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Thread: Question for you shotgun bird hunters

  1. #1
    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    Default Question for you shotgun bird hunters

    I now only have a riot / bear gun in 12 gauge. I sold off my last double 12 a couple years ago.

    So now I do not have a hunting shotgun....
    My old 2-3/34 inch M-1100 did not work well with steel shot, it just wounded but did not make clean kills on ducks.

    I am planning on a new shotgun for occasional duck, grouse, and maybe a couple rounds out at the trap range.
    The older I get the less I like to haul around... My oldest daughter has a nice lightweight 20 gauge Browning Citori that is a dream to carry. But 20 gauge is too light for ducks and the price was rather (really) steep.

    Does anyone make a half-way affordable double in 12 gauge 3 inch mag that is lightweight like an upland bird gun? Or maybe even a lightweight auto that wont break the bank?

    A few years back I bought the youngest son a 3-1/2 inch mag Mossberg duck gun. It was heavy and it darn near broke my nose when I tried it on a couple fast breaking ducks.

    I also had a Ruger Red Label over and under for about 5-6 months. I could not wait to sell that stinking thing. It was like swinging a 2x6 with a bad trigger.

    Any thoughts from the peanut gallery?
    Floatplane,Tailwheel and Firearms Instructor- Dragonfly Aero
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  2. #2
    Member Akheloce's Avatar
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    I have a Classic Doubles 101 sporter which I picked up for $1500 in Los Anchorage. It is a continuation of the now defuct, but recently revived Winchester 101 line. It has a 3" chamber... which Briley can move out to whatever depth you want. I am a double guy, and only a double guy, having taken birds with each type... the quikness of action and reaction with a double is uncompromised. Having shot your daughter's 20Ga, I would agree that it's a dandy to carry, but a real kick in the pants (pun intended) for daily work.

  3. #3
    Member Smokey's Avatar
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    Float Pilot,
    I have had a LARGE variety of shotguns for hunting and competition shooting - I keep going back to an old Rem 1187 with a wood stock. It is a bit heavier than the poly stocks but if your going to shoot heavy waterfowl loads you may not enjoy the pounding the lighter guns will give ya? I think a lightweight 20 also kicks harder than a 12 when using heavy loads. I shoot 3in guns - never really liked the 3 1/2's - I do have a 10 ga in 3 1/2 I like though.

    I have had several O/U's - Beretta and Browning were best in hunting guns - killed a ton of stuff with a Ruger 20 - sold a Ruger12 that I could not hit anything with.

    Not sure why your 1100 did not pattern steel shot well - was it choked???? I have a Beretta 391 that I shoot a fair bit - it has been very reliable and priced a little above a 1187.....
    I had a very nice SKB 12ga DBL field gun that I bought to compete in Sporting Clays double events with I really liked - but it was not cheap - at $2000.00. CZ has a fairly nice SxS model called the Ringneck in 12 ga 3in that you can get under a $1000.00 that a friend of mine really likes? Any time you add a bbl though you are adding weight - the old Rem Auto's are pretty tough to beat for price and reliability....
    When asked what state I live in I say "The State of Confusion", better known as IL....

  4. #4

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    I'd stop in a shop with lots of variety and shoulder a bunch of different guns. Only way to know which is going to feel "right" for you. One real possibility would be a Benelli Nova if it suits your feel. I have a house full of shotguns including 10's, 12's, 20's, 28's, 410's and muzzleloaders, and I hunt everything from geese and ducks to pheasants, quail and rabbits. It would run right up my back to try to do it all with one gun, but the closest I've come for my own tastes is either my Benelli Super Black Eagle with it's 26" barrel or my muzzleloading SxS, both 12 gauges. If that doesn't demo how weird and personal shotgun choices can get, I don't know what does.

    Guessing you probably have no interest in muzzleloading shotguns, I'd sure add the 26" 12 gauge Benelli SBE to the list of possibles if your budget will allow. They're incredibly light and quick, yet with the adjustable stock and 3 1/2" chambering, it's hard to think of one that's more versatile both in fit and function. Good to know too, they handle recoil of heavy loads like a dream in spite of their light weight, yet still function flawlessly with everything from trap loads to heavy turkey loads.

  5. #5
    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    Not sure why your 1100 did not pattern steel shot well - was it choked????
    It had a fixed modified choke. Which for some reason really patterned wide with steel shot. I would hit birds with it, but they would continue to fly off since the steel shot was not producing enough zap at longer ranges. I had been shooting for years with lead shot and had become used to how a pre-steel shotgun worked.
    I have always liked the way the lighter English style doubles (SxS) feel, shoulder and swing. Many moons ago I had a Winchester 21. But it was sold when bills cornered me.
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  6. #6
    Member Trappnguns's Avatar
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    I've killed many, many ducks with a 20 gauge... It is perfect for the Ptarms as well.

    Just sayin. (I wouldn't rule it out)

  7. #7
    Member SkinnyD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Float Pilot View Post
    It had a fixed modified choke. Which for some reason really patterned wide with steel shot. I would hit birds with it, but they would continue to fly off since the steel shot was not producing enough zap at longer ranges. I had been shooting for years with lead shot and had become used to how a pre-steel shotgun worked.
    I have always liked the way the lighter English style doubles (SxS) feel, shoulder and swing. Many moons ago I had a Winchester 21. But it was sold when bills cornered me.
    My dad shot an 1100 for years and years and it always patterned wide. Inside of 30 yards though, he didn't let many get away with that gun.
    Passing up shots on mergansers since 1992.


  8. #8
    Member Smokey's Avatar
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    For a few years when steel shot was in its infancy I had to "re-learn" shooting waterfowl myself. I was used to a full choke spitting out lead - the first steel was a far cry from todays loads and I would not compare its range of killing power from then to now for sure....
    I have had very good luck with "Black Cloud" steel loads from a IC and Mod choke - I usually throw in a "Heavy Shot" for the 3rd load.
    I really like O/U's much better than SxS - I did shoot the SKB385 very well though and brought home the IL State Sporting Clays title with it a few years back... A close friend of mine is in England now shooting driven pheasants with the old Side by Sides - he loves the old traditional stuff... Got to shoot a model 21 once at a match and it felt very good - somebodys making a spin off of the 21 again I think, but I don't remember who?
    When asked what state I live in I say "The State of Confusion", better known as IL....

  9. #9
    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    Mossberg is importing Turkish O/U and SxS guns and labeling them. I looked at one today (Silver Reserve) that comes with 20 gauge barrels and 12 gauge barrels. The metal work was not so swell and the wood fit was not all that great either. But the price was pretty reasonable... Around $500
    But I just searched through various reviews and it turns out they have a tenancy to break firing pins and / or sears. Apparently on a fairly regular basis.... It Figures....

    I have a call into my old cousin who works R&D for Winchester / Browning.
    Floatplane,Tailwheel and Firearms Instructor- Dragonfly Aero
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  10. #10
    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    Found a Browning Citori Lightning 20 gauge. I still have my M-1100 in 12 gauge.. We shall see what happens.
    From what I have read, he non-toxic shot shells now are much better than the first steel shot shells that came out years ago.
    Floatplane,Tailwheel and Firearms Instructor- Dragonfly Aero
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  11. #11
    Member The Kid's Avatar
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    I have watched my boss and my uncle both shoot, and kill I might add, many ducks and even geese with 20 bores and steel. One uses a BSS and the other an old English grip Citori Lightning. I think you'll do fine with your new 20 and modern nontox. If in doubt and you have the coin, try some Hevishot, for my money it does work better than lead. And I've cut a bunch of feathers with lead in my time but the heavier than lead stuff has been outstanding in my experience.

    As far as shotguns go if I were to be only a waterfowler, I would own either a magnum 10 or most likely a Benelli SBE. The Benelli with 3.5s is unstopable in the marshes. As an all around gun I would shop around and find myself an old Ithaca SKB SxS. Either a 100,200, or if I was feeling fancy maybe a 280. I have a 100 field as well as a 200E skeet, wonderful shotguns both of them.

  12. #12
    Member Smokey's Avatar
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    I have shot a bunch of decoying ducks with a 20 ga using Hevi Shot - 6's very deadly load out to about 45 - 50 yards...
    When asked what state I live in I say "The State of Confusion", better known as IL....

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