Armory, Self Defense, And EDC > Firearms Advice For Beginners

Choosing a shotgun?

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InquiringMind:
I'm looking to get my first shotgun, but I'm not sure how to choose one.

Here are my considerations:
- I want to practice by shooting clays
- I've never hunted, but I would like to start with small game and/or upland bird hunting
- Nothing too big and heavy so my fiance can handle it
- Common enough that I can easily find parts/capable gunsmith
- <$450, preferably new
- I don't think I want it for deer hunting
- I don't need it for home defense

Basically, I want the most versatile option and I don't need anything fancy. Given all that, I'm currently looking at either the Remington 870 Express or the Mossberg 500.

Are there others I should consider? 12ga or 20ga? I'd prefer a wood stock, but is that really much worse than synthetic in the field?

Thanks!
- InquiringMind

desmond11:
The Remington and the Mossberg are two great guns.I would try to get some range time with both guns and see witch one fits you better. I own the 870 myself and am happy with my purchase.I don't think you can go wrong with either one.happy hunting!

Carl:
Both good choices,the pump is great with feeding shells and though not "BEST" for many things,it is adaptable to most forms of shooting. Parts and add-on accessories are about equal for both as is popularity.I have both and also Smith and Wesson that you have to look at to tell it is not an 870...I give the top rating to the Mossy 500 as it's pump/feed system has always looked stronger and better balanced to me...But either is a great choice.

Mortblanc:
I own both.  Each has its advantages.

Add on parts are available for both at an alarming rate and one can get in way over their head very quickly.

Since you want a general purpose shotgun for shooting clays I would suggest the Remington.  Keep in mind that what you use on the sporting clays range will also put you in good condition for most shotgun hunting applications.

 The Remington has a steel receiver and has more heft than the Mossberg and that counts when you start shooting multiple boxes of ammo in a session at the range.  I shoot trap and skeet and it is not unusual to shoot three or four rounds and the extra pound or two of weight soaks up the recoil and is not a negative factor if you are not carrying the shotgun around in the woods all day.

Make sure you get a barrel of sufficient length and equipped with the interchangeable Rem-chokes.  None of this "riot gun" crap for a general purpose shotgun.  To effectively manage a shot column you need some choke in the barrel.  Riot gun barrels seldom give more that 25-30% pattern.  I have 5 cylinder bore barrels and have patterned them all, 33% is the best any of them give, so they are useless on the clays range or in the hunting field.  Choke gives one a more dense and even pattern rather than the spotty open choke pattern that is filled with holes that clay pigeons or live game can escape through.

The extra length of a field barrel will also aid in swing and accuracy.

The Remington also has another advantage.  It can be equipped with an extended magazine tube without changing out the barrel.  There are also a host of used barrels available cheaply if one desires to have one barrel for the field and another, shorter barrel, for use in home defense.

chesco_rich61:
I own both guns in twelve and twenty gauge. I prefer the browning BPS I hunt with in 20 gauge.  First shotgun i bought on my own got a deal at 200 dollars.  Light in the hand carry it all day in the field hunting pheasants with out a sling.  I would use either gun the biggest thing to do is go and shoulder a lot of guns.  Used firearms can be a good deal as long as you break them down to check for barrel pitting and built up debris, most are barely fired.  I looked for two weeks and saw a lot of guns I also got a feel for a lot of them, what I liked and what I didn't.   I choose on ascetics and it felt good in my hands.  I prefer mossberg over the remington only because I shoot a 590a1 at work and just more comfortable with it.  This video gives some pros and cons. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HuxCLivZ-Vk

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