A few Shotgun questions.

Discussion in 'General Shotgun Discussion' started by Mike5150, Jan 26, 2010.

  1. Mike5150

    Mike5150 New Member

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    Hi there! Sorry for the long post. I'm very new to guns (as in I've never shot one) I'm in the process of getting my FOID card right now, and I'm trying to make some decisions on what shotgun I want to buy. I've read a ton of different articles and opinions, but am still left with some questions.

    I want a shotgun that will primarily be for home defense, but I may take it out skeet shooting once a year, and I would eventually like to take up hunting (probably ducks to start out with). More importantly I want a shotgun that my wife can handle as comfortably as possible. At the moment I am leaning towards buying a Remington 870 18.5" tactical shotgun. My reason for this is that I am guessing the 18.5" barrel will be easier for my wife to support while she is aiming, and it has a ported choke which sounds like it will help a bit with the kickback.

    My biggest question is if this 18.5" barrel will be too short for hunting and skeet shooting effectively? I know it will still function, but I've read and heard so many different opinions that I don't know what to believe. Will I get an effective spread at longer distances with the shorter barrel, or will my spread break apart too much even if I install a full choke. Buying a second barrel is an option, but it also puts this out of the price range I was hoping to spend, so I guess it's going to depend on how big of a difference the longer barrel will make as to weather I need to save up a bit more.
     
  2. YoungGunWill

    YoungGunWill New Member

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    good choice on the 870 its very versatle shotgun, sadly I use a 26 inch barrel for skeet; your gunna have to break the bank and buy a new barrel, but try gunbroker
     

  3. Jpyle

    Jpyle New Member

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    Last edited: Nov 30, 2010
  4. UnderFire

    UnderFire New Member

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    Mike5150, Welcome!!
    Please stopby the introduction section &
    introduce yourself to the FTF gang. :D

    To answer your question-
    HD= 18.5" barrels
    Hunting/Skeet/Other Fun = 28" or longer barrels
    Really can't go wrong with Remington or Mossberg.
     
  5. MAX100

    MAX100 New Member

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    The pattern/spread is depends on the choke & shells you use not the barrel length. Most find that a longer barrels 26" or 28" handles/swings better and are faster on target. Short defense barrels are for tight spaces like inside your home.

    GC
     
  6. UnderFire

    UnderFire New Member

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    This true, BUT to get the effective range needed for hunting and skeet shooting a longer barrel is needed. 28" or more would be best.
     
  7. jimbobpissypants

    jimbobpissypants New Member

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    Glad to see you here. Welcome. In your post, you said the primary reason for the shotgun was home defense. I suggest buying the short barrel gun. If you aren't too concerned with what others think, just take it to the skeet range once a year. I like to take my short guns to the skeet range, or the sporting clays course. I also know a guy who shoots skeet with a .410 handgun. It's kind of cool to see a guy shooting a gun that puts him at a significant disadvantage. He still hits targets. Just don't get discouraged if you do not do as well as others. I'm of the opinion that for the casual shooter, the gun matters MUCH less than the shooter's skill.
    After buying the short barrel, within a year or so, you will probably be able to buy the longer barrel.
    The 870 is an excellent choice. If you aren't afraid to purchase a used gun,(I have never been afraid to buy used guns if they are from a quality manufacturer) you may be able to find a gun with 2 barrels for the price of a new gun.
     
  8. Mike5150

    Mike5150 New Member

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    @Jpyle - I was actually looking at a Remington 870 combo like that, but I noticed the barrel of the 18" is rifled. I assume you probably need to use slugs for that instead of shot. I think that I would like to stick with the Remington brand just because it's a more recognized brand, and when I pass it down to my son I feel the name adds a little more to it. Probably a stupid reason to spend an extra $150 but what can I say :)

    @ Underfire & Max100 - You two hit on exactly what my problem is. I've read all sorts of articles and blogs and points of view since I've decided to buy a gun. Some say the choke and shells determine the spread, but others say that the shorter barrels allow the grouping to spread out more over longer distances. As for range I keep reading that 18" is plenty of space for the shell to expend all of it's gasses and reach it's maximum speed. I wish I could find where someone has done some testing with different barrel lengths and gives hard numbers as to how large a certain type of shells grouping is at a specific distance and with a specific choke on each barrel. I have a feeling that if such a test existed I would have come across it by now though. I'd even be thrilled with someone with experience using an 18" barrel for skeet or hunting, but it seems like most people do the smart thing and buy 2 barrels. You guys are all extremely helpful and I appreciate it very much! I'll head over to the intro forum right now!

    Thanks!
    Mike
     
  9. jimbobpissypants

    jimbobpissypants New Member

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    I have a Winchester 1300 with a 18 inch barrel. It was the first shotgun I ever bought with my own money as a kid. I hunt, shoot skeet, and sporting clays with it from time to time. If I miss, trust me, it is not because of the gun. Two to six inches of shotgun barrel will not make or break your shot. My other shotguns are almost all 30 inch barrels. I miss just as well with them as I do with the baby barrel. Sure, it would be better if you could get the longer barrel, but for a novice shooter, your skill level is far more important.
     
  10. MAX100

    MAX100 New Member

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    Rifled shotgun barrels are for Sabot slugs.


    GC
     
  11. UnderFire

    UnderFire New Member

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    Mike5150,
    When I mentioned range I was referring to distance. Bad choice of words on my part.
    I also own both types of shotguns...
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Shotguns are barreled accordingly due to testing by the manufacturer. HD/Tactical shotguns have 18.5" barrels, Slug guns have 24" barrels and Hunting & Skeet shooting guns have anywhere from 26"-34" barrels.
    Now the shooter has the option to use his shotgun however he chooses.
    You can use your Tactical 18.5" barreled shotgun for clay shooting, but you're going to have to be right on that clay as soon as it is in flight. Once the clay reaches a distance of 40+ yards it'll be out of range for your short barreled shotgun. With my 28" barreled shotgun I can bust a clay in flight at 70 yards. That's almost twice as far as with my 18.5" shotgun.

    The longer barrel will give the shot max velocity and patterning consistency. And the results improve using a Full Choke compared to a Modified Choke and so on.
    I've seen shooters bring their Tactical Shotguns to a Turkey Shoot and never win a match. It just might be the ability of other shooters or they're out gunned by the longer barrels.

    I agree with jimbobpissypants about the shooters ability, but also the equipment does play it's part. The best skeet shooter isn't going to hit his target if it's out of range. I also agree if you're only doing it casually then use what you have and have fun with it. Once you start to like skeet/clay shooting and get a longer barrel you'll instantly notice a difference in your skills. I hope my experiences will help you. Enjoy. :)
     
  12. MAX100

    MAX100 New Member

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    Most short barrel shotguns aren't tapped for choke tubes and have a cylinder fixed choke. It's not the barrel length but the choke the tactical shotguns have that's not the best choice for a turkey shoot.


    GC
     
  13. UnderFire

    UnderFire New Member

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    Yes, but some are & I still haven't seen one win a match yet even with a Full Choke.
    Do the test yourself...Take a 28" barreled shotgun shoot at a target 30 yrds. away.
    Now take your 18.5" barreled shotgun with same choke & ammo and shoot at a clean fresh target. Compare the targets.
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2010
  14. robocop10mm

    robocop10mm Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter

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    Choke is relative. Choke can be increased by back boring. Barrel length can affect velocity. Longer barrels generally give more velocity allowing for greater effective range.

    A 26" barrel will feel different than a 30" barrel. They "swing" differently. Small, fast, agile game (quail/woodcock) call for a quick moving barrel length (24-26"). Large, slower, lumbering game (ducks/geese) call for longer barrels to track more smoothly and give more velocity for the longer ranges and tougher bodies.

    Barrel length is part personal decision and part game choice. My first shotgun was a Rem 870 Magnum w/30" full choke barrel. I learned to wing shoot on that gun. Ducks and geese were the primary game. Dove and quail were secondary. On occasion we encountered woodcock. These little buggers are very hard to hit for the first 30 yards of flight. They make more direction changes than any bird I have ever encountered. After 30 yards, they tended to rise and glide. That was precicely when the longer, full choke barrel became useable. Many fell to that gun after my short barreled friends missed multiple times.

    The longer barrel/full choke also forced me to be more precise in my shooting. There was little margin for error with a very tight pattern. Consequently, I rarely miss with a shotgun to this day. My kids say I "never" miss. I only recall one bird (dove) get away from me in the last 15 years. It left behind a puff of feathers but kept flying. I did not miss, but for some reason it got away.

    Many of the newer Remington 870 shorter barrels (18") are Improved Cylinder choked. All our 870P models are IC choked. They pattern extremely well with 00 buckshot (6-8" @ 15 yards). The rule of thumb for buckshot in a Cylinder Bore barrel is 1" of spread every yard (15 yards = 15" pattern).

    Rifled barrels do not (generally) shoot good patterns with shot, be it buck or bird shot. The rotation of the shot column is adverse to good patterns.

    Back to the OP Q...a combo package with a "short" barrel for HD and a 28-30" barrel for waterfowl would be close to ideal for most people.
     
  15. Mike5150

    Mike5150 New Member

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    Thanks alot to everyone for all your help! I think I'm going to take the advice that most of you are giving me and go for 2 barrels. Unfortunately it doesn't appear that Remington offers an 18" and 28" combo so I'll have to buy them seperately. I've pretty much set my limit at $1000 and I was hoping to get a Smith & Wesson Sigma9 handgun also. I may be able to squeeze both the shotgun with 2 barrels and the handgun in, but I'll need to find a place with really good prices. I live in the western suburbs of Chicago, and I'm also fine purchasing online or used. If anyone can suggest a good website or store to check out, I would really appreciate it! If I go the used route, is it pretty much word of mouth, or is there a website that I can look at for that also?
     
  16. jimbobpissypants

    jimbobpissypants New Member

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    Budsgunshop.com seems to have some great prices. I've heard alot of good stuff from others about them. I have no personal experience though.
     
  17. Davyboy

    Davyboy New Member

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    What Gun

    In UK we are restricted to long barrels I find they will target an intruder as fast as any bird. Save yourself some money and for self defence sleep well in the knowledge. You can nail the low life intruders from greater distance.
     
  18. Mike5150

    Mike5150 New Member

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    If I were the only one using the gun, I would agree but I'm mainly getting the 18" barrel because my wife is a shorty and doesn't think a longer barrel will be very easy for her to aim. I tried going to Bass Pro Shops in Bolingbrook which is near my house so my wife could see how the different barrel sizes feel. I was extremely unhappy when the guy behind the counter rolled his eyes and walked away from us after I asked to see one of their shotguns and he found out we haven't gotten our FOID's yet. I thought you only needed the card to purchase, I guess I was unaware we were not allowed to even touch a gun without a card.
     
  19. Jpyle

    Jpyle New Member

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    +1 on Buds Guns. Have ordered from them several times and have never been disappointed by price or service.
     
  20. Mike5150

    Mike5150 New Member

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    Thanks alot for the heads up on Buds! Looks like I can get both guns, an 18" mossberg barrel (made for the 870) and a limbsaver recoil pad for about $850. That's assuming the S&W Sigma9 is restocked. The only things left are the choke, ammo and cleaning kit. I'll probably use the gun most for Skeet, Trap and Practice Range shooting. Hopefully I will never actually need it for Home Defense, but that's the main reason I am getting it. What type of Choke should I get? If I ever wind up going hunting I'll worry about additional chokes at that time. As for ammo, I see there are a bunch of options! I'd like to get a few nice cheap boxes for practice, but also a good box to keep for that just in case situation. If anyone knows much about 9mm ammo, I'd love to hear your thoughts on that too! Finally I will need to get a gun cleaning kit that can handle the 870, and a 9mm semi-auto pistol. I've seen plenty of universal kits by plenty of manufacturers. Are there any real differences, and any brands that you guys really like or dislike?
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2010