Starter shotgun

Discussion in 'Cast & Blast' started by Jerry Daschofsky, Nov 28, 2010.

  1. Jerry Daschofsky Moderator

    Posts: 7,722
    Graham, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +660 / 5
    I should start by saying I'm not new to shotguns. I did some tactical training with some in the late 80s and have used for home defense. When I still had my tactical shotgun I'd practice with it regularly. I also had an old Savage single shot slug gun I just sold off. We used them for awhile for deer when I went through my "sporting phase". I was young what can I say then. LOL. So know a little about using shotgun.

    BUT, I have friends who duck hunt. I realize there truly isn't a single guage that's multipurpose or a certain shotgun that is best for all situations. I'm of course going to practice with it and go to a range with traps to get the feel for how it handles. My question isn't training or where to hunt. So no need for debates on that please. What I'm asking is your opinions (and I know opinions are like assholes lol) and what to look for and what guage would be a great all around starter outfit? Mostly doing ducks, grouse, and maybe pheasant right now. I don't need expensive, around the $300 range. Just know there are makes and models to stay away from. Guage, pump or semi, brand and model, etc. I'm literally a newbie to bird hunting outside of going with an old friend a few times. Just figured if I'm going to do it I'm gonna start it out right. Figured if I progress can upgrade my shotgun and hand this one down to my son.

    So what words of wisdom do you have for me? Besides head for the hills and forget it. LOL
  2. wet line New Member

    Posts: 2,313
    Burien, WA, King.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Remington 870 pump in 12 guage. I would lean towards a 26 inch barrel with interchangeable choke tubes. Chambered for 3 inch shells is probably a good thing however I seldom use anything other than 2 3/4 inch shells which does the job.

    Except for pass shooting I strongly recommend an improved cylinder choke. I also suggest to just shoot steel shot and high velocity loads like 1 1/8th ounce loads for 2 3/4 inch shells. My prefferance is steel 3s for everthing other than geese. For geese I like either steel BB's or T shot and a modified choke tube.

    Steel for everything in that steel loads are considerably faster than lead loads by as much as 300 feet per second. That definately changes lead.

  3. D3Smartie Active Member

    Posts: 1,987
    Ratings: +4 / 0
    dont have much to add to what wetline posted. an 870 is a great choice. make sure you get a gun that fits you though.
  4. Steve Call Active Member

    Posts: 1,561
    Wetside, WA
    Ratings: +184 / 0
    Definitely a 12 gauge. I'd recommend hitting Cabela's. They have a large selection of used shotguns, as well as many new ones. It'll give you an opportunity to look and get the feel of a lot of different guns. That'll allow you to narrow down the style (auto, pump, O/U), model, barrel length, etc. that feels good. Some guns will feel better than others. You'll be able to get much more gun for $300 buying used. Lot's a places to purchase good used shotguns.
  5. Jerry Daschofsky Moderator

    Posts: 7,722
    Graham, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +660 / 5
    Thanks guys. Planned on used. Gives me a starting point. I've looked at Cabelas yesterday when I was discussing demos. Such a variety was wondering where to start.
  6. Dave Alberts Member

    Posts: 231
    Lakewood, WA
    Ratings: +24 / 0
    Hi Jerry--
    The above is good advise...the 870 is a great gun...I use a Remington 11-87 SP (semi-auto, vs pump) for ducks and geese. The SP has a flat matte finish on both barrel and stock--not as "pretty" as the glossy 870, but doesn't flash in the sun. I totally agree with the 2 3/4" being adequate for most duck situations.

    As for good information, good deals, and best price, the WAC gunshows are hard to beat--lots of used guns to compare and knowledgeable vendors to talk to. You have to be a member to buy or sell, but that's easy... Let me know if you want more info.

  7. Jim Ficklin Genuine Montana Fossil

    Posts: 2,326
    Columbia Basin
    Ratings: +643 / 0
    870 is a good choice (tho I no longer own one, but an 870 served me well when I did.). I'd definitely avoid fixed chokes & look for a model with interchangable choke tubes, no matter what you end-up with. For a "starter waterfowl gun," Mossbergs or the Benelli Nova would also be an acceptable option . . . lotta bang for the buck (no pun intended) & lots of hunters have harvested lots of birds with them.
  8. Guy Gregory Active Member

    Posts: 452
    Spokane, WA.
    Ratings: +44 / 0
    I agree with the above, a pump shotgun is fool resistant and reliable. You should be able to get one that shoots 3" mags and 2 3/4 inch loads without any cost differential, absolutely get one with interchangable choke tubes, and get factory tubes to fit, IC, skeet, and modified. 3 to look at: Benelli Nova, Remington, and Winchester. All are fine, safe, good guns, get the one that fits.
  9. Roper Idiot Savant

    Posts: 4,289
    Glenraven Ranch
    Ratings: +771 / 1
    Here's my asshole, erm, I mean opinion. You haven't mentioned left handed so I'm thinking a BPS isn't needed. It's a bottom loader and is my first choice in a shotgun. The major reason is it's hefty, as opposed to heavy, and handles recoil fine for a pump. The other reasons is double arms in the forearm, and safety on the top of the receiver like all double shotguns.

    The next choice for me has been the Wingmaster. It's more gauge specific in it's receivers, but that only applies to sub-gauges. This means the 410 will not weigh 7 pounds.

    Other than these two the Benelli Nova is a good choice. It only comes in synthetic furniture.

    Which brings me to the options, synthetic stocks (even camo), variable chokes, and a good fit, you gotta put it up to your shoulder. You should see a nice flat rib looking back at you. A sling is a handy accessory for hauling it to the blind with all the other stuff one has.

    Lastly ammo, use Tungsten Matrix, Nice Shot, or Bismuth. In my book steel is useless in comparison, no where near the density or lethality. Practice with lead and kill with non-tox. 12 gauge is the most versatile gauge either factory or hand loads. It also throws the largest payloads. But don't think 3 1/2 inch magnums are needed for anything but the longest sky busting or just putting a good bruise in your shoulder and cheek.

    The last 3 suggestions are, fit, fit, and fit....
  10. Jerry Daschofsky Moderator

    Posts: 7,722
    Graham, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +660 / 5
    Oh shit guys. I prefer to shoot left handed though I am an ambidextrous shooter. Just for kill shots I prefer a lefty.
  11. Jerry Daschofsky Moderator

    Posts: 7,722
    Graham, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +660 / 5
    And synthetic doesn't bug me. I'm one for practical. I'm worried more on functionality not looks.
  12. Alex MacDonald Dr. of Doomology

    Posts: 3,321
    Haus Alpenrosa, Lederhosenland
    Ratings: +886 / 0
    Jerry, it's the 870, hands down. The less expensive mag with the parkerized reciever is the gun. It's your all round boat pole, shotgun, tent pole, shovel, weiner roaster and hiking staff, all rolled into one tool! They're not fun to carry, but indestructible, and certainly can be passed down. I have one I've used for almost 30 years on waterfowl. Highly recommended, and they're not very expensive.
  13. Jerry Daschofsky Moderator

    Posts: 7,722
    Graham, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +660 / 5
    Weight isn't an issue for me. Have spots that I salmon fish where I can hit the sloughs and duck hunt. I'll be shopping for one after the first of the year. May have to look into the 870. Thanks everyone. I appreciate it! Plus would give me another event to show up to and cook (since I usually only do events I can participate in).
  14. wet line New Member

    Posts: 2,313
    Burien, WA, King.
    Ratings: +0 / 0

    Steel is very lethal especially in fast loads and that is really the key. When steel first came out the loads were of comparable velocities as lead and were lacking to say the least. Steel loads coming out at around 1400 feet per second plus drop birds, period! Velocity is the key, Energy = mass X velocity squared. Speed kills! I started out hunting with lead shot, for over 20 years, and it took a while to adust and adjust I did! Except in a few situations if we could bo back to lead I would stay with the high velocity steel for everything except big geese. I have many season since steel shot was the law with over 100 ducks harvested in a season. If anything was conclusive I have had fewer cripples using #3 shot out of an implroved cylinder than I ever had shooting lead out of a full choke. But then I am very aware of what is appropriate shooting distances. A shotgun has always been a 40 yd tool. Yes there are those times where birds were dropped at longer ranges but as in fishing some of the distances bragged about are just a bit over the top. The rule of thumb is if you cann't see the eye it is too far away!

  15. Slipstream Member

    Posts: 371
    Goldendale, WA
    Ratings: +20 / 0
    The 870 Wingmaster is/was manufactured in a left hand model. The 870 Express was introduced with a heavier barrel about the time steel shot became mandatory. It may also be available in a left hand version. You might be able to find a used one. Good luck. The 870 is a workhorse. SS
  16. floatinghat Member

    Posts: 294
    near enough to Seattle
    Ratings: +3 / 0
    "Yes there are those times where birds were dropped at longer ranges but as in fishing some of the distances bragged about are just a bit over the top"

    Two completely different things IMO, in sky busting or shooting at bird "out of range" you are risking injuring the bird. Casting or trying to catch fish on a long cast throws different elements into presenting the fly, which adds to the challenge. If you miss the fish chances are it won't be injured.

    Three pumps to look at 870, M37, and BPS.
  17. wet line New Member

    Posts: 2,313
    Burien, WA, King.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Floating hat,

    The distance some believe they are shooting or casting is quite often wrong and thay was my minor point.

    The M37 is a nice gun but for some it is a bit brutal to shoot. I don't really know why but the M37 I had for a short time was not a pleasant gun for me. I would strongly advise shooting a M37 before purchasing. As mentioned fit is important and it is well worth the dollars to have a good gunsmith perform this operation. When fitted properly the gun points where the eye is looking and no conscious effort is required to get onto the bird. Sighting is no longer a factor. Mount the gun, look at the bird start the swing and pull the trigger.

  18. Mayfly Aviator Member

    Posts: 776
    Idaho Falls, ID
    Ratings: +19 / 0
    +1 for the 870. I picked one up a couple months ago and am extremely impressed with the quality for such a reasonable gun. I looked at a couple used benellis in the same price range but honestly preferred the 870. I saw that they are going for $250 down here after a $30 Rem rebate.
  19. Rick Todd Active Member

    Posts: 1,861
    Ratings: +237 / 0
    I think steel is indeed lethal in the right hands, at proper distance, proper size and choke. My main problem with it is that it is faster and needs less lead than lead. If you shoot a lot of trap and skeet, you use lead (at least I've never seen anyone using steel at the gun club and for that purpose it would be very expensive for a day of 150-200 targets). I also use lead for all my upland hunting, so when I switch to steel for my rare duck hunt, I don't shoot nearly as well and wound a lot more birds than say quail or pheasant hunting, where I either miss entirely or have a DOA bird. One of my buddies uses steel for everything and he is pretty deadly with it. He doesn't shoot much at the gun club however. As for guns, an 870 was my first shotgun and is very reliable. I have a Mossberg 3 1/2" in camo synthetic that I use for turkeys. Get a 3 1/2" gun if you do plan to use it for turkeys, otherwise, 2 3/4 or 3" are fine for everything else. Rick
  20. Scott Salzer previously micro brew

    Posts: 2,887
    Ratings: +205 / 0
    I was somewhat surprised that the 870 got such good press. I have used mine since 1972, mostly in the salt, with plenty of mud to gum things up. A very easy gun to breakdown and rinse out in the field - yes, I used salt H2O. Always took care to properly clean after a day on the water. Unless you plan to hunt geese, the 2-3/4 should be just fine. 870 = good starter. It can get a bit heavy if ya spend long days walking the fields.