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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Please be gentle. I may not even get the approval for purchase...it was hard enough getting the wife to agree to my PPQ 9mm in the house last year.

But, as some point out...for home defense, a shotgun is really what you want. I have been lurking in this part of the forum the last two days. First, I was all gun-ho about a Mossberg 500...then today, I read a few folks really think those are no good compared to a nice Benelli M2

I am in driving distance to Blue Mountain range...also BlueLine tactical (prob cant shoot one there?) and I would keep this at home mostly...but would obviously need to practice...can you do skeet/trap with these too?

I am not interested in paying more than 1500, whatever way I go. Mostly, this will sit near me bedside. If I can provide any more info in order to get the best guidance here...please ask...thanks all!

Last thought...I think I am pretty sure I want semi auto, and 18"...?
 

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If you want your wife to be comfortable with it, I would suggest a 20 Guage over a 12 Guage, particularly if she's small. just as effective as an HD weapon, but a lot less intimidating (a.k.a. kick) for the uninitiated. If you want her to get used to shooting in general, I would also suggest a Ruger 10/22 - my wife loves hers. you should be able to get both for under your stated price.
 

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For a first shotgun I would either buy a Remington 870 or Mossberg 500. The Bemelli's are excellent guns I love mine, but considering it's your first shotgun I think a cheaper gun a better answer. Then take the extra money and buy ammo to practice.

As far as gauge that is a widely debated topic. I use a 20 ga. Remington 1187 for almost all of my shot gunning. I use it for all my small game and also use it as my primary slug gun. I have take 100's of rabbits and approximately 30 deer with it. The only thing I feel a 20 ga. falls short on is waterfowl. The steel shot requirement makes a 20 ga. really under powered in this department.
 

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Def Remington 870. Check out the tactical version of the 870 express. It's got a 18" barrel, adjustable stock and my 20 gauge holds 6+1. Besides my glock next to my bed, that it what I would grab in the event of a home intrusion. The 20 gauge is good for my wife too. I have shot trap and skeet with it, but it's hard with the 18" barrel. I picked up a 870 express in a 12 gauge with a 26" barrel for trap and skeet.

This is what I got but in 20 gauge, this one is the 12.. I think I got it new for $500-550 Remington Model 870 Express Tactical Blackhawk Spec Ops II Shotgun-618600 - Gander Mountain
 

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This may help a little - I wrote this in answer to a similar query:

Every once in awhile new shooters ask some basic shot-gunning questions trying to decide which shotgun they should buy. They are generally concerned with either home defense, or hunting, but often both.

Yes you can hunt small game and game birds with the big 10 gauge,but it is more recoil than most people want to deal with on a regularbasis. By and large the "big gun" is the 12 gauge. It has been a fight stopper from the old west to World War Two.

I have been asked many times if a 12 gauge is too much gun forhunting small game. There is a fear among some new shooters that the smaller animals will be too peppered with pellets to be edible or at best a gruesome mess. It is not true. Many, many, many rabbits and partridge and pheasants have gone down to the 12 gauge and been perfectly suitable for eating world wide over the last hundred years or so.

Sixteen gauge shotguns use a shell slightly smaller than the 12 gauge shell, but there is not a significant difference in the perceived recoil. In my opinion, the only thing gained by using a sixteen gauge is greater expense because the shells are used a lot less common and thus cost more than the twelve gauge or the 20 gauge.

That said, a 20 gauge is also perfectly suitable for all shotgun hunting and for self defense without the full recoil from the larger shells of 16, 12, or 10 gauge guns. I agree with the often repeated advice that new shot-gunners, most women, and younger teens who wish to hunt or shoot trap or skeet should begin with a 20 gauge. Many are built for smaller frame shooters (youth models) and they will probably be a better match for those folks.


The 28 and 410 gauge shells are much smaller than the 20 gauge and also more expensive. They can be used for hunting and defense, but it is like deer hunting with a 22 rimfire. These shells are really not best suited to the job. These smaller gauges are usefulf or teaching shotgun use, and for youths to hunt squirrels with, but in my personal opinion do not throw enough lead to reliably take birds on the wing. Others will disagree.

Once you decide on what shell to fire, the next question is what action choice to make for your shotgun. Single shots are simple to operate and inexpensive, but slower to reload and fire after the first shot than other types of actions. The venerable side by side shotguns aka "double barrels" are basically two single shot guns sharing a single stock. They are reliable in that you have two complete actions (triggers,hammers, chambers) so that if one breaks you still have the second, but also heavy. You are carrying two barrels as well. Pump guns are the next technological step. There are good ones and bad ones. They require two hands to operate and I have found them more prone to jam than any other action, but they did dominate the shotgun market for 50 years, so I really can't put them down too much. Any of these can and will work for you if you find one that you like and that feels natural for you to operate. I personally love the old outside hammer side by sides but they are not the optimum for efficiency. In my opinion that designation goes to the more modern semi automatic shotguns.


A semi auto will be more expensive than a pump, double, or singleshot but it will kick less because the springs soak up recoil. Follow up shotswill be very fast until you need to reload. The number of shells you can load at a time varies but is generally at least three so that you will get at least one more shot than the old doubleguns without having to pump the action or work a bolt.

If you have any concern with recoil get a semi auto. Regardless of what you buy, put a pad on the butt-stock to cushion your shoulder when you practice.

What does "gauge" mean anyway? As used here gauge means the number of round lead balls the same diameter as the inside of the barrel (aka the bore) that it would take to weigh one pound. It takes 12 lead balls the same diameter as a 12gauge barrel to weigh a pound. The smaller 20 gauge would require 20 balls of that barrel diameter to weigh one pound.

In general the number of pellets in a shotgun shell is greater for the bigger bore guns. A 12 gauge is a larger diameter shell than a 20 gauge. So when using the same sized shot, the 12 gauge will throw more pellets than the 20 gauge per shell.

Similar to the numbers used to designate gauge, shot size is also inverse to the number designation. The smaller the number - the larger the pellet. #8 shot is very small pellets suitable for bird hunting. #6 shot is a decent rabbit load. #4 and #5 is a larger pellet suitable for turkeys. #2 shot is suitable for goose hunting. #1 shot is big O, OO, and OOO are bigger pellets sometimes called buckshot. In general the larger the pellet, the more deadly it is when it hits large game. The trade off is that you fit fewer pellets in a shell.

A shotgun "slug" is one big pellet as big as the bore in your barrel (like a rifle bullet). For self defense any shogun shell will kill at close range, but #1, O, OO, and OOO are considered man stoppers.

You can fire shorter shells (like 2 3/4 inch length) in a shotgun that holds longer shells with no downside. But you can't fire longer shells in a shotgun designed for shorter shells. For example you can not use 3 inch shells in a shotgun with a 2 3/4 inch chamber. All things equal, get the longer chamber to increase your ammo options, but buy the shorter shells to reduce recoil. As a rule of thumb, the longer the shell the harder it will kick. So buy the 2 3/4 inch shells not the 3 1/2 inch shells. The short ones will do everything you want at under 50 yards.


This covers the very basics of shot-gunning terms and should give you enough information to start asking questions and narrowing down the choices when you decide which shotgun you want and what you want to feed it with.

I will add that my shotgun choice for home defense is the ultra reliable side by side stagecoach length gun with external hammers. Why? Because I can verify that it is loaded and cocked completely in the dark and I have had at least one failure from every other kind of shotgun over the years (semi, pump, and interior hammer break actions). If I am using my home defense gun I need it to be 100% reliable and the external hammer coach gun is the best option I know.

Good luck and be safe out there.
 

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Hi. Good question. I'm a lefty, so the tang safety on the mossy works better for me. I love mine. I don't think comparing a semiautomatic benelli to a pump action from mossberg or remington is a fair comparison. I'm thinking about a semi auto now, but still love the pump.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hi. Good question. I'm a lefty, so the tang safety on the mossy works better for me. I love mine. I don't think comparing a semiautomatic benelli to a pump action from mossberg or remington is a fair comparison. I'm thinking about a semi auto now, but still love the pump.
I too am a lefty...when it comes to long guns...I am a righty with a handgun...weird, but I imagine I am not unique in this sense.

I agree, I would love for the generous folks above or future posters to expound on the pros/cons of pump vs semi. Also, I will look into that 870 express...does seem nice to me.

Again, thx everyone, so far this has been great feedback!! love it here.
 

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The pump has a less chance of malfunction than the semi, but it does have more felt recoil.

I'll echo some of the others above, you best bet for a first shotgun is either a Mossberg 500 or Remington 870. It's a lot like the Chevy 350 vs. Ford 302 endless debate. Both are tried and true platforms that have been in service for many decades.
 

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Stick with a pump shotgun for home defense. It is a simpler machine and less likely to malfunction. Both the Remington 870 and Mossberg 500 are great guns with tons of aftermarket accessories allowing to customize to your hearts content. I own the Mossberg. 12 or 20 Ga.? For HD the bigger the better as far as I am concerned, so go with the 12 Ga. No matter what you ultimately choose to buy it is nothing unless you know how to use it. Train and if you want to take a class check out Chris Fry Optimizing the Defensive Shotgun - MDTS. Good luck.
 

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I too vote for either the 500 or the 870 and put the rest of the budget into a training class and the ammo to go with it. Personally I like Mossberg but as others mentioned, thats like a Chevy vs ford debate (Ford BTW)
 

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I cant add anything that hasnt been said. Ive got an old Remington 870 Wingmaster that has workef flawlessly for decades. I have a newer 870 Express that is fantastic and two Mossberg 500' s that are just as great. Cant go wrong with either.
I agree with the pump for home protection......and every other use. Ive sold three semi autos over the years, dont like them.
Oh yes, go with 12 gauge.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thx again all...so with my left hand in mind...we are saying collectively that the 870 express is going to be a good bet...? I am having trouble locating the tactical 18.5 in left hand...also...where would one get this? Dicks? I live close to one.
 

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I have the 870 Express all gussied up with the Magpul SGA and MOE furniture. If you can find it in left hand, i think it's a good choice.

That said, If you're going to shoot lefty, I'd say look again at the right-handed Mossberg 500/590. They grow on trees and you'll find one quickly. The safety selector is on the tang and easily operated with either hand. If you start looking for a left-handed 870 it will take you quite a while to find one.

The downside of the 500/590 is that it'll eject the shells in front of your nose, but that's not as big a deal.
 

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I have 3, a Mossberg 9200 12gage with 3in 000 buck, a Remington 870 12gage with 2-3/4in 00buck, and a Stoeger coachgun side by side 20gage with 3in. with one ounce of steel shot..... any of those would do the trick...PS they all have 18" barrels.
 

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Smith &Wesson Governor
 

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Mossberg 590a1 (18in. barrel) is a great HD shotgun. Safety on the tang will only make it more comfortable for you being a lefty. It's a hell of a lot more gun than the Remmy Express models...more fairly in comparison to the Remmy Police Magnum models. A big difference between the Mossy 590a1 and the Remmy Police Magnum is that the models of the 590a1 can be found almost anywhere...and the Police Magnum can be hard to find. You're looking more in the $500-$600 range, instead of $1200 for the Benelli (when also considering it's your first shotgun). Take the extra cash and load up on ammo...and hit the range.
White Air gun Trigger Line Gun accessory
 
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