Took a three day shotgun class and changed shotguns. Range report and Course report.


September 8, 2008, 11:14 PM
I finished a three day shotgun class this last weekend at I brought my 870 with me which is ammo sensative with the cheapstuff. Half way through the class, my 870 started sticking fired hulls in the chamber every four to six rounds. I got fed up with it and borrowed one of my fellow class mates Benelli Nova and was hooked. I left the firing line and went up to the proshop and bought a Benelli tactical Supernova with the comfort tech stock and rifle sights and picked up where I left off. All I can say is WOW!. The stock is first rate. Shooting 2-3/4 inch sluggers is smooth as butter. The gun recoiled so nice that shot to shot recovery was faster than my heavier 870 with an R3 recoil pad. The sights need improving on but I'm sure that can be fixed. The longer 3-1/2 inch capable receiver made for easier speed loading. I would place a round in the huge hard to miss ejection port and close the action. I would then flip the gun over, push the lifter down, place two rounds on the lifter and shove them in the mag tube. I'd do this twice due to haveing only a four shot mag. Slug select drills were a breeze also. I would start off with four in the mag and one in the chamber. If I wanted a slug, I'd hit the action release and then push down the magazine bypass on the fore end and open the action. The round in the action would eject while not allowing a round from the mag to feed. I would then place a slug in the ejection port and close the action and fire. The gun was totally reliable and was very user friendly. I will admit that the Benelli is ugly compaired to the 870 but the amazing reliability and user friendly properties of the Benelli has a beauty all it's own.

Now, as for the class. I fired 50 or so rounds of 9mm, 425 rounds of birdshot, about 75 rounds of buckshot, about 40 slugs through both guns total for the weekend. I learned so much about not only gun handeling skills but streamlining my equipment to speed up speed loads from and empty gun to speeding up topping off the gun while engaging poppers during the jungle run. Bill is a great instuctor and you really have to listen to what he says because it's not just all about shooting. It's about keeping the gun running under stress. I went through the jungle run twice. The first time, I ran the gun dry and had to transition to my pistol to engage poppers until I could load the Benelli and get it going to complete the exercise. The second time, I completed the exercise without needing to go to my G19. When I was done, I was told to unload the gun. I was surprised to see all five rounds eject from the gun. I highly recommend this course for anyone wanting improve their skills with a shotgun.


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September 8, 2008, 11:20 PM
I'm not at all surprised to hear that about an 870. That is exactly my gripe with my ex one. Sold it to a coworker and now only own my 1100 which has been awesomely reliable.

I'm glad you've had a good class, I've got Awerbuck's shotgun class in my sights in the not too distant future, but have yet to decide when and where.

September 8, 2008, 11:51 PM
Flip 180, I took the same course, and it is absolutely awesome. My buddy and I took it together with almost identical 870's (mine has a Knoxx Spec Ops, his is the original stock). Neither of us experienced any issues with the guns whatever.

I have heard good things about the Benelli, and I'm glad it is working for you.

I will jump right in there with you. If you want to learn to fight with a shotgun Bill Davison is one of the best. Hard nosed practical information and exercises that will tax you mentally and physically. I think you would be hard pressed to find better instruction.

With that said, I would love to take Awerbuck's class just to see two different approaches (I suspect there are more similarities than differences).

Nice report.

September 9, 2008, 12:04 AM
I took Louis Awerbuck's class last year. There are more differances than similarities. It was a totally different class with totally different techniques.


September 9, 2008, 12:26 AM
So, Flip, how about outlining some of those differences for us?

I took a pistol course from Tom Givens, and one from Bill Davison. I found the different approaches really interesting, and I found things from both that I think are really valuable. Always good to have different points of view to draw from.

September 9, 2008, 12:56 AM
the term, "870", is painting with a whacking big brush...never having had the slightest problem of any sort with any "870" I've ever owned (favorites being Wingmasters and Police models), so am curious as to variety and vintage....I've owned Wingmasters that had never been cleaned...never....literally a tablespoon of sand inside from duckhunting dunkings, and worked just fine....

September 9, 2008, 03:05 AM
True, there are many variations of 870's. I would never trade my Wingmaster for a Nova anyday...

September 9, 2008, 09:12 AM
Louis taught loading from one side. For me, it was my left hand since i was right handed. for Louis's class I had my ammo pouch on my eight o'clock and would reach back behind me to get shells from there. I ended up getting pretty quick with it. Bill taught loading with both hands with ammo more centrally located so that it can be reached with both hands. I first tried the two pouches I brought with me. One on each side and ended up picking the smaller of the two which was a Tactical Tailor dump pouch and placing it on my belt loop with the top flap/cover tucked back into my pants. It took a while to train both my hands to go to the same place but when I did that, I sped up considerably. I found that speed loading was done easier with my right hand and topping off was easier with my left hand with the gun either up on my shoulder if there was suspected threats or tucked under my right arm if there were none. By tucking the gun's buttstock down low under the arm to top it off if there were no threats, I was getting the gun closer to the ammo source thus limiting the amount of travel of my arm from the gun to the ammo back to the gun. That would reduce the amount of time it took the get the gun topped off. In a load one shoot one drill I did on a six plate plate rack with the Benelli, I completed the drill in 20.22 seconds with the first round fired in 2.8 seconds with no misses going from an empty chamber. We also moved forward and backward while shooting which was some thing we didn't do in Louis's class.


September 9, 2008, 09:40 AM
Mine was an express with an 18.5 inch police barrel. There were three more with two having vang barrels. The other was an old Wingmaster with a mossberg barrel. Myself and the two with the vang barrels had problems with hulls sticking. The mossberg barreled Wingmaster ran fine. The course called for a min of 150 rounds of birdshot, I brought 200. I fired 100 in the first day. That night I went to Stephen ville to walmart to get more ammo and they only had 50 rounds of what I knew would work in my 870. That gave me 150 total. The next day before lunch I fired 125 round of birdshot. The guy next to me was shooting the cheap stuff and I tried 10 rounds to see if it would work. It did so I figired it was the police barrel maybe having a sloppy chamber. I drove into Stephen ville and picked up a case of the cheap stuff. After lunch we did a rolling thunder type exercise and after the first few rounds (less than ten) my 870 was locked up and kept locking up with stuck hulls. Being dove season, wallmart was out of good ammo. That's when I made the move to try the Benelli. It ran like a swiss watch with whatever I put in it.


September 9, 2008, 11:28 AM
Thank you for sharing your experience in both classes. Very enlightening for those of us who are still working out the logistics to attend a course like that. I like hearing about the differences between the two styles, etc.


September 9, 2008, 11:59 AM
it was a night and day differance between the two. The concepts were the same but there were two totally different ways of accomplishing the same goal. When people take the same type classes from different instructors, one has to have an open mind for the length of each class and try doing things the way that particuliar instructor want you to do it. After the class, then decided if that way works best.


September 9, 2008, 12:44 PM
Well I had the opposite experience with taking the then new Nova Tactical to an intermediate Awerbuck SG course. Mid way thru the first day I switched back to the then 20 year old Robar 870 because: The stock on the Nova was an inch too long to handle quickly,the trigger pull was 12 pounds and spongy and I was jerking shots and bad slug accuracy, that 3.5" action was too long a stroke for the snickity, snick I'm used to.
I finally got the stock down to 13" with a Limbsaver- it was difficult to do it right. I lowered the trigger pull to 5 pounds and relatively crisp by changing springs and honing. With the factory mag extension with a factory light clamp on it with a lazer/light combo it does bedside duty these days. The priceless old Wingmasters and Police 870s stay under lock, don't wanto lose THOSE!

September 9, 2008, 12:45 PM
Just curious? was the ammo you used winchester? I shoot my 870's a lot and find the lower priced Winchester hulls stick versus the Federal value packs. This is why I only use the cheap federal in my 870's. I havent had a problem since the switch. Wish I didnt have the problem to begin with. Like I said, just curious.

September 9, 2008, 01:01 PM
It was the Winchester that was sticking. I tried ten rounds from a fellow student and didn't have any problems. Usually if it's going to do it, it'll do it in the first five or so rounds and it didn't. That's when I went into town and bought a case of the stuff during lunch. My thing is, pump guns are suppose to be reliable with anything and I don't want to pay a premium for practice ammo.


September 9, 2008, 01:43 PM
Yeah I hear you in that one. Next time i go to the range I'm gonna see how much of a difference there is between the fired hulls of the winchester and the federal.

The only difference I can see by looking at them is that the hull of the winchester is smooth and the hull of the federal is not (has the length wise divets on it).

I wonder if that extra surface space on the hull is making it stick??? Plus, why doesnt it stick in other shotties like the Nova you used.

This issue has happened on all of the 870's I have and only once on my mossberg.

Maybe I am not cleaning them properly or I am not getting everything.

September 9, 2008, 01:55 PM
I think that the 870's (or Remington barrels) have tighter chambers and the aluminum base of the hulls allow it to expand more in the tighter chamber and then stick.


Dave Williams
September 9, 2008, 02:25 PM
Thanks for the review.

If you can think of other differences in the two trainers' takes on things I'd be interested in them.

I've always thought the Nova was an exceptional deal (especially the version with ghost ring sights). Glad to hear it performed well for you.

Dave Williams

September 9, 2008, 02:44 PM
If you think that one is good, you should try the FN..;)

September 9, 2008, 03:57 PM
Thanks for the info Flip.

I experienced the Winchester / 870 thing first hand a few weeks ago. My boss's son approached me when I was at their house, and said he had a new 870 that was sticking. I advised him to thoroughly clean it, and do the steel wool polish on the chamber.

He went into the house and returned a couple of hours and said, "OK, I did all that stuff, let's try it." They live in a rural area. So, we went behind the garage and fired off a couple of rounds. Sure enough it locked up tighter Dick's Hat band. His dad asked what he was shooting, and we showed him. He says "That is the problem."

So, to prove a point, I went to my car got a box of Remington Gun Clubs, loaded up the gun, and it never jammed again.

Frankly, prior to this experience I have pretty much thought that the guys that blamed ammo were smoking something illegal. Not anymore.

With all that said, I just bought 14 flats of Winchester Super X 1 oz. stuff for sporting clays. My Beretta 390's just eat it and eat it with never an issue. Since I got it for $39.95 a flat it was a good deal for me. I just won't use it in any of my 870's.

green country shooter
September 9, 2008, 09:21 PM
I sometimes have trouble in my 1100 with the regular Winchester, but never with the Super Sporting Clays and similar loads.

Recently I bought a Benelli M2, and it cycles everything, even some 7/8 ounce loads I bought just to try to make it jam.

September 10, 2008, 12:46 AM
Well....garbage in, garbage out, as they cheap ammo is AA target loads, and they pattern better, on top of being world-class reliable....certainly wouldn't change guns based on crappiest ammo....have heard of too many problems with loss-leader WallyWorld ammo from Remington and Winchester.

Was this an actual Police barrel, or an Express 18.5"bbl?.....early Express guns were nothing but lower finished Wingmasters, but later ones of my experience had a much lower level of polish to bore/chamber, one in particular was rough as a corncob (another WallyWorld purchase).

Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater....pump guns are not supposed to be reliable with "anything" gun is expected to be reliable with "anything"....if one is, you just haven't shot it enough with various ammunitions....sure as the sun sets, you'll find something it doesn't like.

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