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jakemcarroll

My first shotgun

28 posts in this topic

I'm now in the market to buy my first shotgun. I don't have a lot to spend, under 400 would be great, I'm just looking entry level to get into the sport and buy a better gun when I'm hooked! I'm looking at the remington 870 and mossberg 500, and have heard great things about both. I'm also intrigued by the stoeger condor O/U. I will be hunting pheasant primarily, behind my faithful chocolate lab. Anyone have suggestions on pump vs. O/U, or the models I have listed above? Thanks a lot!

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I think the Rem. 870 or look at the Benelli Nova. I think a pump is the best way to go. I do like the o/u, but I don't know if that is the best first gun.

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Can't go wrong with a 870 Wingmaster. Great first gun, and last gun too! I have one with a 26" barrel and it's a pheasant hunting machine. The Wingmaster is a touch more money ($500-$600) than the standard 870.

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I had the same question last year. Got the lower end 870 for $200 and I love the gun. Does everything I have asked of it. It's a very nice gun and won't set you back a ton.

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Myself, I picked up a Winchester 1300 as it seem to be the one that fit me the best out of the pumps. 870, Mossberg, and Nova are all good guns, just not for me as it stretched me out to much in the arms. If you are primarly doing pheasant, I wouldn't get overly hung up on the 3 1/2's....3 guys I hunt with purposely bought guns that can take 3 1/2's and not a single one has used a 3 1/2 shell in the 3 years I have hunted with them.

As for over/unders......I have been really looking at them lately myself for "change of pace"....plus it would be a fun gun to take to the trap range to help better my skills. I to am looking at anything around the 400 or less mark.

Stoeger Condor....decent gun however it lacks the option to select which barrel you can choose to shoot from. (Bottom barrel always shoots first) One guy that I talked to about O/U said it is a nice feature to have so you can run two different chokes...and have the ability to shoot either close up or far away.

Some of the other one's I have looked at are the TriStar Hunter (Cabela's has this model on sale for 349.00 this week - Reg. price 449.00), Rem. Spartan 310 (nickle receiver model - Dick's has this for 399 and there is a 40 dollar Rem. mail in rebate) and last but certainly not least...the Mossberg Silver Reserve. (I think I found one of those for around 450 or so) All are nice guns with the Mossberg being the prettiest of the above in my mind, (though I haven't had a chance to really check out the Tristar though I have heard decent things about them)

Lastly, the Stoeger Condor Supreme model is the step up from the Condor....and I believe that model offers the ability to change which barrel fires first.

They aren't in the same league as the really expensive O/U's...but one, I can't afford one of those right now, two, if I accidentally scratch it hunting....it won't bug me near as much and three, if I get hooked on a O/U....then someday maybe I'll upgrade again. But none the less....I can say the Mossberg and the Spartan do shoot very nice with little recoil.

Good luck in your choice!

Steve

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Here's another vote for the 870. I've got two of them and have NEVER had a problem. Agreed, the Wingmaster is a much nicer gun, but the Express seems to be just as reliable for much less money.

I have one 870 Wingmaster that I bought new at Target for $189. Now how long ago was that?

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DonBo, that must have been in the '70s! My Wingmaster was about $250 new in 1981. I've since upgraded to a Benelli M1 Super 90, which by the way feels almost exactly like my wingmaster. But I think the most important thing is to go shopping and pull up these guns and see how they feel to you. A Remington 870 Express is a decent gun but make sure it comes up just the way you like, otherwise try out the other guns mentioned here. When you pull up the gun you should not see any of the Vent Rib, only the bead at end of the barrel. If you can see the top of the rib when you pull the gun up naturally it may not fit you just right and your shooting will be off unless you either adjust the gun or adjust the way you bring it up, something that is very hard to do.

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DonBo, that must have been in the '70s! My Wingmaster was about $250 new in 1981.

I believe you're right, probably 1975 or so. It is still my go-to gun for upland birds. That's me on the left with that very gun.

DSC00954-1.jpg

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Another vote for the 870. I have had mine since I turned 16 and will never go with out it. It is always in the truck with me weather I have my O/U with or not. It has never failed me.

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and yet another vote for an 870 . I have 2 of them one is an express and the other a wingmaster cant go wrong with it.

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The problem with the new 870 express is that the dang things rust easily. I have one and it rusted in the 20 minutes it took to get from the landing to the hotel. Remington wouldn't do anything and a friend re-blued it for me. That dull finish is nice but unless they've solved the rust problem I would recommend spending the extra dollars and getting a wingmaster. I have 3 - an express and 2 wingmasters, the mossberg 535 (kicks hard) a couple of semi-autos and an OU. If you're getting started you probably should go with a 3 inch chamber, which probably is about standard with all now. Make sure you have a couple of choke tubes - improced cylinder and modified are my choices. Once you get the gun spend an hour patterning it so you know how it shoots the rounds you'll be using, and then shoot as much trap or skeet as you can afford.

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I have an 870 express as well and agree, you get what you pay for. Sure the gun works, but the wood the stock is made of is junk and it rusts all the time. I know I'll never buy another one, and I'm glad I got a good deal on the one I did buy.

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The question I would ask is how important is gun fit. Just buying any old gun off the sales rack may not be your best option especially for a first gun. If a shotgun doesn't fit well, you'll struggle to become proficient and you could get yourself discouraged before giving shotgunning a chance.

Am I out in left field here guys?

Bob

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Bob, you're correct. From what I have read few guns fit and most shooters don't know it. However, getting it done correctly is tough because few know how to do it. IMO Patterning and then practice are the top two things that need to be done.

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I would take a used wingmaster over a new express. You can get 3.5 inch in the express and I would guess it will be a harder to find one in a wingmaster.

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I have to say a Remington 870 express or wingmaster, I prefer my wingmaster but the express is a great gun as well. I also like the Remington 880 mag that they use to make that is my go to. All are pumps and for a first shotgun, I would go pump

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Another VOTE for the 870 WingMaster!

Sure, there might be smoother pumps on the Market but for the Money you really can not go wrong!

My First gun was a 870 WM!

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I've gotta say nova had one since they came out. easy to clean( no tools ) as thier is a button on the screw deal that holds the plug in. only one problem with it, it dont like the 7/8oz trap loads. other than that I clean it once a year and shoot a lot of stuff thruogh it 2.75" - 3.5" cycles them all with eas in -10 degree weather to 100 degree weather every gun feels different and you should shoulder every gun before you buy one. the new supernova is a little more but i feel is worth the money my brother shoots one and it little and has a couple more features. good luck

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I would also say go for an 870, but I would go with the synthetic black model. This will eliminate problems I have had in the past with scratches in the wood, and it looks sharp too. A short point on the rusting, I have owned 2 870's each of which rust easily if not taken care of properly. I use Rem Oil both before and after every hunt. It doesn't take long to wipe it down, and the Rem oil does a nice job removing any rust that has built up.

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Agreed! Rust is highly preventable with just a bit of TLC.

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Is this rusting thing mainly on the newer 870 Express? I've had mine for cripes...quite a while now, and have had zero problems(w/ anything). I do keep it cleaned and oiled though. The stock is not pretty from years of use but it still shoots great. Was thinking of buying one for my boy in the youth model/20 ga.

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So I have a question about the fit of a gun, any suggestions on length of barrel, or how should it feel, are there some rules of thumb when sizing a gun? This is fabulous advice, and I can't wait to get out to the range with w/e I choose so I'll be ready for the pheasant season this fall!

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I know that some people on here are going to disagree with me, but if your a beginner, you might not know how a gun fits. The biggest thing as that you can pull it up and shoulder it easily. If you are going to do this in cold weather, try it with a coat on. A stock that is too long will get caught in your armpit, too short, and your trigger hand will be too close to your shoulder and alignment will be off. Assuming that you are not dragging your knuckles on the ground or 4 feet tall, most guns will fit. I think how you pull your gun up and what will feel right to you will depend on your first gun. What I mean is, because its your first gun, you will make it fit. You'll learn to pull it up smoothly, swing, etc... Just make sure that when you put it up to your shoulder it feels comfortable and you can be relaxed. Make sure the gun is securely in the crook of your shoulder just above the armpit, not in the armpit as I often see beginners at the trap range do. Keep your trigger arm elbow, out. Put your cheek against the stock and aim.

As for barrel length, it depends on what you are going to hunt. A shorter barrel will be lighter but will swing faster and not quite as smooth on the follow through. It might also not balance as well. However, it will be much easier in brush or in confined areas. Turkey and grouse hunters like shorter barrels.

A longer barrel 28+ inches, will swing slower and smoother and be easier to follow through on the target. It might be weighted better for a more even balance. However, it may be a little heavier and harder to pull up in brush. Waterfowlers and pheasant hunters generally use a longer barrel.

This is really the down and dirty for guns. I really thought I'd like my supernova, but it jams 2 3/4 inche shells something fierce. Not that big of a deal for a goose gun, but I like to take it to sporting clays for practice and is no fun when it is basically a single shot. I think I got a lemon, but still, I can't say anything good about them. I've seen a lot of 870's take abuse.

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Waterfowlers and pheasant hunters generally use a longer barrel.

Maybe that's a Minnesota thing where the gun is used for dual purpose?

Pretty much every upland hunter I know that primarily hunts in the Dakotas prefers the shorter barrel (26/28"). But then again, this is usually a dedicated pheasant gun too. I feel that a longer barrel is too slow to keep up with shooting birds that are racing along in the typical windy Dakota days, where they will be out of range in a blink of an eye once they get on the wing.

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