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#5743086 - 05/13/15 08:30 PM Entry level shotguns
ElMatadorBorracho Offline
Light Foot

Registered: 05/01/15
Posts: 20
Alright, I hope I don't get blasted for this and I hope this is the right place to ask it.

I have never been a hunter myself but some college buddies of mine recently gave me hell about trying it out, so I'm gonna give it a try. I'm looking to buy my first shotgun, and I'd like to keep the price somewhat reasonable. I'll be hunting both waterfowl and upland with my dog. So I need a gun that can do it all.

I am assuming this question is rather loaded as opinions vary... but I had been looking at the Remmington 870 express, the Benelli Nova, the Winchester SXP Waterfowl, and lastly the Weatherby PA-08 Upland which I was partial to because of the walnut stock.

Are there any suggestions or things I should absolutely be looking for in a gun? Do I need a 28 inch barrel? Is making sure I get a 3 1/2 chamber a no brainer?


#5743136 - 05/13/15 08:58 PM Re: Entry level shotguns [Re: ElMatadorBorracho]
RiverRider Online   content
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 11/11/07
Posts: 7866
Loc: Wise Co.
An 870 Super Mag can do anything. Not too expensive either.

Originally Posted By: Ronald Reagan
It's not that liberals are not smart, it's just that so much of what they know isn't so.

#5743139 - 05/13/15 09:01 PM Re: Entry level shotguns [Re: ElMatadorBorracho]
TDK Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 09/05/07
Posts: 2870
Loc: Mineola, TX
Hard to beat an 870 for a first gun. 26-28" barrel is standard, I wouldnt lose sleep deciding over which one. Also, I find 3 1/2" chambers unnecessary unless you are soley going after geese or cranes.
A.M. Little Bespoke Gunmakers LLC.
Mineola, TX

#5743159 - 05/13/15 09:15 PM Re: Entry level shotguns [Re: ElMatadorBorracho]
Just Nate Offline
Extreme Tracker

Registered: 01/14/12
Posts: 4648
Loc: Austin, TX
870 or Nova are good guns.

No need for a 3 1/2 chambering.

Just get what feels best to you. Normally that simple.

#5743217 - 05/13/15 09:52 PM Re: Entry level shotguns [Re: ElMatadorBorracho]
bigjoe8565 Offline
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 06/30/08
Posts: 5286
Loc: Mesquite, Tx
Nova, 870 or Mossberg 500

I've used all three with zero issues.

#5743229 - 05/13/15 10:05 PM Re: Entry level shotguns [Re: bigjoe8565]
Huntmaster Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 1423
A nice, slick, old, glossy, 870 at the gun show.

#5743240 - 05/13/15 10:13 PM Re: Entry level shotguns [Re: ElMatadorBorracho]
Beaubien Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 02/18/15
Posts: 473
Loc: In the mountains east of ABQ
All the ones you mentioned are good guns.

Consider a mossberg 500c also. Very inexpensive and durable. When I was young and had little money I shot clays at our gun club with one. I can't even guess at how many rounds I put through it. Dove, duck and quail hunted with it. Still have it today and it works flawlessly.

My benelli super nova is my go to gun these days but will always bring the mossberg with me as a spare.

Edited by Beaubien (05/13/15 10:14 PM)

#5743287 - 05/13/15 11:20 PM Re: Entry level shotguns [Re: ElMatadorBorracho]
Tactical Cowboy Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 08/23/11
Posts: 3453
Loc: Snyder
Go to the store. Handle the guns. Buy the one that shoulders the best for you.
The secret to a long life is to try not to shorten it

Powder coated cast bullets available.

#5743333 - 05/14/15 05:57 AM Re: Entry level shotguns [Re: ElMatadorBorracho]
WileyCoyote Offline
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 09/01/04
Posts: 5481
Loc: The Dogwood Capital of Texas
Shotguns, even more so than a scoped rifle, depend on the gun stocks shape and how it "fit's" to give you the best platform to hit what you are looking at.

Do you know for sure which is your "dominant" eye? If not it is critcal that you learn it before anything else happens in your search.
*** your dominant eye is the "Rear Sight" on a shotgun, and it's critcal to use the dominant eye instead of the right or left hand & shoulder because you are right or left handed.

To confirm which is the dominant eye, stand squarely, feet slightly apart shouder width, hold a pencil vertically with the eraser up, look across a large room/outdoors at some definitive object to use as a "target" and cover the target with the eraser and HOLD it there, then close the left eye and see if the eraser "moved" & repeat by closing the right eye to confirm when the eraser "moves" with the left eye open. When the eraser DOES NOT "move" when you close an eye, the eye you are looking out of is your Dominant or Aiming eye.

Most of us Assume that the right eye is the somehow automatically the Dominant eye if we are right handed & same thing with a Dominant left ain't necessarily so though. Approx 12% of Americans are left handed according to my now deceased FinL who was left eye dominant too, but shot a right hand ejecting shotgun, that was all that was available in a "repeating shotgun" after he got out of college in the mid 1930's except for an Ithaca Model 37 with its center down ejection & magazine feed port, now used by the current Ithaca patent holder in Browning's BPS Series.

As said above, go handle as many shotguns as possible. When you shoulder a possible purchase, assume a mounted aka shouldered field position, feet apart etc weight slightly on the forward - shooting shouldered side based on the dominant eye - foot positions you will have seen ilustrated in the hunting publictions you will already consulted - don't copy the possible bad habits of your buddy's but find you own comfortable shouldered field position...then close your eyes and point - shotguns are POINTED and not Aimed - at an imaginary flying target ... or A/C vent/light fixture/security camera small target in the overhead of the retail store, and open your eyes to see where you are ACTUALLY pointed...above/below left or right of the target...that will tell you if the shotgun FITS you.

For a 1st Time Shooter on a budget the choices available can be confusing on why to buy this pretty gun and not that gun over there.

Start out by talking to as many Gun Repair & Trap/Skeet Shooting Range folks as possible as to the reliablity & "usage value" of one brand & model over another ... understanding that everyone has a vested $$ or degree of ego interest in selling you something.

IMO...By & Large...retail store clerks with the Big Box Stores being the absolute worst place to have a clerk make a buying decision for you...and have no clue whats the BEST Usage Value Shotgun at a given price point. So you will need to SHOP and take notes on what appeals or fits you best. Sometimes it's a less expensive gun, sometimes not. If you buy a gun, like a Benelli Nova ( I now own my 1st Super Nova ) that has a 3.5" chamber that's OK too...but on a 1st gun purchase IMO is not necessary and 99%+ of the time you will never shoot a 3.5" round at game, except for possibly waterfowl and maybe spring season turkey.

I've owned lots of pump shotguns in my life, mebbe a couple dozen with 90% of them being Remington 870's WINGMASTERS & 2 Express cheapo's & you NEED to learn the difference, and started hunting with dove and waterfowl while I was in college with frat brothers and buddies. Back then the number of gun choices were smaller, cheap stuff was cheaply made with poor reliablity to be expected & price was the sole decision maker on quality....but not so much today. Good quality guns are out there at "reasonable" just need to determine which gun is the RIGHT gun for you.

OBTW don't overlook the Browning BPS guns...can be spendier but worth it long term.

Another Old wives tale that's not true anymore with modern ammo ... longer barreled guns shoot farther....barrel length choices should be determined by field usage...longer barrel guns swing more slowly, but usually smoother and track WATERFOWL & Dove LR PASS shots better than short barreled "quail" guns...28" is the Great Average barrel length on pump & auto receiver fed shotguns and never a bad choice...if it FITS you....however my DU Special Benelli - NOT a big woo deal that I think is funny - is a 26" barrel gun and hunts better for me out of duck blinds over decoys, for called turkey's from temp ground concealment hide's, chasing rabbit's in the winter in brush piles & down tree line fence rows, tree rats in the deep woods, and the occasional quail hunt than a longer barrel...but for a dedicated Long Range Pass Shooting gun I'd be more into a 30 or 32" barrel.

Have fun, the shotgun sports are a great way to learn to hunt.

Edited by WileyCoyote (05/14/15 08:26 AM)
"These are the times that try men's soul's"...Thomas Paine

"Those who fail to learn from History are doomed to repeat it" ....Santayana

"There's a sucker born every minute" P.T. Barnum, on why he always had customers to see the sideshow features.

#5743404 - 05/14/15 07:37 AM Re: Entry level shotguns [Re: ElMatadorBorracho]
VAFish Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 02/09/15
Posts: 324
Loc: Fairfax, VA
Benelli Nova, Mossberg 500, or Remington 870 are the budget guns I would consider.

Go to a gun store, handle them and see which feels the best to you. Pay attention to the location of the safety and if it feels natural for you to engage/disengage.

Do you shoot right handed or left handed? The safety location on the Mossberg 500 is much friendlier to southpaws, although I believe the Remington can be switched now days.

The Mossberg's fore end generally feels sloppier and rattles more than the Remington. However that doesn't affect how they shoot.

I have 4 Mossberg 500's (2ea 20 ga and 12 ga), one Remington 870, and one Winchester 1200 (no longer made, but if you can find a used one get it). All are good serviceable shotguns that will last a lifetime with some basic maintenance. One of my 20 ga Mossbergs has well over 20,000 rounds through it and is still going strong with very little fore end rattle.
"If your plan is for one year, plant rice.
If your plan is for ten years, plant trees.
If your plan is for one hundred years, educate children."
-- Confucius

#5743450 - 05/14/15 08:16 AM Re: Entry level shotguns [Re: ElMatadorBorracho]
catslayer Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 12/11/12
Posts: 1025
Loc: Straight out of Johnson County
love me a Mossberg pump when it comes to cheap and goes bang
Sombody smells like fried borritos...

#5744315 - 05/14/15 06:29 PM Re: Entry level shotguns [Re: ElMatadorBorracho]
Slow Drifter Offline

Registered: 04/09/09
Posts: 4501
Loc: Central Texas
If you're not in a super hurry to buy keep your eyes on the Academy fliers the next couple months. They usually have some good prices coming into dove season.
"I have no idea what WW-III will be fought with, but WW-IV will be fought with sticks and stones."

A. Einstein

#5744357 - 05/14/15 07:00 PM Re: Entry level shotguns [Re: ElMatadorBorracho]
syncerus Online   content
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 12/01/08
Posts: 2652
Loc: Dallas, TX
I agree with the others about fit. If you pick up and hold a few shotguns, you'll know pretty quickly which one that you want.
NRA Endowment & DSC Lifer

#5744494 - 05/14/15 08:36 PM Re: Entry level shotguns [Re: ElMatadorBorracho]
Bbear Offline

Registered: 11/24/13
Posts: 857
Loc: West Texas
Like the others, find one that fits. How? Folks @ Jaqua's in Ohio showed one method.

Pick a spot on the joint of the wall and ceiling that is NOT facing where anyone is. Have the shotgun in your arms held across your body about waist high. Just as you would when standing and hunting. If you're right-handed (shouldering the shotgun on your right shoulder)place your left foot about 10-12" in front of your right foot.
Look at the spot you picked, then close your eyes AND KEEP THEM CLOSED! Mount the shotgun with EYES CLOSED. Once you have mounted it to your shoulder, open your eyes and look down the barrel. Look and see if you are viewing the rib (the flat part on the top of the barrel) level or, if you're looking down on it or down one side or the other.
Do this several times with each shotgun to get a fairly close idea of which one fits you better.

Pick the shotgun that comes closest to being nearly flat.

Once you have your shotgun purchased, don't forget to by a flat (10 boxes) of the least expensive shells in 7.5 size shot and spend some time at a skeet range practicing or better yet, take a lesson or three.

Good luck and welcome to the shooting world!

Pay it forward - Kids are the future.

Rifles are similar to boats and young women...there's no end to how much money you can pour into them without making them any more useful.

#5744505 - 05/14/15 08:47 PM Re: Entry level shotguns [Re: ElMatadorBorracho]
passthru Offline
THF Celebrity

Registered: 12/05/06
Posts: 11224
Loc: Saginaw, Tx
My first was a Mossberg model 500. I shot it until it wouldn't action shells through it. Next was a 870 SPS. Great gun. Shot it for years. Still shooting well when I sold it.
I work hard, drink a little and hunt when I can.
NRA Life Member

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