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Old 04-24-2020, 12:27 PM   #1 (permalink)
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I have a confession to make. I am still shooting the same Remington 870 express that was boxed up under the Christmas tree when I was 12 years old. I'm now 34, and that gun has been used to shoot ducks, geese, pheasants, grouse, chukars and rabbits for 22 years. Has shot turkeys for the last 5. It's received a new synthetic stock, hasn't been cleaned as often as it should, and has been flat out dropped in the marsh more times than I'd like to admit.

Needless to say the gun looks pretty rough. If you breathe on it wrong it'll rust within 20 seconds. The barrel and receiver appear more of a copper/gray than a nice blued color no matter how well it's been cleaned and oiled. To top it all off, even though I've hunted many days with it almost every year since I got it, I've never shot it particularly well.

All that out of the way, I'm looking at a new semi-auto in the 500-700$ price range. I've looked hard at the Weatherby SA-08 and Weatherby Element. I like the feel of both guns. Anybody with experience with these 2 that can give advice one way or the other?

I'm also torn between a 12 and 20 gauge. When I hunt ducks, I hunt over decoys. I hunt rabbits, chukars, grouse, and pheasants with some regularity. I also plan on using this gun to shoot turkeys.

Other considerations: My 870 is a 12 gauge. I also have a 7 year old son that will hopefully be hunting with me in the next 3-5 years. I had considered going 20 gauge and passing the gun to him when he starts hunting with me. Part of me also wants to have him start with a pump instead of a semi-auto.

Anyways, hit me with your thoughts and suggestions. Any personal experience with the 2 guns I mentioned would be great. Also open to other options in a similar price range.

Last edited by Kwalk3; 04-24-2020 at 12:30 PM.
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Old 04-24-2020, 12:36 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Benelli Montefeltro in 20Ga. Stunningly beautiful guns. We bought my son one for graduation this past year (his was 12GA).



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Old 04-24-2020, 01:09 PM   #3 (permalink)
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There will be a ton of opinions and they're all right on this deal!

I'm personally a big fan of the Winchester SX4. It's basically the Browning Silver. I love mine. My brother loved mine and bought one. My son kept trying to steal mine so I paid for part and he paid for part.

Light, reduced recoil, and shoots well for me. Shot 24/25 clays with it not too long ago.

I don't love the camo craze, so I like plain black.

The Montefeltro is a beautiful gun also. Sportsman's had an A300 (I think) for a decent deal.
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Old 04-24-2020, 01:15 PM   #4 (permalink)
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There will be a ton of opinions and they're all right on this deal!

I'm personally a big fan of the Winchester SX4. It's basically the Browning Silver. I love mine. My brother loved mine and bought one. My son kept trying to steal mine so I paid for part and he paid for part.

Light, reduced recoil, and shoots well for me. Shot 24/25 clays with it not too long ago.

I don't love the camo craze, so I like plain black.

The Montefeltro is a beautiful gun also. Sportsman's had an A300 (I think) for a decent deal.
I'm definitely not wanting camo. I want a synthetic stock in black(or gray), fully recognizing that I want to use this gun hard and would hate to ruin a beautiful wood stock. Eventually I'll get a pretty gun. I'm looking for function, durability and versatility right now

One of my buddies recommended the SX4 as well. Another friend has the Montefeltro with a wood stock, and it is a great gun. I thought they were higher priced, but they're pretty reasonable as well.

This is exactly why I asked here. I know I'll get a lot of different opinions, but I'd rather operate with more information than less when making a purchase.
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Old 04-24-2020, 01:43 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Simply put, buy the gun that fits you best. Auto, pump etc, does not matter, whatever you like. But you already know that you can't shoot all the different guns well..."I've never shot it particularly well". So pay particular close attention to the fit before you decide. Nearly all major brands are well made and will give you years of good service but there is no "standard" when if come to specifications. If it fits well, and is pretty (or ugly like most black guns) great, if not, it is not really important, it's all subjective anyway.
So, if you can't find a actual gun to try(shoot)(ask those buddies if you could please try shooting their guns)..try this. When you're standing at the gun counter throw the gun up to your shoulder, and I mean just as you would when that Chukar jumps. Now freeze, do not adjust the gun in any way! Now actually look down the barrel, what do you see?...all the front bead/sight and nothing else? You shouldn't see any of the barrel but all of the front bead/sight. If you need to "settle" your cheek or lift your head or move it in any way to obtain this sight plain, the gun don't fit. Repeat the move several times, even sitting down if you can. A proper fitting gun will fall in place perfectly every time.
Now, check the pull length. Put the butt in the crook of your arm, your finger should fit about at the first knuckle, if so, it's probably close enough.
Most guns are made to fit the "average guy" 5'9"-6' so if you're not there this measurement might not be perfect, the good news it that pull length is an easy fix and well worth the price any good Smith would charge. By the way, spending the money to have a gun fit to you is always a good thing and you'll be a better shooter for the life of the gun(years)
Always fun to buy a new gun...good luck.
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Last edited by BPturkeys; 04-24-2020 at 01:47 PM.
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Old 04-24-2020, 01:58 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Simply put, buy the gun that fits you best. Auto, pump etc, does not matter, whatever you like. But you already know that you can't shoot all the different guns well..."I've never shot it particularly well". So pay particular close attention to the fit before you decide. Nearly all major brands are well made and will give you years of good service but there is no "standard" when if come to specifications. If it fits well, and is pretty (or ugly like most black guns) great, if not, it is not really important, it's all subjective anyway.
So, if you can't find a actual gun to try(shoot)(ask those buddies if you could please try shooting their guns)..try this. When you're standing at the gun counter throw the gun up to your shoulder, and I mean just as you would when that Chukar jumps. Now freeze, do not adjust the gun in any way! Now actually look down the barrel, what do you see?...all the front bead/sight and nothing else? You shouldn't see any of the barrel but all of the front bead/sight. If you need to "settle" your cheek or lift your head or move it in any way to obtain this sight plain, the gun don't fit. Repeat the move several times, even sitting down if you can. A proper fitting gun will fall in place perfectly every time.
Now, check the pull length. Put the butt in the crook of your arm, your finger should fit about at the first knuckle, if so, it's probably close enough.
Most guns are made to fit the "average guy" 5'9"-6' so if you're not there this measurement might not be perfect, the good news it that pull length is an easy fix and well worth the price any good Smith would charge. By the way, spending the money to have a gun fit to you is always a good thing and you'll be a better shooter for the life of the gun(years)
Always fun to buy a new gun...good luck.
Thanks for the advice. Have never been able to really figure out how a shotgun fits or what to look for. A little tough without shooting them, but that at least gives me some rules of thumb. I'm 6'4 so a bit above average in height.
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Old 04-24-2020, 02:02 PM   #7 (permalink)
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One of my buddies recommended the SX4 as well.
I have an SX3, actually. Subtle redesigns and actually reduced pricing on it.

One of the things I haven't liked about Benelli is the trigger guard and safety. It has been a little small and I didn't like the location of the safety in front fo the trigger. Montefeltro doesn't have that, and the safety is actually larger.

Both are pretty sweet guns. My son's SX4 had a goofy issue earlier his year where the recoil arm came apart and jammed. I couldn't fix it and didn't want to get serious with it. Sent it back to Winchester and they fixed it without question. Great service.
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Old 04-24-2020, 02:08 PM   #8 (permalink)
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i agree w/ BP. there are only a few things that matter to me with a shotgun and a few extras.

mandatory:
function well
fit well
swing & balance well
natural point of aim

extra points:
synthetic
painted action/bbl


important measurements are length of pull and drop at comb. LOP can be changed with spacers on most new shotguns. drop at comb you may be stuck with unless you go high end target or you are willing to do some modification.
in my search to replace/supplement my 870 i went through many poor fitting stocks at the gun store before i found the winchester sx3. it fit nearly the same for me. i could see level down the rail and it naturally came up to the eye when mounting.

all i'm saying is try some out and find what works.

on a side note, a little sandpaper, acetone, masking tape and krylon paint will fix your 870. when i lived in baton rouge it would rust during a hunt and inside your house if you didn't refresh the oil on it monthly. i painted mine up and refresh the paint every 10 years. find your favorite natural vegetation for patterns and go to town on it. you have nothing to lose.
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Old 04-24-2020, 02:56 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Im gonna say Weatherby SA08, 20 gauge, love mine. shot an Express 12 gauge for years.
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Old 04-24-2020, 03:38 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I would look at the sx4 or sx3. Sx4 would be my pick out of the 2.

Weatherby makes a good gun, but I would still pick the Winchester first.

I would definitely get a 12 as your primary gun first. Then if you wanted to get a 20 as a secondary fun gun for decoying ducks and rabbits, that wouldn’t be a bad thing to have 2 guns to choose from.

But a sx4 12 gauge would be what I would go buy today for a gun of many uses
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