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Beginner Shotguns- Things To Consider When Buying Your First Shotgun

So you have decided to take the plunge and buy a new shotgun. Before going to the gun store, there are many factors to be considered.

Style is the first to be considered. There are four basic styles the Pump, Semi-Automatic. Over and Under and the Side by Side.

The Pump Shotgun

A typical Pump Shotgun with Synthetic Stock

The Pump, is just that, the fore-arm has to be pulled back to eject the spent shell. Then a fresh shell is put into the chamber on the return of the fore-arm to lock position. Some shooters can work the pump as fast as a Semi automatic. The Pump is in most cases is going to be your cheapest gun

The Semi-Automatic Shotgun

The Semi-Automatic is the next one. They shoot a shell and put a fresh shell in the chamber with no help from you. Yes, as fast as you can pull the trigger that is how fast they shoot. But, I strongly recommend a first time buyer, Do Not get a Semi-Automatic. Usually they do not have the shooting discipline to take their time. To make sure the target is centered, before shooting three shots in two seconds.

The over under shogun has two barrels stacked on top of each other and a lever to switch between barrels for firing.The Over/Under Shtogun

The Over/Under. It has two barrels on top of each other, only there is a shorter sight plane, no chamber. The chamber on an O/U and SxS are built into the barrels. There is usually the option of which barrel you want to shoot first. What I like is you have two chokes instead of just one, to control your shot pattern. This makes this gun and the SxS very versatile shotguns.

The Side By Side Shotgun

The Side by Side is just that two barrels side along side each other. This gun is for a lot of shooters the hardest shotgun to shoot. Instead of looking down the sight plane in the middle, to get the most hits. They find themselves looking at each barrel as they shoot it. Which makes for a lot of misses? The side by side is the oldest of all of the more than one shot shotguns. Now days, they are most likely the gun, dealers sell the least of.

Shotgun Gauge

The next factor is Gauge or the bore of the shot gun, of which there are many. The lower the number the more shot each shell has in it. The gauges are; 10, 12, 16, 20, 28 and the .410. Which is actually the bore size of the .410? The 12, 20 and .410 all come with 2 3/4 inch chambers or 3 inch or longer Magnum Chambers. I always buy the 3 inch chambers, that way I can shoot both 2 ¾ inch and 3 inch. The 10 gauge is a very heavy duty gun. Dealers really don’t stock that many of them. Usually if want one you have to special order it.

Speaking strictly about 2 3/4 inch chambers, The 12 gauge offers the all shooters the most shot/biggest pattern. They have a 1 1/4 ounce of shot that leaves the barrel at 1330 feet per second. This is really the standard upland load for a 12 gauge. There are many variations of shells for the 12 gauge, because they are the most used shotgun of all.

The 16 gauge is an over looked gauge that is making a comeback. It has a lot of good points, less recoil than a 12 gauge, 1 1/8 ounce of shot at 1295 feet per second is about standard for the 16 gauge. Give the 16 gauge some serious though and see if one would be right for you.

The 20 gauge is a very versatile shotgun and a favorite of many upland hunters. They are light to carry, usually about 6 1/2 pounds. Shoots both 2 3/4 and 3 inch shells, 7/8 ounce of shot for high speeds and light recoil. One ounce of shot at 1220 feet per second which is standard for one ounce.
The 28 gauge and the .410 are not recommended for the first time buyer. The shooter needs superior shooting skills to consistently hit with these guns.

Size and Fit of the Gun

The most important thing is to make sure the gun FITS YOU. This can be done by putting the butt of the gun into your elbow bend. Your shooting finger is then extended up to the trigger. The trigger should come right in between the first two joints of the trigger finger.. So your finger tip can comfortably go around the trigger. A gun that fit’s a little bit short for you is better than one that too long. Shooting/Hunting Clothing will make up the difference.

Once you choose the perfect gun the next step is to take it to the field.  Many of our pheasant hunting locations include sporting clay ranges to dial in your shot before taking aim at a game bird.

Written By Field Staff Member Bob

More Shotgun Information:

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Now that you have your new gun you may be thinking about taking it on a hunting trip.  If you plan to transport your shotugn on a commercial plane here are some things you need to know.