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Thread: About to buy my first shotgun...

  1. #1
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    Default About to buy my first shotgun...

    Feel free to tell me what I don't know.

    I have pretty well settled on a Remington 870, rugged, dependable etc etc. I liked the Mossberg 500 OK, but the 870 shoulders and points better for me; I also prefer the metal bits on the Remington to the plastic bits on the Mossberg.

    I am thinking a longer barrel with a full choke in case I get a hankering to shoot some orange discs out of the air.

    And a second shorter barrel, 18.5 or maybe 20 inches for home defense with shot pellets and maybe slugs through the same short barrel around remote campsites.

    Am I right that an 18-20" smooth bore barrel ought to be able to put one ounce slugs into angle of interior bear at say 20 yards or less - and then the same barrel running #7 or #8 shot give or take around the house not blow through the side wall of my house, and the side wall of my neighbor's house and then make a mess out of his dog or one of his kids?

    Longest straight shot in my house is 37 feet from the end of the hall to the wood stove. I got a couple diagonals kitchen/ dining/ living rooms at 25 feet, and then nothing over 16 feet anywhere else in the house except for the garage.

    What choke do I want on the short barrel to let slugs through but still make nice patterns at 20 feet or so with itty bitty pellets?

    How long a barrel do I really need to hunt clay discs?

    We raised poultry on the farm when I was a kid, so I'll not be hunting anything with wings on it until I run out of Mountain House, canned beans and spam. When all three of those are used up and I have had another day or two to get really really hungry after all the squirrels run away, I might think about a bird. Or suicide. Or becoming a vegetarian. But other readers of this thread might appreciate knowing what is a good all around barrel length/ choke for Alaska's feathered wildlife, so don't hold back if you know...

    What other shotguns should I really really think about before I get the 870? I should be able to get the gun, both barrels, a sling, a floating soft case and some factory loaded ammunition for around $700. A bracket and a light for around the house will be what it will be regardless of which shotgun I bring home.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    Remington used to make a package with a 26 or 28" vent rib barrel with interchangeable choke and a 20" cylinder bored barrel with rifle sights for slugs and buckshot and they currently catalog one with a rifled barrel- #25578

    Sounds like what you want to me and not a bad deal either.
    Last edited by hodgeman; 01-18-2014 at 22:31. Reason: added order number
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

  3. #3
    Member ak_cowboy's Avatar
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    870 with a 20" barrel and open choke for slugs and home defense. 28" with improved modified for clay's and birds.

    sent from my igloo

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    Depends on what kind of clay birds you want to shoot. Longer barrels and tighter chokes for trap and sporting clays. Shorter and more open choke for skeet. All are good fun games.

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    What the others said plus the choke tubes will be marked what they are using steel or lead. 37 feet a cylinder choke will blow about a twelve inch hole in the wall with 7 1/2 shot with about half probably comming out the other side. A 1 1/4oz slug will do the job on bears with comfort to fifty yards and can work to a hundred as you learn the gun. All guage shotgun will shoot equal guage loads the same distance only the pellet number is the difference. A .410 skeet load shoots just as far as a 12ga. skeet load.
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

  6. #6

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    My.02...

    Get the 870 with a 28" choked barrel and then buy your short barrel of choice. As noted above a cylinder bore short barrel with slugs will handle business accurately within 50yds for the average shooter and much further with practice.


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  7. #7
    Sponsor ADfields's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by swmn View Post
    We raised poultry on the farm when I was a kid, so I'll not be hunting anything with wings on it until I run out of Mountain House, canned beans and spam. When all three of those are used up and I have had another day or two to get really really hungry after all the squirrels run away, I might think about a bird. Or suicide. Or becoming a vegetarian.
    Well Iím no skatergun guy so got nothing on that other than I do like the screw in chokes and I donít think your too far wrong with ether 500 or 870.
     
    But I couldnít pass this gem by. All through my childhood we razed chickens and turkeys every summer, turkeys were the Christmas money. So every November we butchered 4-600 chickens, 20-30 turkeys, 4-5 hogs, and a steer or two . . . Butchered cattle more than once a year. Anyway, I hate chicken, the smell of raw chicken does me in! Turkey not as bad but donít care for it ether, now I can eat ether, if I got to. Funny thing is there ainít hardly any part of a pig or cow I donít love more than is good for me.
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  8. #8
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    Here is something to ponder..........

    http://www.remington.com/products/fi...rkey-camo.aspx

    I use it for most everything, grouse, ducks, geese, turkey.......around the house gun. Doesn't stick out past the fenders on my 4 wheeler...
    21" barrel w/rem chokes.

    I've had 28", 26" barrels. The 21" works for me.

    I also have a 20" 590 mossberg, it's ok, I like the weight of the 870 better. The 870 doesn't get scratched up as easy.

    I'm not much of a shotgunner, I break'em out when I can't hit with nothin else................
    "The older I get, the better I was."

  9. #9
    Member thewhop2000's Avatar
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    I have been a fan of Ithaca's for the last 40 years or so. Bottom ejection and a smooth action on the 37's, just my two sence
    If a dipnetter dips a fish and there is no one around to see/hear it, Did he really dip?

  10. #10
    Member Smokey's Avatar
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    The Mossberg 500 has taken tons of game but pales in comparison to a true 870 Wingmaster - not the 870 express as it is more on par with a
    M-500...IMO If I were going to get a fixed choke bbl the 28in modified would be hard to beat for the weekend warrior uses. If you become a more hardcore clay target shooter the changeable choke tubes would be a wise choice... The 21in bbl with chokes can be a very versatile set up also for 2 and 4 legged varmints.

    Ether gun will serve you well but the 870 Wingmaster is a much nicer tool for fun IMO....
    When asked what state I live in I say "The State of Confusion", better known as IL....

  11. #11
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    Years ago I bought a LH 870 with 30" full choke. Rib was not on straight, replaced by factory. I sent the new barrel off to be cut to 26 (?) and a Poly-choke installed. It's been a wonderful shotgun for me. I bought a couple of other barrels for it, but have never tried them. I wish I would have bought a rifle sighted barrel when they were being made. I've shot 3" 1.25 oz slugs out of a TCR87 and wish I had a little more weight in the platform...had to check and make sure my teeth didn't get jared out from the recoil.

  12. #12
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    Default About to buy my first shotgun...

    Check out the Surefire fire grip, far superior to a clamp on light!

    Super handy around camp too.

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  13. #13

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    I have two 870's one with a 26 inch barrel the other with a 28 inch barrel and screw in choke tubes on both guns. One has a 3 inch chamber and the other is 3 1/2 inch chamber. Knowing what I know now if I did not have these and needed one I would be happy with either length barrel as long as it had screw in choke tubes, and I would go with the 3 1/2 inch chamber. You could do about anything you wanted to with this gun and if anything else comes up you can get another barrel for about anything you can do with a shot gun.

  14. #14
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    26" barrel with a few choke tubes will do great on clays. If shooting slugs get a rifled barrel in the 20-22" range. 870 with two barrels will cover tons of applications.
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

  15. #15
    Member OKElkHunter's Avatar
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    Good Choice
    Quote Originally Posted by ak_cowboy View Post
    870 with a 20" barrel and open choke for slugs and home defense. 28" with improved modified for clay's and birds.

    sent from my igloo
    ďDon't expect to build up the weak by pulling down the strong." ~Calvin Coolidge~

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    Barrel length has little to do with how far you can hit something or the pattern spread and not much to do with velocity after about 18". So, get an 18"/21" with choke tubes and change tubes for your choice of targets.

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    Just a general rule of thumb for cylinder bore spread patterns. It's not perfect, but it helps to understand what will happen. You can roughly guess that your shot pattern will expand 1" in diameter for every 1 yard of travel. (Again, this isn't perfect and patterning your shotgun for longer shots is always the best way to know.) So basically at 20 feet the pattern will be around 7 inches in diameter, which is perfect for home defense. At 37 feet, the pattern will be around 12 inches. That's a bit large, but by no means outrageous. Keep in mind, you still have to aim a 12" spot. If you are off a little, the entire pattern will completely miss your target.

    Also, keep in mind that birdshot will lose energy faster as it spreads. The pellets themselves will still be moving quickly, but one #8 pellet doesn't really stop a threat like it might a bird. Not saying birdshot is the wrong choice. Just saying your aim is a lot more important than people think. A shotgun isn't a howitzer that will mow down anyone in a 30 foot radius. You still have to treat it like a precision tool in your home.

  18. #18
    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    Definite +1 for the Rem 870 Wingmaster over the Express if your primary use is going to be sporting clays. However, if you don't care about the finish, then just make sure you get the Magnum receiver in at least 3" chamber. Your clay barrel length isn't too critical, but longer is always better for clays. Rem Chokes is the only way to go, as it the vented rib. Not sure you can even get a fixed choke long barrel anymore. The standard barrel on the Wingmaster is a 28" vented rib threaded for Rem Chokes.

    As to the defense posture, get the standard 20" Deer Rifle Sight barrel, which is also available in Rem Choke threads. Or you can save about $50 and buy the Express 20" DRS in a fixed Improved Cylinder choke. You don't want or need a Cylinder choke and you certainly don't want a rifled barrel. Best chokes for defensive shooting of 12g slugs or buckshot is Imp Cyl, Light Mod, or Modified. Do not get an open cylinder or anything more restricted than Modified.

    I would also caution against the use of #7 or #8 shot for self defense. It's a really dumb plan to use ammo that is generally not capable of making your attacker stop what they are doing. If you need a demonstration, go to 2nd hand store and pick up a Carhart or leather jacket. Hang it on something that will give, such as a hay bale and shoot it with your birdshot from about 15 yards. You'll find that the jacket is able to stop the penetration of most of the bird shot. If you put gel behind the jacket, you'll also see that none of the shot inflicts notable biological damage. In other words, the bad guy ain't gonna stop after being shot with bird shot.

    Use hard cast or Brenneke slugs for your bears. Then download to a tactical (reduced recoil) 00 Buckshot load for home self defense if you don't want to leave the slugs in there. If you're in a trailer park and seriously concerned about over penetration, then you should check out the frangible home defense loads that are available in #4 shot. But seriously, stay clear of using #8 target loads against people.
    Winter is Coming...

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  19. #19
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    Take that same #8 birdshot at 20' (7yds) which is a more realistic home defense distance and that leather jacket is going to be suffering a pretty nasty hole with a pretty sizable amount of damage to the gel behind it. 15 yards (45') is an unrealistic home defense distance unless you have MASSIVE rooms. Granted even 37 feet is stretching it, but odds are not likely that the attacker is going to be standing on one wall while you are standing flat against the other. The odds are more likely that the defensive spacing will be 10-20 feet in a house. Not talking bear protection, just the standard social work.

    I also disagree about adamantly saying do not get a cylinder bore. There's nothing wrong with cylinder bore for home defense. For the same reasons above. Nothing wrong with improved cylinder either, but certainly nothing wrong with cylinder bore. IC just means your pattern shrinks and your aim is all that much more important. Slugs in a home are a recipe for trouble if you ask me. I won't ever say "no one should use a slug" cause to each his own. But slugs like to fly through a LOT of stuff before they stop. A LOT of stuff.

  20. #20

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    Just looked on a box of Remington 00 Buck shot and it said best results with full choke. I keep my 870 loaded with #4 Buck shot and a full choke tube in the gun for home protection. My nearest neighbor is several hundred yards away so in a emergency I am not worried about shooting through the walls. I will also agree with Mobius that not many shots inside a room will exceed 20 feet. In that distance about anything you can fire in a 12 ga. will penetrate a leather jacket and normal clothing.

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