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12 Ga. Semi auto choice?

pilotpilot New MemberPosts: 25 New Member
I have recently decided I need a 12 Ga. semi auto. I live in Texas and usually shoot quail and doves with a Beretta O/U and turkeys with a Remington 870. Now I think I may want to take up duck/pheasant hunting and perhaps sporting clays. I have a new facination with the semi auto and have thus far looked at the Beretta A400 and the Browning Maxus. I like the idea of being able to shoot a 3 1/2" shell in a gun that will also function with lighter loads. I would like to look past the marketing hype and get some first hand feedback from realityville. After shootability. reliability and ease of maintenence rank high in importance. Any suggestions? Thanks in advance for your help.

Replies

  • U TU T Member Posts: 423 Member
    benellii super black eagle. I like the inertia action rather than gas. I have 2 benelli's 20, and 12 an really like them both. If you want basically the same action, look at the Stoeger 3500? - I think that's their 3 1/2" model. Some here shoot the Stoeger 3" model and like it, and it's probably less than 1/2 the price of the benelli.
  • pilotpilot New Member Posts: 25 New Member
    Thanks UT. I called a friend who has a super black eagle. He LOVES it. I plan to go and look at the Super Vinci in the morning. We plan to shoot some clays on Thursday.
  • Six-GunSix-Gun Senior Member Posts: 8,148 Senior Member
    I've got a Benelli SBE II right now and it is a great shotgun, but truthfully, I got even better patterns with cheaper ammo when I had a Benelli M2 with the 26" barrel. Any way you slice it, you can't go wrong with Benelli. Yes, they cost a lot, but reliability, the weight (or lack thereof), ease of maintenance, and performance merit the cost in my book. I don't think you'll ever want to deal with cleaning and upkeep on a gas gun after you get into the clean operation of the inertial system.

    I had to choose one excpetionally good gas gun manufacturer as an alternate choice, it would be a Beretta. Their relability is excellent. We had Berettas (can't remember the series) as our range guns at my old base's shooting club and they perfomred flawlessly. You still had the mechanical PITA that comes along with cleaning them, but they always functioned well and handled great for their weight.
    Accuracy: because white space between bullet holes drives me insane.
  • snake284snake284 Senior Member Posts: 22,394 Senior Member
    pilot wrote: »
    Thanks UT. I called a friend who has a super black eagle. He LOVES it. I plan to go and look at the Super Vinci in the morning. We plan to shoot some clays on Thursday.

    A friend bougth a Vinci a couple weeks back and I took him out to the gun range to shoot it. It has a heck of a recoil but it is a sweet looking and shooting shotgun. I like the way it takes down and also the selection of long screw in chokes.
    Daddy, what's an enabler?
    Son that's somebody with nothing to do with his time but keep me in trouble with mom.
  • Ernie BishopErnie Bishop Senior Member Posts: 7,482 Senior Member
    I really like my semi-auto Benelli M-2.
    26" barrel
    Ernie

    "The Un-Tactical"
  • orchidmanorchidman Senior Member Posts: 8,111 Senior Member
    Well...........I am going to go against the flow here and say that I have shot with 3" and 31/2" shells and they dont do anythinging better than a properly selected 2 3/4 shell in my view.

    I use a Remington 1187 with 2 3/4" shells for both my hunting and ( as a wildlife ranger) cull needs, and while I did change over to 3" I changed back after a season.

    If you have the right choke selection and, more importantly, the right cartridge selection, in my view, you dont gain any benefit from a longer shell.
    That extra 1/4" or 3/4" ( and the accompanying increased payload/velocity/recoil etc) is not a substitute for shooting skill. ( no offence intended)

    I have worn out 3 1187's over the last 25 years ( doing bird culls on everything from small ducks up to and including Black Swan and Giant Canada geese) and the thousands of birds that have fallen during that time were just as dead if not deader than those shot with larger shells. ( Its not uncommon to shoot anything up to 500+ birds a day)

    It amuses me when I invite 'newbies' out on a cull and they pull a case of 3" or 3 1/2 " shells out and start loading up. They normally last at the most about a box or two before they start to show signs of fatigue and discomfort. Inevitably, if they get invited out a second time, they will either go back to the smaller shell or ask to borrow my spare 1187..........

    Apart from the increased discomfort, I found that the increased recoil from the bigger shells made it far more difficult to reaquire targets and took the gun further 'offline' than I was happy with. The milder recoil of the smaller shell made shooting a more fluid action and actually can increase success rates in my experience.

    As far as gun choice goes...............I have always found Remingtons to be satisfactory when it comes to shootability/ease of maintenance. As far as reliability goes the 1187 has, up until I started using larger shells, always been good. The season I used bigger shells did cause reliability problems, but since going back to 2 3/4 " the 1187's have functioned flawlessly ( although having put thousands of shells through them, they are getting very worn and due to amount of use they occasionally spit bits out.......which is why I carry a small kit of spares like trigger groups/extractors etc.....and a spare gun for those guys that start the day with bigger shells lol)

    Hope this helps.

    Alec.
    Still enjoying the trip of a lifetime and making the best of what I have.....
  • Six-GunSix-Gun Senior Member Posts: 8,148 Senior Member
    You won't get any protest on the shell size from me, Alec. I use 2 3/4" shells for nearly all of my hunting. The only time I ever bumped up to 3" shells last season was when I went to BB or BBB for high-flying geese. The payload/pellet count starts to suck in those bigger shot sizes and when you're getting up to 70 yards plus on some of those pass-shot birds, every bit of pattern density helps.

    The truth is, I didn't really need to move up to a SBE II, but someone stealing my M2 sort of forced my hand in buying a new shotgun. The upgrade was gratutitous at best because I never plan on shooting 3.5" shells out of this gun. Maybe it will happen in a turkey season or something, but I certainly have done just fine without them. In fact, the last turkey I shot fell to a 2+3/4" Winchester load purchased from Wal Mart.
    Accuracy: because white space between bullet holes drives me insane.
  • ojrojr Senior Member Posts: 1,092 Senior Member
    I agree, we all went through the 3-3.5" shell bit here, but alot of us have gone back to the 2 3/4, the correct choke and your good to go.The only time I use 3" now is on dedicated Canada's.
    As for the shotgun, a personal opinion is, I've, amongst other brands over the years have also been down the Benelli road, sold it and went back to gas, I bought a new Browning Maxus this year and can honestly say I've never been more pleased with a shotgun in my entire shooting life.
    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
  • FisheadgibFisheadgib Senior Member Posts: 5,797 Senior Member
    I used to be pretty heavily into USPSA 3-gun shooting and have tinkered with and put a lot of rounds through a lot of different autoloaders and I have noticed that the guys shooting Benellis rarely if ever had any hiccups. Most of the people I shot with, (myself included) couldn't afford to run a Benelli and we would trick out 1100s and 1187s but I've never known of anyone with a Remington that never malfunctioned. If I wanted a 100% reliable autoloader, I would look at Benellis.
    snake284 wrote: »
    For my point of view, cpj is a lot like me
    .
  • TeachTeach Senior Member Posts: 18,428 Senior Member
    A 3 1/2" 12 gauge is a solution to a nonexistent problem. If there's some situation where a payload that big is really needed, (and I can't think of that situation at the moment) wouldn't a 10 gauge be a better choice? The bore is bigger, thereby reducing recoil to a more manageable level. It's like trying to stuff a 16 gauge payload into a 20 by going to a 3" shell- - - -lousy long-string patterns, and increased recoil negate any imaginary advantage of putting more shot downrange. Unless you're doing a lot of long-range waterfowling, stick with a 2 3/4" or a 3" 12 gauge, or step up to a 10 for the shots that need an artillery rangefinder.
    Jerry
  • pilotpilot New Member Posts: 25 New Member
    Thanks to all. Will let you know what I come home with. Going out today and Thursday for some clays. Will get to try a friends SBE. Sounds like the 2 3/4" loads is all I will probably ever shoot.
  • U TU T Member Posts: 423 Member
    Teach wrote: »
    A 3 1/2" 12 gauge is a solution to a nonexistent problem. If there's some situation where a payload that big is really needed, (and I can't think of that situation at the moment) wouldn't a 10 gauge be a better choice? The bore is bigger, thereby reducing recoil to a more manageable level. It's like trying to stuff a 16 gauge payload into a 20 by going to a 3" shell- - - -lousy long-string patterns, and increased recoil negate any imaginary advantage of putting more shot downrange. Unless you're doing a lot of long-range waterfowling, stick with a 2 3/4" or a 3" 12 gauge, or step up to a 10 for the shots that need an artillery rangefinder.
    Jerry

    Teach, I see your reasoning, but, 10 ga. guns that I've picked up are very heavy, and you can't shoot 12 ga. 2 3/4 or 3" shells through them, so they aren't real option for a do all type of shotgun, from doves to geese, in my opinion. Mossberg has backbored their 835 to be the dimension of a 10 ga., which addresses the issue that you have with the long string of shot/10 ga. payload in a 12 ga, but I'm sure benelli's are not back bored, at least my old one isn't, but it shoots good patterns with all loads. If those 12 guage 3 1/2" guns were as heavy as the 10 guages, recoil wouldn't be as bad either, but nobody would want to carry it. Versatility is the main reason that I have 3 different 12 gauge 3 1/2" shotguns!
    I have: Benelli SBE, Mossberg 835, Rem 1187 Supermag. Of the autos, the benelli functions the best, especially with light 2 3/4 loads, so if someone is really planning on using light 2 3/4" loads in a 3 1/2" auto, they should keep that in mind.
  • U TU T Member Posts: 423 Member
    pilot wrote: »
    Thanks to all. Will let you know what I come home with. Going out today and Thursday for some clays. Will get to try a friends SBE. Sounds like the 2 3/4" loads is all I will probably ever shoot.

    If all you're going to shoot is 2 3/4" then there's no point in spending the extra money on a 3 1/2 model. In fact, it would be better to buy one that doesn't, because you're still making the bolt cycle an extra 1/2" of length, (assuming it also shoots 3"), and with light loads, you're asking for a greater possibities of failure to eject.
  • timctimc Senior Member Posts: 6,684 Senior Member
    My sem-auto BB slinger is a Beretta AL391 Urika with the synthetic stock; I just love that gun.
    timc - formerly known as timc on the last G&A forum and timc on the G&A forum before that and the G&A forum before that.....
    AKA: Former Founding Member
  • LinefinderLinefinder Moderator Posts: 7,036 Senior Member
    For years I shot a Rem 1100, 2 3/4" chamber. It's practically worn out. Didn't know you could wear out a shotgun, but I almost have. Anyway, a few years back I decided it was time to upgrade with a new shotgun. Picked out a Browning Gold Stalker in 3 1/2". Handles everything down to 2 3/4" mild dove loads. Patterns nicely with whatever choke I happen to stick in it.

    I don't like it. At all. It's a 12 gauge built on a 10 ga. frame, and it swings like a log.

    I once went several seasons straight without missing a single beagle-pushed rabbit with that old 1100. The one rabbit hunt I've been on here in Colorado, I took the Browning. I missed six....consecutive....in one day. Plus a few other misses in between the occasional hit. I've never fired over a box of shells at rabbits before. I always limited out way too soon for that. Not with that Browning, though. To limit out with that gun, I'd have to carry my ammo in my truck bed.

    Mike
    "Walking away seems to be a lost art form."
    N454casull
  • timctimc Senior Member Posts: 6,684 Senior Member
    I love a good twice barrel BB slinger for rabbits! I have one of the Turkish made Huglu shotguns with single selective trigger and interchangeable chokes that are now marketed by CZ but I didn't pay anywhere close to what they want for them now!
    timc - formerly known as timc on the last G&A forum and timc on the G&A forum before that and the G&A forum before that.....
    AKA: Former Founding Member
  • bullsi1911bullsi1911 Moderator Posts: 11,152 Senior Member
    You can get 2 round Hunting mags for these:

    saiga2.jpg

    ;)
    To make something simple is a thousand times more difficult than to make something complex.
    -Mikhail Kalashnikov
  • TeachTeach Senior Member Posts: 18,428 Senior Member
    Good grief! That thing gives the term "butt-ugly" a whole new meaning! That's a gun only Red Jacket could love!
    Jerry
  • SirGeorgeKillianSirGeorgeKillian Senior Member Posts: 5,462 Senior Member
    I am a fan of the Mossberg 930. You can't go wrong with that gun.
    Unless life also hands you water and sugar, your lemonade is gonna suck!
    Wambli Ska wrote: »
    I'm in love with a Glock
  • DCortezDCortez Member Posts: 58 Member
    I have more than one Benelli and absolutely love them.
  • pilotpilot New Member Posts: 25 New Member
    Thanks to all. After carefully considering all of the above posts I went out and got the Benelli M2 field. Brought it home, gave it a good cleaning, and went to the sporting clay range. Shooting 2 3/4", 7 1/2 dove loads the gun was flawless and I had my best day ever on the clays. The recoil was lighter than I expected and follow ups were quick and easy. And I was impressed at how clean the gun was after a round of clays. I am very pleased and appreciate all the helpful advice from all of you. Now to gather some fowl for the pot or grill. Life is good.
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