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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone. I am new to the forum as far as posting is concerned; however, I have been monitoring the forum for many months. I recently embarked on a quest to update my gun collection. My wife and I are thinking about having kids in a couple of years, and I know that if I don't buy now, it definately won't happen after the little ones get here.
My first purchase a few months ago was a shotgun that I have always wanted. A Ruger Red Label 12 gauge. I know there are a lot of folks that don't like the easy open action of the Ruger's, but I have been very pleased with the gun so far. I figure that will take care of any big upland game birds such as Pheasants, and I can always back off and shoot lighter loads for other birds.
My next purchase was a Benelli M2 in Max-4 camo. I plan to use it mainly for goose hunting, and the occasional duck hunt. Haven't got to shoot it yet, but I think I will be happy with it.
I am now trying to decide which gun to purchase for general upland/ small game hunting. I have looked at so many guns, I'm afraid that I have gotten terribly confused. I'm not even sure if I want another over and under, or a semi-auto. I have been looking at the Franchi 48AL as I like the light weight and the recoil operated action. I think a 28 gauge 48Al would make a great little dove gun. I have also looked at the Franchi 720 and the Beretta 3901, along with the Remington 1100 in 16 gauge. I have also considered the various Franchi over and unders.
I guess my question is this, if you guys were going to purchase two more guns to round out this collection, what two guns would you pick and why? Any and all opinions are welcome, as I could really use some help deciding.
I am trying to purchase good quality guns that will last for many years, as I will not be able to go on a buying spree like this again for a looooooong time. Sorry for the long post, and thanks in advance.
 

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You've got a pretty good start!

A couple of questions come to mind. Do you reload? Do you shoot skeet, sporting clays, or trap?

Unless you reload, don't shoot much, or are filthy rich, I'd opt for a 20 instead of a 28 for your upland gun. Shells are roughly twice the cost for 28s, but reloads are about the same after you have the hulls. Also, I would go for an over/under if you do reload, so you don't have to hunt for hulls.
 

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OK-First if you like the Ruger o/u consider having Kolar/Briley tube it .The cost would be much smaller than buying another gun and you are familiar with it. The money save could be used to purchase a loader.From your letter I would suggest a MEC Sizemaster.The o/u would go from a long range game getter to a skeet,trap clays gun.I believe you would be best served with a few single stage loaders and the tube set than buying a few more guns{nothing wrong with that}but you are on a buying spree and need to get something that will serve ya 20 years from now as well as the coming year.Also keep in mind the reloading aspect would increase your knowledge of the sport and will become a lifetime hobby as well :wink: :wink: :wink: :wink:
 

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hoashooter makes a good point about the tubes and reloaders. A point of caution about the tubes though: unless you are pretty serious about skeet competition I wouldn't get the tubes. They cost about $400 per gauge and add another app. 12 oz to your gun, giving it a muzzleheavy feel - not what you'll want for anything other than skeet. You can make up 12 gauge loads as light as 3/4 oz (see reloading forum).
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the quick reply guys. To answer your questions, I do not presently re-load, and I very seldom shoot trap or skeet. I don't really think that I hunt enough where the cost of the 28 gauge ammo would affect me. However I really havent priced the ammo either so I may be putting my foot in my mouth there. The truth is, I probably don't hunt or shoot nearly as much as some of the other folks on this forum, but I do want to buy good quality, well made guns that will last me for 20 years. I also want to match the gauge and gun to the type of game I plan on hunting.
I have actually considered getting into re-loading for my rifles, but I haven't given much thought to re-loading shotgun shells. Maybe I should!
Thanks agin and keep the comments coming.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Let me throw another wrench in the works here. If you could pick an over and under or side by side in any gauge, and a semi-auto in any gauge, which two would you pick. I am open to all brands and models. I am not as interested in a brand name as I am reliability. Sorry for posting two replys, I'll shut up now.
 

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Since you don't shoot all that much and you like your Red Label, maybe a 28 gauge Red Label? The 28 RRL is about a pound lighter than the 20. Those 3 guns will actually have you covered pretty well, especially if you reload.

I'm personally not a RRL fan and would choose a different over/under, and it would be a 20 gauge that weighs close to 6 pounds. Brands I would consider are Beretta, Browning, Rizzini, and Franchi. I'm not opposed to 28 gauges, but a 20 is just easier to find ammo for and has just a little more oomph if you need it. They are not that much heavier either.
 

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It's hard to beat an AL48 for upland. Your M2 is a good gun that will work well for all around use. You could get a 3 1/2" model for waterfowling and turkey hunting. The Benelli SBE's, Beretta Xtrema's, Browning Gold 3 1/2", Franchi 912, or Winchester SX2 3 1/2" would all be a good choice. You could get them with a longer barrel for waterfowl or a shorter one for turkey. How about a clay gun. Models like the Beretta AL391 Sporting, Browning Golden Clays, Franchi 612 Raptor, Winchester SX2 Signature II would all be a good choice. How about a slug gun with a fully rifled barrel.
 

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Hey ya ain't gotta be quiet --that's what we are here for to talk guns :D :D Oh yeah I was going pick on ya for not shooting skeet--only way to go go :twisted: As far as a o/u I would choose a Browning whatever model fit ya best-are ya able to shoot at any local clubs to ask questions/look at/shoot different guns?The tested 1100 would be my choice for an auto.Parts are easily obtained -the gun has after market parts,etc.etc. it has been around forever.I know there will be posts promoting Italian autos but I prefer the American made 1100.Jump on this forum ANY time you have a question--- :wink: :wink: :wink: :wink: :wink:
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Wow, I really didn't expect this kind of response, but I'm glad I'm getting it. Anyway, I have actually considered getting an over and under that would be primarily a field gun, but could occasionally be used for clays. There are several ranges and clubs in the area that I could shoot at. I know that my red label is a good field gun, but I'm not so sure it will be as usefull with clays. I have considered a Browning or Beretta as my second over and under. I just don't know which model could pull double duty as described above. As far as the sem-autos go, I may end up with something like a remington 1100 in 16 gauge as a rainy day gun, and a franchi 48AL just for fun. I really haven't decided though. I do feel like I need a good beater gun though for the occasional rabbit hunt. That is where I think the 16 gauge 11000 would really shine. It's not too expensive, it's rugged and proven, and the 16 is not too much for doves, yet it has the muscle for pheasants in a pinch. That way, if the area I'm hunting is really thick and I don't want to risk messing up one of my other guns, I can go with the 1100 for pretty much anything I want to hunt.
 

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You've got all you really "need", what do you really want?

If that is a 28 auto, please find a Franchi and an 1100 sporting 28 to compare. :roll:

Just me, the next on the list would be a good Sporting O/U, either Browning or Beretta---whatever you pay for it (if taken care of) it will likely be worth as much or more when your kids take off to college. I don't see anything else on your list that will do that.

And.........the reason people don't like Ruger RL's, has nothing to do with them opening easy.
 

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Well, I don't see the point of the 16 gauge 1100, unless it's just something you want. It is on a 12 gauge frame, so you certainly won't be saving any weight. Your M-2 ought to be just as light and tough enough for a "beater".

If it was me, starting where you are, wanting good long lasting guns, but not wanting to spend a huge fortune, I'd do this:

1. Keep the Benelli for waterfowl, turkey, etc.
2. Trade the RRL for a Beretta SP II 12 gauge with 30" for doves, skeet, sporting clays, etc. where weight is not a big concern.
3. Get a Beretta SP II Field in 20 gauge with 28" for quail, woodcock, grouse, etc. where lots of walking is involved.

I would rather have 3 quality guns than 4 that aren't so good. Those 3 will do anything you need to do.

Oh, and I would get a single stage MEC such as the Sizemaster or 600 Jr for the 12 gauge so you can load up light recoil loads, or whatever else you might want that isn't available in the store.
 

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claysmoker said:
Well, I don't see the point of the 16 gauge 1100, unless it's just something you want. It is on a 12 gauge frame, so you certainly won't be saving any weight. Your M-2 ought to be just as light and tough enough for a "beater".

If it was me, starting where you are, wanting good long lasting guns, but not wanting to spend a huge fortune, I'd do this:

1. Keep the Benelli for waterfowl, turkey, etc.
2. Trade the RRL for a Beretta SP II 12 gauge with 30" for doves, skeet, sporting clays, etc. where weight is not a big concern.
3. Get a Beretta SP II Field in 20 gauge with 28" for quail, woodcock, grouse, etc. where lots of walking is involved.

I would rather have 3 quality guns than 4 that aren't so good. Those 3 will do anything you need to do.

Oh, and I would get a single stage MEC such as the Sizemaster or 600 Jr for the 12 gauge so you can load up light recoil loads, or whatever else you might want that isn't available in the store.
As someone who is in much the same boat as you (well not exactly, but I do have a young one and he's $$ and I also need to save for his college), I can really sympathize with your dilemma. Having said that, claysmoker has some good points.

However, as someone who is not a huge fan of the 20ga (for lots of reasons), I want to offer another viewpoint. As someone who hunts alot of upland with my Franchi AL48 28ga, I can tell you the 28 is a fantastic little gauge. I also have a RRL 28ga, which I think is the best RRL going, fantastic little gun in addition to the AL-48. I also regularly use my synthetic/black Beretta 390 12 ga Mag. for Turkey/Duck/Goose hunting, and a Beretta 28" White Onyx Sporting for sporting clays, skeet and dove.

Also, I have my old 1100 in 12 ga, my dad and granddad's old Sweet 16 auto, and a similar Ithaca Model 37 16ga (both of which I take upland hunting regularly as well, they are both sweet guns). I wish there were more 16 gauges made on scaled frames like these two.

Having said that, if I was limited to 4 (or as claysmoker pointed out - 3 guns would work just fine) I would stick with:

1) a 12ga Beretta White Onyx or Silver Pigeon II sporting or maybe a Browning 545 sporting in 28/30' barrels, whichever fits you best (personally I find that Brownings fit me about as well as a fence post, so I prefer the Beretta's). I like RRL's too (heck as you can see I own one), but these "B" guns can shoot thousands and thousands of rounds without a hitch and look like new when your kids are grown. If you need the $, trade in your RRL on this.

2) Your Benelli for turkey/duck/goose, good gun but practice with it to make sure you hit well with it before settling on it permanently. I assume you have patterned it and are shooting well with it already. If so, keep it.

3) Upland gun. This gets trickier, because fit, weight and type of hunting become critical here. I personally found that the Franchi AL-48 28ga (as well as the RRL 28ga in the 26" barrels) are terrific guns for me because being in Kentucky, I do alot of grouse hunting as well as quail and dove, with very few Pheasants. Grouse hunting is a heck of alot of walking and tromping through thick briars for snap shots in thick cover, so what I have is good for that.

If it was more quail and pheasant (or Chukar or other western birds), I would probably consider a Beretta Ultralight 12 26 or 28" barrels(or maybe a White Onyx 20 or even 28ga) or a Browning Citori 16ga Lightning or Lightning Feather or a Franchi 12/20ga Alcione Titanium (you can switch the barrels 12 or 20ga on the Alcione without having to have a different forearm, just barrels - it saves you considerable $$ for a cheaper combo gun). Go with the gun that fits you best and feel comfortable with and that you like.

4) Fun gun - I was lucky enough to inherit my Dad's Sweet 16 and I got a Ithaca Model 37 16ga to go along with it. However, you can get these used in just about any decent gun shop for far less than the 1100 16, which as claysmoker noted, is on the 12ga frame. In fact if I was going to get another 1100, I would get either the 1100 28 or 410 sporting, which are sweet little guns and made on a 28 gauge frame.

You might go shop for a good deal on 16 gauge guns, which for some crazy reason have fallen out of favor and you can get some great deals on some really nice older guns like the Browning A-5 humpback (or its identical twin the Remington Model 11), or a Ithaca Model 37 or a Model 24 pump or a Model 12. Maybe an old Parker 16 or Ithaca Flues? This is your fun gun, so have fun with it. Buy one and if you dont like it or it doesnt fit, heck, trade it on another one. Have fun with this "4th" gun slot in your collection. You may find like many others, that this "4th" gun has a way of creeping up in numbers and before long you realize that your "4th" gun suddenly is # 6 or 7, but that's part of the fun and beauty of owning great shotguns.

Hope that helps.

KyBrad

P.S. I can only echo claysmokers recommendation of getting a single stage MEC Jr or a Grabber to reload. You can easily turn out your own target or special hunting loads, particularly for the 28's or 16's or for your 12's too. The MEC's are not expensive and reloading is fun and easy.
 

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You are off to a good start. I personally think you need three more guns. 20 gauge plastic and camo either a browning gold or a beretta 3901. I prefer plastic for those bad weather duck hunts. 28 gauge Remington 1100, it's the softest shooting semi-auto around. Nobody else makes a gas 28 gauge. 16 gauge O/U. Get a real nice one for upland hunting. I'm still working on filling my closet and these are a couple additions I would like to have.
 

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JasonH said:
As far as the sem-autos go, I may end up with something like a remington 1100 in 16 gauge as a rainy day gun, and a franchi 48AL just for fun. I really haven't decided though. I do feel like I need a good beater gun though for the occasional rabbit hunt. That is where I think the 16 gauge 11000 would really shine. It's not too expensive, it's rugged and proven, and the 16 is not too much for doves, yet it has the muscle for pheasants in a pinch. That way, if the area I'm hunting is really thick and I don't want to risk messing up one of my other guns, I can go with the 1100 for pretty much anything I want to hunt.
Jason . . .
Although I'm a newbie here, I've been shootin' scatterguns for more than 30 years.
I'm curious - - why a 16 ga.? As stated in another post, the 16 ga 1100 is a 12 ga. frame. No weight savings, and in my area, the 16 ga (although experiencing a little bit of a come-back) is virtually not in the field. Shells are twice the price of 12 ga. (Again, in my area.)

Now, I have an 1100M that I bought in 1983. It is no beater, but, I have no reservations taking it anywhere from the Trap line to the field hunting pheasants, to rabbit, to geese, ducks, you name it. It came with a 30" full choke bbl., and I bought a Hastings 24" bbl with choke tubes, and this scattergun is like an extension of my body. I dearly love this SG!!!!!
The Remington 1100 will serve you for many, many years.
In fact, I just bought a 30 yr. old 1100 for $100 and it is gorgeous! The wood is flawless. (An acquaintance needed some fast cash to fuel his gashog.)
As for loaders, I have been using a MEC 600 Jr. for all of my 12 ga. loading. I got it from my former brother-n-law, and it was OLD when I got it. I've had it since 1979. The only thing ever replaced on it has been the wad guide fingers. The original was copper. ($1.00 part.)

For an O/U, look at the Beretta Silver Pigeon. Sweet SG. Lightweight and swings beautifully. Again, in 12 ga.

I'll close by saying that I have more than 7 scatterguns. Most are nothing spectacular, but, they each hold a special place in my heart and safe. Two are 20 ga., the rest are 12 ga.

(After Christmas, I'm treating myself to the Stoeger Coach Gun Supreme, in what else. . . .12 ga. Nice little SG.)

Thanks for listening (reading).

Keith
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Just thought I would give everyone an update on how the "arsenal" is coming. I still have the M2, and the Red Label, and will probably go tomorrow and pick up a Benelli Nova pump. I am going to get the Nova, mainly because it is a great value for the money, and should be extremely rugged. I will primarilly use it for ducks, as most of the places that you go to hunt ducks are fairly nasty and wet,wet,wet. To be honest, I don't feel exposing my M2 to the rigors of duck hunting. Needless to say I would be absolutely sick if I were to drop it in the water...not so much so with the Nova. Besides, the M2 was a purchase made just because I have always wanted a Benelli autoloader. It's kinda like buying a Ferarri, do you really need one, probably not, but man they sure are fun! I figure the M2 will get used 5-6 times a year for goose hunting in the local farm fields around this part of the state. If it holds up like most other Benellis, I should be able to pass it on to my grandson 40-50 years from now.
As far as my other purchases, I haven't decided yet. I am probably going to hold off on buying another over and under right now, and let the bank account recover a little bit. At some point though, I would like to get a good 20 gauge over and under. I am now trying to decide which upland autoloader to buy. There are a lot of good choices out there, such as the remington 1100, Benelli Montefeltro and M1 field, Franchi 48AL, and beretta 3901 just to name a few. Whatever I get, it will be a 20 gauge. I am leaning towards something light in weight, such as the franchi or either one of the benellis. However, I must admit that I like the classic good looks of the 1100. I will hopefully make a decision sometime soon, and I will let everyone know when I do.
I am also considering purchasing a Remington 870 wingmaster possibly in 16 gauge as an all around "back up gun". That way, if I'm out with my 12 gauge red label, and something goes wrong, I've got a very reliable back up gun in the truck. Also, if I'm out with my yet to be named 20 gauge autoloader and something goes wrong, I've got a good back up gun in the truck. The way I look at it, and this is just my opinion, pretty much anything you want to hunt with a 12 gauge, you can hunt with the 16 gauge as well, but you won't be too overgunned on things you would normally use a 20 gauge for. That makes the 16 gauge an ideal back up gun in my mind.
Plus, I like the looks of the wingmaster, and it truely is an american classic.
So, do you guys think I'm on the right track? Thanks for all the advice so far.
 

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I can understand not wanting to take an expensive shotgun duck hunting, that's why I use an 870 Express Synthetic. You are losing me on the 16 gauge as a "backup" gun though. Your Nova ought to do that, and it will use the same ammo as your "main" gun. There is nothing wrong with using a 12 gauge as backup for a 20 either. They make light loaded 12 gauge shells, and you can use open chokes in it for close range shooting. I do think it makes sense for your next gun to be a light 20 gauge. My preference is an O/U or SXS, but autos are nice too, and some of them like that Franchi, are very light and handy to carry.

In my opinion, 12 and 20 gauges are basic equipment for hunting guns. 16 and 28 gauges are "extra" guns, just because you want to. I've got two 6 pound 20 gauges that have served me well for quail and woodcock hunting, but I've got a hankering to buy a 28 gauge - just because.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Claysmoker, I guess one of the reasons that I am thinking about the 16 gauge, is "just because". I kinda like the idea of having something everyone else won't have. I also don't think of the Nova as a traditional looking quail or dove gun. I don't have a problem with the looks of the Nova in a damp, dirty, duck blind, where form often follows function. However, I prefer a more traditional looking gun (wingmaster) to use for upland hunting, even if it is mainly going to be a backup gun. I like evrything about the Nova as far as its toughness and reliability, but I am not sold on its looks. That however will not stop me from buying one for duck hunting.
 
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