Advice for a NEW Shotgunner


Bull Jones
October 5, 2006, 07:19 PM
To say I'm an avid shooter and hunter would be a GROSS understatement. However, the ONLY experience I've had in my 44 years with shotguns is with the flintlock smoothbores I've built or shot over the years.

Now, though, I've got the bug to own a modern shotgun. To make it worse, I'm dead set on a 16 ga. Why? Don't know. Maybe just because Dad and Grandpa always swore by them. Looks like the 16 bore is out of favor with the big companies nowadays. Still a few out there. Even a nice lil' single shot from H&R. (I'm a nut for single shot anything!)

So, what do you guys recommend for a human getting into the shotgun end? I WILL be handloading for certain. Single shot or repeater makes no real difference to me either. Keep in mind that a 16 would make my day.

Oh yeah, Grandpa's Browning had a PolyChoke with a compensator on it. Are those still availible?

Bring on the advice! :D

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October 5, 2006, 07:46 PM
Yes they still make some 16s but I would never buy one -harder to find guns and ammo etc. Interchangeable chokes are the order of the day.Compensator [ported !] barrels are available .You'll have to narrow down your search , $, single ,pump, auto O/U. What will you do with it ?

October 5, 2006, 07:59 PM
What are you planning on shooting at? Let's start there.:)

Bull Jones
October 5, 2006, 08:28 PM
Squirrels, rabbits, occasional bird (clay & feathered), aggrivating house-breakers, etc. You know, all around gun. I still am a rifle/handgun guy. This will be something to play with for the most part.

Since I'm gonna load my own, I'm not concerned in the least about the availibility of 16 ga. shells. The components are there.

October 5, 2006, 08:39 PM
A 16 gauge is not a gun for competitive clay or competitive bird shooting. If that's not your concern I'm as much in favor of a 16 gauge as you seem to be.

I have my sights set on a matched pair of Sweet Sixteen A5's that a friends dad owns. I'd love to shoot pheasants with them before I expire.

Please post pictures with whatever you decide.

Dave McCracken
October 5, 2006, 09:23 PM
16s are still available, but not as common as when every upland hunter had at least one.

The only new 16s I know of made in America are the 870s. New Browning O/Us are sometimes offered in 16, and there's lots of older Euro Doubles, Savage/Stevens 311s and the legendary A-5 Sweet Sixteen out there.

I started with a 16, and am fond of the memories, but have no 16s at present.

The Deer Hunter
October 5, 2006, 09:29 PM
just get an 870 in 12

October 5, 2006, 09:50 PM
If you look around at some pawn shops you might find an older mossberg bolt-action shotgun in 16ga. Many of them came with the C-Lect choke or the comp'd poly-choke types.

They usually go for under $100.

Other than that, I'd say pick up a Remington 870 in 16ga and call it done. The choke isn't what you're looking for but the rest of the SG will make up for it in years of service.

October 5, 2006, 11:55 PM
Bull Jones,
Welcome to THR.

I like your perspectives.
H&R Topper is still offered in one configuration:
16 Gauge (SB1-698)

This gun, once the Black is sanded and finished "as a shotgun should be", is a Really Nice Gun!! Now the SB1-698 is a fixed full choke. I can tell, you are Sharp and you know how to reload, using chilled shot, cubed shot, or inserting straws, to make a Full choke, shoot more open.

I have use these, these are , oh heck , I like single shots too.


Paging JohnBT...paging John.... where is you...

John is our resident "he can find anything, and post a pic to make one drool" over it guy . :p

Now for a repeater, I am sure , one can find some 870s "right". There are other choices [where John comes in...if he ever gets here..], just, well , gosh darn it. One is supposed to have at least one single shot...
...and for the monies, get yourself a 16 gauge and have a ball with one.

These tote real well, you already know how to do loading, patterning, and all, so recoil, payload, load for task I do not have to tell you about.

Oh yeah, they will fell game! From quail to deer.

Post pics when you get your 16 ga Topper, and the stock "done right".



October 6, 2006, 01:15 AM
Made in USA, there are only a few.

Wingmaster (870) and 1100 are both currently available in 16, new production.
I think NEF still makes single shots.
Ithaca makes the 37 in 16, if you can get one at all.

There are lots on the used market, well, "lots" is relative.

CZ's Turkish-made Ringneck SxS is available in 16, I think.

16's are pretty rare.

Bear in mind that shotguns have lightened up over the years as metallurgy and manufacturing have improved. A Wingmaster 12 Gauge weighs in at 7 lb. even with a 26" barrel. You just don't gain anything, objectively, by shooting a 16. Remington's newest semiauto 12 gauge weighs 7 lb. even, also. I shot one and loved it. I can see why people loved the old 16's, but I am not averse to getting the same easy-to-carry and lively gun in 12, now that that is possible.

Problem with shotgunning: you may THINK you won't do it that much, but you're probably wrong about that. A lot of my single-projectile guns don't get used much any more.:)

October 6, 2006, 08:13 AM
16 Ga. "pretty much" domestic manufacture can be expanded if budget allows:

Kimber Valier (

Dakota Superlight (!^22790)

Not too shabby.!^22790_P3311987597.jpg

Fred Fuller
October 6, 2006, 04:10 PM

Best advice I can give you is to mosey on down to the bookstore and buy yourself a copy of _The Old Man And The Boy_ by Robert Ruark. ( ) When you read it you'll see why I advise owning it. You can find it on eBay often enough too, or Amazon for that matter, if you'd rather do it by mail order.

Meanwhile, take a look at the Lending Library thread. You should also read Brister's book.

That should get you a bit of makeup material for not growing up with a shotgun in your hands...

Have fun, and Stay Safe-

lpl/nc (go by Wintzell's and have a po'boy for me)

October 6, 2006, 04:52 PM
My biggest advice is to take a little time to learn how to keep both eyes open and to control flinch. There are tons and tons of fancy shotgunning books around that will teach you how to lead and how to determine how much to lead and how to do the instant geometry required to shoot a double or whatever, but in the end, it boils down to simple form and fundamentals.

I don't know that I can give any good particular advice. I know how I shoot, and it works pretty well for me. If I was to boil it down, I would say that my shooting entails some very, very simple concepts. I keep my eyes on the target as opposed to the bead or the barrel, I have developed enough muscle memory that when I throw the gun up into my shoulder I know where it is going to be without having to think about it, and I have practiced shooting from enough awkward positions that I feel fairly comfortable shooting from any position I might encounter in the field. Essentially, my philosophy of shotgunning is to keep it as simple as possible. I think what has resulted because of that philosophy is that I have learned to shoot in an instinctive manner in that I immediatly fall into a little ritual everytime I shoot: Eyes open and on the target, a little shred of time to track the target, pull the trigger and rack the slide (I shoot an 870). I can do all that almost literally without really thinking about it, and though I am somewhat out of practice right now, I am a better than average shotgunner because of it.

Keep in mind that my shooting is geared solely towards upland hunting and recreational clay shooting. I do not enjoy wetlands hunting, and so I have developed what works for me completely ignoring that particular field of endeavor.

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