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Do I really need a hunting shotgun?

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by FMF Doc, Mar 20, 2013.

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  1. FMF Doc

    FMF Doc Member

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    First of all, I am a firm believer that a firearm is a tool, and like any good tool, should be tailored to the job it is going to do. I know that there is no such thing as a "Do all" or "magic ONE gun. What I want to know, is can I get away with just one shotgun? After all, money is getting tighter and tighter these days, and a gun just for hunting is almost more or a want than a need. I have a friend who is looking to thin out his collection and is going to give me a really good deal on his Remington 887 Tactical. This one has the 18.5 barrel, with the "tactical choke" While this is totally useless for hunting, it allows me to put any remington choke on. I don't shoot skeet or trap so that is not a factor. I don't do a lot of waterfoul hunting, but I might do some this year. I don't shoot dove, but it too is not out of the question. Primarily, it will be used for turkey and deer. Is there anything wrong with putting a turkey choke on it an going turkey hunting, or just using it with an improved or modified and shooting buck shot at deer? A couple of chokes are a lot less than different barrels, and much easier to change.
     
  2. OptimusPrime

    OptimusPrime Member

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    When you compromise, you lose benefits of one extreme over the other. You can shoot slugs or go duck hunting with an 18" barrel, but accuracy will suffer and you won't be as good as you could be. You could also use a full size barrel for home defense, but it won't be as manageable as a short barrel.
    You said it yourself; there is no one magic gun. Make your compromises and live with it.
     
  3. FMF Doc

    FMF Doc Member

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    Optimus: I guess the question is, am I going to loose so much that it is no longer worth it?
     
  4. OptimusPrime

    OptimusPrime Member

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    In my opinion, yes it is too much of a loss.
    I wouldn't dream of waterfowling with a short barrel, nor of deer hunting with one. Even with a full length barrel you're looking at 75 yards or a bit longer with a slug, and a short barrel decreases the range and accuracy.
    CAN you do it? Yes. Would I? No way. I have a hunting shotgun and a defense shotgun. Each are tuned for their task.
     
  5. Fred Fuller

    Fred Fuller Moderator Emeritus

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    Doc,

    Remington makes purpose built turkey guns with 21" barrels. And their slug barrels range from 18.5" to 20" for the 870. I wouldn't call an 18.5" barrel with RemChokes useless for hunting at all - it's about perfect for turkey and deer IMHO, with the appropriate chokes and loads. Barrel length will have little if anything to do with the range of a shotgun, if it's long enough to burn all the powder (generally about 14" with smokeless loads). As for accuracy, that depends far more on the shooter than on anything else.

    Granted you might want a longer barrel for wingshooting, where maintaining your swing smoothly is more important - and a longer barrel offering more weight forward of the support hand helps in that regard. There are bunches of extra 870 barrels available in a variety of configurations, both new and used, and it should be little trouble finding one that will do what you need at a manageable price.

    I make it a habit never to turn down a good deal on any 870 I like, regardless of what barrel it wears. Swapping barrels on 870s is no trouble at all. A good 870 with a short handy barrel and a longer vent rib barrel is as close to a do-it-all gun as I can imagine.
     
  6. kyhunter

    kyhunter Member

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    Exactly what Fred said. With flite-control wads and the like the longer barrel doesnt offer much on patterning. Velocity loss is something like 100 fps from 28 to 18 inch since shotgun powder burns generally extremely fast. Ive shot slugs minute of deer at 75 yards with an 18 inch cylinder bore 870. Why would a turkey gun be made with a 21 inch barrel if a 28 or 30 was so much better?
     
  7. Tolkachi Robotnik

    Tolkachi Robotnik Member

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    It will work.

    I have hunted ducks with one fellow with a riot 18.5" barrel, and he killed ducks with it. It took choke tube inserts. Only bad thing is it is LOUD! It is not a very civil thing to show up with in a duck blind.

    Since turkey hunting is a singular activity, it will only be loud for you. It might be nice if you have a middle bead so you can rifle sight line things up. I would say you will have little trouble with the short gun as a turkey slayer. The special tight chokes are long so it will be about twenty inches.

    Slugs will go out of it fine, don't put in a tight choke for that. There are some inserts just for that purpose as well. Whatever speed you lose for being short of barrel will not matter.

    Any 12 gauge shotgun is capable of many uses if you can change chokes. The longer barrels will help with wingshooting but if you don't mind missing some it doesn't really make that much difference.

    Happy Hunting...
     
  8. GCBurner

    GCBurner Member

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    You only need a "hunting" shotgun if you're going to be hunting something that requires a shotgun, or shooting clay pigeons in some sporting game. You can get a spare barrel for sporting purposes and swap it out, with most take-down pump shotguns. For my Winchester 1200, I've got a 20" cylinder bore home defense barrel that stays on it most of the time, and a 28" vent-rib barrel with choke tubes for everything else, which can swap over in less than a minute by unscrewing the magazine tube end cap.
     
  9. natman

    natman Member

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    An 18.5" barrel is too short for proper swing dynamics, so I wouldn't recommend it for any sort of wing shooting. However, neither turkey nor deer hunting require it, so you would be OK with a change in choke.
     
  10. crazyjennyblack

    crazyjennyblack Member

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    I prefer a 20" barrel for all-around use. I use a Browning BPS, smooth barrel, swappable chokes and rifle sights. When you're of shorter stature like I am, "swing dynamics" end up translating to "makes your arms tired and the gun barrel-heavy" With proper sights, proper chokes, and proper load selection, you really don't need a long barrel. If you're built bigger, get whatever barrel you feel suits you best, and swap out for your intended task.
     
  11. unreal45

    unreal45 Member

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    If money is tight I would take that setup and hunt everything on your list. Then I would start saving for a more versitle shotgun. You can't beat a 12ga 3˝ semi auto with a 28˝ barrel weighing in around 7 lbs. IMHO
     
  12. Virginian

    Virginian Member

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    Personally I would ten times rather have a hunting shotgun and use it for defense than the other way around. In fact, I do. A tactical grip is also not an advantage on a hunting gun in my opinion.
     
  13. Pete D.

    Pete D. Member

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    Barrels

    There is a lot of solid good advice here. Myself, the consideration is based on my most likely use. For most people most of the time the HD is the least likely scenario. Getting a shotgun with interchangeable barrels so that I can accommodate that possibility, though, makes sense.
    Most of the time, the gun is going to be used for sporting purposes (with any luck at all, that is all it will ever be used for)....having a barrel that will allow that makes for maximum use.
    Look into whether you can get the extra barrel. I know that the 887 is based on the 870.....will it accept 870 barrels? If it does, great. If it does not, I would not buy it. As the post above says, I'd rather the hunting SG if I had to choose.
    Pete
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2013
  14. bernie

    bernie Member

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    Tolkachi hit the point I was going to make. I duck hunted one time with my 21" barrel turkey gun. It killed ducks. However, it was so unpleasant to my hunting companions I put it up for the last part of the hunt. We actually put a rule in place of a minimum of a 26" barrel in our pit, except for youth guns fired by youth (we never get up and shoot when the youth do).
     
  15. Capstick1

    Capstick1 Member

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    If you have to have one gun that's versatile and can be anything you want it to be it's tough to beat the Remington mod 870. If you want to use it for home defense just use the 21" barrel with rifle sights and a mag extension. If you want to take this same gun and use it for duck hunting, sporting clays, trap, or skeet just take off the mag extension and put a 28 or 30 inch barrel with regular bead sights on it. Extra 870 barrels aren't that expensive and are fairly easy to find. 870's are also very reliable, don't wear out, and often outlive their owners.
     
  16. PabloJ

    PabloJ Member

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    Yes. The real waste of money is that modern stuff with short barrels, "door breaching tubes", extended mags and collapsable or folding stocks.
     
  17. huntsman

    huntsman Member

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    that's not my experiences, if there's one true do it all gun it's a shotgun. Growing up most of us only had one gun and we learned to use a shotgun for everything, be it a single, bolt or a semi-auto (all which are what I had at various times) this tool box mentality is something I find flawed when it comes to guns and shotguns in particular.
     
  18. PabloJ

    PabloJ Member

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    Ithaca offers Model 37 fowler in special weather resistant finish. Unless you are olympic shooter or frequent fancy English upland shoots where repeaters are NOT welcome one could do pretty much everything with that one.
     
  19. Sav .250

    Sav .250 Member

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    What is a "really good deal" to you?
     
  20. TroyR

    TroyR Member

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    I have many 870 shotguns. Tactical 18" models to the standard hunting long barrel model..

    What I shoot and is my go to shotgun even if SHTF is a camo Rem 870 supermag with a 26" barrel that has a extended magazine on it that hols 10+1. It also uses the rem chokes.

    I can hunt and tacticaly do anything with this gun. It shoots every 12ga shell known to man from 2 3/4 inch to 3.5 inch. For a do it all gun I think this is as close as you will ever get.
     
  21. TroyR

    TroyR Member

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    Why do you say extended mags are a waste of money? Reply to post #16
     
  22. browningguy

    browningguy Member

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    Well I wouldn't consider the above to be good advice, but otherwise most of the posts are correct.

    Can't you get spare barrels for the Remington? I know with my Mossberg 500 and 930 barrel swaps are easy and fairly cheap. I like an 18-20" barrel on an HD shotgun, 22-24" for a deer hunting slug gun, 26-28" for a bird hunting gun, and 30-32" for a sporting clays gun. And my wife, bless her heart, thinks that makes a lot of sense, hence my current assortment of shotguns.

    My HD shotgun by the way is an 18" barrel, extended magazine tube for 8+1 capacity, ghost ring night sights and a pistol grip stock. I don't consider it a waste at all, it's much easier to move around the house with this than my 30" barreled sporting clays gun.

    [​IMG]
     
  23. USAF_Vet

    USAF_Vet Member

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    I bought a shotgun with a 28" vent rib barrel threaded for chokes, then I bought the 18.5" HD barrel later.

    A set of choke tubes and you should be set for virtually any situation, hunting or defense.

    I keep my Mav 88 equipped with the HD barrel, but when I take it out to bust clays or drop game, it wears the long barrel. I'm working on getting choke tubes as I can.

    So to answer the question, No, you don't need a dedicated hunting shotgun. If you can afford to have purpose dedicated weapons, great. I can't, so I make the best out of what I have and try to make it work. It still puts meat in the freezer, and as long as it does, I'm not going to worry.
     
  24. Pete D.

    Pete D. Member

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    Barrel

    No doubt. Which use, though, is the one that you do most? Another way of asking is if you are ever engaged in a tactical use that is a real life and death situation.
    Depending on where one lives, I can understand the magazine extension being a waste of money. It sure looks fearsome but.....it also disturbs the balance of the gun and unless you are trick shooting or going into combat, the extra shells are of little use.....indeed, in my state of PA, only two shells are allowed in the magazine while hunting - additional capacity must be plugged. That is why I took the mag extension off the gun that I had - in a moment of weakness - put it on.
    Short barrels offer only the single - and limited - advantage of quick handling. Other than that, they are a compromise in terms of how a sporting shotgun is used. Some folks, indeed, shoot them well in the clay games. Those people would probably shoot the longer barrels even better.
    There are good reasons why the big winners in any of the clay games are shooting guns with longer barrels and no mahgazine extensions
    Pete
     
  25. TroyR

    TroyR Member

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    I shoot trap with it every now and then just for goofing. Otherwise I shoot it through my tactical course I have at home. Extra rounds are nice here...I also take it rabbit, squirrel, coyote,Hog, deer hunting etc.. Once again the extra rounds are nice and legal here. Ducks and Turkey needs to be plugged for 3rds.

    Now for home defense, and you only want to load a couple shells in it, well thats not for me. Lets say 2-3 bad guys come to rob you, I want to be ready. That is war.

    Balance is fine unless you are a small skinny guy that is not very strong, otherwise they might need hitting the gym anyway. When you mean business and train hard this gun is not heavy or unbalanced.
     
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