I am another satisfied reader. I purchased a new duck gun this spring and your wisdom is appreciated. I was considering one of the high priced, highly advertised autos (Beretta, Benelli, Browning, etc.) Their cost was not prohibitive to me. The “old timers” in my area recommended a Remington 870. I discounted their opinion thinking that “Newer Design” and “More Expensive” meant better quality in the blind. It took your comment that the “870 was the best duck gun ever” to sway me to purchase one. I figured I would give it a try and if necessary, sell it to purchase one of the much hyped autos.
AM I A HAPPY HUNTER! The 870 Wingmaster has been an absolute joy to shoot. No malfunctions through several boxes of magnum loads in very severe conditions (mud, wet, you name it). My buddies have the expensive autos but bring home no more ducks than me. Usually less. They are impressed with the gun and cringe when I say I paid only $749.00 for it. Just today I dropped a double of large “Canadian” mallards at sunrise. It doesn’t get any better.
Good old “Made in the USA” can still impress some of us.
Keep up the good work
Rob, in North Dakota
I get a lot of comments complaining that I only seem to talk about the Beretta autos. It is true that this is probably the best “one gun for targets to turkey” for most shooters, but when you start to get into specific applications the choices vary.
I have always loved the 870 for waterfowl. In fact, I prefer it to the sainted Winchester Model 12 in that application (mostly because it is easier to strip down for clean up when it falls out of the blind into two feet of water and slime).
Some people don’t feel comfortable “pumping” and prefer the auto. I can’t argue with them. I prefer automatic transmissions on my cars. It is just that once you start to use a pump gun, it sort of becomes second nature for most people.
The gas operated autos (not the recoil operated ones) do significantly reduce perceived recoil compared to the pump. This may, or may not be an important feature. Most of us don’t shoot at enough ducks or geese in one day to matter, limits being what they are. Where you do notice the recoil of the 870 is when the gun is used in practice sessions on clays or when doubling as a dove gun. A nice light one oz target load would be a good choice in these situations.
I am glad that you are happy with your choice. It’s my favorite waterfowler too.
Shotgun Report’s Technoid
(Often in error, never in doubt.)