View Full Version : Advice for a new to me Shotgun

little b
09-18-2014, 07:37 PM
Hey all, I looking for a little help in the way of what 2 or 3 things should I really be keeping my eye on when looking a buying a used gun. Basically what are the deal breakers being new enough I don't know to look for.

The simple fact is I am really enjoying getting out for sporting clays but I am at this point only out once or maybe twice a month to go shoot a round of 50 with the wife. If and when I am shooting far more then I will invest the 1500-2000 + and get a solid o/u to work with but in the mean time I am looking to see what I can find to suit my current needs.

09-18-2014, 09:00 PM
Well one of the biggest things is fit - making sure you know what fits you. I've seen guys who are unstoppable with cheap-ass shotguns because they fit perfect and they practice enough with them to just hit what they're looking at. So - make sure you know you're length of pull, and perhaps what drop at the comb you like, and when you go to the gun store take a few off the used (and new) rack and just shoulder them. A well fitting shotgun should come up perfectly on your shoulder without you having to move your head at all. It's not like a rifle where you can 'snuggle in' - rifles are meant to be aimed, shotguns are meant to be pointed.

Other than that - shotguns are pretty simple. I'd tend to stay with a pump personally because some used semis can be a little fussy. I'd stick closer to name brands that parts are easy to get. Vent ribs offer more after market sighting options, some people really like 'em. I couldn't care personally. The action should be smooth of course, but you probably won't get to try that when you're buying used and it's not hard to fix if there is a problem. Learning where it shoots with your loads is big, make sure you take it out and pattern it with a few different ammos and get a feel for where it's hitting.

IF you're just into it for fun and want something to break a few clays with, look for something that fits well and 'calls' to you if you know what i mean - anything in the air within 35 yards of my grandad lived at his sufferance be it fowl or clay, and all he ever had was an old model 12 winnie.

little b
09-19-2014, 05:09 PM
Thanks Foxer,

the issue of fit I am aware of, I'm on the short side so my LOP is all of 13" when in a t-shirt. As for type I am thinking to leave the semis alone just because of I may not know if it would be fine with the lighter loads for sporting clays till I try and while I'm sure I can some fun with a pump I'm thinking it could be tough trying to shoot true pairs, but I'm up for a challenge. So for now I'm looking for something that will be very reliable with a good fit that will allow me to improve my skills to the point that I would then worry about putting the money into getting a perfect fit in a O/U. If all goes real well I will be able to a O/U to do the job, but as it goes if I am limiting the funds I will put to this then that will limit my choices.

09-20-2014, 03:20 PM
For a starter gun i got the mossberg 500. Came with the 28inch vent ribbed ported barrel and 3 chokes. Nice wood. Under 350 shipped new. I love it for clays. Its reliable, and silky smooth action. Bakal makes cheaper O/U for 600$ or less i believe. They are nice.

09-20-2014, 04:44 PM
maverick 88 ftw. just wish they had the shorter barrel where i bought mine. i got stuck with the tank turret version. trying to decide weather or not to saw it down a bit.

road kill
09-21-2014, 08:49 AM
I'm a Rem. wingmaster guy myself, good reliable firearm and lots of after market stuff if that makes you happy. Prices on used wingmasters run from $300 up to $450 in my area depending on chamber and barrel.

09-23-2014, 06:54 AM
Completely agree with Foxer's two points....pay attention to fit and go with a pump. Beyond that, keeping in mind your need to be conscious about money, I would say make a purchase AND an investment. Buy one of these four pump guns and you will have a classic that will never need to be upgraded to something better. In pump guns, there aren't anything better. Remington 870 Wingmaster, Winchester Model 12, Ithaca Model 37 and Remington Model 31. They can all be had in good condition for under $500. The only issue with some of them, depending on age and choke will be the use of steel.

On another note, you mention one day getting a good quality O/U. I would encourage you to look at an Ithaca/SKB model 500 in 12 gauge. Made in Japan, sold by Ithaca in the 60's and 70's. Quality wise, competitive with the B guns and can be found regularly for around $500. A quality O/U may not be out of your price range right now. And for maintenance, a former Ithaca employee, who has his shop down near Port Colbourne, south of Welland in Ontario, bought up all the factory parts when Ithaca was shut down. Meaning a pretty good supply of original parts and the expertise to fit them properly by a factory trained guy still exists.

09-23-2014, 08:28 PM
Mossberg 500/590 or Remington 870.

You can get these at really good prices, and they are industry standard. You can get a long barrel for clays & hunting then have a shorter barrel for fun.

little b
09-23-2014, 09:54 PM
Thanks for the input all. The funny thing is a gentlemen I work with on occasion, I finally did a job with long enough to be able to really sit and talk. Turns out he in fact grew up with my mother and was best buds with her older brother. And guess what he has that I was very happy to be able to pick up as what might as well be a family hand me down for cheap. An old Rem 870 Wing master, couple of YouTube videos later and I was able to take it apart and give it a cleaning it was in bad need of and deal with some rust pitting that was starting.
All cleaned up and now it's cycling snap caps much smother.
So I'm starting with a pump, not what I was planning on but I'm looking forward to seeing how it preforms on Saturday. I was kind of a sucker for it when I mounted it and the fit while not perfect is wonderful and very close I have just under 1.5" between my knuckle and nose.
In the mean time I'll keep my eyes open for a Ithaca and see what turns up.

Thanks again and I look forward to see you all out there.


09-23-2014, 11:49 PM
:) - chick chick boom brother!

09-24-2014, 10:25 AM
My first shotgun is an Ithaca. Works great for clays. I'm not a hunter and use my pops O/U so it's for sale. PM if interested but I think you'll be happy with the Remington. The wingmasters are pretty solid.

09-24-2014, 10:45 AM
If you're still considering an inexpensive o/u, I highly recommend the Mossberg Maverick from Cabela's (http://www.cabelas.ca/product/21741/maverick-hunter-3-12-gauge-overunder-shotgun), for $460 you can't find a better deal. I bought mine two years ago, specifically to bust clays, and I absolutely love it. Low price, simple, works fine.

little b
09-24-2014, 07:38 PM
Talk about the power of a good or bad review, after a couple of people talking about the Mossberg (Xtreme in particulate) I wend looking again on-line, as the closest Cabela's is a planned drive but an easy day trip I know when my wife and I were at BassPro there was a Mossberg that had caught my eye. But it's not the Maverick which lots of people look like they are loving on the Cabela's website reviews. The hunter which is what we found basiclly last on the shelf at the time when we were in Basspro has an on-line review when we both went looking for some experience about the gun and looking again at the review we both found when we did separate searches was actually about it's little brother the Hunter-12, Sad part is we both had the same take away from the article that the little sucker has a LOT of kick and using it for a round of 50-100 would be totally punishing for a day of spot clays.

So thank you Xtreme for getting me to take a second look, I'll have to look again after I've got some play time with the wingmaster :pcow3
Of course the last month or so was not a great time to be looking, most seem to have their shelvs picked over. I wonder why that might be ............... or just all the bird hunters :eek:

little b
10-06-2014, 04:56 PM
So it occurred to me today that I have not posted an update of how things have been going with the Wingmaster. Went out 2 weeksago and did a round with it, had a good time but for light rounds the thing has some kick to it. I'm thinking it was a factory recoil pad so upgraded it to a remington super gel, not the greatest fit but I'm thinking the stock may have been shortened which is why it's a good fit for me.

So with the new pad I did another round last weekend and it is so much nicer to shoot with now, It's solid enough but I'm finding even with what little I've been out with it I'm seeing the need for the TLC it needs, not that surprising with it's age and it's prior upkeep.

This will keep me going and give me something to enjoy but for now I'm going to continue to keep my eye's open for something that may fit the bill better.