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Best shotgun for newbie

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by cdahl383, Jun 2, 2020.

  1. cdahl383

    cdahl383 Member

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    I’m thinking of getting a shotgun for home defense, possibly two, one for my wife and I. I’ve done some research and really like the Mossberg 590a1. I’ve also looked at the Winchester SXP Defender and the Remington 870 Express. I like the shorter barrel lengths like 18-20”.

    Are these shotguns good choices? Are there others out there that are better options in the $300-600 price point?

    Was thinking maybe 12 gauge for me and 20 gauge for my wife.

    We’re totally new to guns. So any tips or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you!
     
  2. 12Bravo20

    12Bravo20 Member

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    You can't go wrong with either the Mossberg 500/590 or the Remington 870, Both are well made and well liked shotguns. I will warn you that discussions about which is better can get heated. To me it is a Ford vs Chevy thing. Like I said both brands are good and will last a lifetime. The Remington has a cross bolt safety while the Mossberg has a tang safety. I own both but prefer the Mossberg due to the safety location, I shoot left handed.

    As far as 12 or 20 for your wife. It all depends on the weight difference between the two. IF weight is close to the same, I would probably get the 12 and use reduced load shells for it. 18-20" barrel length is perfect for home defense.

    Some of the best advice I can give is too look at all the different pump shotguns in your price range and get the one that fits you both the best. Other than that; practice, practice, practice.

    I'm a little different in that I use a 12 or 410. My 410s are loaded with 3" buckshot loads and do quite well at in home distances.
     
  3. George P

    George P Member

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    Totally new means, IMO, before you buy, you should take a course and try some of these. 12 gauge and 20 gauge shotguns, especially if they do not fit, can have some nasty recoil with typical HD loads of buckshot.
    As to your other question - in your price range is the Mossberg 500A and their cheaper version called the Maverick
     
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  4. Obturation
    • Contributing Member

    Obturation Contributing Member

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    590 is good. So is the 500. You're wife may like a 410 better than a 20 gauge, depends on how recoil sensitive she is. I'm not a shotgun hunter or a skeet shooter, a 12 gauge Mossberg 500 with a 18" barrel has served me well for many years, no need to change.
    I've had an 870, I disliked it. Every part was sharp and every control was in the wrong place.
     
  5. 12Bravo20

    12Bravo20 Member

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    Yes I forgot to mention to not only look at different shotguns but also different gauges. Especially to see what fits your wife. A 410 might be perfect for her then again a 12 gauge with reduced lads might work well too. I can't suggest enough to get what fits you and also get what fits your wife.

    I can say from personal experience and also the many reviews/tests that I have read/watched that a 410 with the proper load will definitely work for home defense use. The best 3" 410 shells I have found for HD use is the Winchester PDX1 and a good 3" buckshot load with 5 pellets. If you decide to go with a 410, stay away from the 2 1/2" shells for HD
     
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  6. labnoti

    labnoti Member

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    590A1 looks awesome on paper or the internet. It totally sucks when you pick it up. It's built like a steel post hole digging bar.

    It can be a bad idea to mix 12 and 20ga. 20ga shells go into the 12 ga bore and become bore obstructions. That will blow the gun up. It's better to keep your ammo consistent because armed home defense situations aren't the time to be carefully studying the shell to be sure it's the correct one before you put it in, or to try to fish the wrong one out. Just keep it simple.

    Shotguns can be had cheap and they're better than nothing, but there are advantages to other firearms for home defense. Handguns free one of your hands for other important tasks. What's more, they can be holstered to free both hands without losing the gun. In addition to that, they can be on you before the trouble starts, instead of in the other room or wherever you keep the shotgun, probably not in your pants. Pistol-cartridge carbines are lower recoil and higher-capacity. There's plenty of discussion of the options in other threads, so I will just reiterate the good advice already mentioned: train (in a class with a good instructor) in whatever weapon you choose. This goes for you and your wife. Even one class is so much better than none at all. If you mention what state you live in, you can get some advice on where to go for training.

    If you really just want gear advice, the 500 or regular 590 (not A1) and the 870 Express are the most popular inexpensive pump shotguns. You can't really go wrong with either one but of course there are better guns for substantially more money. 20 ga is not going to give up much to 12 ga for home defense purposes. At close ranges like that, 20 ga is really just as devastating. If you're looking at patterns on geese at 30 yards, the 12 ga makes a bigger difference. But the 20 ga's recoil is easier to handle. That isn't to say it's easy to handle -- it's a hell of a lot more than a 9mm or .45 carbine. With shotguns, ammo selection is important because there is ammo for a lot of different purposes -- like geese and turkeys and doves. For home defense you'll want buckshot, and the particular buckshot cartridge you'll want depends. This didn't start as a thread about ammo selection, so I'll wrap it up there.
     
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  7. Blue Brick

    Blue Brick Member

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    You need to try before you buy. Rent at a range. Where do you live? Might find a member here willing to let you fire off some rounds.
     
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  8. ColtPythonElite

    ColtPythonElite Member

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    I prefer the Mossberg tang safety. I keep a 590 ready to go.
     
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  9. Cvans

    Cvans Member

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    This is good information. No body is going to be laughing at you after you hit them with buckshot out of a .410!

    This is also worth paying attention to. Imagine yourself trying to determine if you have a box of 12 or 20 ga shells in the dark when everything around you is going to he!!. Wouldn't want it to be me. All of my shotguns are 20 ga.
    Good your asking for advice. The best thing you and your wife could do is find someone who will let you try the different guns before spending your hard earned cash.
    I have also owned the 500's and 870's. Just my opinion but I prefer the Mossberg 500. I'm right handed and like having a tang safety.
     
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  10. cdahl383

    cdahl383 Member

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    Wow, thanks for all the great advice! What a great forum!

    I live in Michigan. We have three shooting ranges near us. We live in the country in primarily farmland.

    That is an excellent point regarding the 12 vs 20 gauge ammo. Would have never thought of that. Thanks for pointing that out. We’ll stick to one type of gauge then.

    My wife isn’t very big, but she’s also not a wimp. She’s pretty strong and lifts weights and hits the gym a lot. But she’s also only 140lbs or so. I wasn’t planning on shooting slugs, just bird or buckshot, so maybe a 12 gauge would still be okay for her.

    A buddy of mine has offered to help me out with shooting. He has his own shooting range on his property and said he’d gladly show me and my wife the ropes. He has around 30 various guns and has been shooting most of his life (in his 60s now). I was planning on going over there this weekend to get some instruction. I wouldn’t mind taking a basic firearms class too, but not sure how that would work right now with all this virus crap going on. A lot of stuff has been cancelled.

    The one point made about the 590a1 is interesting. I’ll have to see if I can hold one first. At this time, every gun shop near me is out of any of the shotguns I was interested in. Between the virus and recent riots breaking out, I think people have bought them all up for the time being.

    One of my other concerns is regarding our children and their safety. I read where birdshot is effective for home defense but also won’t pass through several walls either to harm others in the home. I’m not sure if that makes more sense or if buckshot is fine.

    I also plan on getting a gun safe as I don’t want my kids to have access to the guns.

    Thanks again for all the advice, really appreciated!
     
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  11. DocRock

    DocRock Member

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    A 410 is NOT a good choice. There is a reason It's often referred to as an expert's gun.

    The guns you mention in your opening post are sound choices for you, and may work for your wife as well. As mentioned above, FIT is the most important question as to what might suit you and your wife. A shotgun that fits your wife well in 12 ga will be far easier for her to shoot than one that does not fit in 20 ga or 28.

    If you can find the opportunity to handle one of the guns you mention with someone who understands gun fit, that would be ideal. It's not just a matter of "feels good" it's very much about length of pull, comb height and sight plane. As a very rough rule of thumb, a gun that has a LOP that is a little short is better than one that's long.

    If your wife is tall and athletic, a 12 ga may suit her perfectly well. If she is petite, a 20 ga youth model gas semi-auto may be a better solution.

    The fellow you mention in your last post who has his own range may be a good resource in this regard. Well worth having a good chat with him and discussing fit.

    Good luck.
     
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  12. Ernie Bass

    Ernie Bass member

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    I have a number of12ga's but did buy a 20ga Mossberg 500 for home defense.
    But I would also consider other weapons as Labnoti pointed out if home defense is the only thing she will be using the gun for.And it should be easy enough to try out different shotguns. How often will she train? Take a class for sure!

    That said, and off topic, I am getting interested in the 410 more all the time. Thinking about getting one in single shot. And the recent thread on the Judge and Governor, two guns I never explored did spike a interest for me. And never once considered a PC 9mm but that is changing as well. Starting to see the benefit of them more all the time.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2020
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  13. Buzznrose

    Buzznrose Member

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    Are you a newbie to shotguns or to ALL guns?

    if all guns, I’d suggest a shotgun may not be the right choice for your family for self defense.

    If you have Amazon Prime, go and watch the documentary Keep And Bear. It documents a new shooter and family who move to rural Idaho and their quest for a home defense gun.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2020
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  14. Buzznrose

    Buzznrose Member

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    Regarding shotguns...if that is what you decide to go with for home defense, I’ll go against the grain and advise a good semi-auto 20 gauge. Stick with one you can modify the magazine tube with an extension for increased capacity.

    If looking for a decent economy gun, a CZ 720 or a Mossberg SA20. There are others.

    Shotguns are extremely versatile, and outstanding game getters, but a shotgun will limit your home defense in a rural area to well under 100 yards, and the magazine capacity or reloading speed is not conducive to a gunfight.

    Shotguns have solid “fight stopping power” with proper loads, so that is a plus. But there is a reason the military and LEO’s don’t carry them as much these days...
     
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  15. FFGColorado

    FFGColorado Member

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    Mossberg Maverick 88..all the features of a 500 for less $..Even if you use it a LOT, the Maverick works well, lasts a long time. I bought mine for about $170, new, delivered.

    https://www.mossberg.com/category/series/maverick-88/



     
  16. ericuda

    ericuda Member

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    20 gauge 870 Express youth would be ideal for her. Short, light and an easy gun to operate. Only thing is the one I bought worked way smoother after 2 or 300 rounds. The pump loosened up and got way smoother.
     
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  17. cdahl383

    cdahl383 Member

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    We’re both new to all guns. Never owned or shot a gun in my life, same with my wife.

    I’ll look into some of these other guns mentioned above. Looks like there is a lot to learn like anything new you get into.

    Regarding training and shooting, id like to start going to the range a few times per week to get the hang of it all. I know this is a crude comparison, but when I first started drag racing my car, I’d goof up my burnout, or cut a bad light, etc. The more passes I made and the more often, the easier and more consistent I became, to the point where it’s all subconscious now when I pull up in the staging lanes. I’m guessing that’s how shooting is. If I just go once a month for a little bit, I probably won’t be as good at things as if I went several times a week for a while to get everything engrained in my head. Between the shooting ranges nearby and my friend who has one on his property, I should be able to get a lot of time in. The gun won’t be much use if when I need it I forget steps and goof stuff up.
     
  18. cdahl383

    cdahl383 Member

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    I like that hickok45 guy on YouTube too, his videos are really informative. I also like that Paul Harrell guy too. Been watching lots of those videos lately.
     
  19. George P

    George P Member

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    Since you mentioned rural area, do you have some good dogs? HD is not a one item thing, it is a multi-layered approach using fences, dogs, lighting, good locks, and a PLAN............guns should be the last resort..............
     
  20. Fiv3r

    Fiv3r Member

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    I have a 590a1 Retrograde that is a battle axe. Incredibly solid...incredibly heavy. Im a fit guy, and I dont see myself lugging that monster around for fun. However, I bought it for HD, and it is a great post up gun. Covering the top of the stairs with 9 rounds of 00 loaded in the gun gives me serious firepower to protect my family.

    The gun has been 100% reliable and I have grown to appreciate the tang safety as a lefty. It will never swing or balance as well as my old Ithaca DSPS. Even clocking in with the same 20" barrel length, the 590a1 is monstrously more robust in terms of weight and bulkiness. The 37 would be a great woods walking gun. The 590a1 is what I would go with if I had to pick a nearly indestructible long arm to last a lifetime of hard knocks.

    I would probably be served just as well with a 500 or even a Maverick, but when I bought the 590a1 I did it with the purpose of just buying what I really wanted first. Still thinking about getting a Shockwave for the trunk of my car, but thats another story.
     
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  21. Buzznrose

    Buzznrose Member

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    Based on this, I repeat and strongly suggest you watch this documentary. It will be eye opening and may save you a lot of $$$ and heartache:

    Keep and Bear

    Trailer:



    Amazon link:

    https://www.amazon.com/Keep-Bear-Darren-Doane/dp/B0769ZW2FH/ref=nodl_
     
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  22. Ernie Bass

    Ernie Bass member

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    Good advice. Just a thought. Incorporating all of the above and understanding that the OP is new to all guns, where a firearm may not even be the right choice.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2020
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  23. Buzznrose

    Buzznrose Member

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    Based on everything you mention in this post, I would suggest you look at a pistol caliber carbine (PCC), either something like the Ruger or some form of AR in 9MM. Big hint...get one that takes Glock magazines!!!

    And find someone who is willing to help walk you through your first range visit to orient you on safe handling and operations.

    I am also a huge fan of AR’s, but 9MM ammo is cheaper and the noise of recoil not as sharp.
     
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  24. StationOps

    StationOps Member

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    I second all the motions to not mix 12 ga and 20 ga for home defense. If you need a lighter recoil gun, and especially being completely new to guns, get a 22 LR rifle. It doesn't hit as hard as a shotgun for sure, but most people hit with 22 LR self defense rounds will decide to be elsewhere. Yes, if you get attacked by linebackers on PCP with body armor, the 22 LR will be much less effective than a shotgun.

    22 LR rifle also has the advantage of cheap ammo (or before the COVID crisis it was cheap). You can't mix up 12 ga shells and 22 rounds in the dark.

    I can currently order a variety of semi-auto 22LR through my LGS, between $120 for a Savage 64F up to $600 for a Browning semi-auto. They don't have any Mavericks or short barrel Mossbergs available (though it does change daily).

    And of course, make sure you have 4-6 months expenses saved up.
     
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  25. Virginian

    Virginian Member

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    Got to a range and try/shoot some different guns and decide what YOU prefer. No one else knows you or your total situation like you do.
    Just as an example - Mossberg and Browning pump shotguns are excellent, but I don't care for them. I much prefer the Remington. You may totally disagree. If you are going to spend money you should end up happy.
     
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