View Full Version : Advice on new shotgun?

09-16-2008, 10:57 PM
A lot of people here seem to be knowledgeable in just about anything. Im sure we have some trap/hunters here.

Im looking for a shotgun. I really like shooting trap and may try turkey/water fowl hunting this year (i just got my hunters safety license).

Im looking to spend around 500-1000 dollars(prefer to spend about 500).
One problem is that im left handed.
Im currently looking at browning because they have the bottom ejection.
Also Benelli and Franchi(yes i know Benelli and Franchi are owned by Berretta) and Remington.

Any suggestions? (or should I direct my question to a more specialized forum such as a gun forum) :001_smile
Thanks for the help


iron maiden
09-16-2008, 11:03 PM
I'm no real expert on trap shooting, as some others may be, but since you mentioned the Browning BPS...it is a good gun. My friend has one, and he loves it because it operates smoothly, and since he's a southpaw, the bottom ejector doesn't interfere with his sight.

09-17-2008, 05:16 PM
You're going to have a hard time finding a dedicated trap gun for under 1k. And you're not going to be able to find a gun that handles both waterfowl/turkey hunting and trap particularly well. However, for a first gun and one to find what you like, you can find a decent compromise. Really you should decide on your preferred action type. I'll run briefly through the choices and make suggestions where I see fit:

Pump: Tend to be the cheapest option, and the most available. The problem is that they are too light for trap and will beat you up over time. Add to that that the action itself will not absorb any of the recoil. You will also potentially have a problem with ejecting shells across your face. However, most trap is shot in singles so you can bring the gun down between shots to pump and reload. Suggestions: Remington Wingmaster Trap: TC, TB, and they may have also made a TA. These guns have gorgeous wood, are sighted for trap, and you can swap in other barrels for other applications. If you are really concerned about ejection you can also look at the Browning BPS or the Ithaca 37, both of which eject down.

Semi-Auto: These are generally more expensive than pumps, but they shoot softer because some of the recoil energy is absorbed by the action. Weight varies widely. The two main drawbacks are that there are very few semis that can handle the light target loads you'll want for trap and without any adjustment go to the heavy, fast duck and goose shells you'll hunt with. The other is that left-handed models are few and far between. Good Options: Beretta 390/391 series, Remington 1100 or 1187, Browning Silver/Gold and Winchester X2/X3.

Over/Under: Most of your serious trap shooters use these as they can be built very heavy (so as to minimize recoil), can handle the literally hundreds of thousands of shots serious shooters put through their gun every year, and don't throw shells around anywhere. They are more expensive though, and that is especially true for dedicated trap models (5-10K is nothing unusual). Good options: basic level Browning/Berettas, Lanber, Verona, and SKB. Remington, Mossberg, and a few other companies make over/unders in Russia/Turkey that are cheap. Assessments of the quality of those guns vary widely. I do not own these guns, but the ones I have seen at the range generally do not look pretty but shoot fine.

With any action type you should be looking for a gun that can shoot 3" shells. Don't bother with 3.5". The most important thing is to find a gun that fits you. Pick it up, shoulder it, and see how it feels. Then pick a place on the wall, and with your eyes closed shoulder and aim the gun at that point. Open your eyes and see how close you actually are. If you're too far off the gun likely doesn't fit you and you will either need to fix it (more $) or learn poor shooting habits if you ever want to shoot it accurately. Look for screw in chokes (and consider how much purchasing a full set will cost you if they don't come with). For a whole lot more information check out www.shotgunworld.com. I post there occasionally under the same handle and avatar. Feel free to PM me as well.

09-17-2008, 06:42 PM
I use a Remington Wingmaster for trap.

I've tried just about everthing else without much success.

Howard Newell
09-17-2008, 07:25 PM
I think you might want to go with a Benelli. I've used a Montefeltro 20 gauge for the past 10 years to hunt dove, squirrel, quail, and ducks, and after cycling over a thousand rounds through it, I've never had the gun jam, lock up, or any feeding problems with it. And the way it handles is incredible. My Remington 870 feels like I'm wielding a log, by comparison. I was able to get all the choke tubes and receiver plates with the Benelli. But for duck and turkey, you definitely want to be able to shoot 3 1/2" shells. And especially for turkey, you want to be sure that your gun is compatible with a turkey choke tube.

09-18-2008, 06:15 AM
Try to find a used Ithaca. They're out of business.

09-18-2008, 09:28 AM
For the closest thing to an all around shotgun, I settled on the Mossberg 835, which I have been using for more than a decade. It can any and all of my hunting needs from the smallest birds to turkey, waterfowl, and deer. While it is not the best for trap shooting it still performs well in that situation. The cost of the gun was well under $400 when I bought it, I have no idea what the price is today. And I think that Mossberg makes left handed models.

09-18-2008, 11:52 AM
For starters you should go with a pump. They are relatively inexpensive for good quality, can take dang near any load, and are reliable as all get out.

For a multi purpose gun I suggest trying to find something you like that can take different chokes. Different chokes determine how spread out the pattern will be. Being able to change from a real tight pattern to a really spread out pattern is nice when the gun is multi purpose.

09-18-2008, 11:57 AM
I shoot a Remington 870 Special Purpose pump while duck hunting. Have for years. When the Browning, Benelli, & Beretta automatics used by my hunting buddies jam up from getting dirty their hunt is over. They have to go take it completely apart & clean it so it will shoot again. I just stick mine under the water, pump it a few times, & keep hunting. It's not an expensive gun, it's not a fancy gun, probably will get you snickered at when trap shooting, but it's idiot proof in the field.

09-18-2008, 01:00 PM
I am a lefty shooter as well. I would look at an over/under. Browning makes some nice ones.

09-18-2008, 01:45 PM
Why do my posts keep getting deleted?

09-18-2008, 02:25 PM
I'm lefty myself, and very particular. I try not to compromise. A shotgun is not ambidextrous simply because it doesn't eject across your face. the cast of the stock and the direction of the safety is also an issue.

09-18-2008, 02:49 PM
I shoot a Remington 870 and 11-87. I shoot left handed but both are right handed guns, I've shot right handed guns my whole life as that is what I learned to shoot on, so it doesn't bother me at all. It might bother you, but the price was cheaper and they were both readily available so there you have it. My 11-87 is a simply great gun and I use it 90% of time when I have a choice. My 870 is reserved for my gunless friends who tag along. :biggrin:

09-18-2008, 11:43 PM
As others have mentioned, having the shell eject across your face is a non-issue. Get a Rem 870 and learn how to use it. While you are practicing with your 870 you can save for a Beretta or a Browning over under. My father has a Browning and I use a Beretta, both are excellent firearms. When you get the over under use that trusty 870 for all of your water fowl hunting needs. If it gets dropped in the mud or scratched, who cares? Its what the gun is made for. I would never take my over under on anything other than upland game.

09-19-2008, 06:37 AM
I was looking at prices the 870 is only about 200-300 dollars. Not bad I think that may be a good starter gun for me.

I use my friends Benelli Nova and the ejection across my face is not a real issue.

Thanks for the advice guys.

Sgt Hartman
09-19-2008, 06:44 AM
Remington 1100 trap, easy on the sholder and the 30" reaches out there plus it will be well within your price range. If your a lefty, put a shell catcher on it.


09-19-2008, 06:58 AM
Remington 1100 trap, easy on the sholder and the 30" reaches out there plus it will be well within your price range. If your a lefty, put a shell catcher on it.


I have an 1100T lefty. If I shot a righty, I wouldn't consider using a shell catcher-- I think it would just maximize the chance of a face full of powder.

FWIW, on the trap line, using a catcher on a semiauto is considered a common courtesy. Some find the shells flying all over the place a distraction.

09-19-2008, 07:07 AM
I have a Remington 870 that is darned near bullet proof. If you hunt ducks from a boat and loose your paddle, well after a long day of shooting you can use the 870 to paddle back home. It'll take about any load you put through it.

As far as shooting trap, never done it with the 870, but I've shot numerous rounds of sporting clays and 5 stand with it.

That being said, the mossberg 500 has a better fit for me and is just as reliable.

09-19-2008, 08:14 AM
The 870 is great bang for the buck, so to speak. I wouldn't be surprised if there have been more deer killed with the 870 than any other gun. The 870 combo is a nice package (but not available to lefties)

09-19-2008, 09:05 AM
I am not a lefty, but have shot 5 stand competitively. I've owned just about every make/model .

Shotgun fit is priority #1. What feels good to you may not feel good to anyone else. And feel is everything. Find your length of pull and don't be afraid to cut a stock to fit.

You need to go handle a lot of guns and swing them in the store. Orvis makes a neat shotgun study guide that can be useful in helping you know what you need to be looking for. I am not sure how the autos will work on a lefty because there will be hot powder coming out of the ejector and I imagine it would get in the eyes, especially without shooting glasses when hunting.

My favorites have been the beretta autos, a superposed browning, and merkel. The Browning and Beretta Over Unders might be a fine choice in that price if they fit you.

My all time favorite is a used Merkel O/U I found for 1,200...love that gun and have killed a helluva lot of ducks with it.

09-19-2008, 07:47 PM
Does anyone have a Benelli M2. Thats the gun my friend recommended.

09-19-2008, 09:43 PM
Does anyone have a Benelli M2. Thats the gun my friend recommended.

I think it'll make a great duck gun, but a pretty marginal trap gun. I think if you're willing to spend $1200-$1300 on a semi-auto you'll be better served by a Beretta AL 391 Urika2.

09-20-2008, 07:01 AM
Might not be a great all purpose shotgun but you will definitely be the center of attention in your duck blind.:wink:


09-20-2008, 08:57 PM
Does anyone have a Benelli M2. Thats the gun my friend recommended.

Hell and back reliability for sure.

the LOP is too short for most people (me), which results in an inproper mount.

also, the non gas op sys results in more recoil. For me this meant I had a harder time making doubles because recovery time was longer.

I used one for 2 years and sold it off. Resell value is superb.

09-20-2008, 11:11 PM
I love Traps. Started with a Browning BT-99 and broke my first 25 with it. Over time I moved into O/U's, primarily to do doubles. Not a big fan of semi-autos even though I have a couple, favorite being the Benelli, which can handle mixed length shells (not for Trap, but has happened hunting).

I'd stick with the O/U crowd, especially if a lefty. No need to "learn" or "accommodate" to shell ejection, just keep with the basics; the same, over and over and over again. Also depending on personal preference on weight, O/Us have that too, depending on manufacture. Love Krieghoff (very costly) for it's wt., which is also it's downfall. I personally have used the Ruger Red Label for water fowl, and even sporting clays. Nice gun, and the price is reasonable and US made too.

Look for balance with appropriate barrel length and flow for the swing shots. Shoulder mount to bring the gun up to your face and not bring face down to gun. Three inch or 3.5" shells not an issue in Trap, more so in waterfowl. Gauge hasn't even been mentioned as the needs of one are not necessarily good for the other. I like the ideas on two guns, don't have to be very expensive, for the two sports. It's kinda like Skeet vs Trap; the same gun can be used for each, but neither is really right for the other. Compromise costs something at both ends.

Good luck and most of all, have FUN.


09-21-2008, 05:51 AM
get the remington 870 and the 1100 both!!!
ive used these for years never had any problems
and cheap--- i mean inexpensive!!!!
btw my 870 belonged to my father he
gave it to me when i was a boy it
still works as good today as it did more
than 40 years ago

09-21-2008, 10:35 AM
Spend the extra money and buy a Benelli. It will never jam and you can use it for a variety of sporting clays and blood sports and you will not regret it. The Italian have perfected the inertial action in the Benelli. 870s are fine too but for sporting clays you are at a serious disadvantage with a pump. Almost everyone uses an over and under for skeet/trap. A semi-auto can serve you well for non-competitive sporting clays and hunting birds also.

09-21-2008, 11:38 AM
I'm not a trap shooter, so I won't offer advice on shotguns. I will, however, give you a website where you can find most any gun cheaper than in a store.

www.gunbroker.com it's the ebay of the gun world. You can thank me later :)

09-21-2008, 12:08 PM
Thanks for the advice. Im going to go to Gander Mountain and see what they have. I will definitely have a look at Benelli, Browning, Beretta, and Remington.

Im really interested in the Benelli Montefeltro (but dont know if I really want to spend $1100:mellow:)

09-21-2008, 12:29 PM
I went to a Beretta AL 390 silver Mallard somewhere around 10 years ago. My separated right shoulder just wasn't up to my pumps anymore. I have found it to be completely reliable. Just like any other fine piece of machinery you must maintain and take care of it to keep it operating. If you don't clean your gun it will jam. If you abuse your gun you will shorten is useful life and it will fail on you.

As a duck and goose hunter that hunts every week, I have many friends I hunt with who all have different opinions on the best gun to use. But we all agree that it must fit you. Take some time to find a gunsmith or a shotgun instructor (find a skeet range near you) who can help you fit a shotgun before you buy.

09-22-2008, 10:39 PM
I've got too many shotguns.
My favorite, go to for everything is my 12 ga Browning Citori Hunter Over/Under. It just feels good and balanced and I just seem to shoot the best with it. When hunting, I don't really miss only having two rounds instead of three.
Second favorite is my Remington 11-87. Smooth swing and good action.
Both of those are going to be on the edge or out of your price range. As well as some of my other favorites: Beretta 390, Benelli Super Black Eagle, Browning A5 and Gold Hunter.
You will probably be looking at a pump. In which case, I'd recommend the Remington 870 or Browning BPS. I really like both of them. They both have a good feel and are tough as nails. I like the 20 ga but if you are looking at hunting ducks, get the 12 ga chambered for 3" shells. For me, the BPS feels a little better than the 870.
The biggest point is to make sure the gun fits you and that it feels good and balanced when you swing it. There is nothing wrong with a pump; just avoid the tendency to try to cycle a new shell into the chamber as fast as possible. That was the hardest habit I had to break when I got serious about shooting. I would be so concerned about getting another round in the chamber I wouldn't get on the target properly or I wouldn't follow through. The follow through is really important.
What every you end up getting, clean it after each use and get a good hard sided case for it.