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First hunting gun. Not sure what to do.

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First hunting gun. Not sure what to do.

Old 03-02-2013, 12:40 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 9
Default First hunting gun. Not sure what to do.

I've never been on a hunt before. I always wanted to get involved. I'm finally ready to take the plunge and start spending money on equipment to hunt this winter. However, I really have no idea what I'm doing.

I want to purchase a gun that will allow me to hunt turkey, duck, and deer. But, I do plan on hunting deer most often since the land I'd be hunting on has stands and a healthy population.

I just don't want to spend money on a gun to find out I regret the gun I purchased when it comes to hunting deer.

I was looking at the Remington 870 and Mossberg 500. I know those are two pretty decent shotguns. But, I was mostly curious about peoples experience with deer hunting and shotguns.

Thanks for any help and replies!
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Old 03-02-2013, 12:55 PM
Giant Nontypical
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Allegan, MI
Posts: 8,019

Can you hunt deer where you are talking about with a rifle or muzzleloader or are you restricted to shotgun only? Give us that information and we'll start working with you on the various possibilities you have.
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Old 03-02-2013, 01:14 PM
Fork Horn
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 270

If you want one firearm to hunt everything, then it
Does need to be a shotgun. The Remington 870
Is a very good not too expensive firearm. A good
Choice to get started. You next decision is
What gauge to get. If you haven't already done
So try to shoot someone's 20 and 12 gauge
Shotguns and see which you feel most comfortable
Shooting. The 12 gauge will be louder and
More recoil but will allow longer shots
Especially for deer and turkey.
The 20 gauge will be lighter easier to
Carry and kinder to your shoulder but
You really need to limit the distance
You shoot. I've taken many turkeys and
My first three deer with a 20 gauge but
Currently have a 12 gauge for the added
Range. Good luck!
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Old 03-02-2013, 01:19 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 9

Thanks for the replies.

I'm from Maryland and am not limited by the range of firearms.

I've never shot a shotgun before though. I'm not as concerned about that as I am getting the most out of whatever gun I decide to get.
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Old 03-02-2013, 01:26 PM
Fork Horn
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 270

In the long run if you comfortably handle the recoil
Of a 12 gauge, that's probably going to be your
Best bet to hunt deer, turkeys, waterfowl and
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Old 03-02-2013, 01:29 PM
Nontypical Buck
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Alberta Canada
Posts: 1,081

Definately go with the 12 guage.
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Old 03-02-2013, 01:32 PM
Fork Horn
NebBuckHunter's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Southeast Nebraska
Posts: 452

If you can hunt deer with a rifle, I would suggest doing so. It greatly increases your range and accuracy. Plus, there are plenty of entry level rifles out there that are decent for the money. I'm thinking the savage axis package for around $400. Probably in a 30-06 for your first deer gun. Not many of us started with the $1500 weatherby 257 magnum Mark V as our first guns. YOu always have time to save up for bigger/better/more diverse guns later one, but a good entry level gun will get ou started. Where I hunt, we are allowed rifles, so rifles are the only thing I hunt big game with (besides my bow).

I admit that I am not as enthusiastic about upland, turkey, and waterfowl hunting. But in my experience, there isn't a whole lot of different between a $1200 Benelli and a $200 entry level shotgun in term of accuracy and effectiveness. Yes, I own a $1000 beretta over under (skeet barrels), but my shotgun of choice typically is my $180 mossberg pump maverick 88 with an ugly black synthetic stock. Killed plenty of birds with it, and have never had a complaint witH it. I don't worry about getting a scratch on a fancy wooden stock, and I can throw it in the truck and go.

Now if you can ONLY use shotgun where you hunt, maybe it would be worth it to invest in a slightly better shotgun, maybe a semi auto with 3 1/2" shell capabilities. And possibly a second rifles barrel for deer hunting.

Shopping around is the best part. Go play with guns at the store. Look on gun broker and davidsons on-line. They can have some great deals.

(Warning, now is about the worst time to be purchasing any guns. The demand is high, thus the price is high. Also availability is at the worst I've ever seen on firearms and ammo). My local cabelas is filling their gun cases that used to hold expensive handguns and rifles, with entry level ruger American rifles just to put something in the case so they don't look as empty. The only 9mm pistols they have are Hi-points).

Maybe do your research now, and wait a few months before taking the plunge to avoid getting gouged on price. Maybe don't plan to hunt this fall but instead use this year to build your collection of gear (be prepared if you purchase a rifle, to spend as much on your scope as you do your rifle.), take a hunter safety course, set up trail cameras, and maybe tag a long with a more experienced hunter to have them show you the ropes. Then plan on hunting next year. The gun isn't the last step before going out. Gaining the knowledge and tools (binoculars, warm clothes-preferably a variety and in layers to hunt various conditions, a good hunting knife, blaze orange if required, gloves, hats, boots, etc)

Hunting is a blast. For me it isn't even about killing any more. It's about getting out there in nature and observing animals and nature. At imes I wonder why I spend so much on firearms, archery, and equipment when I could get about the same amount of enjoyment from a camera and my trail cams.

This is a great place to ask questions.

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Old 03-02-2013, 01:35 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 9

Wow. It really is a great place to ask questions.

I'll most definitely be taking that advice.
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Old 03-03-2013, 01:01 PM
Typical Buck
buffybr's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: SW Montana
Posts: 550

Like others have posted, a rifle is very superior to a shotgun for deer hunting -- if rifles are legal where you hunt. A rifle may not be legal for turkey, and is not legal for ducks.

For versatility, the Rem 870 and Mossberg 500 shotguns that you mentioned are hard to beat. Both are reliable and are available with easily changeable screw-in chokes.
Auto loading shotguns absorb some of the recoil (to work the action), but they can be finicky with the type of ammunition shot through them.

I am not a fan of buckshot for hunting deer as the probability of wounding increases with the range of the shot. Slugs have and can be shot through smooth shotgun barrels, however accuracy is generally better if shot through rifled barrels. Both Remington and Mossberg make easily interchangeable rifled barrels for the shotguns that you mentioned.

All shot pellets (of the same size and muzzle velocity) travel the same distance regardless of the gauge shotgun they are shot from. The difference is pattern density which is controlled by the choke (restriction at the muzzle) and the total number of shot pellets in the shell. Obviously the 12 gauge, being larger diameter, will hold more pellets than the smaller gauges. Usually you will also find a larger variety of 12 gauge shells than you will find in the smaller gauges.

Recoil is affected by weight of the projectile (shot or slug), powder charge, and the weight of the gun. (Recoil can also be modified by such things as porting or muzzle brakes, installing in-stock recoil reducers, back boring, and lengthening the forcing cones, but these things are not generally done for first time shotgunners or casual once a year shooters.)

A common fallacy is for a beginner to get a 20 gauge shotgun because it is smaller and weighs less than a 12 gauge gun. Then the shooter will shoot high velocity or magnum loads and be pounded by the recoil of the lightweight gun.

Last edited by buffybr; 03-03-2013 at 01:04 PM.
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Old 03-03-2013, 01:37 PM
Fork Horn
Rick C.'s Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Frederick MD USA
Posts: 300

When I first started hunting, I bought a 12 gauge Remington 870 express combo that came with a smooth barrel for bird shot and a rifled barrel for sabot slugs. I still use that gun for 90% of my hunting, best purchase I have ever made. Use it for deer, turkey, duck, and goose.
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