Shotty for Newbie?

PredatorSlayer

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Also recoil is a function of the firearm weight, and the weight and velocity of the projectile.
This is part of it - the action is also part of it. A gas operated semiauto makes a 12 ga feel like a 20ga. Significantly less recoil than a 12ga, pump, double barrel or inertia driven semi auto.
 

SumTingWong

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I've been going down the rabbit hole researching, and am slightly farther along than I was. I'm set on 12 ga, and 26 to 28".
I'm leaning toward gas, but would love to shoot an SBE for comparison.
Thanks (tierradelmundo) for the list, which are some of what I've been considering.
Price range, I don't want to go more than an SBE, but am looking at other end of spectrum. Others I'm considering:
Retay Masai Mara
Mossberg 930
Beretta A300

I realize the price spectrum is wide, but I have few options for trying before buying here. Two questions, that will most likely show my "noobness,":

1) I've seen some actions that accommodate a fixed shell size, like the 3" Masai Mara, and I've seen others that accommodate multiple, using the shell size to dictate gas compensation. What are the advantages of each?

2) I will need to shoot light loads for dove. If possible, I'd like to be able do a little turkey as well. I know a one size fits all may not excel at one particular, but I do want an autoloader. That being said, of all the choices listed, are any more adept at cycling with lighter loads? I don't want to have a crappy dove experience for the sake of wanting to shoot turkey.
 

manitou

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Chokes control your pattern. Generally speaking, the more open the choke, the bigger the pattern. Additionally, steel shot usually likes a step or two more open choke than lead shot. Cycling is interdependent with the gun's action. MOST new autos will self adjust for different loads. Some may, as many did in the past, require you to change or rotate a gas piston or something.
For shooting quail, doves and small upland birds a improved, improved cylinder will do. Thurkey... you want a tight choke. Full or extra full for lead and modified for non-toxic shot. (non-lead shot gennerally requires a little less choke)
Google "what chokes to use for upland" or ducks, or whatever you plan to hunt and you will get your answers. Same goes for shot size.
Good luck.
I would stick with familiar makes... Browning, Benelli, Franchi, Beretta, Remington, Winchester and any of their autoloaders will shoot light through heavy loads just fine. I have read decent reviews on the Mossberg autos too. The more you get into it, the more you realize that the more "intimate" you are with your gun (ie: one that you really enjoy shooting and carrying), the better you will shoot and the more enjoyment you will get out of it. For this cause, I say spend a bit and get the one that tugs at your hearts strings, or you will buy it later after going through several.
Best of luck!
 
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entoptics

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...Two questions, that will most likely show my "noobness,":...
2) I will need to shoot light loads for dove. If possible, I'd like to be able do a little turkey as well. I know a one size fits all may not excel at one particular, but I do want an autoloader. That being said, of all the choices listed, are any more adept at cycling with lighter loads? I don't want to have a crappy dove experience for the sake of wanting to shoot turkey.
"Light" loads aren't always light in the power category, and are often just less weight, but more speed.

I did a quick look at common "dove" loads with steel, and most are 1 oz at around 1300 fps. That's 1640 ftlbs.

Common "brick" target loads, are 1 1/8 oz at 1200 fps for about 1575 ftlbs. Most modern shotguns will cycle these just fine, so the "light" dove loads are actually a bit more frisky, and should have no issues in a well maintained gun.

...Price range, I don't want to go more than an SBE, but am looking at other end of spectrum. Others I'm considering:
Retay Masai Mara
Mossberg 930
Beretta A300
...

I only have experience with one friend's Mossberg 930, and it was a malfunction machine out of the box. Wouldn't cycle the aforementioned target loads. Presumably a lemon, but my dad is a big shotgunner, and he has heard reports that the 930s are good for heavy loads, but not great for moderate or light loads. This is similar to what is reported in the "tactical" community. Buckshot = great, target loads = have to do some tuning.

FWIW, my SBE II will cycle anything I put in it, though I've not tried any really light loads.
 

tierradelmundo

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Beretta A300 or A350 are fine guns, I don't know anything about the others you mentioned. There are some good reports about the weatherby gas operated guns if you want to go cheap, but if cost is a driver you should probably consider a new pump or a used high quality semi auto.
 

Frog4aday

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I'll add to the Beretta semi-auto recommendations (A300 & A400). They are gas operated so the kick is less/softer. They are light, so easy to carry. They are well-balanced in the hands making them feel nimble to shoulder & swing. They are very reliable! Relatively easy to clean. And they are durable as thousands & thousands of rounds fired at skeet targets has proven. They are also adjustable for fit via shims (included) between the buttstock & receiver.

I'd try a 26" and 28" at the store and go with the one that feels more 'right' to you. For upland game I like the 26" and for waterfowl I like the 28" but gotta pick one so I default to 26" in a semi-auto or pump as the receiver adds length (vs. an O/U or SxS)

The Benelli (Super Black Eagle series) are good and reliable, too, but they kick more (NOT gas operated.) Pumps are great, but again, they kick more. The old Rem 1100 & 11-87 guns are good, but not as light or as reliable as the Berettas. The V3 & Versamax are more reliable than the old Rem semi-autos, so if they fit & feel "right", you might consider them. But honestly, the A300/A400 Berettas are the cream of the crop & will give you the most value & quality for your money.
 
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imartin

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I will parrot what has been said about the A300. I think you will be happy if you go that route.

As far as chamber & shell length. Any 3.5" gun can handle 2.75" and 3" as well. A 3" gun is 3" or 2.75". A 2.75" is only 2.75". As far as how the actions work based on the length of shell used, I think u are referring to the versamax/v3 system that covers up more ports in the chamber with a longer shell to controll how much gas is bled off to cycle the action. As far as I know Remington is the only one with a system like that. Most just have ports in the barrel to bleed gas which runs the action. Most guns will cycle reliably with shells they are designed for. However, there is always someone who has problems with a model and pretty soon the internet hates that brand.
 

SumTingWong

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Sooooo, went for quail today with a friend. He has a Mossberg SA-20. Was surprised at the level of recoil. It was not quite as hard as my 45-70, but almost. I didn't mind it, but would have thought it would be less, for being at 20ga. He says it kicks harder than his friend's 12ga, but I have no reference.

Narrowing it down to:
Beretta A300. The A350 is not offered in 26", which is the longest I'd like. I've spoken to a few ppl, who say the A400 kicks harder than the A300, partially due to having a lighter bolt. Since I find no way of justifying another $1k for the A400, the 300 seems logical. Feel free to correct me if wrong.

Benelli SBE III, and Super Vinci (both 26"). Anyone know why the Vinci is 300 less, and any opinions? Anyone have extensive shooting time with the SBE (or Vinci) AND the A300, for comparison?

Win SX4. vs Rem V3. I know the interwebs is rife with opposing opinions. I've run into many references to Rem's build quality, and don't know if I want to chance it.

Retay Masai Mara. Randy Wakeman really likes this gun, as well as several others.
Does the 3" shoot 2.75 as well? If so, does the 3.5 shoot 3 and 2.75?

There's the finalists.
 
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manitou

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You van always shoot a shorter shell from a gun rated longer, ex: You can shoot 2 3/4" and 3" from a 3.5" chamber
You can always go down... can't go up in size.

If you "noticed" the recoil on the SA 20, I doubt you will enjoy an SBE. i didn't... and I am really not.recoil sensitive so-to-speak. Some.small.lightweight 20s can seem to have more felt recoil due to being light, but shouldn't be with light quail loads. Quail loads are extrememly light compared to say, a 3" turkey load. That one will wake you up, lol.
 

Frog4aday

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I'm voting Beretta A300 Outlander. It will offer the best balance in your hands, the 'proper' weight for a light 12 ga (7.25lbs), and best value for your money. The gas system will soften recoil. The stock is adjustable. The build quality is very good. You won't ever be disappointed with it. The reliability alone (after years with an 1100 and 11-87) sold me on it. Some 3.5" guns 'struggle' to reliably cycle 7/8 ounce skeet loads. That doesn't work for me. The A300 will cycle everything fine.

I can hear it now: "But it can't handle 3.5" shells"
Let's talk the "need" for a 3.5" capable 12ga gun...THERE ISN'T ANY. Not anymore. I have a 12 ga with 3.5" chambers and will never fire another one of those shells through it. The recoil is ferocious and I hit BETTER with the 2.75" mag or 3" shells, so the extra payload and punishment of the longer shell buys me nothing. The 3.5" 12ga. was introduced when we got 'stuck' with steel shot and people were trying to figure out how to make the 12ga "as effective" as it was before the lead ban. Adding more shot volume with the longer shell was the band-aid fix developed.

Now we have bismuth-tin shot, tungsten-matrix shot, tungsten-iron shot, and "hevi-shot" {tungsten-nickle-iron}, all of which brings back our 'normal' 12 gauge effectiveness WITHOUT having to use that heavy kicking 3.5" shell anymore. My advice? Don't worry about getting a 3.5" capable gun. You won't need it. Plenty of good options now in the shot-shell dept to make it obsolete.

Good luck with whatever choice you pick. As long as YOU love it, it will be the right decision.
 

Matt04

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The beretta a400 is worth a look. Shotguns are a bit like bows, you just have to have one that feels good. Plenty of great guns that are all for the most part equally reliable, but they have to fit. I couldn't hit a pterodactyl at 10ft with an 870, i think I'd be lucky to hit the air in front of the barrel with one. Good guns, but I can't shoot'em. No fit.....no hit.
12 gauge for sure.
I agree. I had been wondering why I didn’t shoot good with my OU, compared to my a400, and it was all about the fit.
 

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