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Shotgun vs. AR15

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by JAshley73, Sep 13, 2013.

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  1. JAshley73

    JAshley73 Member

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    Ok, I know this has been beaten to death, but I have a certain set of wants and restrictions that makes this discussion a little more specific and productive.

    My Wants - Let's establish this first - that I want one of these, not need. My first thought was that I wanted a light, 20ga semi-auto shotgun with plastic hardware. The top-pick is a Benelli M2 20ga, probably with a 26" barrel, with the comfortech stock. It would be a shotgun of the highest quality, would be pretty useful for several things, and would see some use. Now, the M2 Comfortech is a $1200 gun, give or take. More affordable options would be the M2 American (on sale locally for $799, less incentives and rebates,) or the Franchi Affinity ($700ish.) But then I saw an add for a Smith & Wesson M&P-Sport for $599, and it got me thinking. I'd kind of like to have an AR-15 rifle too...

    Intended Uses - I originally wanted a gun that I could take to a "fighting shotgun" class without worrying about damaging pretty wood and blued steel. I have a 12ga Beretta A303 Ducks Unlimited now, which is a fantastic gun, but it is awfully pretty, and it would break my heart to ding and scratch it up. The Beretta is also 7 and a half pounds, so for a wimp like me, something light and fast would be pretty neat.

    This gun would be mainly a recreational gun. I would primarily use it for weekend trap (not league shooting,) the occasional game of sporting clays, and in the future, hopefully some training classes, and maybe even a little small-game a bird hunting. It would also reside in the safe, tube loaded, for "bump-in-the-night" duty. I know that's a lot to ask of one firearm, as one gun can niether be a great trap gun, and a great "Tactical" gun. More on this later.

    Important Considerations I realize that in many cases, the AR-15 carbine is the superior choice for a defensive firearm - particularly when you have to move. The AR-15 has greater ammo capacity, usually lighter weight, lighter recoil, and can adjust to different shooters fairly well and quickly. They may even be easier to learn - I wouldn't know, as I've never fired one... But, there aren't many places where I can fire and practice. There are only a few commercial ranges nearby, all of which aren't conducive to anything more than stationary target shooting. So I'd have to pay to shoot, in an extremely limiting environment. Plus, ammo is twice what shotgun ammo costs. It's hard to stomach that a full magazine costs over $15... So due to the cost of ammo, and the cost and restrictions on range time, I probably wouldn't get much range time with an AR-15.

    For a shotgun however, it's quite the opposite. The nearby sportsman's club of which I'm a member, has a trap range, and is only 3-4 miles from home. I get to shoot for free (bring your own clays...) any time except Sundays, which is when the trap-shoot meets take place, and then it's $4 trap rounds, plus other fun games. There's a skeet and sporting clays club nearby also, so there's more opportunity to practice.

    Now, I'm a firm believer in practicing with what you will use to fight, and fight with what you're best at using. The practice options available to me with a shotgun play into this, and would offer far greater opportunity to become familiar with the gun, and keep any skills honed and sharp. Plus, I figure if I can hit a 4" circle that's traveling 50mph with confidence, then firing at room distance should be doable...

    Like I said earlier, I realize that a 6lb, 20ga with a 26" barrel isn't an ideal gun for much anything. I'm not too worried about it being a handicap on the trap range, as I shoot for fun, and not for competition. Plus, at 16 yards, how much difference would it make for an amateur anyway? I would imagine it would be ok for skeet and sporting clays as well. Again, not ideal but not much of a handicap. And with regards to an HD gun, I realize that 26" is a little long, but I'm not clearing houses either. So I don't a 26" HD gun to be any disadvantage when crouched behind some cover, or pointing down the hallway. A 6lb gun however would be great for fighting fatigue, and would be pretty welcome if I ever take up any hunting. Oh, and the M2's and Affinity's can accept magazine extensions, so a few extra rounds capacity would be welcome as well. And birdshot is still half the price of 5.56 ammo... However, the shotguns of my choice, would still be more expensive up front than the M&P Sport, so this time, the shotgun would not be the cheaper option...

    And then, the little kid inside me thinks an AR-15 would be fun too, despite my best "practical" reasoning...

    Ok, I think I've rambled on enough for now. But I'd love to hear your thoughts. What say you? Buy the shotgun, the AR-15, or save the cash and head to the bar?
     
  2. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

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    If you can practice with one, but not the other, get the one you'll practice with.
     
  3. Warp

    Warp Member

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    JAshley73: Some thoughts, in no particular order, that I will share with you in hopes of furthering your decision making process:

    *As mentioned above, a gun you are going to go out and shoot trumps one that will sit around.

    *I don't see where you'd be able to go out and shoot with movement, etc, with the shotgun, either.

    *You can get a lot of training in on a square, stationary range for live fire + weapon manipulation and movement at home with a cleared/safe gun.

    *Current pricing on 5.56 is about $0.40-$0.45 per round for pretty good stuff, and $1/round for the absolute best factory ammo available. Unless your non-trap/skeet ranges allow birdshot (unlikely), comparing to buckshot or slugs would be more apt, and 12 gauge buckshot runs at least $0.50 per shell for the least expensive stuff out there.

    *The Benelli M2 with comfortech stock looks like a hell of a shotgun. I am seriously considering trying to get one for Christmas. Not sure yet if I'll go for it or something else.

    *I would not recommend a S&W Sport as a first AR now that they have switched to an unlined 1:9 twist barrel. You're probably looking at more like $800-$1,100 for an good/great AR.

    *You didn't really say anything about what you would do with the AR other than have it for HD/defensive use. You spoke a lot about what else you could/would do with the shotgun.

    To me it reads like you would enjoy the Benelli more, and get more use out of it. I would look into getting a second barrel for it. A 26"+ barrel isn't very good for HD.
     
  4. JAshley73

    JAshley73 Member

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    Thanks Warp. My responses in Red.
     
  5. Recruit

    Recruit Member

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    Just ask Joe Biden :rolleyes:
     
  6. JRs12Valve

    JRs12Valve Member

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    Quick $0.02.

    Intended Uses - I originally wanted a gun that I could take to a "fighting shotgun" class without worrying about damaging pretty wood and blued steel. I have a 12ga Beretta A303 Ducks Unlimited now, which is a fantastic gun, but it is awfully pretty, and it would break my heart to ding and scratch it up. The Beretta is also 7 and a half pounds, so for a wimp like me, something light and fast would be pretty neat.

    This gun would be mainly a recreational gun. I would primarily use it for weekend trap (not league shooting,) the occasional game of sporting clays, and in the future, hopefully some training classes, and maybe even a little small-game a bird hunting. It would also reside in the safe, tube loaded, for "bump-in-the-night" duty. I know that's a lot to ask of one firearm, as one gun can niether be a great trap gun, and a great "Tactical" gun. More on this later.

    You're looking for a recreational shotgun, that can be turned into a defense shotgun. Get a scattergun that has interchangeable barrels. Long barrel for clays, short for the "bump in the night" stuff.

    It seems to me that's what you want, so get it. You also want an AR. Save and get both.

    Next: Where are your bump in the night situations going to take place? A shotgun is a poor substitute for a rifle at ranges past 15-20 yards, in my opinion.
     
  7. Bobson

    Bobson Member

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    Luckily the hallway outside my master bedroom is only 12 yards to the guest quarters, and my team of armed guards cover the rest of the palace.
     
  8. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    Some thoughts:

    A shotgun, 12 or 20 ga, loaded with buckshot or slugs generates 25-30 ft.lbs of recoil. That is 300 mag territory. While a 20 will generate a little less recoil in guns of equal weight, most 20's are lighter, which pretty much evens out the recoil. An AR generates about 5 ft lbs recoil.

    Generally speaking shotguns are cheaper, especially if choosing a pump.

    The AR will be lighter, shorter and hold more rounds.

    Slugs and buckshot are both more likely to overpenetrate and cause unintended damage or injuries than softpoint 223 ammo.

    At close range indoor encounters the shotgun patterns are not big enough to offer any better chances of a hit. The shotgun is most effective at ranges from 15-30 yards where patterns are large enough to increase the potential of hits on moving targets. Realistically, indoors a handgun is probably better than either.

    I'd call it a perfromance tie on very close range, but the AR has a definite edge beyong 30-40 yards. Although shooting at those ranges would be rare, and hard to justify as self defense.

    At close range both are equally effective if you hit someone.

    I own both, including handguns. All 3 options can work, it just depends on the situation and how they are used.
     
  9. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

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    "Realistically, indoors a handgun is probably better than either."

    It's a shame you said that, because the rest of your post is so full of fact. A short carbine is not only much more effective than any duty caliber handgun, but it's also faster and more accurate onto target.


    John
     
  10. FullEffect1911

    FullEffect1911 Member

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    Both would be very effective at close range (inside 20 yards). Federal flitecontrol buckshot extends that effective range of buckshot to ranges outside of the traditional useful range of buckshot, but it seems to only exist in 12 gauge ammo.

    I recognize that the AR15 is probably "the best" option for 2 legged predators if you are practiced with it. If you are good with a shotgun you will not be at any real disadvantage using a shotgun. I also think that shotguns are possibly the most versatile firearms out there, more so for 12 gauge than 20 because of the wide range of ammo options.

    Get what you will enjoy and use and don't look back. I would also say that you should try and shoot an AR15 before you buy. Sometimes the AR15 just doesn't do it for some people.
     
  11. JAshley73

    JAshley73 Member

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    Most if not all of what jmr40 said is true, but for me in my situation, the biggest factor between choosing a shotgun vs an AR-15 has to do with training and practice. Mainly, cost of ammo, and lack of rifle friendly ranges nearby.

    For HD use, I think a 20ga would be fine. Maybe one day I'll have a house big enough to need a rifle for inside shots, but for my humble abode, a shotgun should do it. :)

    I currently have a couple semi-auto pistols as well. If I have to go grab the baby, the pistol is the way to go. But if we have time to make It back to the master bedroom, that's when I'd pick up the shotgun. So again, I won't be clearing-house with the shotgun, so I don't think a 26" barrel will be much problem holed-up in a defensive position...
     
  12. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

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    Okay, see, this is the major misunderstanding some people seem to have. Reason for using a carbine inside have nothing to do with wanting to extend range, but are about decisive effect, ease of use, and controlled penetration.

    John
     
  13. C0untZer0

    C0untZer0 Member

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    I think when you factor in a rifle like the Tavor with it's bullpup design that thing makes for mighty good HD weapon.

    I'm not advocating clearing a home, I'm just saying that if I have to go around a corner, I'd rather go around a corner with a Tavor.

    I hope they make a 12ga shotgun based on the design... that would ROCK !
     
  14. JAshley73

    JAshley73 Member

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    I agree, but I'm not worried about range. I'm worried that with an AR-15 I might not get much opportunity to practice - THAT is the biggest hang -up for me getting an AR-15.
     
  15. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

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    Then I must have missed the point of your "Maybe one day I'll have a house big enough to need a rifle for inside shots".
     
  16. Sam Cade

    Sam Cade Member

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    Rimfire upper or conversion bro!
     
  17. PabloJ

    PabloJ Member

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    Except for making noise at range and scaring people the .223 AR15 is basically worthless weapon.
    I own one long gun and it's 6.8lb 3" 12ga pump shotgun (with thick Limbsaver pad:eek:). It can be used for HD, bird hunting, wildfowling, turkey hunting and larger game hunting with buckshot or slugs. My favorite HD load is 1&1/4 oz slug at Vo of 1020fps.
     
  18. Warp

    Warp Member

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    Please don't tell people this bullcrap.

    We wouldn't want anybody to believe you or take you seriously by mistake/because they don't know any better.
     
  19. Sam Cade

    Sam Cade Member

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  20. PabloJ

    PabloJ Member

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    Yes to a civilian those are basically worthless.
     
  21. Sam Cade

    Sam Cade Member

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    :rolleyes:
    Shhhh... Don't tell all of the deer, coyotes,PDs, pigs and other assorted varmints that I have killed with ARs. I'd hate for them to spontaneously reanimate and come seeking vengeance.
     
  22. JAshley73

    JAshley73 Member

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    I was making a little tounge-in-cheek joke. Sorry, I missed the emoticon. I've never been too good at humor...
     
  23. Warp

    Warp Member

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    You are wrong.

    Hope this helps.
     
  24. amd6547

    amd6547 Member

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    "...Except for making noise at range and scaring people the .223 AR15 is basically worthless weapon..."

    What utter NONSENSE. I have read plenty of nonsense on the Internet, but I believe this takes the cake.
     
  25. Sam Cade

    Sam Cade Member

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    Not only does it take the cake, it leaves it out in the rain.


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0WHx0B90FUc


    :D
     
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