Shotgun Buying Basics

What type of shotgun should I buy?

First: You need to identify the purpose for your shotgun. There are two basic categories of guns:

1. Field Guns - These are typically lighter for hunting, a more pronounced drop in the comb, a 28" barrel, and an automatic safety.
These guns are perfect for long distance carry, durability to withstand rough use, and safety. These guns are less expensive than the competition guns.

A field gun is perfect for someone who plans on hunting or participation in sporting clays to sharpen hunting skills.

2. Competition Guns - These are typically heavier and have wider vented ribs and ported barrels for recoil reduction, a higher comb, a 28-30" barrel for Skeet, 30" for Sporting Clays, and 32" for Trap. These guns typically lack a safety since a round is not chambered until the competitor is ready to call for his target and take a shot. These guns are typically more expensive than their field counterparts of the same quality.

A Competition gun is perfect for someone who plans on shooting on regulation trap, skeet, or sporting clays fields.

Second: Now you have to decide on the type of action. There are four types of actions:

1. Over and Under - This is the most common choice of top competitors, especially trap and skeet, due to reliability and not ejecting the shells onto a fellow competitor. These are one of the most expensive guns to make due to the amount of steel and precision machining required during manufacture. Because these guns last for GENERATIONS, they hold their value and often appreciate. Generally the most expensive, but well worth the extra money.

2. Side by Side - These are definitely the most expensive guns to make due to the strength required by the boxlock. These guns are not commonly used competitively, but are used for occasional hunting by those who revere tradition.

3. Autoloader - This firearm is used mostly for hunting and sporting clays competition. The gas recycling motion absorbs recoil and the side ejection of shells are not a factor on the sporting clays course. This gun has the least recoil of the group and is the most common choice of top sporting clays competitors. These guns are the the second least expensive, topping out at $1000.00 - 1300.00

4. Pump Action - Used virtually always for hunting, this gun has a reliable action at a modest price range of $249.00 - 360.00. Although the action is slow, it conceivably could be used on the sporting clays course to hone hunting skills especially if you shoot doubles. The most popular guns in this category are: Benelli, and the Remington 870.

Third: Now it's time to decide on the quality of your gun.

1. World Class - This is the stuff dreams are made of... That's right, Olympic medalists such as Kim Rhode. Guns in this category that one might consider are: Perazzi and Krieghoff. These guns start at a price range of $7,000.00 and UP! These guns last for generations.

2. Professional Grade - These guns are perfect for the enthusiast who shoots on a regular basis, year 'round, and will accumulate thousand of rounds over the years. The popular manufacturers are Beretta and Browning. These guns last a lifetime.

3. Occasional Use - These shotguns are perfect for the hunter who shoots a few times during the hunting season and a few times during the off season for practice. Under heavy use, these guns or some of their parts may need replacement. Otherwise they will easily last a lifetime under occasional use and proper care. The following guns are recommended in this category: Caesar Guerini, Rizzini, Verona, Franchi, and Fausti. The American makes are also in this category as well: Remington, Ruger, and Winchester.

4. Poor Craftsmanship - It pays to look into the frequency of returns and factory service records of the various shotguns on the market today. Make sure you consider the quality of the shotgun when examining price. Remember the age old adage, you get what you pay for...

As a Final Note, there are some fine shotguns which are fine collectibles...

Holland and Holland, Abiattico and Salvinelli, LC Smith, AH fox, Purdy, and several others.