Shotgun choices.


Dan Tanna
March 24, 2006, 05:33 AM
Hello everyone. New guy here. I'm shopping for a duck gun. I have a few friends/fellow hunters who are Benelli fans. I've never had one before. I used to have a Remington 11-87 that I liked. I'm just trying to decide if the Benelli M2 is worth the $500 more than the 11-87. I'm hoping a few knowledgeable people can offer up some opinions and suggestions.

If you enjoyed reading about "Shotgun choices." here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
March 24, 2006, 07:49 AM
FWIW...I hunt a lot but ducks are a super small part of the equation.

My dealer (good friend) sells a lot of duck/goose guns. His choice was the SBE and he can pick any one off the rack he wants. His experience with the 11-87 3 1/2" has been less than positive. Other guys that work in the shop pick the Beretta, so I guess it's a toss up

On his advice, I got an SP-10 for turkeys and geese. The 10 throws a better pattern and is good for an extra maybe 10 yards. Depends on ducks or geese (shot size) and decoy vs. pass shooting.

If you use 3" hevi shot really hits hard and works very, very well

March 24, 2006, 08:41 AM
I own a couple Benellis and they have been totally reliable for me. However, if I were in the market for a new autoloader for duck hunting, I'd get the Beretta Extrema2 in a heartbeat. If I wanted to save a little money (over the Beretta), I'd get a Winchester Super X2.

When I shot my Benellis exclusively, I didn't really notice or mind the recoil characteristics (kind of an unpleasant "double-bump"). However, I got a Beretta 391 for shooting clays and the difference is quite noticable -- the Beretta has less felt recoil and it's a smoother more linear feel.

March 24, 2006, 06:31 PM
These are two different type guns. The Beneli is a recoil operated and the 1187 is gas operated. These gun will feel vastly different when firing. Personaly I would opt for the gas gun. The Remington or Beretta will be much smoother to shoot with less felt recoil. If you can ,shoot both, you will see the difference. FWIW in 35 years of competitive shotgun shooting I have never seen anyone use a recoil operated gun. The new Darling is the Beretta 391. JMHO

March 24, 2006, 07:26 PM
I have to agree 100% on the AL 391. I have one and I love it. I shoot clays mostly but I will be in the blind with my brother next season for some waterfowl. I live right down the street from Beretta/Benelli and I have a few friends that work for both companies. One of the girls is an advocate for Benelli. She doesn't even want to hear that the Beretta gas auto-loaders are more comfortable to shoot then their inerta driven auto's.
I have shot both and the Benelli's will never reduce the recoil of a 3" or 3 1/2" mag like a Gas recoil auto. Like mentioned before, the Benelli's are "jerky" feeling when shooting. My Beretta is smooth as silk.
You can get a 391 with composite or camo for about $900 anywhere, but they only shoot 3" mags. If you are going to be doing serious waterfowl hunting get a gas operated gun that will shoot 3 1/2" mags. Again as mentioned before, the AL391 Extrema II is an outstanding gun.
Either way, the recoil or gas operated will be much easier on your shoulder than any pump gun. The advantage of the pump is the price.

Hope that helps some,


March 24, 2006, 08:05 PM
FWIW in 35 years of competitive shotgun shooting I have never seen anyone use a recoil operated gun.

I shot quite a bit of trap with a Benelli Montefeltro (local league stuff, not registered), and last summer there were at least a couple folks shooting Benelli Supersports at the state shoot sporting clay shoot (although nowhere even close to the number of 391s). As I said in my previous post, when I shot them exclusively, the recoil wasn't an issue. However, shooting them back to back with a 391 is a real eye-opener.

I've shot a couple boat loads of targets with the Montefeltro and still hunt with it on occasion. Hot 1 1/4oz reloads are fine on game, and I wouldn't have any real issues with the 3" Hevishot loads I typically use for ducks and geese.


I think the 391 is the better gun for many situations. For target shooting and waterfowling, I'd rather have the extra weight and the gas-operated system. If I'm running after the dog, who's running after a pheasant... I'd rather have the lighter Benelli.

March 24, 2006, 09:14 PM
"worth $500 more than the 11-87" is subjective. A lot depends on how dear the $500 is to you. I've got an 11-87. Shot it quite a bit and hunted some with it. It's done well for me, but can be temperamental if dirty. Gotta keep those o-rings checked too.

Shot a few Benellis, but never ponied up the dollars for one. They do seem to have more recoil, and I suppose it could be tiring if you get in a lot of shooting in a day. As far as seeing them in competition, didn't see too many in clay shooting, but they are probably the dominant auto in action shooting (3-gun). They cycle extremely quickly and are very reliable.

When all is said and done, I really enjoy shooting my 11-87, but I don't completely "trust" it unless I've gone over it carefully just prior to taking it into the field. When I'm likely to encounter adverse conditions, I usually stick to my 870 -- slower, but it's never failed to cycle and go bang.

March 24, 2006, 10:42 PM
Another vote for the Winchester SX2.

Dan Tanna
March 25, 2006, 04:53 AM
Thank you for your input. I should also tell you I own a few other shotguns. I still own an older Remington 870 (first shotgun), and a Beretta 686 Onyx. The 686 has the standard pad on it. I can only make it through half a box of 2 3/4" field loads before my shoulder calls it quits. I can shoot the 870 all day with no problem. Both guns fit me well. I need a recoil pad for the 686. A good friend of mine from work suggested the Beretta Xtrema 2 just the other day. My bird hunting consists of dove, quail, pheasant (once a year), and waterfowl. The o-ring system of the 11-87 concerns me a little. If the 391 is more reliable, I may see how they feel in the morning.
Thanks for the information.

March 25, 2006, 06:06 AM
Have an SX-2,Extrema (1), 390,391,11-87, & HAD an SBE. I vote for the 391 or SX-2 in 3" and the Extrema or SX-2 in 3.5". BTW~ I shoot a 686 12ga at dove and quail and can point a SX-2 better than any other shotgun, save my gold lite 10

March 25, 2006, 03:37 PM
So far, my 11-87 has been flawless and glitch free. I am pretty strict about cleaning it though. I clean it very well after each use. I've put about 250 rounds through it in the last month and I love it.

Granted the loads were lighter than ones you'd use to take down ducks...

March 25, 2006, 06:38 PM
Ain't shopping for guns fun?

I like buying new guns and was holding a new 391 when I spotted a like-new SX-2 Waterfowl/ShadowGrass for a little over $700. I'm just as happy as I can be with it after using it for one season. Well, it did have a fat old fiber optic sight on it, but I fixed that - I took it off. It's a soft shooter, reliable and handles so well I can't stop grinning. And I love the non-slip Dura-Touch finish - it should be required by law on duck guns.


Dan Tanna
March 26, 2006, 01:01 PM
Thank you for the information. I was at Sportsman's Warehouse yesterday and I handled several shotguns. The Beretta Xtrema 2 was out of my price range. It was $1400 with the K.O. system. The Winchester SX2 felt alot like my 11-87. The guy there said it was basically a Browning copy. The Benelli M2 was by far the lightest. All the guns seemed to fit pretty well. Choices, choices. I do love the hunt for new guns. A lower grade gun caught my eye. A $400 and something priced Stoeger M2000 in Max-4 camo. It was even lighter than the Benelli. It didn't have any king of recoil reduction system on it. The price is appealing, half of the cheapest Benelli M2. Right in there with the plain jane 11-87.

March 26, 2006, 01:55 PM
The price is appealing, half of the cheapest Benelli M2
Typically, there's a reason cheap stuff is "cheap".
It was even lighter than the Benelli. It didn't have any kind of recoil reduction system on it.

I've never shot one, but I've shot plenty of 3" mags. I suspect when you light off a few 3" Hevi-shot rounds, you'll find out why it's less money

Guess I don't understand why guys will spend $30k on a truck they're going to have 4 years but refuse to spend an extra few hundred dollars on a gun they'll have a lifetime. If money's an issue, trade or sell one of the guns you won't use and get one good one that's your "go to" gun

FWIW...I've got this on a Weatherby I use for sporting clays

Dan Tanna
March 26, 2006, 02:18 PM
Yep, you have a point. It made me look at what's in my driveway. I did a search on those Stoegers and it was less than impressive. I know good things cost money, and I am to the point now where I can afford the Benelli M2, finally. It took alot of saving. I guess my main concern is having to lay it down in the bottom of a wet boat, gear on top of that, and one or two wet, muddy retrievers tromping all over it. If it was going to be primarily an upland gun or a clays gun I guess it would be different. Maybe I just need to toughen up and realize it is a tool. Just like a hammer or a shovel. Only a $1000 hammer or shovel.

Dan Tanna
March 26, 2006, 02:20 PM
Hey, speaking of the wet conditions... Is the Benelli matte finish any more rust resistant than the 870 matte finish? I know I have to soak the 870 down with oil or it will turn orange by that night. Is a camo version the way to go?

March 26, 2006, 02:25 PM
Maybe I just need to toughen up and realize it is a tool.
that sounds easy to type, but I'm the same way. My 870 is over 20 years old, has taken tons of game in all kinds of weather, and still looks good. Just kills me to get my guns dinged up

....then again, my wife and I just spent almost $1,000 on a "free" business trip to Phoenix. In 3 days it's 1k that's gone forever. I guess you could spend the 1k on a gun, use it 3 days and throw it out and be in the same shape (at least in theory)

A camo gun takes quite a bit of water and pounding and still looks pretty good. I've got the SP-10 that's got the synthetic receiver for the tough times.

March 26, 2006, 11:12 PM
OK. I'm going for the Benelli M2. I would have bought one this weekend if they had a 28" in stock. So here's my question: Would I be at any kind of a disadvantage with the 26" bbl? I know the ballistics are the same. This gun will be used for everything from dove to geese.

Dan Tanna
March 26, 2006, 11:46 PM
I think I'd probably opt for the 28" myself. The only 26" barrel I've ever had is an O/U. I guess it would depend on which one you swing better. I've never had a problem in the duck blind with a 28" barrel.

March 27, 2006, 06:00 AM
barrel length is always a trade-off

shorter is handier. Longer swings better for most people. I've got a 24" on my SP-10 but it's got a long receiver so it handles like a longer barrel. With the weight, it follows thru on a swing

Sporting clays is trending to 30" and longer

I don't know for sure that camo guns rust less but they show it less

OK. I'm going for the Benelli M2. You can't believe how much difference the recoil reduction makes until you shoot it

March 27, 2006, 06:58 AM
My experience:

I have used my 1187SP with 3-inch chamber, 21-inch barrel, rem-choke, rifle sights to hunt dove, duck and geese. It is as effective as I am, taking limits of all three. I do not feel handicapped with the 3'' chamber - the ducks and geese fall to the steel. I find if I use premium field loads for dove, the bird/round count is much lower, gun functions fine, and I have a great day.

I have upgraded to the Browning Gold, again in 3'' chamber. Used to take 2 limits of Canadian Geese this year, no handicaps. I like the auto-load feature, smooth recoil. I like the action type so much, I bought an FN SLP for home defense, again in 3'' chamber...

In my opinion, with the ammo available today, I'm not handicapped with a 3'' 12-guage for ducks and geese. I use AA or high-brass premium 2-3/4'' rounds for dove in the 11-87.

Good luck on your search, let me know if you have any more questions, or PM me if you're looking for a good 1187.



Dan Tanna
March 29, 2006, 09:50 PM
I picked up a Benelli M2 with the Comfortech stock in Max-4 camo. The price was $1059+tax. I love how this gun feels, points and swings. A guy at my work, when he asked what I bought, said he has a Sport II that kicks like a mule. I told him mine has the more recoil absorbant stock. "Aww, that doesn't matter." This same gentleman tells me that his stack barrels and his 3 1/2" Mossberg 935 doesn't kick as hard. I shot a friend's M2 and I didn't think it kicked all that bad. Any input on this?

March 30, 2006, 07:28 PM
Recoil is subjective to a large degree. As I said in an earliet reply, when I shot my Benelli exclusively, I really didn't notice it. Since then, I've gotten used to a number of other guns and the Benelli is different enough to be almost unpleasant... at least until I get used to it again.

The best I can describe it is a "double bump", with one hit slightly harder than the other. An O/U will have a single (kinda hard) push, while a gas-operated auto will have a more linear single push. In direct comparison, the Benelli seems kind of harsh.

March 30, 2006, 07:47 PM
My opinion, and that's all it is, save your money and buy the Remington if you like it. I've hunted ducks since age 14, must mean last season was my 39th. I've always used cheap pumps. Why? Am I just cheap? Am I stricken in poverty? No, it's just that salt marshes and duck hunting (especially out of boats) is hard on a shotgun. An, pumps do the job well. I made a beautiful Spanish double into a beat up ugly utility gun hunting ducks and geese with it in salt marshes.

You don't need heavy shot, ten gauges, what not for shooting ducks over decoys. Steel number 4s in 3" 12 do the job just fine. You DO need heavy shot for geese, decoys or no. They're tough birds and die hard especially at long range.

The Remington 11/87 is as good a gun as any for ducks. Tell me what the Benelli can do better so I can get a good laugh. :D The Benelli is just bling, showing off ones wealth, or to people who know better, stupidity. JMHO, though. I'm a utilitarian kinda guy. Now, I love a fine shotgun (doubles please) as good as the next, but I'll never tear one up duck hunting with it again.

Barrel length, 28" preferred.

Is a camo version the way to go?

I find the camo seems to hide better, really. It's not worth arguing about, though. However, it does hide the rust that will eventually form on the gun if you come hunt down here with me on the coast. My Mossy has seen 15 years or so now and it has a couple of rust spots that you have to look close to notice. Main thing, get the plastic stocks. Stocks catch heck on nails sticking out of blinds, banging around in boats, and such. If it came with nice walnut, take it off and buy some plastic to use with it in the marshes.

If you enjoyed reading about "Shotgun choices." here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!