Shotty for Newbie?

Creedmoor shooter

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Go to a store that has alot of shotguns and try them all. Shotguns are very personal unlike rifles. I can make just about any rifle work. Shotgunning is instinctive though and it has to feel natural to you. With all that said, I'd also look into the Winchester sx4 line. I own a SX3 field and I love it. Not sure if they still make the sx3. They are the same price as the v3. When I bought my sx3 I held a v3 at the same time, but when I looked down the barrel I noticed Remington couldn't even get the center bead drilled center on the rib. It was off to one side. I put it back. If they can get that right lord only knows what else they screwed up. Also I'd recommend a 26-28. Longer barrels help your swing.
 

KY_Windage

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For dove, quail and similar big, heavy loads blow too many birds apart, esp. if at all close. So you need only light loads, so recoil will not be a concern. I prefer an O/U out of "ease of carry" and out of consideration for my friends. When my O/U is broken open everyone in sight can see that I am safe. With an auto everyone has to wonder whether you're about to swing your muzzle into them, and that is particularly true of a beginner. Even if you have the bolt locked back they have to wonder whether you are going to drop the shotgun, bump the action release and instantly load a round from the magazine into the barrel.

I also find O/U's generally easier to shoot accurately, though accuracy primarily depends on whether you have been taught to shoot a shotgun properly.

Any modern shotgun will be steel-safe so long as you do not use a choke tighter than Mod. However, because biting down on a steel (iron, actually) pellet is a great way to fracture a tooth, I would use steel for practice and a malleable non-toxic shot for the birds.

I don't think having a beginner handle shotguns in a store is very instructive because you don't know what to look for. But neither do I think fit is going to be an issue if you get a quality shotgun and learn how to shoot properly.
 

Memberberries

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I agree with the chamber open visibility of an o/u and difficulty judging fit in a store which is why you start in a store and then try to find a range that has rentals or people that would let you shoot theirs.


I've had more than one stranger/beginner jump in shooting sporting clays with me and my friends not having their own gun and I've never seen anyone have a problem letting someone shoot their gun except for a guy who showed up with 50 rds of 16ga for 50 targets.
 

SHDeersniper

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What's your budget?

I personally would go with 26" - 28" 12 gauge. You can run light target loads, which are equivalent to max loaded 20 gauge, or if you feel the need for more speed/pellets, you can go up from there. Also, in the event you go waterfowl hunting, you have a bigger payload capacity for steel shot. Since steel is much lower density than lead, you need more volume to run the same weight/velocity.

I'm a big fan of my Benelli Super Black Eagle II, which does everything well. I use it for skeet, trap, sporting clays, and hunting. By running the same gun in the games I might be giving up a bird here and there over a dedicated range toy, but it greatly improves my field shooting. The SBE III has a few improvements, and no downsides that I know of. They are spendy though.
This^
12ga SBE kicks aLOT less than a 20ga 1187
 

300whisper

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For your first shotgun I would keep it simple and get a remington 870 express mag in either laminate or synthetic. Do the 3.5 inch chamber. You can use that gun for everything.

I have one that literally has 10k shells through it and it’s still rocking and rolling. I’ve killed hundreds of doves with it, pheasants, ducks, and quail. I also used it to compete in trap and skeet. I placed In the top ten in my junior year of highschool during the Georgia 4H state championship. It’s a great gun and brand new you can get one for $300.
 
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Memberberries

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I disagree with the 3.5 inch chamber pump. I never liked those, when trying to run them fast or trying to get a follow up shot when adrenaline is going while hunting I've seen almost everyone shooting them short stroke them at least once.

There's nothing wrong with an 870, I grew up on them too and still have one (2.75 chamber) but he asked for lighter recoil and a semi-auto reduces recoil vs a pump. He also said dove, quail, and turkey. Ducks and geese are the only birds I see a need for 3.5" shells since the others are closer to the ground.
 

arch408

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I'm a 12 gauge fan. I also like Remington shotguns. I also have a Browning 2000 that absolutely love. So I say go to a gun shop and find one that feels good to you. Also recoil is a function of the firearm weight, and the weight and velocity of the projectile. A 20 gauge shotgun is probably going to weigh less than a 12 gauge so IMO, felt recoil between a 12 gauge and a 20 gauge would be about the same or even more if the shot weight and velocity are the same. IMO. BTW, Savage has come out with a auto loading shotgun that might be worth considering. And when is the Rupublic of Kaliefornia going to outlaw autoloaders!!!!!!!
 

tierradelmundo

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non-toxic 20 ga loads are a pain to find and ridiculously expensive, so CA is basically forcing you into a 12 ga. I prefer gas operated semi-autos, and think you'd do fine with a:
Browning Maxus or Silver
Beretta A400
Winchester SX3 or 4
Remington V3 or Versamax

As so many others have said, getting one that feels good in your hands is paramount, any of the above guns should be extremely reliable.
 

KY_Windage

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non-toxic 20 ga loads are a pain to find and ridiculously expensive, so CA is basically forcing you into a 12 ga. I prefer gas operated semi-autos, and think you'd do fine with a:
Browning Maxus or Silver
Beretta A400
Winchester SX3 or 4
Remington V3 or Versamax

As so many others have said, getting one that feels good in your hands is paramount, any of the above guns should be extremely reliable.

Good points but I would buy a $250 20-ga. press and 10 lbs. of bismuth shot from RotoMetals and load my own before I would go quail hunting with a 12-ga. semi-auto. I have several of both types and find the O/U much more preferable for upland hunting.
 

manitou

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X1000 what tierra said above. Good suggestions. I have (had) a shotgun fetish and have bird and small game hunted multiple states over the past 45 years, including turkey, sharptail, dusky grouse, hungarian partridge, chuckar, quail, prairie chicken and pheasant... as-well-as waterfowl. I absolutely love my double guns, but a lot can be said for a good gas gun for an all rounder. The SBEs do recoil more than a gas gun... I sold mine because of that ( neck spinal fusion). Keep in mind a double gun will not have any recoil reduction (absorption, or whatever you want to label it) either.
Save the 3.5" for heavy waterfowl hunting, otherwise you don't need one. Still don't need one for waterfowl either IMO. Research patterns and forcing cones, etc. Research and "experts" show that a 3.5" can hinder your pattern just a bit when shooting 2 3/4", although I never tested this.
I really like the Browning autos and have one that has literally killed uncountable birds and clay pigeons... thousands of rounds, without a single hiccup.
I also have a love for the 20 ga because of the ease of carry when covering 5-10 miles a day hunting. I have multiple 12s and 20s... but the 20s are just neat.
Yes, shotgun fit is EVERYTHING when wingshooting. It should be a natural extension of your body, much like one of your arms and hands. To check for fit, quickly mount the gun with your eyes closed, as if getting ready to shoot a bird. Open your eyes. You should be already sighted down the barrel/rib without adjusting. Do this many times with each gun you look at. One or more will stand out as a comfortable fit. Adjustable cast and drop are nice if you are considering a gun with that option.
Once you start bird hunting, a few tips: Shoot each shot as if you will not feed your family that day if you miss. Take your time on your mount and foot position and you will kill the bird. Neglect getting a good mount, or try twisting your body to follow the bird without adjusting your feet and you will likely miss. Some of the best upland shots are calculated and make each shot count instead of "spraying and praying".
 
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