PDA

View Full Version : Shotgun n00b


sierratangofoxtrotunion
05-06-2006, 8:59 AM
I'm a n00b when it comes to shotguns. I'm no stranger to handguns or rifles, but a friend of mine has convinced me of the versatility and usefulness of a shotgun in many things from pest problems to home defense and more. So, I figure one of my next firearm purchases will be a shotgun. It won't be immediately, as I don't have any piggy-banks bursting for it. I'm thinking that, in the case of home defense, something break-open and single shot isn't preferred, but rather pump action, and is there semi-auto? How do these semis work, with a detachable mag or something? Can semis have feeding or other problems like semi rifles can? On the pump guns, I know that there are extended mag tubes available for them. Are these kosher with the law? How bout folding stocks? And, finally, anybody have any recommendations for guns they like?

Omega13device
05-06-2006, 10:20 AM
I'm a n00b when it comes to shotguns. I'm no stranger to handguns or rifles, but a friend of mine has convinced me of the versatility and usefulness of a shotgun in many things from pest problems to home defense and more. So, I figure one of my next firearm purchases will be a shotgun. It won't be immediately, as I don't have any piggy-banks bursting for it. I'm thinking that, in the case of home defense, something break-open and single shot isn't preferred, but rather pump action, and is there semi-auto?
Yes there is semi-auto, and yes, pump or semi-auto is better for HD for obvious reasons.

How do these semis work, with a detachable mag or something?
They come with a tube magazine underneath the barrel, just like pump guns. Some models do accept detachable mags and drums but I believe these are regulated and/or prohibited in CA. I don't know the specifics on this but I'm sure someone can fill you in.

Can semis have feeding or other problems like semi rifles can?
Don't have one so I don't know, but I would imagine it's possible with any semi-auto feeding system.

On the pump guns, I know that there are extended mag tubes available for them. Are these kosher with the law? How bout folding stocks?
I believe mag tubes are limited to 10 rounds but someone please correct me if I'm wrong. But typically you only find extended mag tubes on HD-type shotguns which have shorter barrels, and that limits the length of the mag tube to seven or eight rounds. The longer barrel shotguns are more for clays and hunting and you don't want/need a lot of heavy ammo in the mag tube in those situations. They come with 3-4 round tubes.

Folding/telescoping stocks and pistol grips are regulated on semi-auto shotguns (check the CA laws) but I believe they are ok on pump guns. Again, check the laws for yourself to make sure.

And, finally, anybody have any recommendations for guns they like?

The Remington 870 and Mossberg 500 series are inexpensive pumpers that come in lots of variations. You can get them at Big 5 for less than $300 and either one will make a great HD gun. I have a 28" barrel 870 for clays and will get the HD version as well eventually.

Semis are more expensive and you can find lots of different makes including Remington, Winchester, Benelli, etc.

blkA4alb
05-06-2006, 10:42 AM
You can do almost anything to pump action shotguns. Pistol grips, forward pistol grips, folding stocks, heat shields are all legal. You can really trick out the pump action shotguns. However, on semi-autos, you cannot have a pistol grip and collapsing stock, also any semi-auto with a detachable magazine is illegal also. The barrel on shotguns must be 18" instead of the 16" on rifles. I have a 500A and its awesome, I highly recommend it. I've been meaning to put some pictures up of it..:rolleyes:

6) A semiautomatic shotgun that has both of the following:
(A) A folding or telescoping stock.
(B) A pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon, thumbhole stock, or vertical handgrip.
(7) A semiautomatic shotgun that has the ability to accept a detachable magazine.
(8) Any shotgun with a revolving cylinder.

maxicon
05-06-2006, 10:59 AM
The choice between semi-auto and pump is a tough one. Pump's the most popular for defense work, partly because of the lower cost. I personally prefer the concept of semi-autos, but I have pumps because of the cost.

There's a much bigger selection of pump defense guns (18-20" barrels with extended mag tubes) out there, but there are some excellent defense-style semi-autos as well. The majority of semi-autos seem to be sporting guns, though.

The downside of pumps is that they're dependent on you working the action correctly in a stressful situation. It's possible to jam the gun by "short-stroking" it, which means you didn't work the slide through the full range, and that can be a problem. Some designs are easy to unjam after this, and some aren't.

Likewise, anything in the specific situation that limits or slows your arm motion can cause cycling problems, and some pumps are a bit dependent on orientation (that is, they're more prone to cycling problems if sideways or upside down).

Semi-autos don't have this problem - pull the trigger, it fires, and the next round is loaded. Some are recoil-operated, some are gas-operated, and both have their pros and cons.

Now, semi-autos can be very ammo dependent in terms of reliability, but if you find a specific defense ammo that you want to use, and your semi-auto cycles it reliably through hundreds of rounds of testing, your confidence can be very good.

Like anything, you need to practice a lot to make sure it's going to go smoothly when you need it to. Shooting hundreds of rounds of your chosen defense ammo will get you used to the handling, reliability, and any quirks, regardless of what kind of gun you've chosen. Any gun that won't make it through that test is no good as a defense gun.

The big 3 of the pump gun world are the Remington 870, the Mossberg 500/590, and the Winchester 1300, in that order.

In the semi-auto world, the Remington 1100 and 11-87 are very popular. Other good bets include the Benelli M1 and M4 Tactical and Beretta 390/391 (dunno if they make those in a defense version).

max

whlgun
05-09-2006, 1:27 PM
For my home defense gun i use a coachgun and have found it very usefull as far as a shotgun goes, its super easy to operate and to clean. Just thought id give another option.

sierratangofoxtrotunion
05-09-2006, 10:20 PM
Thanks for all the friendly and helpful replies and not flaming me cause I don't know what I'm talking about. I'm thinking I'll go with a pump, they're tried and true, lots of parts are available for em, not so many regulations you have to keep track of, etc. Quality and dependability and easy to clean / work on / fix are important to me. What kind of prices would be a good deal?

maxicon
05-10-2006, 9:00 AM
For a starter gun on a tight budget, you can't beat Big 5's Mossberg 500 combo - an 18" barrel and 28" barrel combo for $220 or so on sale every month or two. The only problem with this is it's not the extended mag tube, and the Mossberg's more of a pain to upgrade.

The next step up is the Mossberg defense version, with the 8 round tube and 20" (I think) barrel. Costs about the same as the combo on sale at Big 5, but you don't get the spare barrel. It's a single-purpose gun, if you want something for defense only.

Bumping up another level gets you to the Remington 870, which starts in the $280-ish range. It's probably the most popular pump out there, has some benefits over the Mossberg, and is considered by many to be a better gun.

The Mossberg 590 is the sturdier version of the 500, and tends to run in the $350 and up range.

The Winchester 1300 Defender in 20" with the 8 round tube is a great gun, is smoother than the others out of the box, and will cycle the Aguila short rounds, but Winchester's shutting down, and I don't know what the future holds for this gun. There aren't as many upgrades around for this as there are for the Mossberg and Remington. This makes it harder to recommend.

If it were me, I'd get the Mossberg 500 if budget were critical, or the Remington 870 if I could kick in another few bucks. The extra cost will be forgotten in a few years...

max

sierratangofoxtrotunion
05-10-2006, 10:00 PM
I'm thinking 870, a lot of people have recommended them to me over the years. And I want to be able to make upgrades to it at some point, so I want it to be a gun that there will be parts available for it.
I understand that 12, 16 and 20ga are the popular ones. What are the strengths and weaknesses and versatility of each?

blkA4alb
05-10-2006, 10:35 PM
I'm thinking 870, a lot of people have recommended them to me over the years. And I want to be able to make upgrades to it at some point, so I want it to be a gun that there will be parts available for it.
I understand that 12, 16 and 20ga are the popular ones. What are the strengths and weaknesses and versatility of each?
If your worried, there are PLENTY of parts for the mossberg. 12 guage is by far the most common of all the shotgun shells, followed by the 20. The 12 guage is going to pack more of a punch (on both ends.) While 20 guage isnt hard to come by 16 guage can be a little rarer. You also have much more variety available in 12 guage than 20 and more so than 16. I would go with the 12 guage for sure. Heres some reading for you.
http://www.chuckhawks.com/index2c.shotguns.htm
http://www.chuckhawks.com/12gauge.htm

Matt-man
05-10-2006, 11:20 PM
12 gauge is the obvious choice. It has the widest range of payloads from birdshot through 000 buck. Reduced-recoil 12 gauge shells won't kick much harder than a 20 - I've gone through a case of it in a weekend with not even a bruise.

20 gauge isn't bad, but it's a lot harder to find defensive ammo like buckshot for a 20.

Don't even consider a 16 for your first shotgun. These days it's an oddball and you will have a hard time finding ammo for it.

maxicon
05-11-2006, 8:30 AM
I'd agree with the above. I have 12 and 20 gauge (and 16 and .410), and ammo variety and cost is far better for the 12 than for anything else. 20's not bad, but 12 is where the action is.

I've a bit recoil sensitive, and considered going with 20 gauge for that reason, but I've decided it's better to get something like a Knoxx stock for recoil reduction.

max

ivanimal
05-11-2006, 8:54 PM
Buy the 870 with 2 barrels they sell them at big 5 and other fine stores.

http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.asp?Item=48715443

This gives the best of both worlds.

Or you can do like me and buy as many as possible.:D

11Z50
05-11-2006, 9:47 PM
You just can't go wrong with the 870. Reliable, simple, easy to take care of, versatile and readily upgradeable. The Mossberg will do, but for a little more $$$ you can get alot more gun with the Remmy. I now own a couple of 870's and have given away a nice one to the oldest Son, as well as traded or sold a few over the years. When I was a cop I shot nothing but 870's and never had a malfunction. I have never seen or heard of a bad one. Incredible record for a fine weapon.

Although I prefer a pump 870 for serious biz, I keep a Stevens side-by-side handy for a ready weapon in my house. I can load it in the dark in seconds, and I am very good with it. I just think it looks cool too.

For an all-around shotty though, I agree with Ivan.....870 with a short 18 and 28" barrels. With the screw-in Rem-chokes you are set for everything from HD to Clays to Dove to Deer. There is a tremendous selection of ammo for just about any purpose. It even makes a fun plinker with light loads.

sierratangofoxtrotunion
05-12-2006, 12:19 PM
We've discussed the 870 a lot, a friend of mine has I think it's a Winchester 1300, he likes it as much as his 870, but apparently his 1300 has an aluminum receiver. Obviously the aluminum receiver would be lighter and perhaps reduce the overall weight of the gun, but also steel can rust if the blueing job isn't done right, not that this would be a problem with a gun that hasn't been stripped and reblued, but whereas aluminum doesn't rust. What do you guys think of the 1200/1300 series, as dependable as the 870 benchmark? Aluminum receiver falls into the "pro" or "con" column?

devjunk762
05-13-2006, 12:06 AM
Quite honestly, after trying out a bunch of shottys, you really can't go wrong with buying a Remington 870. They are quite durable, reliable, and a 'joy' to shoot.

Semi-auto shotguns are cool when they work right, but some of these guns I've shot are VERY ammo sensitive and won't properly cycle wihtout the right load. Plus, you need to be somewhat meticulous about cleaning them.

Double barrels are cool looking, and easy to operate, but after two shots you have to reload. Not a big deal if you've trained on the gun- but I really don't want to fumble with rounds.

Truth be told, if you're on a budget, go with a pump-shotty.

maxicon
05-13-2006, 8:36 AM
We've discussed the 870 a lot, a friend of mine has I think it's a Winchester 1300, he likes it as much as his 870, but apparently his 1300 has an aluminum receiver. Obviously the aluminum receiver would be lighter and perhaps reduce the overall weight of the gun, but also steel can rust if the blueing job isn't done right, not that this would be a problem with a gun that hasn't been stripped and reblued, but whereas aluminum doesn't rust. What do you guys think of the 1200/1300 series, as dependable as the 870 benchmark? Aluminum receiver falls into the "pro" or "con" column?

I have a 1300, and it's a great gun, but it's not as widely supported as the 870 or 500. It's the smoothest action of the 3 without spending a bunch of money on tuning, and works fine for me.

As far as steel vs. aluminum, it's not going to make a difference unless you're planning on putting tens of thousands of rounds through it. There are tons of high-use 500s and 1300s out there that have held up just as well as 870s, but the word on the street is that 870s hold up better as you pass, say, 50k rounds.

Really, most people just don't put that many rounds through their defense guns. I'm sure there are folks on this board who do, but the majority of 18-20" barrel pumps never reach anywhere near 10k rounds.

As for rust, all the other parts are steel (barrel, slide, etc) and have to be cared for the same, so there's no major difference there either.

There's no doubt that all 3 are great guns and will hold up fine to most people's shooting patterns.

If you had the chance to shoot them all, it might make it more obvious. Handling them side by side in the store is highly recommended, paying attention to things like safety and slide release placement and operation, handling, fit, pump action, etc.

Fit can be tweaked, but if you don't want to start spending money on upgrades as soon as you buy it, you should get something that fits you best out of the box.

Again, you can't go wrong with any of the 3, but if you want the surest bet, go with the 870. At least if you decide you don't like it (yes, there are people who don't care for the 870), it's easy to sell or trade for another.

max

homerm14
05-13-2006, 11:04 PM
Benelli M3....pump or auto best of both worlds!:D

CalNRA
05-15-2006, 3:21 AM
with the Mossberg 500, if you use the 18 inch barrel AND a pistol grip without any stock, does that go under 26 inches?

I know it won't be the most comfortable gun to shoot(yeah, 12GA, Pistol grip and a 18" barrel), but it would be a great setup to have to stash in the back of my car...

Mesa Tactical
05-15-2006, 9:19 AM
with the Mossberg 500, if you use the 18 inch barrel AND a pistol grip without any stock, does that go under 26 inches?

All the Big 3 pump shotguns are over 26" OAL with an 18" barrel and pistol grip. As they were all developed after the 1934 NFA, I'm pretty sure this is by design.

I know it won't be the most comfortable gun to shoot(yeah, 12GA, Pistol grip and a 18" barrel), but it would be a great setup to have to stash in the back of my car...

Unloaded ...

CalNRA
05-15-2006, 11:29 AM
Unloaded ...

I hear that....

THanks for the info.