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A Good Shotgun At A Reasonable Price

The Remington Modle 1100 and the Stevens 411 still may be the best shotguns for the money.By John Simeone

The doves were doing what doves do to me on about the 4th day of the season, staying just out of comfortable range of my Browning A-5 light 20 gauge. I thought for a moment and took the Browning back to the truck. It had served its purpose now it was time to let a 12 gauge do the work.
I screwed in two .670 Carlson turkey chokes, and breached the tight action of the double. Returning to the spot I dropped in two Blue, PMC 1 1/8 ounce 7 ½ loads and made with my sarcastic dove call, “here dove, here dove.” Although it didn’t have anything to do with the calling, a pair came across the field at about the 50 yard mark where they had been avoiding me all morning. I gave them about a four knuckle lead and pulled down twice on the single trigger. They were too far to see the surprised look on their beaks just before they hit the dirt, as the automatic ejectors kicked the two spent shells over my right shoulder.

Yes that’s right, a side by side double with ejectors, and I got it for $365, at Star Gun and Archery, in Leesville Louisiana. It is a Stevens 411, but not like the one I had as a kid. It would seem that the Baikal Company out of Russia somehow got a patent for a Fox double, at least that’s what it looks like, and remade the 411 for Stevens. Works good for me, I don’t think I could have done any better on the doves, with a custom Holland and Holland.

Of course you have the die hards that only buy American, if you can actually find an economy shotgun that is made solely in a America go for it. My old Remington model 1100 is about the best shotgun I ever owned. I got it in 1966, wore it down to a rough finish and had it restored completely, it still goes boom boom boom, every time. That gun then sold for $186.00 and I remember my dad wanted me to have a Browning A-5, but they were $315 then, and a little out of his price range. Out of respect for him I now have a pair of Browning A-5s in 12 and 20 gauge, completely restored to better than new. They get used a lot, as do my several other shotguns.

Today you will be hard pressed to find a decent shotgun for less than a grand, unless you let in the Italians, Japanese and the Russians, while some of them are seriously over priced. Let me tell you if you want that Beneilli Black Eagle it is around fifteen hundred, as well as that good old American Remington 105 for your information. Just like my dad in 1966 it would seem a new Browning is just out of reach.
That brings me to the one company I recommend that make truly quality firearms and you really get your money’s worth. That would be CZ-USA. As far as just plain good firearms, I’ve won world championships with the .22, killed big bucks with their rifles and protected myself on duty with their pistols. The CZ-75 was clearly better than the Beretta 92, but then there are government low bids. As soon as I got out of the Army I got myself a CZ-75 in .40 S&W and felt very safe indeed.

The CZ-USA company has a very good line of shotguns, of which none are over priced; once you own a CZ anything you will be pleased with its performance.

Do you want a boat paddle or a shotgun? They now have on the market to me, the ugliest shotguns I have ever seen, and many are expensive.

A duck or turkey hunter may want a camo stock, nothing wrong with that, while recoil devices and cool little rubber grips make for some good ergonomics. An upland gun is the most personal of the shotguns, and must be an extension of the person who wields it. Still some truly have the fast handling qualities of a canoe paddle and would be better used as a club, while in many cases the neophyte can’t tell the difference. Remember a shotgun is like your car and there is a certain pride of ownership that goes along with it, so it’s not all about economy. So I will give you the shotgun by action for the best bang for the buck, with a little extra.

Single Shot: Harrington and Richardson, they come in all gauges and configurations, probably the best youth shotgun in the world.

Doubles: Both side by side and over and under, go to CZ-USA and call me in the morning. Try not to drool too much.

Slide Action: The Remington 870, you can get it anyway you want it, it looks great and it works every time.

Semi-Auto: Remington 1100 all the way, I like my two Browning A-5s too but they don’t make them anymore sorry. Pass it on….

John Simeone - Outdoor WriterAbout John Simeone- John was instrumental in the legalization of the crossbow when he wrote a fact finding mission for Senator John Smith of Vernon parish, which led to the crossbow inclusion for all hunters in 2008. Most recently John took up the cause of handicapped hunters with “The Way Outfitters” as their outdoor writer.   Learn More About John Simeone