28 Gauge For Beginners


I have 2 young daughters that are interested in shooting. They are 8 and 10 years old. I would like to buy a shotgun for their use. My question is there a 28 ga auto available that is light enough and can have its stock cut short enough for their use? What other recommendations do you have? Single shot, Bore size, Experience, etc. Money is no object for Daddy girls.

Thanks in advance Stuart

Dear Stuart,

Aha! “Money is no object for Daddy’s girls”. It’s guys like you who made wives like mine! Just kidding. The investment you make today will reap untold dividends when your children have their own. I wish more dads would realize what you do, especially with their daughters.

The traditional first youth gun is a 20 gauge Remington 1100 Youth model. Beretta also makes one with the 390. Both would be a suitable choice, though they are a bit heavy for very slight young ladies.

I think that you are right going the 28 gauge route, rather than the 20 (and obviously not the miserable 410). For some reason, the 20 has a disproportionate amount of recoil compared to the 28. Franchi makes a very light little 28 gauge autoloader (recoil operated) which might be just perfect, though I don’t remember how far back the spring in the stock goes for cutting purposes. It is the model 48/AL 28 gauge. Franchi is currently imported by Benelli, (now owned by Beretta), located in Accokeek, MD. I’ve never shot the 28 gauge 48/AL so I can’t comment on recoil. Recoil operated guns have more kick than gas guns, but in the 28 I don’t think that it would be an issue. The Remington 1100 28 gauge is also an option, but it is a good bit heavier.

Another good choice might be the Beretta 686/7 O/U in 28 gauge with 26″ bbls. You can obviously do anything you want with the stock- just make sure to save the piece to glue back on when the girls get bigger. An O/U will be a bit safer and less complicated for a young shooter. My wife (5′ 5-1/2″, 123#) has shot a Beretta 687 28 gauge for over 10 years now. It’s a nice little gun. She shoots good trap (!) with it and is simply deadly on quail.

You will also save those 28 gauge hulls with an O/U. Reloading the 28 is a major money saver. A new box of Win or Rem 28s costs around $7. A box of 28 gauge reloads is around $2.50. A nice MEC 9000 reloader runs under $300 and is worth over $200 used, so your opportunity cost is only $100. And it’s a neat piece of gear!

You, of course, will need a Browning Citori XS 30″ 28 gauge sporter to keep the girls company and “test” those 28 gauge reloads. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Best regards,

Bruce Buck
The Technoid writing for Shotgun Report, LLC
(Often in error, never in doubt.)

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3 Responses to 28 Gauge For Beginners

  1. D. Chinn says:

    AAAARRRRGGGGHHHHH! NO firearm is more or less ‘safer’ than the person behind it! Safety resides ‘between the ears’, not upon the action type! This type of (non) thinking falls right into the anti-gunners hands, IMHO.


    • jamesj says:

      D. Chinn, the O/U is safer for beginners because if it is broken open as they move around in the field, or on a clays course, the gun is not going to discharge. Period. With an auto an inexperienced shooter can forget that there is shell in the action and if they don’t open the bolt, they are walking around with an accident waiting to happen. This is fact, not political correctness. Having taught many new shooters I can safely say that they are often overwhelmed with the experience and they do make such mistakes. An O/U for beginners is much safer, easier on the instructor and safer for everyone. As a shooter gains experience, confidence and ability, they can easily transition into auto.


      • Travis says:

        James I agree to an extent but with children of that age there should always be an adult accompanying them. The adult that is with then should have the presence in mind of how many bullets went in and how many were fired. Once the gun comes off the shoulder and you get ready to move the adult should remind the child to check there gun. The child or children will in turn get used to this and start doing it everytime without being asked.


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