse not a show piece so you won't mind taking it in the field or boat. It is imported by EAA and can be purchased for $269 from CDDN. You can read my full review of the gun here HERE
The Mossberg 500, 835, Remington 870, or the Benelli Nova are options in your price range.
I have a customized 870 supermag camo sp I'll sell you, but it's a little out of your price range.
Get a 12 ga. Benelli Nova with a 28 inch barell. It will handle anything you want to put through it, it is indestructible, and it swings great. They also have a rotary bolt that is lightning fast and you could get it in camo if you want to. I personally don't see the need for a camo'd gun when you can spend less money and get the matte black, the birds still won't be able to see you. I think i spent around $320 on mine. Hope this helps.
My vote goes for the Benelli Nova.
Benelli Nova, awesome out of the box, all you need to add is a sling.
I'm not a waterfowler, but how can you beat a Benelli Nova?

By throwing it in the mud, the boat, the rain, the salt water and banging it all to hell, and it'll still go BANG!" Even with those silly long-tom 3 1/2 inch shells.

I think the Nova is one of the best guns to come along in a long, long time to take ducks and geese with.
While I'm generally under the "Friends don't let friends shoot Mossberg" guideline, I've been seeing the 835 and 935 owners happiness with they way both of those guns are patterning and shooting steel shot.

Their reliability is without question and now that I see they may be on to something with the overboring I think I'm changing my mind on them.

I'd say, if you can get your hands on a friends Mossberg 835 and give it a go at the patterning board, do so. You'll probably end up getting one.
i shoot a mossberg 835 awesum gun. i use it for ducks geese partridge and groude. very reliable on all game and a valued priced gun
Rick618 said:
The Mossberg 500, 835, Remington 870, or the Benelli Nova are options in your price range.
I'll second that Rick618 !

I was just on an arduous soul searching journey for my 'perfect' first SG. I surveyed the entire spectrum of Waterfowler SGs from the inexpensive reliable to higher end Waterfowlers, but finally decided on a nice O/U for Upland / Sport shooting. I decided that my next SG would be an inexpensive reliable work horse Waterfowler for starters. This way if it was scratched I would just buy camo cover and wallpaper the thing instead of crying over spilled milk.

I will most likely purchase a Moss835 (or) Rem870 SupMag because they are 3 1/2" compatible. There are those out there who would argue the need for a 3 1/2" gun, but all I can say is this... If you don't get a 3 1/2" SG then you'll wish you did. It's not that you'll necessarily have to immediately and exclusively use 3 1/2" on every hunt, but if the need would arise when a 3 1/2" would be 'best' then at least you have the option...

The Benelli Nove might be the new virtually indestructable Stormtrooper SG, but when I held it - it felt like 'jungle junk'. All plasticy with more than enough rattling parts. It almost sounded like I was using plastic deer antlers. It's nothing I would feel good about going to the range or the field with, but that's me. This decision is based more on aesthetics and preconceived notions on how a nice SG should look / feel. The Nova may be a grand shooter for the $$$, so don't overlook it.
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The 870 super mag is a good all around 3 1/2" gun for the money. Also Ithaca makes a slug barrel for it under 150.00 if you are a deer hunter.
Rick618 said:
The Mossberg 500, 835, Remington 870, or the Benelli Nova are options in your price range.
I'm with Rick on this one, All three are good quality guns in that price range. I, myself have a Rem. 870 & I have really given it a hard time & it has not once failed me.

A buddy of mine has the Nova & I have shot it on many hunts.
I was very impressed with it.

Take care,

Sneaky_Pete you have to fire a shootgun to get the feel of it,not just hold it.The Nova isn't pertty,but it does its job.
vicvlb said:
Sneaky_Pete you have to fire a shootgun to get the feel of it,not just hold it.The Nova isn't pertty,but it does its job.
Perhaps you didn't read "...This decision is based more on aesthetics and preconceived notions on how a nice SG should look / feel. The Nova may be a grand shooter for the $$$, so don't overlook it..."

Since you decided to single me out then allow me to retort. I would have to disagree with your definition of the word 'feel'.
Webster's definition of the word.
feel (verb) 1. preceive by the sense of touch; examine by touching. 2. explore by touch. Since we're on the subject of Webster, perhaps you should consult them before you decide to click the SUBMIT button in the future. I did not come to this MB to correct/hammer/slam other people for their views; their perceptions; or their opinions. I am here seeking advice and assistance from those wiser than I on particular topics / subjects. I also, in turn, feel an obligation to provide whatever advice I can. Such advice, presented with examples of personal experience and/or gained knowledge, can be taken as gospel or with a grain of salt. That is up to the information seekers discretion.

I sighted my displeasure of how the Nova looked and felt after I held and examined it on the sales floor. I made no comment / judgement on how good/bad the Nova shot, patterned, or its perceived recoil. My final comment alluded to this fact. I would like to know what job exactly it does? Is that putting the toy in the bottom of the cereal box (or) the coupon on the top of the dog food bag?
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I had 2 Mossberg 835's and sold them both… The first one was an all black special hunter, which jammed when pumping 3-1/2 inch shells all the time when the gun was new. It did get much better as the gun broke in although the first season the gun cost me a couple 2nd and 3rd shots at waterfowl. The biggest problem I had with the gun is its inability to pattern steel shot with 3-1/2 magnum steel loads. Fed, Rem or Win steel loads, it just didn't matter. I purchased every choke tube size OF Mossberg recommended for shooting steel and followed their instructions to the book. For some odd reason the gun would not pattern steel very well at all. I'll also mention that my 835 would pattern lead very well in all size loads… I traded the gun for a Benelli Nova at Gander Mountain for a price around $270.00. The Nova handles better, seems lighter and shoots every type of load (Lead or Steel) with outstanding patterns. It's the best pump shotgun I've seen/used although will admit that it looks like something from the Jetsons cartoon series. Over the years I have shot just about every pump model that has been made in the last 20 years from many different gun manufacturers… I am a glutton for punishment and purchased a 2nd used 835 Viking at one of the largest gun shops in PA. It did pattern steel better but had the tendency of jamming on 3-1/2 shells every now and then. Three of my close friends bought 835's and all of them have traded their guns in for Novas. They all had one problem with thier 835 unfortunately. Take a look sometime down the barrel of an 835 with a bore light. It looks like the inside of a galvanized pipe. OF Mossberg should take a closer look at the manufacturing and quality control of the 835 barrels they have produced the past few years. I've noticed that the older ones don't seem to have these problems. I also want everyone to know that I'm not badmouthing Mossberg or owners of their guns. I have owned several other Mossberg models including the 500, 9200 and a couple bolt action shotguns from my childhood. I loved the old C-Lect choke models… (They all worked great and were truly more gun for the money!) Guess I just had bad luck… I am through ever buying anymore 835's no matter the price. Good luck..!
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Have to shout AMEN to the opinion of the Moderator from the Lone Star State (jlptexashunter) about "friends don't let friends buy Mossbergs." Wish I had had such a friend say that to me six years ago when I thought I was getting a real deal on a 500 combo slug barrel + 28-inch smoothbore. I learned the hard way that some things are cheaper for a good reason. That was a frustrating rascal, prone to betray you are the Moment of Truth. Nary a hitch while on the skeet range. Just to see if I hadn't got the one bad apple in the barrel, I tried a buddy's Mossie. Problems there, too, but different ones from mine. I recognize Mossberg wouldn't still be in business if they weren't making many a customer happy, but they've also made many a hunter mad. I was happy the day I traded that Mossberg 500 in.

Since most of the gentlemen above have pointed you toward the pump guns, let me also propose two items of general heresy. How about considering a Baikal IZH-27 over/under OR a Marlin Model 55 bolt-action "Goose Gun." Both these guns can be found in your price range, and both of them will take a ton of abuse, getting in and out of boats, canoes, trucks -- you name it. I started hitting a lot more geese when I shifted to the double barrel o/u from my Winchester 1300 pump gun. I guess I am a shotgunner who needed the extra weight to help my swing. If you don't care much about "pretty," you get a lot of value from the EAA guns. My younger brother scoffed a lot when I bought a Russian shotgun. Now he has one too, the sxs IZH-43.

The Marlin bolt-action with that marvelous 36-inch Long Tom barrel will attract stares if you take it to the trap range before the season opens. You can still find them around estate sales at very reasonable prices -- largely I think for the fact they are out of fashion. Ugly to look at, but sweet to shoot, I think.

Keep in mind you don't HAVE to have a 3.5 inch chamber to waterfowl. Some of the veteran goose and duck hunters around here have dropped back to regular (and cheaper!) 2.75-inch shells when using Hevi-Shot. I am leaning in that direction myself this season.
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