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Some shotgun questions before my first purchase

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Old 02-12-2012, 04:22 PM   #1
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Default Some shotgun questions before my first purchase

Hey all.
I'mnearing the purchase of my first shotgun in the next few weeks. Just got my yearly company bonus (minus the wife tax, of course), and can spend about $350-400.
I'm looking for a weapon that can be used both for home defense and turkey. I'm planning on taking the state-required hunter safety course so I can start hunting during the spring turkey season.
I've looked at a lot of the used guns around this area, and have liked the feel of several. I found several used Ithaca 37s, Remington 870s, and a pair of Stoeger Condors.

With the Ithaca 37s, I found one Police model that feels right for HD, and a basic model with a 26" barrel and a Modified choke. I've read that you can successfully take turkey with a Mod, but having never hunted before, I'm not sure if I want to go with a tighter pattern. The areas I'd be hunting around here are field edges, power line runs, and some "experimental forest" areas that are selectively clearcut and regrown.
How intergangable are the barrels of the various Ithaca 37 models? If I buy the Police model, can I scrounge up a smoothbore barrel and swap them out as needed, or will that require gunsmith work to fit and seat the barrels to the receiver? Is there any place online I can read up on the various makes of 37, their history, and compatibilities?

The Remington 870s are simple and well-known, but are the highest-priced. As are the barrels. Are there any non-compatibility issues with any make of 870?

The Stoeger Condor just felt really nice in my hands and when sighted in. However, I was unsure if it'd make a suitable turkey gun. It was definitely a little long for HD use.

My other option is to just buy something new instead of fiddling around with buying used and trying to collect up the parts I want. That would require saving for a couple more paychecks, but is doable.
I like the feel of an over/under so far, and the Stoeger Outback looks like a servicable field and defense kit. However, I've never handled that particular model, and would likely have to have it ordered for me.
If I were going to go for a new pump-gun, I'd probably stick with the 870. Is it as simple as getting a Wingmaster on sale at Cabela's and buying a 20" HD barrel?

And on a smei-related note, I found a used Savage 24 in 22/20 that was a beautiful single-shot. Unfortunately, the person who traded it in sprayed the whole thing in a thick layer of semi-gloss black paint. The barrel markings are barely legible becuase the paint is so thick. If I remember right, it was priced at $230. Is this a salvagleable weapon and worth tinkering at that price?

Thanks in advance for any info you folks can throw at me.
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Old 02-12-2012, 04:59 PM   #2
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Not a hunter myself so I can't speak to the specific bells and whistles required for a good turkey gun but can offer the following. A good HD shotgun will typically have a shorter barrel, say 18" or so and will not accept a choke of any sort...think basic Remmy 870 or Mossy 590. From what I have seen, a decent field gun will have a longer barrel, accept a variety of choke tubes and will use a vented barrel. My advice would be to purchase a combo gun that offers the best of both worlds, the lightweight, more maneuverable HD mode and the longer barreled, variable choke field mode. Both Remington, Mossberg as well as all other shotgun makers offer prepackaged "convertible" guns that come complete with 2 barrels.

Some shotgun questions before my first purchase - General Shotgun Discussion
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Old 02-12-2012, 05:04 PM   #3
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I had just purchased a Mossberg 590A1 LE a few days ago. Can't wait to test it at range. I'm awaiting the arrival of heat shield before then.
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Old 02-12-2012, 05:11 PM   #4
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Ithaca- great gun. Believe they were shut down, so eventually, parts could be an issue.
Mossberg/ Remington- sort of the standard pump shotgun. For turkey, you will want a longer, tightly choked bbl. For HD, you CAN use same, but would be better with a shorter (18-20") more open or unchoked bbl. Get one, get spare barrel.

High Standard also made (past tense) a decent pump- sold by Sears as their Mdl 20. For $250, with some careful shopping, you could get TWO of those.
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Old 02-12-2012, 05:27 PM   #5
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The pictured Mossberg 500 Field/Security combo is ideal and a bargain IMO. You will probably use the Full Choke, one of three the 28" ribbed and vented double-beaded barrel comes with, but you can also easily find Extra-Full, etc.

Good luck and safe shooting!
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Old 02-12-2012, 05:34 PM   #6
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I would avoid the Savage 24. I had one a few years ago I used for squirrel hunting. The top barrel in .22LR was deadly accurate. However, the shotgun barrel centered its pattern 12" below point of aim. I did take lots of squirrels with it, but it was frustrating trying to compensate the shotgun barrel.
I believe the other suggestions are good ones. Also, the last I knew, the Ithaca model 37 has been re-introduced, but the new ones are on the expensive side.
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Old 02-13-2012, 01:26 AM   #7
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Mossberg 500/590 and the remington 870will be your best bet when it comes to the ability to multi task. Just a change of a barrel and bam. I can't speak for the mossberg but the 870 has issues with barrels as long as you buy 20 ga barrel for a 20 ga gun and same for the 12. From what I understand you use a full choke and most guys run red dot optics. Hop on the hunting sub forum for more if that info.
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Old 02-13-2012, 01:49 AM   #8
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For turkey you want full or extra full choke.

Many shotgun brands have specialized turkey barrels in the 22 to 24 inch range, this is for maneuverability in brush.

My turkey gun has a 26 inch barrel and I use a Carlson turkey choke.
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Old 02-13-2012, 03:01 AM   #9
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go for a 870 with an extra barrel imho run away from stoger thay dont hold up to high volume shooting(you might get the one i traded in on a beretta)
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Old 02-13-2012, 09:33 AM   #10
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Ithacas are still being made in Ohio. Barrels are interchangeable on model 37s made after 1976 or so. The main downside to the Ithaca is disassembly for cleaning. Being a bottom eject, every part comes out of the rear of the reciever after you remove the stock. It can be a little complex at first. I would personaly look for a Remington or Mossberg with interchaneable chokes. If you look around you can find a combo with a long and short barrel for around your price range. Unretaker makes an excellent turkey choke that screws into threaded barrels on the mossy or the rem. I picked up my 870 used with a smooth slug and bird barrel for $328 five years ago. Deals are out there if you look. Good luck and enjoy.
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