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Fighting shotgun recommendations

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by BluesDancer, May 31, 2015.

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  1. BluesDancer

    BluesDancer Member

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    Hi THR,
    It seems to me that trying to figure out the right shotgun to buy is quite a bit harder than buying a rifle or a pistol and wanted to hear opinions and thoughts on this.

    It seems that "the right fit" and the whole concept of "fitting the shotgun to the user" is a whole lot more important with a shotgun compared to a pistol or rifle which to me creates difficulties. Not bad difficulties, just difficulties. One huge example I keep on seeing is what sights to get (Bead vs GRS vs Rifle Sights) - It seems to me that different sights work for different people using the shotgun in different ways. Another example is the different uses and configurations for different roles, modularity, changing out barrels for other barrels depending on use.

    Now - why did I create this thread? I am looking for my first shotgun - I think I would like a pump-action fighting shotgun that could be modified to work in 3-gun, trap, skeet, etc. It certainly does not need to be excellent at all of these things, but some versatility would be nice. My questions are as follows:

    #1 - Is it desirable to find out what type of shotgun sights are best for me before buying a first shotgun?
    #2 - If yes to #1, what are some good ways to do this? Do I need to actually shoot a shotgun to confirm if a certain type of sight is good/bad?
    #3 - Do you have any recommendations for a fighting shotgun that can be versatile and modified (such as barrels switched out) for other roles?
    #4 - Would the Rem 870 Express (Bead) or Benelli Supernova (GRS/Rifle) be a good choice and why?

    Thanks in advance for your comments.
     
  2. CWL

    CWL Member

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    You ever buy shoes, or pants without trying it on first? Every buy a car without a test drive? The first thing you need to do is to handle and fire them.

    Also, why would you even consider modifying a shotgun if you've never fired one before?

    Go rent or borrow and shoot as many as you can get your hands on. Find what fits you the best. Check if a nearby range has shotgun defense courses. Take one before you even begin to think about modifying anything. You won't know if you need to do anything until you become comfortable with how your personal defensive shotgun handles.

    And stay away from magnum loads or any specialty loads.
     
  3. btg3

    btg3 Member

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    Can't fault the 870. I have a few older ones along with various fixed choke barrels. Also an Express with an 18-1/2 barrel and a 26" with rem-chokes.

    If an 870 feels good, points well, fits, then get one
     
  4. horsemen61

    horsemen61 Member

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  5. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    A pump action 12 gauge shotgun, like the Remington 870 or Mossberg 500, can be a very versatile and useful shotgun to have. Mind you it may not be the best suited for every application; with different barrel configurations it can be great for most hunting situations as well as home defense but not be as suitable for some things such as trap, skeet, or sporting clays.
     
  6. sappyg

    sappyg Member

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    An 870 Remington or 500 Mossberg should do nicely.

    The 870 would be my choice. You can buy shorter barrels if you like. One of mine (870) wears a Mossberg 18.5 IC choked barrel. Another sports a cut down cylinder bore (19") factory barrel that use to be 28". Sometimes I use the spare 28" barrel for backyard trap but truthfully the shorties are more fun for that.

    Best advise is to get a reliable shotgun. Shoot. Clean. Repeat. If the gun doesn't fit it's easy enough to fix. If the sights don't suit you there are plenty of options. The 870 might be a little easier to add a mag extension.

    Edit:
    You might consider reading this.
    http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=355528
     
  7. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

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    Sorry to disagree - the pump is a compromise and a poor one at that........I'd go with a gas gun for greater reliability and less recoil
     
  8. Deog

    Deog Member

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    Mossberg 590A1
     
  9. Ironicaintit

    Ironicaintit Member

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    I used to be an 870 fan, but one that i had, had some serious extraction issues and it changed my tune.
    One I hadnt considered, but ended up inheriting is a winchester 1300, with 20" slug barrel. Now that Ive shot it a bunch, I LOVE that thing.
    It fits me quite well.

    My favorite is still the model 12, but that's probably not what you're after.
     
  10. 1911 guy

    1911 guy Member

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    For a first shotgun, it's pretty hard to screw up by buying either a Remington 870 or a Mossberg 500.

    I also heartily agree to take a class or equivalent instruction before changing things. Run it bone stock, decide what your needs are and how to modify it, if at all, according to experience rather than unfounded opinion or advice.
     
  11. SlowFuse

    SlowFuse Member

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    I like my mossbergs. Have a 500, 590 and a Mav. 88 that I'll put in that category that are all fine shooters. But the one I really like is a Win 1300. Smoother action than the Mossbergs and it just fits me better. I have a 20 inch barrel with rifle sights on the 1300, it's a good combination for me.

    If you're going with an auto an 1100 would be my choice. But, you have to know what runs it 100%, they can get choked up with the wrong loads.
     
  12. BluesDancer

    BluesDancer Member

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    Wow, thanks for all your comments.

    CWL:
    I would love to borrow as many as I can get my hands on, but unfortunately that is none as of this time. I live in Cook County, IL. Not a lot of gun shops. No shotgun courses at my local gun shops. None of my friends shoot guns. Indoor ranges - a few. Outdoor ranges - basically none that I know of. If I was debating what caliber of Glock to get I would be fine as the local gun shops rent pistols, but for shotguns I think I'm SOL. No trap/skeet or anything that I'm aware of. I will inquire about spectating at the next 3-gun match in Plainfield, IL. Basically I do not have easy access to "trying out" shotguns. I'm working on it...

    Bannockburn:
    I was thinking as you were: pump shotgun is jack of all trades, master of none. Is a pump R870 or M500 still workable for trap/skeet/clay with the right barrel, though?

    Sappyg and 1911 guy:
    Your comments are noted. I did read Dave McC's thread for a bit and it did help me. I am definitely appreciative of starting bone dry and going off experience. I was sort of seeing if I could get a push in a specific direction, but I am starting to think just getting a basic, well known brand pump with a bead and let experience take me the rest of the way. This sounds like the best idea. Do you agree?

    oneounceload:
    I definitely agree that a pump may not be the best option in several realms of shotgunning; however, I chose the pump specifically for certain reasons. My reason for getting a shotgun is to make me a good shotgunner no matter what shotgun make/model/type I happen to be using. Given this I wanted to get a shotgun that would be the hardest to master. My reasoning is that if I can master a pump, then I could transfer skills easier to semi-autos, SxS, etc rather than starting with a semi-auto and going to everything else. In other words I want a pump because it is harder, specifically because I expect it to be a challenge and be a learning experience.

    Deog:
    590A1 - I think they are really nice and feel nice but I'm not sure of it's versatility to take on other, non-fighting roles should I choose to do them...
     
  13. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    BluesDancer

    I have seen a few gentlemen shooting trap with a basic no-frills 870 (have also seen them using a basic no-frills H&R single shot shotgun too), and while they did alright, none of them seemed very close to breaking 25 with those guns. Now I can't comment on their particular skill level but they all seemed to know what they were doing as far as trap shooting went. A number of trap shooters that I observed used specialized guns, like the Browning BT99 and the Remington Model 1100 Trap. Others, like myself and a friend of mine, preferred over/under shotguns.
     
  14. BluesDancer

    BluesDancer Member

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    So in this case, specifically for trap/skeet/clays is it really best to get a second shotgun separate from any fighting shotgun one may have? You make it sound like skeet/trap folks have a shotgun dedicated to that specific purpose rather than use a common model...

    I have never hunted before, but I plan on spectating a 3-gun match as soon as I can manage it. Therefore, I would say my top two intended uses would be defense and competition...all with a pump. I'm just trying to get a feel for all the different realms of shotgunning and I know I have a ton to learn...

    I got that an 870 (or 590A1, etc) will work for defense. Can an 870 with 6+1 (and a bead perhaps) be workable in 3-gun? Not trying to win any stages or anything, just simply get me through them.
     
  15. Sovblocgunfan

    Sovblocgunfan Member

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    Trap/skeet/clays people often do have favorite shotguns for their sport of choice, and each game may even have further specialization in terms of firearms choices. Purpose-built trap guns are often single shot break-barrels with long barrel lengths, where as skeet guns tend to have shorter barrels for enhanced movement through the target.

    But I think you are looking for a do-all gun. One that does everything. That means you may have to accept compromises if you go down that road.

    Compromises mean that your gun of choice may do all these things, but may not do any of them terribly well.

    If this is what you want, a pump gun may be your most reasonable choice. Perhaps with barrels you can change for the thing you want to do. A Mossberg 500 will give you this flexibility. But it'll be a PITA to change your gun's configuration every time you want to do something different.

    If I were in your shoes, I would want dedicated guns for my activities. IOW, I would want a specific gun for HD. And other guns for games and hunting. Not necessarily different makes and models, mind you, but more than one gun, each configured for a different task.

    The 1100 would allow this sort of variation. You can get them set up however you like. And it's a soft-shooting autoloader that will allow you to learn without the struggles that go with a slide-action gun.
     
  16. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

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    Folks who compete will have dedicated guns for specific purposes. Sporting clays is different than skeet, which is different than trap. Can one gun be used for all three? Most certainly, but it won't be a pump; it will typically be a nice O/U made to shoot high volumes of shells with minimum maintenance.

    If you're just shooting for grins and giggles, use what you have; if later you decide to step to the competition level, you'll be getting something specific for the job.
     
  17. X-Rap

    X-Rap Member

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    870 & 500 will probably offer you the most and cheapest options for barrel changes. You will want at least two barrels and possibly stocks for what you've stated the gun is for.
     
  18. dogmush

    dogmush Member

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    870 Wingmaster, $180.

    http://summitgunbroker.com/

    Can't really go wrong with that. You can get another barrel with a bead to try out and or shoot clays with and you'd still be less then the price of an 870 Express.

    I ordered a couple on Sat. He still had some.
     
  19. g.willikers

    g.willikers Member

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  20. Sunray

    Sunray Member

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    There's no such thing as a fighting shotgun. Shotguns are illegal under the Rules of Land Warfare treaties. It's either Geneva or The Hague Conventions. I never remember which one covers land warfare rules.
    Mind you, if your Cook County(probably illegal to have a house gun there. Check that before you spend any money. I believe you're required to have permission from the State anyway.) homestead should be beset by criminals, a smooth bore, pump action, 12 gauge with rifle sights and an extended mag tube will help deter 'em. Best with a wood stock. Easier to make it fit you better by installing a recoil pad. Synthetic stocks make 'em too light anyway.
    Which brand really doesn't matter, but look at a Rem M870 or Mossberg M500/590 combo. Those come with more than one barrel(usually a slug barrel that may or may not be rifled, no rifling for buckshot and a changeable choked bird barrel. Sometimes a third barrel too.) for a reasonable price.
     
  21. Sav .250

    Sav .250 Member

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    "Fighting shotgun" What!

    Sights ..with slugs. Anything thing else.....point and pull trigger.

    Shotgun...........870. But extra barrel.
     
  22. stoky

    stoky Member

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  23. dogmush

    dogmush Member

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    It was the Hauge Conventions that cover arms and munitions, and No, they did not outlaw shotguns.

    Combat shotguns are current issue to US (and I assume other) forces around the world. I have myself been issued at various times Mosberg 500's, Remington 870's and an M26.

    There are some extra hoops to jump through in IL, but it is very possible for him to have a house gun, and a pump 12ga is probably a lot easier for him to get than some other choices.
     
  24. Inebriated

    Inebriated Member

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    #1; Not really. You tailor the sights to the job, more than the sights to you. Skeet/Trap/Clays, bead reigns supreme. HD, a tritium bead is the way to go in my opinion. 3-Gun, again, beads (particularly fiber optic) are the norm. You may like ghost rings for some applications (lots of slug shooting and big game hunting), but they are of limited value on a shotgun.

    #2; Take a fighting shotgun class, rent a gun, and see what other students are using. You won't find a quality training class with students unwilling to let you try their gun. I'd recommend a class regardless, though.

    #3; Remington or Mossberg 590.

    #4; The Express. For all you're wanting to do, you'll want the barrel options of the 870. You also have the furniture, accessories, and parts.

    For an exact recommendation, the basic 870 Express with the wood furniture and 26" or 28" barrel is the route I'd go. 870 barrels, as you'd imagine, cost more the longer they are. An 18" Express barrel is about $110 new. A 28" Express barrel is about $200 new. But the shotguns themselves... the 28" shotgun is usually cheaper than an 18". Go figure. So you end up saving by getting the 26"-28" 870 and an 18" barrel separately, rather than the other way around.

    Also, by going with a 4+1 version, you don't get stuck with an integral 6 round tube, limiting barrel options. I would strongly recommend Magpul furniture, as well. Fit is important. The SGA stock is completely adjustable for LOP, the wrist angle is perfect for a shotgun (IMO), and despite looking like a boat oar, it's the most comfortable shotgun stock I've used. Their forend is also the most cost effective way to mount a light that you have constant control of.
     
  25. 1911 guy

    1911 guy Member

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    Who told you shotguns were illegal under the Hague Accords?

    Simple way to remember: Geneva=prisoners, Hague=warfare.
     
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