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  #1  
Old 09-24-2017, 6:27 AM
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Default Over and Under (need help)

Shooters,

I'm thinking of getting my first O/U. Decided on 20 gauge so my wife can also use it. We will be using it for trap/skeet, quail, pheasant, and rabbits.

What are somethings to consider? Brands? Barrel length?

Currently, looking at a 26 Inch barrel. Any issues with 26 over 28?

Thank you in advance.
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Old 09-24-2017, 6:35 AM
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If your using for trap and skeet you will need screw in chokesgo with imp cyl/modified fixed and use modified for 16 yard trap.
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Old 09-24-2017, 6:40 AM
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First off I would be careful in picking a 20ga, the lighter weight may actually produce more recoil than a 12ga.
I shoot better with longer barrels, so I would go with the 28".
What brand...It depends on fit and budget, as well as what the MAIN use would be.

Game Gun

Clays Gun
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Old 09-24-2017, 7:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ceh383 View Post
First off I would be careful in picking a 20ga, the lighter weight may actually produce more recoil than a 12ga.
I shoot better with longer barrels, so I would go with the 28".
What brand...It depends on fit and budget, as well as what the MAIN use would be.

Game Gun

Clays Gun
Really? I never would have thought a 20 gauge would have more kick than a 12. My price is under 1K. Looking at CZ and Franchi
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Old 09-24-2017, 9:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thegreyman2013 View Post
Really? I never would have thought a 20 gauge would have more kick than a 12. My price is under 1K. Looking at CZ and Franchi
Well...like he said, it's a weight thing. The weight helps absorb recoil (all else, like fit, being the same).

Some aren't much lighter tthan a 12, some are significantly lighter. Lighter is great when you're carrying all day and shooting relatively little. Heavier can be nice when shooting volume at clays. However weight can be fatiguing as well, particularly for the smaller statured.

In the $1K range, I'd be looking for a used Browning Citori. IMO, the 12g is a bit blocky, but the 20g is quite trim. If you can up that to say $1200, your chances improve and perhaps a Beretta 686 will find it's way into the budget too. Both will serve a lifetime of informal shooting and serve well if one of you gets active in the clay sports as well.

My personal upland O/U is 26" (20g Browning Citori Sporter) and it's great in the field. A bit "whippy" on targets. The trend now is for longer barrels, so you might find a good deal on 26", but a 28" would hold value a bit better.
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Old 09-24-2017, 9:55 AM
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Shoot a few guns if you can. IMO, people fear shotgun recoil more than is warranted. In my experience, when people get beat up by recoil with ordinary range and upland loads its usually due to poor fit and more often, poor mount. Muscle tone and fatigue can play a role though. I would think at worst, a decent recoil pad would solve any issue.

I got my first shotgun at 14, an Ithaca O/U 20 gauge, 3" chambers, 28" bbl and fixed M/F chokes. No recoil pad. It weighs right around 6 lbs, (similar to the Franchi Instinct that I think you are referring to). I shot the crap out of that gun; 6-10 rounds of trap and skeet 1X and usually 2X per week. Junior rate at my club was $1/round, I reloaded and my loads ran a bit hot. I never had an issue with recoil and I was not a particularly large kid then - I probably at most weighed a buck and quarter soaking wet.

That is still my go-to upland gun, although with the lead ban I am looking hard at the Franchi. To me, 20 gauge is the perfect upland gauge from everything except maybe late season pheasant. A 12 just feels heavy to me. 20 gauge is more than adequate for skeet and 5 stand - lots of guys in my club use it instead of 12 gauge in the 4-gauge event. Its fine for 16-yard trap, I have done well all the way back to the 27 yard line, although its definitely not ideal for much past 16 yards. A real sporting clays course is pretty much a 12 gauge game, as is most waterfowl hunting, though I shot a lot of ducks with my trusty Ithaca when I was kid and lead shot was OK.
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  #7  
Old 09-24-2017, 1:17 PM
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Do not get 26 inch barrels, that's old school. Go with 30's at least.
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  #8  
Old 09-24-2017, 2:19 PM
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Some good info here gents. Thanks. I'll update once I make a decision. I really like the CZ Drake ( never shot it), but just off of internet research. The price point is perfect. The Franchi is a little more... so I dunno.
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  #9  
Old 09-24-2017, 2:39 PM
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There are many that will tell you not to buy a Turkish (CZ), I'm not one of them. I owned a CZ for about 2 years, it functioned flawlessly. I would however, recommend you shoulder as many different guns as you can, just to feel the difference between them.
Good luck in your search...
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Old 09-24-2017, 3:34 PM
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my .02
go and shoulder different guns in your price range. i have 2 sub $1k o/u in 20 ga. and just put another in jail yesterday. I have owned a Beretta 686 in 12 ga and hated it. it beat the crap out of me, I'm sure it didn't fit me. I had a friend sale me a stoeger condor in 20 ga and I love it. it's a little heavy but has never missed a beat I have shot hundreds of birds with it. I just noticed the forearm has a crack. called stoeger they said send it in and we will fit a new one no problem, no charge. told them I wanted to use it for this hunting season they said no problem.
I traded for a Mossberg SR, it turned out to have a doubling issue. I sent it to Mossberg and the fixed it and shipped it back out in less than 24 hours at their expense even though i wasn't the original purchaser and it was WAY out of warranty.
I just bought a CZ drake last night, I can't comment on it yet.

go shoulder a few and buy what works for you. are my sub $1k guns Brownings or fabarms....no, but they are what I need. the stoeger and Mossberg will be used to hunt Mexico.
i wouldn't want a real pricey gun for hunting there. the cz will be for here if i need it during season. to be honest i went last night intent on buying the cz redhead premier. it's the one around $1k, but the features it came with I didn't care about or absolutely didn't want. I don't care if the receiver is polished with extra scrolls. pheasants, chuckar, and dove don't die any better with them. the auto safety I hate (i had the one on the stoeger turned into a manual saftey). and I would rather have extractors than ejectors. the drake had the things I wanted so I bought that.
find what works for you, and a company that will stand behind that gun.
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  #11  
Old 09-24-2017, 3:42 PM
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Take a look at the Winchester 101... Bought one last year and it is very nice. Made in the Browning facility in Belgium.
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  #12  
Old 09-24-2017, 7:11 PM
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Are you the same height/weight/build as your wife? In shotgun the fit is the most important thing. Do you buy same shoes for both of you?
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  #13  
Old 09-24-2017, 7:16 PM
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Under $1K for an O/U, I'd point you toward a used gun. If you can find a Citori or a 686, that would be first choice. 686 is generally lighter than Citori in similar configuration, and 686 is always trimmer, which may be a factor if wifey has smallish hands. Since either of those in VG condition will be hard to find (but not impossible) under $1K, you should also look at various iterations of FAIR/Rizzinis (Verona, Cortona, etc.), or Ruger. The Ruger will be a tad heavier than the 686 or FAIR, but about the same as a Citori. I own all of the above guns, and the Ruger holds its own in that group. If you find a Sig/Rizzini (by B.Rizzini), jump on it under $1K.

Re barrel length, 26" will be cheaper (less popular), but 28" will be a better compromise for hunting and targets. Wifey might have difficulty swinging a 30" gun. Or maybe not.
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Old 09-24-2017, 10:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ysr_racer View Post
Do not get 26 inch barrels, that's old school. Go with 30's at least.
I doubt you'll find longer than 30 in a field 20.

Lotta birds killed "old skul".

IMHO a 28" is a good "compromise" between field and targets.

Last edited by JagerDog; 09-24-2017 at 10:14 PM..
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  #15  
Old 09-25-2017, 5:15 AM
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I don't shoot trap or skeet very much, just a couple rounds to get ready for the upland season's. I only say that referring to the CZ. If it's mostly for upland game and a bit of clays, the CZ would be a very good choice. But, maybe not a dedicated clays gun. Field gun, very good.
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Old 09-25-2017, 8:19 AM
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For skeet short barrels for trap long barrels and for flushing type birds short barrels.
On the recoil go to one of the online recoil calculators for a rough comparison but stock fit and shape will play into the perceived recoil as much as weight.
For your wife I would opt for the short barrels because they will allow a smaller framed person to swing the gun easier.
If she is tall and stronger than average go longer.
My wife only weighs about 100 pounds and shoots a 20 and 28 gauge Ruger Red Label decently.
She shoots a model 12 with 26 inch improved cylinder better but she doesn't like to pump the gun and says it's too heavy. Believe me it's no fun packing two shotguns through the pheasant fields and having to drop one when a bird jumps.
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  #17  
Old 09-25-2017, 8:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JagerDog View Post
I doubt you'll find longer than 30 in a field 20.

Lotta birds killed "old skul".

IMHO a 28" is a good "compromise" between field and targets.
Barrel length trends come and go but the 28" is a constant. It remains the predominant length in O/U guns.
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Old 09-25-2017, 8:44 AM
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I held a Stevens model 555 in 20 gauge a few days ago at my LGS. Felt great in my hands and seemed to fit me really well. It's a Turkish made, so for many it has that going against it. At under $800 out the door, I've been tempted to try one out.

As far as barrel length goes, I'm finding that for me personally with a 20 gauge on clays, dove and quail, that shorter is better, especially on targets inside 20 yards. Murdered quite as few dove a few weeks ago on the opener with my (new to me) Mossberg 500 which only has a 24" barrel.
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Old 09-25-2017, 9:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PoorRichRichard View Post
As far as barrel length goes, I'm finding that for me personally with a 20 gauge on clays, dove and quail, that shorter is better, especially on targets inside 20 yards. Murdered quite as few dove a few weeks ago on the opener with my (new to me) Mossberg 500 which only has a 24" barrel.
For pumps and semis figure 4" for receiver length, so a 24" barrel on a repeater is equivalent to 28" barrels on a double
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Old 09-25-2017, 11:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScottB View Post
Barrel length trends come and go but the 28" is a constant. It remains the predominant length in O/U guns.
Ya...they way one shoots a shotgun, "sighting plane" is a non-starter. On games like trap and to some degree waterfowl, with minimal gun movement longer barrels can help smooth out the swing. Also they get the muzzle blast up out of the blind so your buddy can still hear.

In venues where an an abundance of quick movement is the norm, something on the shorter side can help.

It wasn't too long ago that every semi-serious skeet shooter ran 26" barrels.

And lets not forget that barrel steels/profiles vary too. That Perazzi 32" is lighter than many 30's...especially field guns.
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Old 09-25-2017, 2:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbk View Post
my .02
go and shoulder different guns in your price range. i have 2 sub $1k o/u in 20 ga. and just put another in jail yesterday. I have owned a Beretta 686 in 12 ga and hated it. it beat the crap out of me, I'm sure it didn't fit me. I had a friend sale me a stoeger condor in 20 ga and I love it. it's a little heavy but has never missed a beat I have shot hundreds of birds with it. I just noticed the forearm has a crack. called stoeger they said send it in and we will fit a new one no problem, no charge. told them I wanted to use it for this hunting season they said no problem.
I traded for a Mossberg SR, it turned out to have a doubling issue. I sent it to Mossberg and the fixed it and shipped it back out in less than 24 hours at their expense even though i wasn't the original purchaser and it was WAY out of warranty.
I just bought a CZ drake last night, I can't comment on it yet.

go shoulder a few and buy what works for you. are my sub $1k guns Brownings or fabarms....no, but they are what I need. the stoeger and Mossberg will be used to hunt Mexico.
i wouldn't want a real pricey gun for hunting there. the cz will be for here if i need it during season. to be honest i went last night intent on buying the cz redhead premier. it's the one around $1k, but the features it came with I didn't care about or absolutely didn't want. I don't care if the receiver is polished with extra scrolls. pheasants, chuckar, and dove don't die any better with them. the auto safety I hate (i had the one on the stoeger turned into a manual saftey). and I would rather have extractors than ejectors. the drake had the things I wanted so I bought that.
find what works for you, and a company that will stand behind that gun.
CZ Drake and Redhead are at the top of my list.
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Old 09-25-2017, 2:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sandro View Post
Are you the same height/weight/build as your wife? In shotgun the fit is the most important thing. Do you buy same shoes for both of you?
She is smaller. Roughly 110 lbs and 5'4. I'm 5'9 200 lbs.
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Old 09-25-2017, 4:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thegreyman2013 View Post
She is smaller. Roughly 110 lbs and 5'4. I'm 5'9 200 lbs.
I bet one of you or both not going to be happy.
The gun fit is the first priority. You can shoot very well with $500 gun which fits you and hate $20K which does not.
It is exactly like shoes, the fact that you can hold it in your hand does not mean you can wear it comfortably.
It is in addition for using field gun for trap and visa versa. Can you carry a trap gun all day long in the field? will you take it to the swamp for duck hunting where it gets wet?
You can definitely do it, but will you get good results and how much more difficult is going to be.. How much more frustration you will experience?

Just imagine using high hill shoes in cross country competition. Can you do it? sure, would you do it? i guess not.

My advice is always, do not waste your money on some "work around" it will cost you more at the end if it does not beat out your enjoyment of this sport and makes you quit.

..

Last edited by Sandro; 09-25-2017 at 4:29 PM..
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Old 09-25-2017, 4:24 PM
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Some random thoughts from some guy on the inter webs...

Short barrel for skeet and long for trap.

I and the Mrs. use 28 inch barrels. But then we shoot trap not skeet.

Mrs. Uses a Browning Broadway in 12ga. She has no problems handling recoil etc. She is a statuesque 5'2".

Used trap guns really let your money take you into a higher quality gun.

Shoulder lots of guns. One will fall right into place and be a natural.

Millions of shooters have started on the Remington 1100 semi auto shotgun. Great freakin starter shotgun to learn on.

Used Browning Citori's are also great guns.

12ga. in a trap gun kicks nowhere near what a light field gun or riot style shotgun kicks.

Good luck.
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Old 09-25-2017, 4:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sandro View Post
I bet one of you or both not going to be happy.
The gun fit is the first priority. You can shoot very well with $500 gun which fits you and hate $20K which does not.
It is exactly like shoes, the fact that you can hold it in your hand does not mean you can wear it comfortably.
It is in addition for using field gun for trap and visa versa. Can you carry a trap gun all day long in the field? will you take it to the swamp for duck hunting where it gets wet?
You can definitely do it, but will you get good results and how much more difficult is going to be.. How much more frustration you will experience?

Just imagine using high hill shoes in cross country competition. Can you do it? sure, would you do it? i guess not.

My advice is always, do not waste your money on some "work around" it will cost you more at the end if it does not beat out your enjoyment of this sport and makes you quit.

..

Good advice. I wish you could "test drive" guns like you can cars. Would help make a real informed purchase. I'm heading to some well stocked gun shops this weekend and will should as many as I can.
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Old 09-25-2017, 4:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cannon View Post
Some random thoughts from some guy on the inter webs...

Short barrel for skeet and long for trap.

I and the Mrs. use 28 inch barrels. But then we shoot trap not skeet.

Mrs. Uses a Browning Broadway in 12ga. She has no problems handling recoil etc. She is a statuesque 5'2".

Used trap guns really let your money take you into a higher quality gun.

Shoulder lots of guns. One will fall right into place and be a natural.

Millions of shooters have started on the Remington 1100 semi auto shotgun. Great freakin starter shotgun to learn on.

Used Browning Citori's are also great guns.

12ga. in a trap gun kicks nowhere near what a light field gun or riot style shotgun kicks.

Good luck.

Thanks. I have a Beretta 1201 Comp (24inch). Love it. Use it for 3gun and and also some technical shotgun matches. Got off the rack, added a nordic mag extender and its been perfect. Like a bespoke suit.

So, the next stage an O/U.

****Update... wife said we can get two. One for me and one for her!
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Old 09-25-2017, 6:08 PM
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also don't discount a 12 ga. I know you said you wanted a O/U in 20 so your wife can use, butbi bought a flawless 1100 in 12 a few years back for like $225. it's shoots way smoother and easier than any 20 i have. my wife shot it and I haven't been able to touch since. she loves it, so don't hold your wife to a 20. i think there is a women's thread in this forum, get their opinions

Last edited by jbk; 09-25-2017 at 6:10 PM..
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Old 09-25-2017, 6:37 PM
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If your within driving distance of Coyote Valley Sporting Clays (San Jose/Morgan hill), take a day and try out some of their rentals....very affordable and they let you return and exchange for another as many times as you like.

I also recommend a lesson while your there. Then spend the rest of the day trying different shotguns.

If your closer to any other range .....a lesson before you buy anything will be money well spent.
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Old 09-25-2017, 7:06 PM
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If it is between a Franchi and a CZ, I'll take the Franchi every single time. I've owned a Franchi for about 20 years now, bought it used, so, it's pretty old, and it works and works. No issues at all. Mine is a 12 ga, 26", on a very light alloy receiver, weighs at 6lb or a little more. I put a Kick-Eez on mine. Yes, it has more recoil than my other guns. For the uses I have for it, that's no biggie. It's a carry a lot, shoot a little gun, unless you use the versatility of the 12 and buy non-standard rounds. i buy the Fiocchi Trainer rounds, which are a 20ga load in a 12 hull. Kills clays dead, does not stomp mud-hole in shoulder. I can still go up to hotter stuff for killing larger birds. My only "double" on teal was with this gun.
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  #30  
Old 09-25-2017, 7:32 PM
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The Fiocchi 12 ga training loads are great for practice and for old guns, but you are not going to be hunting anything in CA with them after 7/1/18. So, get a gun that is effective with off-the-shelf steel loads if you plan to use it for hunting in this screwed up state.
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  #31  
Old 09-25-2017, 7:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Ducky's Dad View Post
The Fiocchi 12 ga training loads are great for practice and for old guns, but you are not going to be hunting anything in CA with them after 7/1/18. So, get a gun that is effective with off-the-shelf steel loads if you plan to use it for hunting in this screwed up state.

I think you meant 7/1/19

https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Hunting/Nonlead-Ammunition
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  #32  
Old 09-26-2017, 6:32 AM
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I think you meant 7/1/19
I did. Brain fart. Thanks.
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  #33  
Old 09-26-2017, 1:22 PM
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If it is between a Franchi and a CZ, I'll take the Franchi every single time. I've owned a Franchi for about 20 years now, bought it used, so, it's pretty old, and it works and works. No issues at all. Mine is a 12 ga, 26", on a very light alloy receiver, weighs at 6lb or a little more. I put a Kick-Eez on mine. Yes, it has more recoil than my other guns. For the uses I have for it, that's no biggie. It's a carry a lot, shoot a little gun, unless you use the versatility of the 12 and buy non-standard rounds. i buy the Fiocchi Trainer rounds, which are a 20ga load in a 12 hull. Kills clays dead, does not stomp mud-hole in shoulder. I can still go up to hotter stuff for killing larger birds. My only "double" on teal was with this gun.
Side by side they both felt good.Heading to the skeet range this weekend and will rent a couple. but they only have browning and beretta.
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  #34  
Old 09-27-2017, 11:31 PM
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Side by side they both felt good.Heading to the skeet range this weekend and will rent a couple. but they only have browning and beretta.
Care to ponder why?
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  #35  
Old 09-28-2017, 3:43 AM
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Care to ponder why?
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  #36  
Old 09-28-2017, 7:57 AM
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Side by side they both felt good.Heading to the skeet range this weekend and will rent a couple. but they only have browning and beretta.
Browning's and Beretta's are like the Acuras and Lexus of the gun world; Reliable performance, easy to service with parts readily available (if ever needed) and stylish enough. Great value.

I've shot those lower end O/U guns at different gun shows and ranges. They feel inferior and cheap. I can imagine that parts are tough to get.

For $1000-$1500, get a used Beretta or Browning (whichever fits better). I've bought 9 and sold back 5 over the past year to find the ones I like best.

Obviously, if you find yourself with an extra $5,000 to $20,000+ someday, step up to the Perazzi, Kreighoff, Beretta DT-11.
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  #37  
Old 09-28-2017, 8:36 AM
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Originally Posted by thegreyman2013 View Post
Shooters,

I'm thinking of getting my first O/U. Decided on 20 gauge so my wife can also use it. We will be using it for trap/skeet, quail, pheasant, and rabbits.

What are somethings to consider? Brands? Barrel length?

Currently, looking at a 26 Inch barrel. Any issues with 26 over 28?

Thank you in advance.
Just to refocus, here is the OPs first post. He is looking for an all-around sporting gun. I think that eliminates dedicated range configurations and very expensive guns (which tend to be range guns)

I agree that the Browning Citori and Beretta 686 series (I have owned several examples of each), are the sweet spot for his purpose and If that is what is available to shoot, do it. If you are still looking afterward at least you will have a good basis for comparison.

I would also keep an eye open for a good used shotgun, so long as it was rated for steel shot and preferably has interchangeable chokes. There are many brands that fit the OP's purpose very well that aren't made anymore that are good value including Weatherby, Miroku, Ithaca/SKB, Winchester, etc. Whatever you get, opt for a generalized or 'field' configuration as that will be the most versatile and best suited to your purpose. Its also the most common configuration for the majority recreational shooters and hunters that use an O/U.

That new Franchi Instinct in 20 gauge would be a good one to look at - around 6lb, 28" barrels, a Prince of Wales grip (very comfortable and my favorite). Now that non-lead (effectively steel) shot is required, I have to retire my Ithaca/SKB 600 which is very similar in configuration and weight, I will likely get one - just looking to handle and shoot one first. Both have alloy receivers, but that's fine. That's how they keep the weight down. I have put well over 10,000 rounds through my Ithaca and it is still tight as drum. Keep your O/U clean and use high quality gun grease and it will outlast you and your kids.
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  #38  
Old 09-28-2017, 8:45 PM
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Originally Posted by sandiego67 View Post
Browning's and Beretta's are like the Acuras and Lexus of the gun world; Reliable performance, easy to service with parts readily available (if ever needed) and stylish enough. Great value.

I've shot those lower end O/U guns at different gun shows and ranges. They feel inferior and cheap. I can imagine that parts are tough to get.

For $1000-$1500, get a used Beretta or Browning (whichever fits better)
OP, in your price range, a used "B" gun (Browning/Beretta) would be a wise investment, if you can find one in good condition...not always easy. As for the lower end O/U's, the CZ line is worth a look. I owned one and found it to be a very reliable gun, no issues with it at all.
The biggest difference between any of these guns is FIT and FEEL.
For me the CZ felt much like my Browning, like swinging a club. I sold the CZ and am thinking about doing the same with the Browning. For me, the Beretta's have a much better balance and swing, but don't fit as well as a Browning.
How a shotgun feels is very personal and only you can decide what feels right to you. Shoulder and shoot as many as you can before you buy, it's worth the trouble in the long run.
BTW, I don't own a Beretta...I shoot a Zoli most of the time
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  #39  
Old 09-29-2017, 6:50 AM
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Now that non-lead (effectively steel) shot is required, I have to retire my Ithaca/SKB 600.
Why do you think that you have to retire it? Is it because of how it is choked?
I am getting an Ithaca/SKB 280 and I will probably shoot some steel through it. It is choked IC/IC.
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  #40  
Old 09-29-2017, 8:29 AM
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Originally Posted by BOBGBA View Post
Why do you think that you have to retire it? Is it because of how it is choked?
I am getting an Ithaca/SKB 280 and I will probably shoot some steel through it. It is choked IC/IC.
The barrels are thin walled, choked M/F and chrome lined. It was manufactured in about 1971. I called Briley a few years ago and was told retrofitting chokes would "difficult" (I took that as a "no").

Your 280 may be rated for steel, but I would check first.
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