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Young shooter, which of these two shotguns?

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by 1911 guy, Nov 29, 2016.

?

Which shotgun for skinny 12 year old?

  1. Mossberg SA-20 Bantam

    3 vote(s)
    30.0%
  2. Weatherby SA-08 Youth

    3 vote(s)
    30.0%
  3. Other (specify in thread response)

    4 vote(s)
    40.0%
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  1. 1911 guy

    1911 guy Member

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    First paragraph is informational, for those wanting the short version, skip to the second paragraph.
    I have a 12 year old son who has shown an increased interest in shooting and hunting this year. He's been shooting with me many times and out hunting several times already this year. Actually, he's been tagging along carrying a .22 rifle stock stripped of the action so he learns how to navigate around other people without muzzle sweeping them. He's doing well. I want to get him into hunter's education class and his own shotgun for next season. That means getting him the gun well beforehand so he's got time to both learn to manipulate the gun and to shoot it well enough that I'll let him shoot at game. I won't allow a known poor marksman to shoot at game hunting with me, I've stressed this to my son. Shooting at game assumes the responsibility to kill cleanly if at all possible. Anyway...

    My son is 12, but built very slim. Pushing five feet tall, but only about eighty pounds. My 12 gauges positively punish him. One shot at a time and he's done. So I'm looking at 20 gauges and specifically autoloaders. I have narrowed it down to two, but am open to suggestions in the same relative price point. The Weatherby SA-08 Youth and Mossberg SA-20 Bantam. Balance of weight and recoil are important, as is length of pull. I've read good things about both. Opinions and enlightenment, please!
     
  2. badkarmamib

    badkarmamib Member

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    Which one is he more comfortable pointing?
     
  3. horsey300

    horsey300 Member

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    I was a scrawny kid that had to wear a thick coat to shoot the .410 sxs my grandpa started me with, but I was lethal and proud of that thing! At 16 I tried a bolt target 20 GA and went back to the .410. When I finally filled out at 18 I bought my 590a1 12 GA and still have it and use it often......but I still buy .410 shells several times a year too.....used it on as much variety as the 12 GA and it was nice swinging on moving targets too. The only drawback is the price of the shells. My kids will probably start with that .410 or mommy's topper until they can handle her 20 GA. Dbl bbl means a quick follow up shot too, and the reloading process builds good habits for safety procedures, carry it open, snap shut whip it up ,and two shots smooth as butter.
     
  4. eastbank

    eastbank Member

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    i vote for a rem 870 in 20ga. eastbank
     
  5. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

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    An auto loader is always good for less recoil.

    Buy the one that has been in production the longest. To many models come and go after a few years.
     
  6. J-Bar

    J-Bar Member

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    What are you hunting? If rabbits and quail and squirrels, a .410 would be fine; not so much for geese.

    Your 12 gauge guns beat him up because the stock doesn't fit him. The women and kids I see in cowboy action shooting prefer a 12 gauge to a 20 gauge because the lighter framed 20 gauge guns actually produce more perceived recoil than the heavier framed 12s.

    So, if the game you are after can be reasonably taken with a .410, buy a cheap single shot and chop the buttstock to fit him. If your shooting requires more shot, buy a cheap 12 gauge single shot, chop the stock to fit him, and feed it ultra light trap loads.

    Let him grow into the more expensive repeaters and heavier ammo.
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2016
    horsey300 likes this.
  7. Starter52

    Starter52 Member

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    Look for a used Remington 1100 in 20 gauge. Thousands of these great shotguns have been sold to recoil-sensitive shooters.
     
  8. Sunray

    Sunray Member

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    A 12 year old can grow a foot and gain a bunch of weight in a year. However, have you measured his LOP? That SA-20 Youth's is only 13". May not be right. And it only weighs 5.5 pounds.
    The Weatherby's is less at 12.5", but 5.75 lbs.
    Winchester makes a 20 Ga. semi with 13" LOP. Cheap, it ain't though. MSRP is $1139. Weighs 6 pounds 6 oz.
    Take the lad shopping and let him try 'em on for size before you do anything else.
     
  9. sappyg

    sappyg Member

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    Of the choices listed I voted for the Weatherby. it's just a darn good gun in any gage but it's an absolute cream puff in 20.

    However, if I could pick any gun I would second Eastbank's suggestion. I'd go with an 870 youth in 20 gage any day of the week. Nothing wrong with a good pump and it's one of the best. It does need a good recoil pad tho.
     
  10. kudu
    • Contributing Member

    kudu Moderator Staff Member

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    I am going to jump in and say find a used 1100 20 gauge or another vote for the 870 youth model. The shell you use also has to figure into the equation. With all the shells I go through I reload superlight target loads. My 12 gauge loads are 7/8oz creampuffs that barely recoil at all. My 20 gauge load are 3/4oz that I shoot and my daughters love for skeet. No discernible recoil. These reloads will all function in my autos. I also load them light to save on the most expensive part of reloading, the lead shot. I know most people don't reload and finding reduced recoil loads can be sometimes hard, but it can be worth it for your son. I would guess more people have been turned off of shooting by having someone give them a gun with the most powerful shell they can stuff in it and laugh after it knocks them on their butt.

    As your son gains experience he will adapt to higher power shells for different hunting and target applications.
     
    cfullgraf and horsey300 like this.
  11. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    kudu says it well.

    An auto loader will have a bit softer recoil than a pump gun.

    A Remington 1100 is a good choice as would a Beretta 300 series. Budget priced autoloaders can have reliability issues.

    As others have said, fit is important. Try several different models and get the one that fits the best. Shorten the stock if necessary. If you want to be able to return the length of pull back to original, get another stock to trim.

    My wife shoots skeet with a 20 ga Browning Citori. We have a stock fitted for her and still have the original stock that fits me if I want to use that shotgun.
     
  12. Browning

    Browning Member

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    ^This^

    That's what we got my wife.
     
    Starter52 likes this.
  13. Eleanor416Rigby

    Eleanor416Rigby Member

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    When my daughter was similar age and size, I let her shoot a #7 1/2 dove load through my 870 with the 18" "indoor" barrel. That's a pretty light rig with plastic stock. I didn't tell her anything about recoil; I just told her to keep the butt pad off the shoulder bones and on the beginning of the pectoral muscle (what little muscle there was). That's how I learned to shoot magnum rifles comfortably when I was a skinny kid. After the shot, she had a surprised look. I asked her if it hurt and she said "no, it just surprised me." I think technique and mindset can go a long way toward overcoming recoil. (Please forgive my commenting without addressing your question; I don't know anything about shotguns. However, whatever shotgun he gets will have some recoil, so it's not a complete waste of electrons.)
     
  14. cdb1

    cdb1 Member

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    Started one of my kids on a pump and one on a semi. Wish I had started both on a semi. We have a youth SA-08 and a compact SX3 in the family. Most kids and women that have shot both of them prefer the SA-08 by a wide margin because it is slimmer.
     
  15. RPRNY

    RPRNY Member

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    I had to double check to see that yours was not an earlier post of mine come back to life! In any event, I bought my 12 yo a 20 ga last year and I went with the Weatherby SA-08 youth. It's well made, fits him well with the shims and LOP adjusters, and he likes it. Now for the bad. I don't like the design. I have a Valtro-made Weatherby SAS 12ga and it is, IMO, a far better design with recoil spring on the mag tube, than the SA-08 which I believe (but I am not at all sure) is based on a much older Franchi design with the recoil spring in the buttstock. It is quite fiddly to get back together - and by that I mean a real PITA. It needs cleaning after every use or it will gum up and it has given my boy trouble with cheap Winchester 7/8 oz target loads - failing to chamber the following round. It also has light load and heavy load valves that need swapping in and out - not really a big deal, but a consideration.

    I did not look at the Mossberg. Two of his friends have, and he has shot, the Benelli M2 20 ga compact. He hates it. He had the Benelli click several times and he doesn't like the sight picture. He didn't seem to find the inertia system recoil any harder to shoot though, which is important. So, if the M2 Compact is economically feasible, that may be worth considering along with the other two.

    Best of luck!
     
  16. RPRNY

    RPRNY Member

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    The 1100 is a great gun and a soft shooter but it's heavy for the little guys.
     
  17. Starter52

    Starter52 Member

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    1100 LW 20 gauge = Lightweight.
     
  18. CaptTripps

    CaptTripps Member

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    I was and still am just a little guy. My first real shotgun was a 20G 870 and let me tell you, to a 14 year old kid that weighed about 100 pounds, it kicked. I don;t know how they are now, but the pad on mine, just sucked, it was a cheap factory pad that didn't absorb much if any recoil. I'd go with an auto-loader but I don;t have any hands on experience with any. I have handled several Franchi and Benelli guns and they felt nice.
     
  19. red rick

    red rick Member

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    A gas gun is going to kick less at the same weight . I had a SA-08 12 ga. and I thought the recoil was light shooting buckshot . It was the softest shooting shotgun that I have ever shot buckshot through .

    Last year I bought a SA-08 20 ga. Deluxe . I shoot #6 in it most of the time and the recoil is not bad but I don't know if I can tell the difference between that and a Remington 870 20 ga. . I think a 12 year old boy should be able to handle it , but the compact is light . I was shooting a Browning 12 ga. when I was 13 with buckshot and I was small . I was about a 130 lbs. when I graduated high school and only 160 lbs. 40 years latter .
     
  20. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Member

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    benellis and franchis and stoegers with the inertia driven system don't kick much lighter than pumps, if any. They thump you.

    Gas guns generally are softer. The 1100 20 gauge is a good choice. Browning gas guns are good also.
     
  21. Teachu2

    Teachu2 Member

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    Last edited: Dec 1, 2016
  22. 1911 guy

    1911 guy Member

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    Thanks for the replies so far. I'll start looking into 1100 20 gauges, specifically the LW versions. The Benelli and others with the inertia system are off the table. They don't reduce recoil and i can make a Benelli malfunction at will. I'm a rifle guy myself, not much of a shotgunner. Are there measurements I can take (arm length, etc.) to guide length of pull recommendations?
     
  23. entropy

    entropy Member

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    Tri-Star Raptor. I bought one for our county 4-H for the kids that hadn't shot a shotgun or Trap before. I shot a few rounds with it, and I was impressed. Most kids bring their own, often a twelve, but a few that didn't bring a gun shot it, and liked it.

    Second would be an 1100LW. Of the two in the poll, the Weatherby.

    At 5' the LOP should be @ 12-13". Any longer makes it awkward for a kid that size to shoot.
     
  24. Virginian

    Virginian Member

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    In Remingtons, look for an LT 20. The LW was superseded by the LT in 1977, and the guns made today have the same parts as the first ones made in 1977, so barrels and other parts are a drop in swap.
     
  25. cdb1

    cdb1 Member

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    One drawback to the 1100 is you need two barrels if you want to shoot 2.75" and 3" shells. I also don't think they recoil less than an SA-08, everything being equal.
     
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