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I want to get my son a 12 gauge 3" - 3 1/2" shotgun. It will be used for hunting deer, hogs, small game, and ducks. I can't afford to get him more than one gun so it needs to be an all pourpose gun. He is 15 years old and 5' 11" and around 165lbs. My price range up to $700. Thanks in advance
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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I'd stick with a 3" chambering at most. Well, you wanted an opinion so there it is.... there are a lot more guns available in the 3" and frankly the recoil of the 3.5" shells is pretty bad. He can upgrade later if he's a dedicated waterfowler? Just a thought.

I'd get a Remington 870 for a started gun. Lots of them available used, and difficult to wear out.
 

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I agree with Mike, I would stay away from the alloy framed guns as the steel framed ones tend to absorb recoil better and are much eaiser to control.
 

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Both of the guys above are on the right track. If I could afford it,
I would get him a semi-auto. The reason being the recoil of a
light pump without a gas system is pretty stiff. The heavy sem-auto
with a gas system is easier to shoot. You would have to teach him
safety because a simple pull of the trigger would coke off the next
shot.
Zeke
 

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MikeG made a good call. Can do a lot of shotguning tasks with that one. The 20 gauge in the same model don't have any flies on it either.

Cheezywan
 

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I guess there's some justification for a 3 1/2" gun for geese, but I wonder if passing on a few shots a season might make more sense even there.

$700 for a do all shotgun is actually a pretty hefty spend. You can get a Remington 870, 3" Express for under $400, or a 3 1/2" Supermag for about $600. Extra barrels run $175-$250 or so. The synthetic models come with a very nice adjusatable length of pull, at 15 and 5'11", my bet is he'll need the extra length by the time he's 18. I have that on my new 20Ga. Synthetic Camo, it is a very nice feature.

I recently picked up a 26" VR Express barrel for my 3" Express, and they now come chambered for 3 1/2" shells. It seems to pattern well with 2 3/4" and 3" stuff. Of the four 870's in the family, the oldest is about 25 years, and over 100 deer old. The limit here in NJ is 1-2/day from December through February. It still feeds and functions perfectly. My new 20Ga. is very nice, and I actually like it a lot better for turks as the weight is sweet at about 6lbs, and 1 1/4oz 3" loads are as effective as anything I've ever used out to 35yds.

Mod 1100's are nice, but they are heavier, more expensive, and more prone to malfunction over long ownership. They kick a lot less.
 

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The Benelli Nova (3") or Super Nova (3-1/2") would also be good choices in my opinion. I don't have one but virtually everyone who does is very happy them.
I agree that 3-1/2" is not really necessary but on the other hand, it's better to have that capability and not need it than to not have it and wish you did.
If at all possible you should have your son pick up and shoulder as many guns as possible. Some guns just feel right and everyone is different. If the gun doesn't fit you or feel right to you chances are you will not enjoy shooting it.
 

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I'm a little confused here: You've got $700 to spend and you're convinced you have to buy him just a shotgun? Depending on how old your boy is, that's a sure way to turn him off to the shooting sports; by beating him around with a 12-gauge.

Anyway, for that kind of money, you could pick him up a used Mossberg 500 or 870 Wingmaster, (they last forever) then buy him an H&R Handi-rifle in .243, or something. Heck, the local gunshop I frequent has the H&R combo with a 44 Mag barrel (legal for deer in just about any state/locale) and a 12-gauge barrel, for ~$300. Like this one:

http://www.thegunsource.com/item/76..._HR_SC1-414_Handi-Combo_P.aspx?w=9QpfbOC9z2A=

Put some money into a decent 2-7X scope for the 44, and you're all set out to about 125 yards. If it turns out your son just doesn't like shooting/hunting, you haven't spent a bundle and if he loves it, like we all hope he does, you can work on getting him a dedicated duck gun, later. Single-shot weapons are the way all young shooters should be introduced to guns, IMHO.
 

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Anyway, for that kind of money, you could pick him up a used Mossberg 500 or 870 Wingmaster, (they last forever) .
broom_jim, about 5 years ago, I walked into the Sportsmans Center in Central NJ, and spotted a 870 Express with a fully rifled slug barrel on sale for $150!!!! The loading gate didn't have any brass streak from being loaded, there was NO travel on the moving parts. It went straight home with me.

But you are SOOO right, even a casual pass at a couple used gun racks will almost always be woth the effort. Nowadays, everyone is buying semi-autos, black guns, and the deals on hunting shotguns and rifles are incredible.
 

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not one of you mentioned a Mossy 500, Security/field combo gun, I have an 8 shot with 24" accu-choke barrel, and a 20" cyl. bore, both barrels are great for hunting I like the 20" for heavy brush or dense woodland as ranges in those conditions are far shorter than field conditions. I gave 400 bucks for mine with both barrels.....it's chambered for 2 3/4 and 3" shells. It's light, and realiable.
 

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As mentioned the Mossberg 500 is great if you do not need the 3½ shells.

Or you could go with a Mossberg 835 Ulti-Mag that will shoot the 3½ shells.

As for the amount of recoil, you can reload lower recoiling loads, or just buy the lower recoiling loads (lower shot weight/lower velocity).

My mossberg 835 Ulti-Mag was bought a few months after they came out and it has a warning to not fire slugs in it, I do not know if the newer ones have the same warning.
You can however buy a slug barrel for it.

Michael Grace
 

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shotgun suggestion

Scramble: You might check into a Mossberg 935 Autoloader. Go to the Mossberg site to check the specs. They have a wide variety and the price will be less than $500 New in Box - Never Fired.
 

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I would get the 3-1/2" chamber without a doubt. You don't have to use it, it shoots 2-3/4" shells just as well, but it sure is great to have that 3-1/2" load if you do any goose hunting.

If you are dead set on one gun, I would recommend the remington 870 first and the Mossberg 835 second. The suggestion of two guns is a good one though. I frequently see new Mossberg 835's on sale for $300. Used will be less (Probably $200). With the remainder, you could easily get a scoped H&R Handirifle in a number of calibers to cover the big game. I think that is a better option than one do-everything gun.
 

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Saiga Shotgun

A lot of the women I know prefer the Saiga 12 gauge shotgun because of the gas system it has. I own one myself (very petite) and it has waaay less recoil than my husbands shotgun.
It would be great for a younger shooter and I bought one new from Arsenal for about $460. What is great about that one is, it is all brand new parts and of course, it's a Saiga, so it can really be beat up and will last more than 10 life times. The workings inside are also straight forward and simplified and much easier to take apart and clean, so again, great for the little guy.
I think it is great that you are getting the young ones involved with your hobby. Best of luck shopping around!:)
 

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Lots of shotguns in my rack but the one that gets used most is a Mossberg pump, scoped with 2.5x20 scope and a smooth barrel. It gets used for HD, plinking fun, feral cats, rabbit, squirrel, turkey and deer and although I could use 3" shells I have never needed anything more than 2 3/4". The money saved goes for more ammo.
 

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the 870 would be a good gun he where my kid. the wing master is specially honed to provide that smooth shackle of a pump, it always delivers, 'come **** or high water'.
 

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I'd go with the 3 1/2, he'll grow into it.

Since $700 is your price range, a bird barrel/slug barrel combo would be the ticket in your favorite brand. Some brands have quality levels in their pumps, and I'd go with the top since it sounds like it will see a lot of rounds. Let him help in the decision.
FWIW, my first gun was a 12 gauge and now I'm almost impervious to recoil (I dislike muzzle blast/percussion). 12 gauge target loads for practice are good for younger shooters, and recoil won't be an issue when shooting at game.
 
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