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Need Help on gun selection

1966 Views 12 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Anonymous
Hi All,

I am new to shotguns and I am planning for an auto loader. I have been looking at Franchi 48AL, Beretta 390/391, Remington 1187 premier, in 20ga. I really like the feel of the Franchi 48 but I have read that it kicks really hard. I am small built and I like a light weight gun. I will use the gun for moslty clay and also upland birds. So many difference views on these guns it is hard to decide without having a chance to test fire. Could please share your experience so I may be able to make up my mind. Thank you. :?:

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The Franchi 48AL is a lightweight hunting gun. As such, it's great. As a clays gun, I wouldn't consider it for more than just an occasional round of skeet. If you're going to shoot much clays, then cross this one off your list.

The 1187 will probably be less expensive and softer recoiling than the 391. Once properly broken in and when properly maintained, the 1187 will work fine. If you are planning to put 50,000 to 100,000 rounds through the gun, then I would suggest you get the 391. At about 30,000 rounds, the 1187 many need a few minor parts replaced. They are readily available and inexpensive. ANY gun (including the 391) can break a part occasionally. This is not a condemnation of any of the guns, just recognition that a gun is a machine that incurs wear with usage and occasional parts replacement can be required on any of them. Unless you are going to be shooting clays every weekend for many years, I think the 1187 might be better for your requirements. Either gun will work just fine.

P.S. Also consider the Browning Gold as JLP suggested. It's also a fine gun and would be well suited to your uses. So would the Winchester SX2 (the Browning's twin).
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Rollin's information is very good, but perhaps I can add a couple of things that he didn't cover in detail. First, it is very problematic for the beginning shotgunner to try to buy a gun that fits. One of the reasons is that most field or target guns generally marketed to the general public have very similar dimensions. The main exceptions to this would be the Youth or Ladies guns and the Parallel (Comb) Target guns. The LOP on most of these guns is usually between 14 1/8" to 14 7/8". So there is little selection as far as stock length is concerned. Also, most of these guns will come with no (or very little) cast off to the stock. Again, little choice for the buyer.

Yet another factor complicating the selection process is that a beginner might have a gun that is a perfect fit, but because he doesn't know the proper basics of stance, hold, weight distribution, etc, the gun may not SEEM to fit him when he does the little "eye closure" test. The converse is also true. The beginner may have a gun that is a poor fit, but because he doesn't know the proper basics on the correct way to shoot, he may contort himself until the gun SEEMS to fit him. :?

So what is a new buyer to do? IMO, the thing to do is buy the gun you like and, unless it's just a terrible fit (particularly with regard to LOP), try to learn the basics of correct shooting stance with that gun before doing any major cutting, sanding, bending or whatever on the stock. Naturally, if the gun is way too long, then shorten the stock. If the gun is way too short, add a slip-on recoil pad. Otherwise, I'd suggest leaving it alone until you learn some of the basics and develop your own shooting style. This can take several months or even a year. As long as the gun is not beating you up badly, I'd leave it as is for about one year. At that time, assuming you've shot regularly and often, you can see a gun fitter and get the stock fine tuned to your shape, build, and shooting style. Or, perhaps Rollin's booklet would be sufficient to make the changes on your own.
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