Monday, February 18, 2013

Flatland Shotgun Curmudgeon

I don't pay shotguns much mind in the grand scheme of things. It isn't that I don't respect them. Quite the contrary--I believe the shotgun had more of a role in settling the west than did the rifle or sixgun, and it continues to be the most versatile and lowest-cost weapon available. I find handguns more to my liking, with tacticool rifles close behind. Maybe if I hunted, I would be more "into" shotguns.

I do enjoy busting clays and shredding cardboard zombies, so from that standpoint, I'd like to share some observations and a heavy dose of opinion.

My first pump-action shotgun was a Mossberg 500 with an 18.5" barrel in 12ga. It was under $200 (WAY back in 2003) and was built to that price. I like the Mossberg 500 as a "truck gun" or a pure utility piece, but it just didn't feel as nice as my friends' Remington 870s. Especially one guy's 870 Wingmaster. A Remington 870 Express would be a more apt comparison, anyway.

On to the Remington, the 870 express is a little more expensive, but feels a little more solid. The Wingmaster version is nicer yet, but gets on for Benelli money, and for Benelli money, I'll have the Benelli.

I am not prone to gun-snobbery, but since I shelled out the money for my Nova (and putting in some time behind a Supernova and M2), I can say that Benelli shotguns just feel better. The three different Benelli(s?) I've shot all have the perfect point of aim for me. The only American steel that came close was a well-tuned Remington 1187 that I used to decimate a box of clays at an Army buddy's 4th of July party. If you have lots of money, or don't mind eating hotdogs and rice for a month, the Benelli M2 is probably the best scattergun on the market. The "intertia recoil" system means simplicity and reliability, and I'm really surprised that Benelli went to a gas system on their even more expensive M4.

As I mentioned, I've also spent some time with a Remington 1187, which again, goes for Benelli money. See above. I've shot a Maverick 88, which I felt was a sort of cheap version of a Mossberg 500. And then there was a friend's FN TPS, which I do like, but it is a bit...portly. They used to be fairly affordable, but I haven't checked on them for some time. The TPS does a good job of taming recoil, but that is probably more down to its enormous weight than the ported barrel.

To me, a shotgun is a secondary weapon or a home-defense gun. The reason being that you just can't carry enough shotshells to stay in a fight very long. I once loaded a SAW pouch with buckshot to see how many it could hold, and it was about 60 rounds, but it weighed more than the moon and it took up one quarter of a tac vest. You could easily hold six 30 round AR15 magazines in the same space, and at a fraction of the weight. In my experience, light weight is important. As powerful and versatile as the shotgun is, its massive ammunition makes it difficult to justify on missions where it isn't a key weapon. However, in a home setting, the ammunition portability problem goes away. Or if you find yourself part of a mechanized patrol and you can use a squad vehicle (or a police car!) to carry a large quantity of ammunition that you can come back to and top off your vest from time to time.

And that's all I have to say about that...


James said...

But a SHOTGUN will blow HOLES without AIMING.

And it's cheaper to shoot than .223 right now. :(

And I already have too many .223's.

And... I can't really justify having spent that much money on a shotgun.

The Flatland Gun Nut said...

You need a cheap press from Uncle Larry. Mine shipped today. 9-pellet buckshot for 66% off. $43 for the press. Save all your Remington and Winchester hulls (Federal has a paper wad base and is not safe to reload). You know you want to.