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Xplorer

1st Shotgun

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Looking for some advice for those that have been down this road already.

 

My son turned 14 this fall, and I have been seriously thinking about getting him his own 12 guage for Xmas this year.

 

Background:  He has been hunting grouse with me since he was 10, and has used a Rem. 1100 20 ga,, a single shot 16 ga. from grandpa (that kicks like a mule:grin:), and my Rem. 870 Wingmaster.  

Last month we took our first trip out to NoDak on a week long pheasant hunt.  He (we actually) are addicted!!  He shot both the 870, and the last couple days, switched off to my 12 ga. Browning Lightening Superposed O/U.  He was lights out with both guns on the trip (we had spent alot of time shooting clays and I really think it helped a ton).  We WILL be making this an annual trip!  He is already 5'11" and wears a 11.5 shoe, so only adult models need apply here:D 

 

Some day he will inherit my guns, but I'd like to get him something that he can use and call "his own" til that time comes.  I've just started to look, and am looking at the Rem 870 Express and the Weatherby PA-08 models.   Wondering if anyone has started a hunter with one of these, and also which stock you went with?  I've only ever owned wood stocks, so have no idea if the synthetic stock is the way to go.  Are there other models I should be seriously considering?  

 

Thanks for any help from those that have gone before me.  :)

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My first ever was a used 12G Harrington & Richardson single shot. I used that thing for everything from Grouse, Ducks and slugs for Deer until it literally fell apart. Broken stock and wore out firing pin. He's a big kid, it may be a little hard on him at first but get him a good 870 20 or 12G. After the first season he will get used to it and you will not have to upgrade to a bigger gun once he knows it's cool that bigger is better when talking to his buddies! :lol:

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If the PA-08 is anything like the SA-08 should be a decent gun.  I have the SA-08(on sale for 429 right now) and its been awesome.  I've put a couple thousand rounds through it and couldnt be happier.  It runs a light and heavy slide that can be changed out depending on what your shooting so you don't have the mis-ejecting shells at the trap range you see on other low end semi auto's.  Otherwise I started off on an 870 also.  If your looking for an all around gun, you can get barrels/ stocks for the 870 easier than pretty much any other gun out there.

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I got my 10 year old at the time (now 15) an H&R 20ga that has gotten the job done but I am also planning on upgrading him to a 12 ga. for Christmas. I think I am going to with an 870 express with synthetic. 870's are know to be able to take a beating and I think are generally a great all around 1st "adult" gun. I am going with synthetic because it will take the abuse of a 15 year old better than wood. 

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Haven't been down that road myself, but I was on the receiving end of a 870 express when I was 14.   Still using it almost 25 years later, I actually just put a slug barrel and a scope on it this year.

 

It's a great all around 1st gun that's really yours to own rather than dad's to borrow.  Besides, literally everyone needs to own an 870.

Edited by bobbymalone

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Now that is what I was looking for, thanks guys!!

 

My 870 is over 40 year old and has been bullet-proof (fact is, all of "my" guns were handed down to me from my father.  He and his buddies got into shooting for a few years in the late 60's/early 70's and then quit.  I'm the only one in the family that ever took up hunting. I've never actually bought a gun for myself)  No Rem chokes back then, so I have 3 barrels for it, Mod, Full and a 34" goose barrel.

 

He has no problem handling/shooting my 870, in fact he put over 100 rounds of #3 steel shot thru it on our pheasant hunt so I'm not worried about that at all.   I too, was thinking that the synthetic might be a better choice for him.

 

Next step is to head out and get a feel for both of these guns.  I'm leaning towards the Rem, just cause I'm familiar with them, but want to see how the Weatherby feels.  I know I should have him do the "feel test", but I'd really like it to be a surprise.

 

Thanks everyone!

 

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+1 on the 870. Got a 870 wingmaster handed down to me that was too nice for stomping around in the sloughs so I got an express about 15 yrs back. It has been through the mud, rain, and even dropped in the water once and is still going strong. Not the prettiest gun on the market in comparison to some of the fancier wooden stock, blued models but is definitely dependable.

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My first shotgun was a Remington 870 express 12 ga. and my son's first shotgun was a Remington 870 express 20 ga. It is safe to say that we like Remington 870's and I don't think you could go wrong, especially for the price. 

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OK, there seems to be a trend here:D

I did a little looking and see that it comes in both a 26" and 28" barrel length.

I'm thinking for sure 26" just for a slightly lighter load to carry, especially on long days chasing roosters and for the close quarter shots that grouse seem to provide in tight cover.

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Thats looking pretty spot-on, I thought that there was just over a pound difference, but that was a 12ga  vs a 20 ga,   Reality is less than a half pound.  Gonna go home and measure what length my Wingmaster modified is and go with that, since that is what he has been shooting so far.  

 

Looks like most all places have it with a Modified Rem choke tube which is fine (tho it is kinda nice that the Weatherby comes with IC, M and Full choke tubes standard).  I've used the full choke barrel on my 870 for ducks and shooting slugs, and the 34" has only been used when I lived out in Colorado and did some pass shooting of honkers from pit or layout blinds.   

I do have an IC for the 1100 which i like for early season grouse.  

 

Time to go to a couple of the local shops and see what they have or can get in before Xmas.

 

Edited by Xplorer
SP

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Lots of choices out there. I bought my son a Mossberg sa20 at 9. Moved him up to a CZ 712 at 10 and wasn't overly happy with the overall quality of either. Then I bought him and his sister each an sx3 and I suspect they will have them for a very long time. 

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How about a wingmaster rather than the Express, no comparison in build and smoothness.  I have a Wingmaster and a Sportsman ( Sportsman came out before the Express) . Wingmaster is super smooth, Sportsman isn't bad and alot better than the express's ..  

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12 hours ago, Todd Caswell said:

How about a wingmaster rather than the Express, no comparison in build and smoothness.  I have a Wingmaster and a Sportsman ( Sportsman came out before the Express) . Wingmaster is super smooth, Sportsman isn't bad and alot better than the express's ..  

 

Since I have a wing master that he will eventually have I thought I'd try to stay on the lower end of models but with a good product.  I know how things go for teens/young adults and if something were to happen (dropped in a river/lake, left somewhere accidentally) replacement of it would be easier for HIM, and mom won't be quite as upset if the price wasn't so much.  

My 870 went in the drink when I was a young man growing up in LaCrosse,. WI.   Was out duck hunting the sloughs north of Goose island and on a return trip back to my buddies house, sploosh, over the side it went in a back cut.  Could not find it, and going home was not a fun thing, got quite the tongue lashing to say the least.  Next day at high school I told my bud that we were going out after school back to the spot and I was going swimming.  It took close to a half hour in the water, but I got it back.  

Tore it down to pieces, cleaned dried and oiled (and cleaned and oiled again) and it never missed a beat.

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I started out with a 870 express and once I inherited a few guns that were more on the bird side of things I modified my long barrel and had a gunsmith shorten the barrel and add sights to it and it is now my slug gun.  I love the gun and it is reliable as they come.

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In my opinion I would look for a nice used wingmaster

2 of my friends have bought a new 870 express about a year apart and they both had the same shell extraction problems.

Maybe just a fluke but when I see two different people have the same problem with a Gun makes me think to find a different choice. Heck I have a Mossberg 500 that I treat like poop and I have never had one single malfunction.

 

I have shot my friends newer express and I can really tell the difference in quality beside my wingmaster

 

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I also started with an 870 express, as did my brother, and my father before us. Still shoot it every year and have yet to have an issue. Fantastic starter (heck, even if it's not a starter) imo!

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I ended up going with the 870, in synthetic stock.

I realize the wingmaster is a much better built gun, but truth be told, for alot of the hunting we do for grouse each fall, I think the express will give him many years of good shooting.  And I'm guessing that for our big trip(s) out west for pheasant, he will be shooting either my Browning O/U or the Wingmaster.   I really wanted him to have a gun that was truly "his", that he can learn to strip down and clean from bore to stock, and these 870's are a perfect one to cut his teeth on.  

Thanks for all the input everyone!!  I'm guessing two weeks from sunday, we will be hitting the grouse woods in the afternoon to give it its inaugural run!!

 

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