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Old 09-26-2020, 03:38 PM   #1
Fishinfanatic
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Default Waterfowl shotgun

I’m looking at buying a new shotgun for duck and goose hunting but can’t decide which way to go. I think I’ve narrowed in down to a Winchester sx4 or a Remington versamax. Anybody have any input on one over the other?

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Old 09-26-2020, 05:43 PM   #2
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Default Re: Waterfowl shotgun

I would go with a mossberg 835 - they eat everything fed to them and can take a beating.
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Old 09-26-2020, 06:29 PM   #3
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Default Re: Waterfowl shotgun

I went from an 870 to a Franchi Infinity. Love the gun. Less issues than a gas operated.

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Old 09-26-2020, 07:14 PM   #4
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Default Re: Waterfowl shotgun

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Originally Posted by Fishinfanatic View Post
I’m looking at buying a new shotgun for duck and goose hunting but can’t decide which way to go. I think I’ve narrowed in down to a Winchester sx4 or a Remington versamax. Anybody have any input on one over the other?

You can't go wrong with either. Both are good guns. Pick the one that fits you best, but either is an excellent choice. Good luck!
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Old 09-27-2020, 07:29 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Bonecrusher 0.338 View Post
You can't go wrong with either. Both are good guns. Pick the one that fits you best, but either is an excellent choice. Good luck!
Pick the one that fits while your wearing your hunting clothes. Nothing like having one that fits perfect in a t shirt during the summer only to feel like your reaching for the moon when you have jacket and waders on.
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Old 09-27-2020, 07:52 AM   #6
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Default Re: Waterfowl shotgun

Go to a gun store and shoulder a Beretta A 300 as part of your search. I own 2 and can highly recommend.
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Old 09-27-2020, 08:21 AM   #7
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What length shell you going to shoot?


A lot of guys swear by inertia guns for overall reliability. I do also. A-5 is a nice gun.
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Old 09-27-2020, 10:20 AM   #8
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Default Re: Waterfowl shotgun

If today I had to purchase a backup to my Beretta A400 Xtreme it would be the Franchi Affinity 3.5
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Old 09-27-2020, 12:59 PM   #9
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If today I had to purchase a backup to my Beretta A400 Xtreme it would be the Franchi Affinity 3.5
Bought one beginning of last year and like it. I don't have the years of experience others on here do for comparison, so can't offer that perspective. Did take awhile to break in to where it cycles smoothly... been 100% since.
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Old 09-27-2020, 05:09 PM   #10
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Default Re: Waterfowl shotgun

If those 2 are your choices I would go handle them both and see what you like best. If you can't decide after that the Winchester design is tried and true, the Remington design is relatively new. Good luck with your search.
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Old 09-27-2020, 07:09 PM   #11
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Default Re: Waterfowl shotgun

After 30 or so years of shooting an 870 express magnum, I bought a Winchester sx4 this year. I made the purchase after duck season but was able to shoot some geese with it. It shoots great for me. I really like the gun, but. . . It has some feeding issues. Nothing like an $800 single shot. The manual says it may not feed light target loads reliably, I have yet to have any issue with target loads, it’s all been while hunting. 3” and 3.5” loads. I shot a turkey with it this spring and it failed to load the next shell into the chamber. Good thing I am an expert marksman and can hit a strutting gobbler with one shot. The flying fowl, I need the follow up shots though. . .
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Old 09-27-2020, 08:38 PM   #12
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Default Re: Waterfowl shotgun

I have not handled the two guns you have mentioned. So as usual, I'm little help.
My
When I finally bought an auto loader after 40+ years of pumps & side by sides I bought the gun Garyk mentioned. The Franchi Affinity 3.5 has been a good, lightweight duck & goose gun after a year. So far do good.
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Old 09-27-2020, 09:51 PM   #13
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Default Re: Waterfowl shotgun

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After 30 or so years of shooting an 870 express magnum, I bought a Winchester sx4 this year. I made the purchase after duck season but was able to shoot some geese with it. It shoots great for me. I really like the gun, but. . . It has some feeding issues. Nothing like an $800 single shot. The manual says it may not feed light target loads reliably, I have yet to have any issue with target loads, it’s all been while hunting. 3” and 3.5” loads. I shot a turkey with it this spring and it failed to load the next shell into the chamber. Good thing I am an expert marksman and can hit a strutting gobbler with one shot. The flying fowl, I need the follow up shots though. . .
My hunting partners gun did the exact same thing in his sx3. He had an aftermarket spring kit pit in. Runs like a champ now.
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Old 09-27-2020, 10:08 PM   #14
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I’d highly recommend the SX4. My buddy has a new one and it feels great in my hands. I really like the oversized square safety. Some other guys I hunt with exclusively shoot Winchester autoloaders. They shoot 5-8 cases a year and have had zero complaints. Of course, everyone (Including me) “prefers” their $1800-2000 Beretta or Benelli but sky-high price tags don’t equal more success in the field.
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Old 09-27-2020, 10:53 PM   #15
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Default Re: Waterfowl shotgun

My sx3 had a couple malfunctions in first box of shells.

I cleaned grease (Cosmoline?) off it, and she has been nearly perfect for a decade with minimum effort.

Cleaning and good ammo solves a lot of autoloader problems.
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Old 09-28-2020, 03:44 AM   #16
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Default Re: Waterfowl shotgun

With my 870 I knew what shells to avoid to solve feeding issues (Kent), maybe the sx4 is picky too and I just haven’t run enough through it to determine its appetite. I have cleaned the bejeezus out of it a number of times ( man, auto’s run dirty) so who knows. I plan to head to Creswell to bust some clays in the near future so I’ll see how it does then.
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Old 09-28-2020, 05:26 AM   #17
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Default Re: Waterfowl shotgun

I've never heard a single complaint from Franchi owners. They make a great little 28 gauge too.


Another vote for cleaning. I mean really strip it down including the recoil spring in the butt. This goes for brand new guns as well. Might be a good idea to order the upgraded recoil spring and tube before hand and replace the factory unit while you have it apart.


Not everyone has the same interpretation of the word clean. A neighbor brought his SX3 over because it wasn't feeding, said he kept it clean. His idea of clean was a drop of oil and wipe down what he could see. Gun had never been apart. It was filthy. Had to put a lot of parts (bolt and trigger assembly) in the ultrasonic cleaner to get the crud out and there was a lot of crud. Now he's stopped thinking about a new gun.
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Old 09-28-2020, 06:34 AM   #18
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I've never heard a single complaint from Franchi owners. T
I bought one of their o/u about 40 years ago. Biggest piece of junk I've ever owned. Now you know.
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Old 09-28-2020, 06:55 AM   #19
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Ha ha.. ya got me Stick.
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Old 09-28-2020, 07:42 AM   #20
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I've been shooting the Versamax Waterfowl Pro for a little over 4 years now an I absolutely love it. Hadn't planned on buying it but won it in a raffle and became my new duck gun. Recoil almost isn't there and it shoots everything very well from light target loads to 3.5" magnums without issue. My ONLY gripe with this gun is the weird pro-bore choke naming that Remington came out with. There is no IC,M,F its listed as Over Decoys, Pass Shooting, Flooded Timber, etc and there is no rhyme or reason to the naming it seems so it can be a bit confusing and i ended up getting an additional imp modified and light modified choke to suit my needs
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Old 09-28-2020, 07:52 AM   #21
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Default Re: Waterfowl shotgun

I have thought about upgrading my gun here recently. Went down and looked at several.

The most comfortable for me was the A5. The second best was the Retay Masa Mara. If I had the money to spend I would get the A5 Wicked Wings and be a happy camper.

What I have is an SX3 chambered in 3 inch. I keep going back that it works, it shoots great, and most of the season goes without much cleaning. The only issue I have had is with Kent ammo failing to fire. So I have stopped using Kent and moved on to Herters (patterns better out of the stock chokes).
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Old 09-29-2020, 05:18 PM   #22
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When I had upgraded my waterfowl shotgun a handful of years ago, I went to the store intent on a Beretta. But decided to shoulder other waterfowl brands and models of shotguns they had. I handled most of the major brands, including the two you mention in the post. I ended up changing course and going with the Browning A5. It just shouldered and swung the best, and that hump attracts my eyesight very fast to the bead so it's just a more natural motion when I pull up for the shot. Hard to explain it. We're all different though, so my suggestion is go to the store and shoulder them and see what feels best for you. If you know folks that have the models of shotgun you are considering, see if you can go shoot them with them.
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Old 09-29-2020, 05:54 PM   #23
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BPH.... "Hump attracts my eyesight." The cool thing is, the new fits just like the old. "What hump?" WHAT HUMP!!!??? They're like an ugly huntin' dog. Bring the best to the field.
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Old 09-29-2020, 06:17 PM   #24
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Default Re: Waterfowl shotgun

NOTHING shoots as soft as a VersaMax. But the SX4 has the next lowest recoil on the market. The VM will cycle everything you put through it from light, low brass target loads to hot 3 1/2” goose loads, with no adjustment. It runs well dirty.
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Old 09-29-2020, 09:10 PM   #25
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I really like my versamax. I shoot it so much better than my old 870. I'd like to change the feed ramp so that it doesn't catch my thumb when I load a shell. Like a good cave man I've learned to hold the ramp with my opposite hand. I also struggle sometimes to load the initial shell....really think that's cause I'm doing it wrong. But the gun shoots great and have yet to have any type of feed issue.
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Old 09-29-2020, 09:35 PM   #26
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Get the one that fits you best, that naturally points, that when you shoulder it, everything is aligned. On that note, My buddy bought a versamax several years ago mainly because he was a life long 870 shooter. Had issues with it feeding 3" shells. Sent it in to Remington, got it back and still had issues. He sold it and ended up with a Browning A5 and loves it. I shoot a Beretta Extrema 2, I’ve put conservatively 10-11k rounds through it from ultralight trap loads to 3-4 hundred 3 1/2" goose loads a year and have only had 1 issue ever, an extractor spring broke once, paid $7 for a new one and it still chugs along. I purchased an SX3 while I was waiting for my spring to arrive because I had a hunt planned and that's all I could find on short notice just after Christmas. I killed birds with it, but it just didn't feel right, so I sold it when my Beretta was fixed. I am not nice to my gun either. It's been submerged in mud, water, used as an oar, used as a bat (long story), dropped, frozen, and it still fires every time. If I had to buy another waterfowl gun it would probably be another Beretta followed closely by a Browning, but they fit me best as well.
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Old 09-30-2020, 06:06 AM   #27
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I think I'd hold off on a Remington, at least until the bankruptcy shakes out.
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Old 09-30-2020, 08:02 AM   #28
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I went through this last year as well. Even made a post on here about it. Ended up going and shouldering everything I could and ended up with the Affinity 3.5. It felt the best to me and feels really light. Duck hunted with it for about half the season and never had any issues.
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Old 09-30-2020, 08:12 AM   #29
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I love my Weatherby SA-08. Cheap, patterns well, comes with 3 chokes, and light weight.

Not sure many people shoot this shotgun, but it sure works great for me. I've had it about 10 years now with no hiccups. I clean it once mid waterfowl season and a thorough clean at the end of season.
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Old 09-30-2020, 12:03 PM   #30
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Have a stoeger m3500 for years. Cycles mixed brass well...regardless of shell size. Workhorse.

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Old 09-30-2020, 12:33 PM   #31
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Remington just got split up and sold.....I wouldn't buy one till I see how the restructuring shakes out (will warranty / product returns be honored 1 year from now ?).

I spent some time researching auto shot guns and it was like for $700-900 you can get a nice gun. But for $1200-$1300 you can get something 30% better. Kinda like fly rods.

The weight and almost complete lack of recoil on the A5 Browning 28inch barrel 3.5magnum semi auto sold me. $1225 on buds guns in bottomlands, was quite a bit more in shadow grass blades (supply and demand I guess). SX4 is like almost 1K in grass blades. The A5 is much nicer gun in my opinion and so much lighter.

My 2 cents. Buy the nicest gun you can afford, for life.
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Old 09-30-2020, 12:54 PM   #32
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Remington just got split up and sold.....I wouldn't buy one till I see how the restructuring shakes out (will warranty / product returns be honored 1 year from now ?).

I spent some time researching auto shot guns and it was like for $700-900 you can get a nice gun. But for $1200-$1300 you can get something 30% better. Kinda like fly rods.

The weight and almost complete lack of recoil on the A5 Browning 28inch barrel 3.5magnum semi auto sold me. $1225 on buds guns in bottomlands, was quite a bit more in shadow grass blades (supply and demand I guess). SX4 is like almost 1K in grass blades. The A5 is much nicer gun in my opinion and so much lighter.

My 2 cents. Buy the nicest gun you can afford, for life.
Please educate me.

I was under impression Browning and Winchester auto shotgun guts were very similar. Like VERY similar.

Is A5 (Talking about what's retail today. Not original A5) the same innards/gas system as Winnie SX4 and Browning Gold models?
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Old 09-30-2020, 01:32 PM   #33
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Old 09-30-2020, 03:30 PM   #34
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I’ve hunted the crap out of my browning silver for about 10 years. The only malfunctions/issues are due to me being lazy when it comes to cleaning it. I don’t know if they even make them anymore, but after the abuse ive put it through. Mud @ sauvies island and brownsmead. Sand along the Columbia River. Ice @ ladd marsh... I wouldn’t hesitate to buy another one.
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Old 09-30-2020, 03:42 PM   #35
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On the topic of fit . . . I think people can put too much thought into it.

Assuming you are in a range of decent fit (length of pull is reasonable for your arm, cast is either neutral or headed in the right direction and definitely not headed the wrong direction), you condition the fit by practicing your mount.

Through incessant practice, the mount becomes a subconscious reflex that aligns your eyes and the barrel precisely on the target.

I have found that I can reliably shoot three different guns during the season because I practice the mount constantly. I do it hundreds of times a year. At least once or twice a week, in the pre-season and during the season, take a gun out of the safe, gaze at the boxes of ammo I hope to use up, eye a target across the basement, both eyes open, mount the gun, mount it again, mount it again, and mount it again, each time eyes on the target. Every third or fourth time, I'll close my left eye and ensure that my right eye is looking straight down the rib, through the bead, and at the target (any distinct point on the far wall).

All guns are a little different, and jackets, waders, etc. all impact fit, but I find that frequently practicing the mount overcomes the many variables that impact fit.

Last edited by Antonio Zoli; 09-30-2020 at 03:44 PM.
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Old 09-30-2020, 06:01 PM   #36
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On the topic of fit . . . I think people can put too much thought into it.

Assuming you are in a range of decent fit (length of pull is reasonable for your arm, cast is either neutral or headed in the right direction and definitely not headed the wrong direction), you condition the fit by practicing your mount.

Through incessant practice, the mount becomes a subconscious reflex that aligns your eyes and the barrel precisely on the target.

I have found that I can reliably shoot three different guns during the season because I practice the mount constantly. I do it hundreds of times a year. At least once or twice a week, in the pre-season and during the season, take a gun out of the safe, gaze at the boxes of ammo I hope to use up, eye a target across the basement, both eyes open, mount the gun, mount it again, mount it again, and mount it again, each time eyes on the target. Every third or fourth time, I'll close my left eye and ensure that my right eye is looking straight down the rib, through the bead, and at the target (any distinct point on the far wall).

All guns are a little different, and jackets, waders, etc. all impact fit, but I find that frequently practicing the mount overcomes the many variables that impact fit.
I agree with you that you need practice, practice, practice. But why practice with a gun that you have to try to make things align properly vs one that just naturally does? People have different shaped bodies, different guns fit differently. This is especially important waterfowl hunting when birds can be on you in a split second and you have to react quickly. I'm not saying at all that anyone can't just pick up any shotgun and kill a bird, but it definitely makes things more economical.
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Old 09-30-2020, 07:55 PM   #37
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Yes. Any adjustment your body has to do to make the gun fit, clearly demonstrates if doesn't. You shouldn't need to drop your cheek to the stock or tilt your head, bend your neck at all. Head held erect, stock rises to meet your cheek as the butt contacts your shoulder. No movement at all other than your arms. That's why I shoot A5's. Love the hump.
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Old 10-01-2020, 07:59 AM   #38
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Duckslayer and Dogzilla - I am with you guys - a gun should generally fit, especially in terms of length and cast. But a shotgun is not a suit, tailored to fit the body across multiple dimensions. And to be sure, you should not have to contort your body to get a good sight picture.

At the same time - and this is probably the main point as I see it - successful wingshooting is premised on good fit, but just as important is developing a consistent, precise, and reflexive mount that puts your eyes and the barrel on a sight plane in a couple seconds (or less).

If you build the reflex to set up that precise sight plane, your body will do the work to make it happen, accounting for all kinds of variables that relate to fit; such as the layers you are wearing on a given day, whether you are shooting from a standing position or from a layout blind, shooting overhead, turning or twisting your body one direction or the other.

Part of the joy of pursuing waterfowl is accounting for unpredictable variables that present challenges that target shooting cannot. A good fit is an important starting point, but to me the precise, reflexive mount is critical, as the body and subconscious mind are responsible for the magic of lining up the sight plane so your pellets go where your eyes are looking.

Most importantly - it's October today. The season is just around the corner!!!

Last edited by Antonio Zoli; 10-01-2020 at 08:03 AM.
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Old 10-01-2020, 09:41 AM   #39
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AZ... Yes, the body can/will adapt through repetition. If a person shoots one gun and shoots it well, it fits. No matter how it got there. I'd say taking a couple of seconds to get the correct sight picture, the shooter needs another gun. A good fitting shotgun doesn't have a sight picture one needs to be aware of, it's automatic. Love the hump.
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Old 10-01-2020, 10:29 AM   #40
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Both shotguns have decent reputations for their relatively short lives. If you have looked at Franchi and Berettas, and didn't like them i wouldn't look back. Get one soon and get as many rounds down the barrel as you can. Some guns have a break in period, but at a minimum you will want to feel comfortable shouldering and swinging the gun before the season starts.
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