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Chitown-Angler

Joined: 10:11am - Feb 12,03
Posts: 465
Location: Lockport, IL

Post Posted: 09:00pm - Dec 5,12 
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As the title suggests, I was hoping to get some advice regarding my first purchase of a shotgun (well, any firearm actually)... Always been into the outdoors, but only played around with friends' firearms on occasion... Over time however, I've had my interest peaked in shooting and want to get on board... Just from being around the Outdoors Culture, I feel I have a solid grasp of many of the basics within the Gun Department... There is an absolute ton of information out there for a noobie to digest at one time, however... I was hoping some of the more experienced shooters around these parts could help me sort through some of what's out there...

I think I've got the basic direction that I would like to go with this purchase... Right now, I would say that my main shooting interest would lie with trap/skeet shooting, followed by a marginal interest in hunting game birds like Pheasant or Grouse... Don't really feel compelled to get into Deer hunting and don't know anyone that shoots Waterfowl or Turkey... My interest would break down like this: 65% Sporting Clays, 25% Upland Birds, 10% Deer/Turkey/Waterfowl...

Based on that, I've started looking into Over/Under Shotguns... Seems like it's the right tool for the job... Very useful for clays, and I have some options for taking the gun afield as well... Obviously there is compromise between a field gun and one used for clays... They lean one way or the other, but it seems that they appear to be functional both ways... Semi-Autos and Pumps seem functional for these uses, but don't appear to be the best tool available... Are these all safe assumptions? In addition to being more purpose built for what I want to shoot, the O/U guns also seem to be mechanically simpler from a cleaning/maintenance standpoint... Again, safe assumption or am I missing something?

Rolling along with the O/U preference, I started looking into what's out there at various stores such as Gander Mtn., BassPro, Cabela's, etc... One thing that became instantly clear is that with an O/U, I'm dealing in what I would call "Premium" guns... A Remington 870 seems to set you back about $400... A Benelli or Beretta Semi-Auto will be roughly $1200-1500.... O/U guns start at about $500-600 with a Stoeger or CZ and then jump up into the $2000+ range with something like a Browning Cynergy or Browning Citori... You can go on up from there if you want to continue... Just curious as to why an O/U seems to demand a premium price... As a noobie shooter, am I biting off more than I can chew by choosing this route? I have no problem saving/investing the money, cause I know that I can get 20+ years of enjoyment out of a firearm if it's maintained... Just wondering if I should go the "Learning Gun" route first before jumping in full bore...

These are just some of the most basic questions I had at this time... I know I still have to sort through all the "Stats" regarding my firearm choice... Things like Gage, Barrel Length, how the gun fits me, etc.... Initially, the two Browning guns I mentioned, the Citori and Cynergy seem like favorable choices... I've got tons of time to figure all this out though... Any resources I should be looking into for this journey or any "must read" articles or reviews?

It's gonna take some time to save up and plan for this, cause I have a feeling this isn't gonna be a $200 hobby, no matter how I slice it, :oops:

Thanks for any and all insight :thanks

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Chitown-Angler

Joined: 01:01pm - Feb 4,09
Posts: 207
Location: Park Ridge

Post Posted: 11:22pm - Dec 5,12 
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Can't go wrong with Barrettas, like the Ferraris they're beautiful and durable then again being Italian I'm prejudice..

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Chitown-Angler

Joined: 04:15pm - Oct 9,03
Posts: 96

Post Posted: 01:50am - Dec 6,12 
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this would be my suggestion for a shotgun:

could really knock down those clays and or pheasants for sure.

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Chitown-Angler

Joined: 06:47pm - Feb 10,03
Posts: 9880
Location: West Burbs

Post Posted: 06:47am - Dec 6,12 
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Great One this gun is going to be an investment and even as a "noobie" I would put a gun in my safe that I could afford and really wanted. I can tell you from experience that the Browning Citori 525 is a nice gun and that you could not go wrong with a Browning Cynergy. I don't own one but have shot one and it is a sweet shotgun. I owned a Benelli Nova and got rid of it.

The 525 is a 12 gauge and swings real nice, I've put down a ton of birds and clays with it. After I bought a couple 12 gauges I wanted a 20 and ended up with a Franchi that I shoot all the time now. SKB also makes a nice O/U and used to make a sweet SxS.

The one thing I learned over time was that I really didn't need the 12 gauges and I was just carrying more weight than I needed to. With today's ammo you can reach out real far with a twenty and I went the same direction with my slug gun. I shoot a 20 gauge 1187, Remington copper solids and can reach out to 150 yards accurately.

Buy what you can afford and not a Learning Gun. In the end you'll end up buying what you want and the learning gun will collect dust or rust in your closet :wink:

For the field I don't shoot anything over a 28" which is my SxS and most shoot a 26". Both are a little short for clays but I do ok and keep up with the guys shooting 30".

Don't look away from a SxS, the FRANCHI HIGHLANDER 20-GA SXS is a real nice gun (I want one) and you can pick one up at a decent price (under $1000). The only problem is finding a place to put one in your hands to see how it feels. I love shooting my SxS's, you don't see many out there and they are funky, fun to shoot and every bit as accurate any gun you can put into your hands.

Bottom line buy what you really like and can afford because you'll like to shoot it. An 870 is a great gun, it is the foundation of the shotgun market but isn't all that much fun to break out and play (my opinion). But for home protection they can't be beat!

Don't hesitate to buy new guns online but my recommendation would be to never buy used and I am speaking from experience. :cuss

Hope some of this helped, just my opinion on some that I own or have shot. Hopefully other guys will jump in with their experiences.

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Chitown-Angler

Joined: 02:13pm - Jul 13,09
Posts: 448

Post Posted: 10:11am - Dec 6,12 
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Being lazy, I wouldn't want to hump an O/U through the field too often I'll say the same thing as always. If it's your 1st. gun go with the Remington 870. You can get any barrel you want It's ultra reliable and there's a reason they have sold so many millions of them. Stay with the 12 gauge, you might want to do waterfowl someday. I would go with a twenty if it was only for deer and clays but why limit yourself? As you are sorta new to shooting the 870 is simple to use and very versatile and will never let you down. If you really get into shooting and enjoy the clays, you have a reason to add another gun later, and another and another and so on and so on and so on. With the Rem you can add a 2nd rifled barrel with a cantilever for scope mounting and you have a fine deer gun as well. just my 2 cents.

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Joined: 08:06am - Sep 18,06
Posts: 1804
Location: Montrose

Post Posted: 10:11am - Dec 6,12 
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I always assumed that over/unders were more expensive due to the fact that there's 2 barrels and probably over twice the metal found on single-shots, autos or pumps. Also, you typically get some very ornate craftsmanship on the over/unders. I have never shot an over/under so I can't help you with those but I have shot my dad's side-by-side 10 gauge. One thing I know is with 2 barrels, side-by-sides and over/unders are usually considerably heavier than other options. If you're just shooting clays, this probably isn't a big deal but if you're going to be carrying this gun in the field for long periods of time, weight should be a consideration.

Personally, I'm a pump-action guy and do not see myself changing any time soon (grew up on the Remington 870 and now shoot a 887). However, I have shot a Beretta Xtrema2 and could not imagine a better gun for those who like semi-autos. They're incredibly light and have ridiculously low recoil. If you have the means, I don't think you'll be disappointed with a Beretta. However, I'm not sure how easy it is to get a slug barrel for a Beretta if that's what you're also looking to shoot.

Another thing to consider is how much time you're looking to devote to maintenance. A lot of the newer models of guns out there have the synthetic armor coating on them that protects against corrosion. There's never an excuse for not properly caring for your gun, but the coated guns are a lot more forgiving than your standard metal barrel and wooden stock and require a bit less maintenance (or really, just a bit less gun oil). Regardless of what you get though, maintenance is key to keeping your firearm ready to go year after year.

I agree with Marc - get the gun you want, not a "Learning Gun". Don't be afraid about cleaning/maintaining other types of firearms just because you're used to taking care of an over/under. It's a gun - you have a barrel to clean, a chamber to clean, a trigger mechanism to keep lubed and free of debris and an exterior to keep corrosion free. When you get down to it, they're all basically the same and learning how to take care of one type of gun compared to another isn't hard.

Good luck and let us know what you end up with!

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Chitown-Angler
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Joined: 06:44pm - Jun 5,10
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Location: Plainfield

Post Posted: 10:48am - Dec 6,12 
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My 1st gun I bought about 15 years ago was the Remington 870 combo. You can use it for just about anything and come deer season just switch barrels and you are good to go. Not too expensive either. I have purchased about 15 shotguns since that one but I will always use that gun when the weather conditions are not the greatest because I don't mind a scratch on that gun compared to some of my others. It is also my back up deer gun and I think it has killed a couple in its day. Good luck let us know what you get.

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Chitown-Angler

Joined: 04:24pm - Feb 17,03
Posts: 2198

Post Posted: 11:26am - Dec 6,12 
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The best wingshot that I had the pleasure to shoot with shot a Remington 870. He owned several. It was quite rare when he would shoot less than 24 of 25 at skeet, regulary shooting 25/25. He always clowned with the big money guys at the club (Downers Grove) when they would show off there expensive shotguns. He would always ask " Has it broke 25 yet?" Most answered "No". He would then point to his 870 and say "That one does." Point being it's not the gun but the nut behind the gun. Get yourself a reasonably priced Remington 870 with a 26 inch barrel with screw in chokes (I recommend skeet, imp cyl. ,mod., and full) and then get some instruction and practice , practice, practice. Excellent book on shotgunning is "SHOTGUNNING: THE ART AND SCIENCE" by Bob Brister.

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Salmon Unlimited Member
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Joined: 09:09am - Mar 15,09
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Location: north side

Post Posted: 11:47am - Dec 6,12 
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you buying a tool or a toy? its like carpentry measure twice cut once! what are you going to hunt? water fowl, upland game, deer, ect.if your just popping doves and squirlle you dont need much of a gun, 20 ga or 12 chambered for 2 3/4 " will tackle all upland game.i have a 20 ga. savage/fox single triger side by side that works great for me. now if your going to water fowl the price of poker just went up. you need a little bit more range a and a little bit more speed on shot delivery, in other words more gun. here's what separates the men from the boys.in my opinion an american made pump or auto chambered to at least 3 inches in a 12. ga. is sufficient to take any duck or goose out there. there is an opinion out there for 3 1/2 inch chambered guns but i have never felt the need to shoot that load. in my opinion it just makes a man prone to sky bust. now we come to deer hunting and the 12 ga. is quite sufficient with a slug barrel to reach out 100 yrd and touch someone. i do all three of these hunts and i have used the same gun without fail for the last 30 years. i use a Remmington 1187 and have killed many,many birds with it and turkey and deer, and yote and and doves and quail. it has not failed me once in 30 years and i plan on leaving it to my son when i pass so he can hunt it for 30 more. this is the best upland gun for the buck you can buy. i even think they make them in camo composite{no shine} buy one and you'll never need another

dd

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Chitown-Angler

Joined: 10:11am - Feb 12,03
Posts: 465
Location: Lockport, IL

Post Posted: 12:20pm - Dec 7,12 
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:thanks :thanks :thanks

Quick, informative replies... Thanks a ton guys 8)~


1st thing... I'm sold on the AA-12... Where can I get one :rotflmao

Marc: Thanks for the insight into your views on the O/U & SxS guns out there... You touched on some of the general assumptions I had about them... Mainly the general compromises between field and target guns... I was thinking something along the lines of a 28" barrel in 20 gage... Seems like the most "middle of the road" compromise for something that can be used both ways... I take it that the 28ga and .410s just don't have the knockdown power/range out in the field? Also, seems like ammo for these would be a little bit harder to find...

Bulldawg: Thanks for the suggestion on the book... I'll have to check that out... Also understand your comment about your buddy using the 870 and being very accurate... I know that I'll be the reason I'm missing targets for a long, LONG time...

Just in general, regarding all the love of the 870... I understand that this is the best selling shotgun of all time... It's readily available, versatile, and cheap... Based on the way I see my needs however, I just can't get on board... If I needed one gun to "do it all", this would be it... I just don't ever see myself needing a Deer gun... I have zero ambition to hunt deer... My family/friends aren't big on game meat in general and I get more than enough fish throughout the year to satisfy my "caught it myself" tablefare needs... I wouldn't mind adding a few Pheasant to the table, but that would be it... I just don't have the need for more game than that... 75lb of deer meat, 30lb. of turkey, and whatever else I would come across with waterfowl would just go to waste... It's not like we can CnR while hunting... That's why I don't feel compelled to persue these types of hunting... That's why I chose to start looking down the route I did... Nothing against the 870 or pumps in general, but it just doesn't seem to be my thing...

General question regarding pumps: What kind of learning curve do I face with having to pump the gun and reacquire the target for a 2nd shot? Can this be a problem for newer shooter? It just seems like one more place where I can cause myself problems while learning....

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Chitown-Angler
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Joined: 06:37pm - Feb 8,05
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Location: Chicago

Post Posted: 02:07pm - Dec 7,12 
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28ga and .410s would hinder your target shooting abilities more than field abilities. Although you really have to be a great shot with a .410 for either.

Since it sounds like your main intention is targets with occasional field trips, I would go with a 12ga over the 20g. In my opinion the main reason to go with a 20ga is to avoid the extra weight when upland hunting. Since I have owned my 20ga, I believe the 12ga has seen upland action maybe once or twice on windy days (both 870). With that said, I think the 20ga has seen only slightly more trips to shoot clays. Given my moderate skill level the 12 helps me break clays more often which, after all, is the reason I'm there.

With clays as the priority, I would pick up a shotgun with a 28" barrel. It'll help out with clays and won't be that bad to carry in the field the limited times you plan on going. Plus if you ended up liking upland more than you thought you can always pick up a Remington 870 20ga down the road without much money out of the pocket. As far as O/U, SxS, Semi, or pump it will really end up more a personal preference unless you become a crack shot overnight. Cycling the 2nd round with a pump is a little slower but the learning curve to get the hang of it is pretty short. The Cynergy and Citori you mentioned are both fantastic guns but as noted carry a hefty price tag. If I were to go the semi-auto route Id be looking at Berettas, Benellis, or the Remington VersaMax. Last piece of advice is get out to the stores and shoulder the guns to see how they feel to you. I cant stand the feeling of some guns people rave about while others can't stand the ones I cant put down.

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Chitown-Angler

Joined: 11:03am - Mar 10,10
Posts: 765

Post Posted: 02:16pm - Dec 7,12 
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Cant got wrong with the Remington 870 or Mossburg 500 or 1100. For a pump the 870 is about as good as you can get for a good number. It was my first gun and I have dropped numerous deer with no problems. Super accurate right out of the box. You can switch barrel for slugs or waterfoul. Great all around gun in my opinion for a first firearm that wont break the bank. good luck

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Chitown-Angler

Joined: 06:23am - Sep 13,11
Posts: 153

Post Posted: 02:29pm - Dec 7,12 
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for your interests,watch your weight.take a day and go to the big box stores like gander,cabelas,bass pro and handle the guns.take your time and really get a good feel for the fit and feel of them.narrow your search to a half a dozen and really give them all a good look.having said that,like many,i feel the 870 is the most functional,affordable,dependable gun in recent times.i have probably shot more birds and clays on my second shot than first with a pump.practice,concentration and focus and then its second nature.good luck.

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Chitown-Angler

Joined: 08:50pm - Feb 2,08
Posts: 485
Location: yorkville

Post Posted: 08:35pm - Dec 7,12 
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The AAR12-I gotta get me one!
Remington 870 pump-Great all around gun.
Mossburg 500 Serie's-Again,great gun.Scroll thru the old post's,you will see.
Weatherby Pa-08-Bought this for my Son from Dick's,put it to my Shoulder and it felt great.Did my homework and bought it-fired over 2000 rnd's thru it,my son can hit double clay's as well as chinese chicken's(pheasant).Very Happy with purchase.
Browning BPS-Probably a good gun,my experience with this one has not been good,then Again I have had limited handling with this one,needs more homework.
The reason I shoot Clay's is to hone my shooting skill's for pheasant hunting,If I can hit the Clay,I can hit the bird.
As all have Mentioned, Get out and see how it feel's in your grip,then do your homework on that Firearm.
Hope this helps-

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