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Best Self-defense shotgun?

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by Mastrogiacomo, Jan 14, 2003.

  1. Mastrogiacomo

    Mastrogiacomo Well-Known Member

    I'm a woman standing 5' 2'' and weigh about 115-120. I'm interested in buying a shotgun sometime this year for self-defense but don't know which gun to consider. I need to go through a hunter's program first and my permit, Class B, says that I must have 10 rounds or less for rifles and 5 or less for shotguns. I've heard a lot of good things about the Remington Express 870 but I don't know if it's a self-defense shotgun. I've also looked at the Winchester 1300 Marine: both guns seemed to be reasonablely priced. I don't want something that will knock me into the next room. What are some of your recommendations for someone like me, sensitive to kick and small in size? Thanks in advance.:D
  2. blades67

    blades67 Well-Known Member

    I recommend a Winchester 1300 first, Remington 870 second. Get a 20 guage model to start with and have a gunsmith fit the stock to you.
  3. TarpleyG

    TarpleyG Well-Known Member

    I recommend the 1300 as well. But, I would get a 12 ga. the ammo is much more readily available. I use the Estate Cartridge SWAT reduced recoil 00 buckshot. There is a HUGE difference in the recoil from that cartridge to a standard load. Get you hands on one to test, that's the only way to be absolutely sure.

  4. PJR

    PJR Well-Known Member

    The best shotgun is the one that fits you and with which you feel the most comfortable. For a small statured person, one of the various youth models with a shorter stock is where I'd start whether it's an Remington 870 or Winchester 1300. Another option if recoil sensitivity is an issue is a semi-auto like the Remington 1100. It also comes in a youth model.

    Find them here:



    The Remington Youth models are all 20 gauge and a little lighter than the 12s. So are the Winchesters with one exception. The 20 gauge comes with a wide selection of ammunition including slugs and buckshot but even a light target load is a formidable round at close range and has the added benefit of reduced penetration in urban environments.

    Finally, once you get your gun shoot it often. Take up one of the clay target sports so that you learn what your gun will and won't do.

    All the best,

  5. Al Thompson

    Al Thompson Moderator Staff Member

    That's a tough call. Your a bit bigger than my ex and a 12 was too much for her. We kept a 12 by the bed and her best bet was to mount the gun underarm, back against the wall with the butt on the wall itself. This takes the recoil out, but severely limits precise aiming. Emergency use only as you can break your stock doing this.

    I do not own one (yet) but Dave McC reports that the 870 youth has more recoil than I would expect. If you can find someone local with one, best to try it out and see for yourself. I know several folks who like the youth models for this purpose.

    There are 20 ga buckshot and slug loads around. We have a good selection here as many folks hunt deer with shotguns and buckshot. I've seen several deer killed with 20 ga buck and it works fine.
  6. ACP

    ACP Well-Known Member

    If I may, Mossberg makes a sweet little 20 gauge called the Model 500-C. Nice top mounted, ambidexterous safety, too. I believe Sidesaddle now makes a 20-gauge unit for this if you want extra ammo on board. At typical home distances, both a 20- gauge and a 12-gauge will end hostilities.
  7. Dave McCracken

    Dave McCracken Moderator In Memoriam

    Al, the recoil was more than I'd expect, but except for some 3" loads, I found the kick quite tolerable. Sharp, but doable. Adding a half lb of weight in the right places would make one outstanding shotgun for anyone capable of handling a 7 1/2 to 8 lb weapon, in the field or in crisis.

    Part of the increase in kick in the YE can be traced to the short LOP. This makes the butt smaller in area, thus putting energy into less space.

    Next time I play with this one, I may sand a little cast at toe into that pad, see if that reduces the felt recoil.

    Mastrogiacomo, I strongly recommend you getting some lessons from a qualified instructor and trying out a few shotguns. The Big Four pumpguns
    (Ithaca 37, Winchester 1300, Mossberg 500 and variants, and the legendary Remington 870) are all available in either 12 or 20 gauge, and with Youth models with the shorter stock suitable for smaller shooters.

    An auto is often a good choice, Remington made an 1100 Special Field model with 21" barrel suitable for sport or defense.

    The Berettas are also good.

    And, I've never heard a bad word about the venerable Franchi AL-48. It's quite light in weight, which means the kick is increased.

    And I wouldn't recommend a double for a first shotgun. They can be a morass for the tyro. Stick to the repeaters like those listed.

    A note about off brand shotguns. While the classics like the Big Four last well nigh forever, and one can often sell one for more than paid, the value of the offbrands drops like a paralytic buzzard.

  8. Mastrogiacomo

    Mastrogiacomo Well-Known Member


    Quick question, but first, no I wouldn't buy one without some knowledge of the gun and instruction. However, I've seen a couple of nods for the Winchester 1300 -- is it for the 1300 Marine or another 1300 gun?
  9. Omaha-BeenGlockin

    Omaha-BeenGlockin Well-Known Member

    I know this is the shotgun forum---given the choice of 10 rounds out of rifle or 5 from a shotgun as she stated----I would go with a rifle just because of double the firepower.

    I Mini-14 or AK-47 with 10 rounders would work just fine with proper ammo------plus no kick.
  10. CMichael

    CMichael Well-Known Member

    It is a tough call. Either a 20 or a 12 gauge would do the trick. I suggest a 12 gauge because it's more versatile. You may want to play clay games. In fact you should IMHO to familiarize yourself with the gun and get better at hitting a target.\

    If you can hit a little clay disk shooting in a random direction at a relatively quick speed you can hit an intruder who is much bigger and slower thana clay disk.

    You could always get 12 gauge with 1 oz loads and have less recoil.

    With a 20 gauge you are limited in what you can do with it.
  11. Smoke

    Smoke Well-Known Member

    I have to disagree with the rifle over the shotgun, especially with a novice.

    I'd pretty much agree with whats been said. If you can find instruction and rent guns in your area by all means do that first.

    If thats not avialable go to a local range and try to make friends. Their are surely some that will let you try their guns if you set up a time and show appropriate interest.

    I'd give the nod personally to the 870 youth. I have had extensive training and experience with the 870 and never had any type of malfunction with the gun. But its just what I like.

    If recoil is a major concern look at the semi autos out there as well. Don't dismiss them just becasue many here prefer pumps. (myself incuded)
  12. CMichael

    CMichael Well-Known Member

    The problem with a rifle is you can hit a neighbor one mile away.
  13. Omaha-BeenGlockin

    Omaha-BeenGlockin Well-Known Member

    Notice I did say ---with proper ammo.
  14. CMichael

    CMichael Well-Known Member

    I don't quite understand the law. You may have five rounds or less in your home or in the magazine?
  15. Mastrogiacomo

    Mastrogiacomo Well-Known Member

    It refers to five or less in the shotgun, not the house. I have several boxes of ammo:D, however this afternoon Walmart is still out of the Winchester bulk. :cuss: It is confusing though. I can't get the 92FS full size even though my permit says it must be 10 or under. Well the 92FS is a 10 cap gun but because it has the potential for a high cap, it's not allowed under my permit. :fire:
  16. CMichael

    CMichael Well-Known Member

    Thank you Mastr. Then I suggest inserting more shells into the magazine if you use up the first five.

    Also if you have to shoot more than five shells from a shotgun you are in deep trouble.

    Most magazines won't hold much more than five shells anyway.

    I have an extended magazine on my Mossberg Persuader. It can hold 7 2 34" shells or 6 3" shells.
  17. ReadyontheRight

    ReadyontheRight Well-Known Member

    Here's a recommendation for the Remington 870. Possibly in the youth model if that fits you better. The Express is their low-end model (cheaper wood) and excellent for self-defense. They also make a mean looking Marine model and a nice looking Wingmaster model. The 870 is a classic design with a lot of parts and expertise out there.

    Winchester 1300, Ithaca 37 (classy, more spendy and complicated to work on. Bottom eject for lefties) and Mossberg 500 are all good too and have their followers.

    The Remington and Winchester have the safety on the trigger guard and the Mossberg has it on the tang -- which makes the Mossberg a better choice for some folks.

    All are good. Check out which fits you best. Do some test shooting if possible before buying -- especially to determine if 12 ga is too much for you. If you're unsure, a 20 ga will do, but won't work as well for duck or goose hunting if you ever want to hunt.

    You haven't mentioned anything about hunting, so a 18.5" barrel is the way to go. If you do want to hunt too, you'll want a longer barrel. Or better yet, get two barrels. Barrels are easy to switch on all of these. Do not get a shotgun with a pistol grip only.

    I know you're thinking shotgun, but a good .22 along with your shotgun can be an fun, inexpensive way to get in a lot more shooting practice.
  18. Mastrogiacomo

    Mastrogiacomo Well-Known Member

    Well, I don't hunt. It's just not my thing. However, I do own two Beretta 9 mm. I'm assuming the .22 you mention is a type of rifle? I already have the handguns. :D

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