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Need help picking a shotgun for bird hunting

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by stnjohnson, Jan 13, 2011.

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  1. stnjohnson

    stnjohnson Member

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    My friend got me into dove hunting this year and I love it. I've been borrowing his gun but it's time for me to get my own. I'm also planning on hunting waterfowl when the season roles around next year. Here are my options:

    From Walmart:
    -Mossberg 500 28" bbl w/ 3 chokes $239 out the door
    -Mossberg 935 Magnum black syn. stockw/ 3 chokes $481 otd

    Or from the local gun shop, both used guns:
    -Remington 1100 Magnum wood stock, 28" bbl, 1 choke in it, some light blood damage on receiver: $460 otd
    -Mossberg 935 magnum black syn. stock, 26" bbl, 1 choke in it: $385 otd

    My questions are: How many chokes do I really need? Buying Accu-mag chokes at $30 a pop can run the price of the used 935 right up around the new price. And on that same gun, is the 26" bbl a problem?

    With the blood damage on the 1100 magnum, should I care? It's a field gun right? Or is it fixable? I've cold blued before but don't know if that holds up at all.

    The 500 is cheap and all, and if I were sticking with dove that would be an easy buy, but I understand a magnum is pretty helpful for taking down ducks. Right?

    By the way, I prefer wood stocks a bit but function usually beats form for me. Thanks ahead of time.
     
  2. Virginian

    Virginian Member

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    Wait. You've got almost a year. For that money you ought to be able to find an 11-87 or a Beretta without blood staining, just for example. If you don't get in a huge rush. I would advise shopping for a good used gun from a name brand maker that seems to fit you well. Pumps will be cheaper, but autos are generally preferred by most, except where costs are the determining factor. From what you are describing, I think you ought to look at a gun that shoots 2-3/4" and 3" shells. I don't think you need 3-1/2" capability right now. If you get a good used name brand gun, and like it, fine, you are set. If you change your mind, which frequently happens with a new shooter, you should be able to sell that gun for whatever you have in it, if you took decent care of it. And then you can try again.
    Now, everyone is going to tell you how great their XYZ Whizzer is, and that is the gun you ought to get. Well, it might be a great gun for them, but the problem is you ain't them. When your gun feels right to you, it makes all the difference in the world. And, despite all the little idiosyncrasies between the designs, and all the rhetoric about which gun is 7 ounces lighter, or will go X more rounds between cleanings, they all pretty much work as advertised if you are a little bit capable of reading and comprehending the owners manual, and don't have 3 thumbs. So you have to do a 5 minute cleaning after 200 rounds? Are you going to Argentina? I clean my guns a little if I shoot them once, because I like wood and blued steel also.
    You are about to jump into an ocean of an experience. Almost as complicated as women, and sometimes even more fun. Sometimes. Good luck.
     
  3. stnjohnson

    stnjohnson Member

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    Thanks Virginian, all sound advice. Not new to shooting BTW, just new to shotguns and wing shooting. I do intend to do some trap and skeet shooting during the off season so I will be getting something before next year but you are right, I have plenty of time to wait.
     
  4. Mark8252

    Mark8252 Member

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    Acceptable Shotgun

    Any field shotgun will work. Its just preference my friend. I believe interchangeable chokes to be important. Allows the shotgun to be better for differant purposes. But any will work usually pretty well. Most important thing is how well the shooter knows how to use it.
     
  5. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

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  6. Steve C

    Steve C Member

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    My hunting guns have fixed modified chokes. I've used them for dove, quail, pigeons, chukars, pheasant and duck. The only time I ever found myself wanting less choke was when hunting wood grouse where the shots where close and came quick in small clearings. Never felt the need for a full choke when hunting.

    When I shot trap my trap guns where full choke.
     
  7. stnjohnson

    stnjohnson Member

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    I leaning more towards an auto for this gun. I have a 500 with the 18.5" bbl for my house so I may get a 28" for that down the road if I want to shoot skeet or birds.
     
  8. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

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    Personally, I wouldn't use a 12 for dove, but you seem to want a 1-gun-for-everything. In that case, I would head to your local trap/skeet-type range and rent/borrow as many guns as you can and see which one you like the best. If you really want a semi for both dove AND waterfowl, the Beretta from wally world/Cabela's or a used Benelli will be something that will take the use and last for years - something the cheaper guns will not do. The 1100 isn't bad, but it is heavy - nice for waterfowl, heavy for dove
     
  9. RonE

    RonE Member

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    I personally don't like the Mossberg products and love the Remington 11-87. I would stay away from the 1100 as it is often very finicky about different loads (light vs heavy) while the 11-87 isn't. Most 11-87's have screw in chokes, most 1100's don't. I prefer blue steel and walnut stocks and most of Remingtons wood is better than most all of Mossbergs. I am not trying to start a fight, just experssing my opinions.

    My advice is pretty much the same as Virginians, look around, shoot as many as you can and pick something that you feel good about owning and shooting. Keep in mind also that you probably don't still own your first bicycle, if you change your mind, change your shotgun.
     
  10. brandon_mcg

    brandon_mcg Member

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    i have killed lots of doves with my 870 wingmaster....but i have killed even more with my beretta a390.

    killed lots and lots of woodies with 2 3/4" steel shot out of the 870.

    both 12 gauge by the way.
     
  11. stnjohnson

    stnjohnson Member

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    Thanks for all of your posts, after reading them and looking around a bit more I'm going to discard or at least put these guns on the back burner. I started out looking for an older 870. I love how my buddies wingmaster looks and feels and that seems like a pretty solid choice. The 1187 is pretty sharp looking too with the wood stocks.

    After thinking about it some more I may end up with a dove gun and a separate waterfowl gun. A cheaper and lighter dove gun will get me through the off-season shooting at clay and I can save a little and have another come waterfowl season. At least that'll sound good to the wife too.
     
  12. Virginian

    Virginian Member

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    In that case you may want to look at a 20 for the off season clays and dove, and the wife may enjoy that as well. A Remington 1100 LT20 is my favorite dove machine, and for just waterfowl a used Wingmaster Magnum is superb, but you may not want to go swapping action types. Good luck.
     
  13. ThePunisher'sArmory

    ThePunisher'sArmory Member

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    I like my Winchester SX2 for pretty much all birds. My main 3 are:
    Mossberg 500 20ga--Dove, and any smaller birds
    Winchester 1400 12ga--Dove, small birds, and Duck (its only a 2 3/4" chamber)
    Winchester SX2 12ga--Dove, Duck, and Goose (its a 3 1/2" chamber for reaching those geese that don't commit)
     
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