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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey, gang!

I was wondering if you guys had any recommendations for a first shotgun. I am late to the sport of hunting...meaning I am 28 years old and looking for my first gun...I am sure most of you got yours when you were still in the womb.

Anyway - I will be doing upland (grouse, quail, pheasant)...no plans for deer or waterfowl.

I am not looking to break the bank...but something that would cover all the bases: reliable, quaility, balanced and over all good value.

So far a couple of people have said the 870...someone recommended one of Baikal's O/Us...and one person even said to get a single shot just to get your foot in the door.

Any recommendations would be great...and appreciated.

Thanks in advance!

Bob
 

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870 is great...I would recommend the Wingmaster but it is pricey...I just bought a Beretta 390 Silver Mallard (discontinued Beretta semi-auto) for about 50 bux more than a really nice new Wingmaster...I hope I don't regret it...I KNOW the Beretta is nice but the Wingmaster was BEAUTIFUL...if your pocketbook runs to the lower end of the scale, you could get an 870 Express (I didn't like 'em...gritty and ruff) a Mossberg 500/590...a Winchester 1300...heck a Browning BPS...cool new gun is the Benelli Nova...inexpensive, easy to clean AND will shoot all sizes of shot (another, I hope I don't regret not buying this gun)
I couldn't pass up the Beretta deal but my heart loves pumps.
(that sounded weird but, you know what I meant.)
Bill

(Now you're REALLY confused...sorry)
 

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For a first shotgun (or 100th shotgun) for grouse, quail, and pheasant, gun weight is one of the most important considerations. Unless you are built like a linebacker for the Green Bay Packers, you will want a gun that weighs under 7 pounds if you are going to carry it at the ready (port arms) all day. In fact, I like 'em closer to 6 pounds if I'm going to do more carrying than shooting (as is the case with grouse, quail, and pheasant hunting).

You will want a repeater such as a pump or an autoloader. My recommendation would be to get a 20 gauge. It is all you need for grouse and quail and will do a pretty good job on pheasant if you don't try to stretch the shots too far. There are many good 20 gauge pumps and autos to choose from. Choose one you like and enjoy the sport. Hint: I would lean towards getting an autoloader. That way, if you want to shoot skeet, trap doubles, or sporting clays, you are well equipped to do so. Plus, a nice 20 gauge auto has excellent resale value if you should ever become temporarily insane and decide to get rid of it. :lol:
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
If the 870 feels great to your shoulder get it.
The 870 express is not the most pretty thing
[get the Wingmaster if possible]but they will keep
going and going like the energizer bunny.
Put the 12 and 20 gauge up to your shoulder
and see what you like best.The express is about
$270-$370 The wingmaster is better but in the
four or five hundreds.If it fits 870 all the way!!!!!!!!
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Wow! Thanks, guys! Good insight.

I will look into the Nova. I assumed all Benelli's were mega-bucks. Although it sounds like Remington is the way to go.

As for autos...are they difficult to maintain? Strip in field? I never really considered one.
 

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Autos are not difficult to maintain or to field strip. I've got a winchester mod.1400 and it is easier to field strip and maintain than most of my guns. It's simple , take the magazine cap off slide the barrel off and take 1 pin out and pull the trigger out,thats it your done. As far as recoil operated semi-autos I really don't know. I would recomend a 12ga. semi auto though. Although it isn't as popular as A-5's,1000's,11-87,and some others a model 1400 is a good choice, many times my 1400 has shot without a problem while A-5's and others where hanging constantly. I will probably make alot of people mad with this but in my opinon A-5s aren't all that great. When they first came out they where light-years ahead of anything else but now they just aren't up to par. as for the rest of the guns listed they are like carrying a chunk of lead when your hunting. The model 1400 is lighter than them all. It is also really cheap. My uncle bought one with absolutely beutiful wood that looks and works like new for 100.00 Good luck in your quest for a good shotgun.
 

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BobSC,
There are three guns I would look at. All the ones mentioned above are great, this is just my list compiled with 25 years of bird hunting experience. In that time I've field stripped my shotguns exactly zero times (now watch this year one will gum up on me). So here it is. I offer these because of relative cost, maintenance, weight, recoil and value. Any of these I'd get 20 gauge.

Browning Gold Hunter
Beretta 391 Urika
Benelli Nova
 

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Since you are planning on using this for only upland and I am sure some time soon some clay games you only need a 12ga 2 3/4". You can get a 20 ga but the 12 will be cheaper and easier to find ammo for heck I can go to my local checker auto parts store and pick up Rem heavy field 12 ga 2 3/4" case for like $30 some bucks. And with all the quality older guns out there I can't see getting a mossberg or remington pump if you don't need 3".

But with the 12 ga 2-3/4" you have a ton of guns to choose from. Some one already said the Winchester 1400. As far as semi's the 1400 and 1500 are out there used and can be had for $200-$350 with win chokes. The Browning A-5 can be had if you look hard in the $225-$450 range. Any SKB semi auto would be a great gun most can be had in the $200-$350 range. Ithaca model 900 semi can be had for $225-$325. I just missed a Ithaca 900XL that was Beautiful for $280 still kicking my butt for that. The Ithaca model 51 semi can be had for $175-$275 also a great gun. Just not as pretty as the 900XL.

As far as pumps go I would look for a Winchester model 12 or Ithaca model 37. you can find them in the $200-$400 range some later model 37 with screw in chokes. If the gun has a fixed choke then modified or imp mod would be ideal full would be good too as you could have it sent to get screw in chokes threaded in.

http://www.gunbroker.com/auction/ViewIt ... m=11241202
Here is the Ithaca 900XL such a sweet looking gun.
 

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I am a Browning man, I dont own any modern shotguns that are not Browing. I would have to recommend the Nova. Ouch that hurt to say...

I just really like the way they shoot and the design is very strong...
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks, guys! I knew this would be the place to go for help.

Anyway - I have a good list of firearms to look into now. I am going to head over to a shop this weekend and check them out...see how they feel against my shoulder...the balance...and whether or not I would see myself carrying it around for hours on end....and hopefully end up at a range.

Thanks, again! I really appreciated everyones input.

Bob
 

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Hi Bob--

Wecome to shotgunning, and good luck with your purchase! I've had and sold way too many shotguns. :lol: The advice you've gotten here is all good; people have their favorites and their reasons. If you've got a local gun dealer who's been around for some years, I personally think you can trust him or her to sell you a good used shotgun. Out of the five dealers near me, they're all quite honest about the condition of the gun, etc. Some of 'em charge more, some less however. "Expensive" and "honest" are two different words.

You ought to be able to get a really good used Remington 870 express for about $200 if you look carefully. Same for a Mossberg 500, maybe even a bit less money. Both great shooters. I'd get a 12 ga if I were you, with 2 3/4 upland game loads they don't kick hard at all. I think it's not a great idea to spend a ton of money on a first shotgun. After you've hunted for awhile and gain more experience, you'll know what you want and can save up for something good. Then you can sell it and wish you had it back, like the rest of us :lol: I'm in love with my new 50-year old Ithaca Model 37 in 16 gauge, but I think it'd be a problematic first shotgun to have. I looked for about a year before I finally bought it.

More than a make and model though, I'm happy to see you're going to do at least a little instinctive work on fit. A good gun dealer can talk to you about fit and make some basic suggestions.

Don't forget to take a safety course if you haven't done so already. Shotgunning is great and you're going to have some memorable times if you hunt reasonably often. Some of the best memories have nothing to do with killing birds, too. Come back and let us know what you bought and how it's all going. There's some very very knowledgeable people on these boards. Best of luck!

Jeff23
 

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I got my first rifle when I was 15 and my first shotgun when I was 16. The first shotgun I fired was a single-shot 16-gauge. My first shotgun was a 12-gauge IGA/Stoeger Uplander with 26" barrels and a vent rib (I prefer a solid rib on a side-by, vent rib on an autoloader or some pumps, heat shield on most pumps). My second shotgun (and first pump-action) was a 2-tone (stainless with black oxide receiver) 7-shot Winchester 1300 Stainless Marine. Since then, I traded and sold and acquired two different Mossberg 500s - one 6-rounder with TacStar grips and one 8-rounder with a Cruiser grip and standard Mossberg synthetic forearm. I sold those and got a 590. I put a Choate full pistol grip fixed stock and a sling on it.

My advice for a first shotgun would definately be a pump-action. If you're going to use it for hunting or sport, get one with a 5-shot (or less) tube. No wait. Scratch that. Forget a pump-action for sport. Pumps are for home defense. For sport, find yourself a nice cheap well-made double like a Stevens 311-C. But if you really want a good pump for sport, get a Remington 870.

These are just recommendations, of course. You can get whatever you want. But here are some guidelines and features that I highly suggest:

If you get a pump-action, get a Remington, Winchester, Ithaca, Mossberg, or Browning. A Browning is going to be more expensive. The Mossberg, Winchester, and Remington will be approximately equal. The Ithaca gets the B-list because it uses a single bar on the forearm instead of double bars which makes the action less stable and more prone to breakage, operator error, and mechanical failure. Also, the Ithaca has a slim corncob forearm which is good for smaller hands for not so good for larger hands. So keep that in mind if you have big hands.

Also, make sure that replacement parts are available. That's why it's important not to get anything that's discontinued (even if you get a seemingly good deal on it). Get something low-maintenance. Avoid gloss finishes. Also, avoid blued finishes. Go for something more durable like Parkerized, black oxide, black phosphate, black sulphate, matte black, matte blue, Marinecoat, nickel (preferrably matte), or stainless steel (preferrably matte).
 

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Number one reason should be that the gun fits you, and feels natural, and after you pick up a few of them, you'll know what I'm talking about. If your thinking of a semi-automatic, try the 11-87 LC or a Browning Gold Hunter. Ifyour looking at pumps, I really think you might like a Remington 870 wingmaster or a Browning BPS. (stay away from the Express Model) I would stay away from the garbage semi's because your bound to have problems eventually. Stay with the American manufactures. Parts are readily available, and people are still shooting thier grandfathers guns! That should say something by itself. Welcome to the world of guns. It's a disease! Good luck!
 

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The following are the logical steps that a first timer should follow:

1. Select the caliber for the occasion and portability - the type of hunting vs clay etc...
2. Select the type of shotgun that would fit the intended application (eg. Auto vs pump)
3. Go to the gun store and find a gun that fits you well (a key to good shooting).

Price and reliability are important factors. However, do keep in mind that a good shotgun will last you years if not generations. Other minor details: semi-auto shotguns have less recoil and 12 gauge shells are noticeably cheaper and much easier to find.

Finding a gun that fits your body and pleasing to your eyes should never be overlooked.

Good luck.

Danny Boy
 
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