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Sidearms & Scatterguns Jack of all trades, master of none - Which Shotgun?

richthe1

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Mar 31, 2018
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Priorities are:
1: Hunting
2: Bug Out - Self/Home Defense
3: 3 Gun (I’m not a gamer - more for fun/training as opposed to being actually competitive)
4: Clays (more for fun/training as opposed to being actually competitive)

The biggest factors for me are quality, reliability, simplicity, and longevity. I have an AI for my bolt, an LMT-CQB for my AR, and a Glock 19 for my handgun - I’d like a shotgun of similar quality to round it out.

For the above purposed I’m trying to find a shotgun that is:
  • Reliable with light and heavy loads
  • Threaded for chokes
  • 12g
  • Ability to take a tube extension for 3-gun
  • Ability to install a pic rail and add an RMR for home defense
  • 24” barrel (?)
  • Company w/ High quality, QC, and CS
I’m looking at the following:

A
Benelli Supernova:
Pros: Reliable (pump), easy maintenance/cleaning, simple
Cons: Pumps are not ideal for 3 gun, NOT drilled and tapped for pic rail, not many aftermarket parts

B
Benelli M2:
Pros: Popular for 3 gun, lots of aftermarket, less cleaning than gas gun
Cons: I’ve heard it shoots slugs poorly (POA does not match POI), Not as reliable with light loads?

C
Beretta 1301 Comp:
Pros: Shoots light and heavy loads, already drilled and tapped for pic rail (I think?), decent aftermarket, little recoil, they came out with a part to fix the shells from going everyone if you hit the release button wrong
Cons: Sounds like it requires the most maintenance/cleaning/replacement of parts

From this post (https://www.snipershide.com/shooting/threads/one-shotgun-to-rule-them-all.6961501/)it sounds like the above are pretty good options. Any additional thoughts?

Below are some I’ve, more or less, written off, but feel free to convince me otherwise:

Remington 870: would have been one of my top choices due to the platform, but am concerned about quality, QC, and customer service if I have an issue (especially since they went bankrupt and were sold off)

Benelli M4: No chokes, won’t shoot light loads reliably

Franchi Affinity: Might as well get M2?

Stoger M3000: Might as well get M2?

Mossberg 500: Not enough capacity for 3-gun & Can’t take mag tube extension, questionable QC

Mossberg 590: Can’t replace chokes or barrels for hunting

IWI TS-12: Unproven, won’t shoot light loads reliably, barrel length might be an issue for hunting, requires RDS
 

AFGWS

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Out of that list, I'd probably choose the Benelli M2. All of your cons are fairly accurate. Being an inertia gun, light loads are harder to get to run reliable, and anything below 1200 FPS is considered light to me. If you run 1250's, it should run all day with no issues. Slugs are a fixable problem. You can have a reputable smith mill in a set of XS sights. I had this done on my M3000 by MOA Precision out of Oregon. different slugs and chokes can affect slug accuracy. My A5 hated all slugs except the Herter's slugs from Cabelas. My M3000 likes the Fiochi slugs. And like you said, there is a ton of aftermarket parts for the M2.
 

Evintos

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Benelli M2 (inertia operated) will have more recoil than a gas operated shotgun. They're also dependent on how "hard" you shoulder them. The harder you pull the M2 into your shoulder, the more malfunctions (usually failures to eject) you will cause, especially with lighter loads. You can even cause the failures with 3" slugs (I can consistently replicate this on my M2 and Stoeger M3K).

The M2 is a good shotgun though. The M2 will shoot slugs well. You just have to find the slug that it likes. You should pattern all shotgun loads anyways.

I also have a 24" 1301 Comp and 18.5" 1301 Tactical Gen 2. The 24" 1301 Comp length is really unwieldy especially when navigating doors. Is it doable? Yeah, but the shorter 18.5 really is better for this. 18.5" with a tighter choke (modified or improved modified) is also no slouch when it comes to busting clays.

M3K - budget M2 for 3gun if you don't want to modify receivers for twins loading. The only common issue is extractor and extractor spring may need replacing within 200rds. Replace with M2 parts. If it doesn't break right away, they usually last a good bit.

Out of my 4 (Benelli M2 Tactical, Stoeger M3K, 1301 Tactical Gen 2, 24" 1301 Comp), I'd recommend the 18.5" 1301 Tactical swapping to tighter choke set for clays if you weigh defense more heavily than the other 3 priorities. For mostly fun focus (the other 3), the 24" 1301 Comp is my preferred.

Ideally you'd buy two different length shotguns for the purposes you listed.

They make a model(s) of the 590 with Accu-chokes (model # 50674 and 50765)
 
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Blazin

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Loading a shotgun tube on a timer in a comp is for the birds. I recommend you do what I did, namely a VEPR-12. I bought one new, sent it straight to Dissident Arms for tuning. The shotgun runs like raped ape on anything, and (welcome to the 21st century) it uses detachable mags. No regrets.
 
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richthe1

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Benelli M2 (inertia operated) will have more recoil than a gas operated shotgun. They're also dependent on how "hard" you shoulder them. The harder you pull the M2 into your shoulder, the more malfunctions (usually failures to eject) you will cause, especially with lighter loads. You can even cause the failures with 3" slugs (I can consistently replicate this on my M2 and Stoeger M3K).

The M2 is a good shotgun though. The M2 will shoot slugs well. You just have to find the slug that it likes. You should pattern all shotgun loads anyways.

I also have a 24" 1301 Comp and 18.5" 1301 Tactical Gen 2. The 24" 1301 Comp length is really unwieldy especially when navigating doors. Is it doable? Yeah, but the shorter 18.5 really is better for this. 18.5" with a tighter choke (modified or improved modified) is also no slouch when it comes to busting clays.

M3K - budget M2 for 3gun if you don't want to modify receivers for twins loading. The only common issue is extractor and extractor spring may need replacing within 200rds. Replace with M2 parts. If it doesn't break right away, they usually last a good bit.

Out of my 4 (Benelli M2 Tactical, Stoeger M3K, 1301 Tactical Gen 2, 24" 1301 Comp), I'd recommend the 18.5" 1301 Tactical swapping to tighter choke set for clays if you weigh defense more heavily than the other 3 priorities. For mostly fun focus (the other 3), the 24" 1301 Comp is my preferred.

Ideally you'd buy two different length shotguns for the purposes you listed.

They make a model(s) of the 590 with Accu-chokes (model # 50674 and 50765)
Thanks for the time you put into your comment! Nice to hear from someone who has personal experience with it. It’s mostly hunting, 3 gun, and clays with defense on the back burner, but still capable. I like the simplicity of a pump, but the 24” 1301 Comp checks a lot of boxes. Is there a reason you like the 1301 over the M2? Mostly the ejection issue with the M2? Have you had any issues with your 1301? Do you have to keep it super clean or has it been a workhorse for you?
 
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richthe1

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Loaded a shotgun tube on a timer in a comp is for the birds. I recommend you do what I did, namely a VEPR-12. I bought one new, sent it straight to Dissident Arms for tuning. The shotgun runs like raped ape on anything, and (welcome to the 21st century) it uses detachable mags. No regrets.
Vepr-12 is pretty sweet! Just don’t see it in stock anywhere anymore. Covid times.
concerned about Remington’s quality, QC, and CS - especially with the bankruptcy.
Already have an LMT CQB and X95 :) Just looking to add a shotgun.
 

SoVa

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I have a benelli m4, it is in fact threaded for chokes and will excel at most of your criteria except the clays, ghost rings and clays don’t go together too well but it can be done. However it is a little picky about light loads but it does so well in every other area it doesn’t bother me. I’m not much of a shotgun guy but I like it and it does about all I ask of a shotgun, I do want an over under for stuff that flies though.
 

Bart

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I own a 1301 first gen, added the ghost ring/aimpoint mount and took it to Rob Haught shotgun class. I was able to run it side by side with a wilson combat 870 as well as a mosburg pump. By far, the 1301 was my favorite- much lighter, very quick action, set up for a shorter guy like myself. Super impressed with the 1301!
Owned a nova, I felt like I needed an extra foot or so to run the pump:/.
For reference, I am 5'09", 160 lbs.
I am not super sure that people- in general- take their physical size into account when picking a shottie...
 
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theLBC

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    reliable and flexible. you can configure a mossberg 500 for almost anything. for the price, get 2.
    for slugs, ammo matters. i have seen nothing close to as good as federal truball slugs out of a smooth barrel.
    if it wasn't tested from a particular shotgun, it might not be useless for slugs.

    for primarily 3 gun, the M2, or for the price, maybe the new improved 940 jm pro?


    keep in mind that intertia driven autos need a firm backstop, so you can't shoot it one handed an expect it to cycle. if that matters.
    they make shotguns with the same gas system as the m4 in a target version.
     

    Evintos

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    Thanks for the time you put into your comment! Nice to hear from someone who has personal experience with it. It’s mostly hunting, 3 gun, and clays with defense on the back burner, but still capable. I like the simplicity of a pump, but the 24” 1301 Comp checks a lot of boxes. Is there a reason you like the 1301 over the M2? Mostly the ejection issue with the M2? Have you had any issues with your 1301? Do you have to keep it super clean or has it been a workhorse for you?
    Yeah it's mostly the ejection issue. I have a natural tendency to pull rifles and shotguns into my shoulder pretty hard so the M2 (and the M3K) never gelled well with me which lead to my purchases of the 1301's. On casual use where I'm cognizant of it (usually casual clay shooting) I get along with my M2 or M3K just fine, but when I'm doing defensive shooting exercises like multiple target transitions or shooting steel under shot timer, that's when the frustration starts to build with the failure to ejects. YMMV. Plenty of people shoot inertia based shotguns extremely well without FTE's.

    No issues so far with the 1301 and it being softer shooting is a bonus. I have around 8,000rds through the 24" 1301 (mostly #7.5 birdshot but also roughly 450-500rds of Federal Powershok 9 pellet 00 buck and exactly 100rds of DDupleks Dupo 28 slugs). Longest I've gone without cleaning the 24" would be this year at round count of around 1800-2000rds (shot 20 boxes of clays this year, 90 per box) without cleaning. There's definitely visible residue of unburnt powder, carbon, and it probably could've kept on going as long as I kept it moderately lubricated. I have noticed the M2 shoots cleaner. I've been keeping an eye to make sure my charging handle or hammer strut isn't cracked (apparently a common issue with 1301's). So far so good, *knock on wood*.

    It's about time for my annual end of year firearms maintenance though.
     
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    brianf

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    If you go the pump route ...supernova

    have had one for many years

    hunting in every weather you can think of

    can’t count the amount of clays

    treat it like a dead dog

    I can’t remember the last time I cleaned it

    Still runs great
     

    PBWalsh

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    A 590/590A1 can use other barrel lengths, you just have to change the magazine tube in accordance to the barrel you run.

    Whatever you get, make sure it fits you for the intended purpose. I’m 5’8”/206lb and the factory 590 stock was way too long to be used in a defensive stance. I just put on the Houge 12” stock and the ergonomics are much better now.

    Shotgun fit is critical.

    I can hunt with my 20” 590a1, I can defend life with it, and do some minor clay work with it. Its also accurate enough with slugs that I’d be confident in taking deer sized game within 75 yards. Mine came with a rail if I ever wanted to add a dot, but I just use the rear peep and front post for now.
     

    mcameron

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    ide honestly just get a Mossberg 500......it does all 4 of your requirements just fine....

    you arent worried about being competitive in 3 gun, so why do you need the extended mag capacity?....if anything it will get you a lot of practice reloading.

    i have the same philosophy that you do as far as 3 gun is concerned, i just do it for training, and i run a fucking SBS....i get hosed on the shotgun stages, but honestly i dont care.
     
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    sam4886

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    For a true do all shotgun, you've gotta go pump. I love my autos, and the new ones are pretty ammo incensitive, but a pump will run anything as long as you can pump the fucker. From that point, I think the 500, 870, and supernova are a matter of ergos and aftermarket stuff. I've had/have the 870 and a nova, and I like the nova a bit better just because it seems a bit more refined, Ive used it more, and I shoot a bit better with it. I think the 500 is a little easier to build into a mad max super trooper Instagram gun though.
     

    Jackalope

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    21” M2 fits the bill for me. I was a pump gun guy until I built this one. I usually run it with an extended Light Modified choke. No issues reaching out on clays. Hold 8+1+1 with a ghost load and the Nordic 5B extension tube.

    B11F429F-AA6B-489F-9977-0F887AB52331.jpeg
     

    TriggerJerk!

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    I am with @Alpine 338 on the M1. Mine has shot lots of different ammo without a hiccup. Ghost Ring sights are handy, and if ignored you can shoot sporting clays just fine.

    My 2 cents....
     

    Jefe's Dope

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    I have an 870 w/ fold over stock and Knox recoil pistol grip and I can shoot it one handed. I HATE shooting shotguns but this one is awesome. I credit the Knox recoil reduction pistol grip, which gets terrible reviews for some reason, but it works great for me. I have not hunted with it or shot 3 gun with it. So take that with a grain of salt. But I would do both with it if I had the opportunity. Clearly hunting is this shotguns weak point but is definitely doable unless you hunt with double barrel rich boys. They probably won't let you hunt with them. 😁
     

    Jgault

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    There really isn’t the perfect shotgun to fit all those rolls. For defense use especially inside of a house or building a 18 in barrel is really needed, but it’s useless for clays. A 28 inch barrel can be a great bird and clay gun but it’s very limited in a hallway. If cost is a issue the nova is a great choice if you get the short and 28 inch barrels. I have a Beretta 1301 tactical which has been the most reliable semi auto I’ve ever had, a Benelli montefeltro I use for hunting and it’s been outstanding as well. I shoot clays more than anything so I have a few dedicated clay guns but the montefeltro/m2 would work just fine for clays as well. My advice would be to have one tactical and one clay/hunting gun.
     

    gunsnjeeps

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    Your requirement is 3 different guns, but you want a compromise for all 4. For hunting I'd go with a Rem 870 or Mossberg 500 with a slug barrel and a bird barrel with screw in chokes, and a dowel for migratory water fowl. For 3 Gun, the M2 or M3K Freedom. If you need to replace worn parts on the M3K use M2 parts. Same drawings, M2 made in Italy, M3K made in Turkey. For clays, over and under or semiautomatic for doubles.

    Any compromise on one part is a sacrifice on another. Function, capacity, speed. A good O/U is a dream for clays, and shorts you a waterfowl round. I can't hit doubles with a pump, but reliability and capacity is higher. An M3K is long and can be heavy loaded, but can still be limit restricted for waterfowl.

    I didn't define bug out but I'd grab a rifle first. For a shotgun I'd grab the M3K Freedom. I'm only a couple hundred rounds into it so I can't say it is as reliable as a pump, but if my wife picked up a shotgun instead of a rifle she'd have the 870. I'd like a front blade and ghost ring on the M3K but it's a shotgun and has a bead.
     

    stefan73

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    I have a Benelli M2 that I used for bear defense up in Alaska. I zeroed it for slugs at 100 yards in 2013. This last December, without verification I shoot two targets at roughly 80 yards with it for a fun little local match. Both A zone hits like I had zeroed it yesterday. I have yet to have an issue with function and have ran Winchester, Fiochi, and Federal 8 shot through it.
     

    b6graham

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    If you go the pump route ...supernova

    have had one for many years

    hunting in every weather you can think of

    can’t count the amount of clays

    treat it like a dead dog

    I can’t remember the last time I cleaned it

    Still runs great
    same.
     

    Steve_In_29

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    reliable and flexible. you can configure a mossberg 500 for almost anything. for the price, get 2.
    for slugs, ammo matters. i have seen nothing close to as good as federal truball slugs out of a smooth barrel.
    if it wasn't tested from a particular shotgun, it might not be useless for slugs.

    for primarily 3 gun, the M2, or for the price, maybe the new improved 940 jm pro?


    keep in mind that intertia driven autos need a firm backstop, so you can't shoot it one handed an expect it to cycle. if that matters.
    they make shotguns with the same gas system as the m4 in a target version.
    Has Mossberg improved the 940s?

    I am a bit out of date but they used to have lots of issues (even the JMs). There was a long write up on one of the forums I'm on about how to modify and make them reliable.

    I agree with the others that posted the OP needs multiple shotguns or at least one that can swap barrels/mag tubes.
     

    Zorfunk

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    26” versamax with upgraded benelli parts, that’s what I did and it’s the best of all worlds for the price imo.
     

    theLBC

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    Has Mossberg improved the 940s?

    I am a bit out of date but they used to have lots of issues (even the JMs). There was a long write up on one of the forums I'm on about how to modify and make them reliable.

    I agree with the others that posted the OP needs multiple shotguns or at least one that can swap barrels/mag tubes.
    the jm940 is a new model this year with a piston gas system. i have not tried it.
     

    reubenski

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    I have a Beretta 1301 Comp. It is an absolute trooper. I shot two years of 3gun with it and had......zero.....malfunctions with it. Not just in matches. But ever. I added a Nordic tube extension and a stage saver. Otherwise, it has everything you need.
     
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    CrabsandFootball

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    The most reliable and durable semi shotguns ever made are gas guns and generally by Beretta with a few small exceptions.

    When the military was dead set on selecting what was considered the most reliable combat shotgun ever.....Benelli had to borrow designs from its parent company, Beretta, and make a gas gun known as the M4. Don't buy into the bullshit myth of inertia guns an\being more reliable than \gas guns. They are not, and for a variety of reasons not including more unnecessary recoil.


    The 1301 is an easy choice. However shotguns suck for combat, are not used by anyone who regularly goes into harms way and are for shooting clays, birds and deer in shitty cucked states.

    Get something with atleast 28" barrel, 3" (or 3.5 if you plan to shoot lots of geese/turkey) and the finish/stock of your choice.

    The best bang for your buck and arguably quality will come from an older AL303-390 Beretta or a SX1 or SX2 Winchester. Browning golds and silvers a distant third. Buying 30 year old shotguns for $600 when they were made from tool steel and hand fit together is much better than the plastic shit most are putting out today. Cost of manufacturing has gone up so much a similar gun today would be $3k+. All these guns will last for hundreds of thousands of rounds and can be rebuilt using easy to find and cheap parts.
     

    CrabsandFootball

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    As someone who shoots competitive sporting clays and dabbles in trap/skeep/5stand..................Thats a real retarded statement. Back to ignore you go.
     

    Steve_In_29

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    yup, lots of people worked the old 930 to run them.

    It just clicked that it was 930 and is now 940. LOL
    It looks to be set up REALLY well for the make believe world of competition but that 24" barrel really kills it's use for a self defense weapon.
    .
     

    Steve_In_29

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    I've been on the hunt for an old Ithaca 37. I do love my Browning A5
    Not real 37s but I have two Savage/Stevens 350s which are a clone of the Ithaca 37. Rough finish as it's just parkerizing but seem pretty solid. They are the combo set with 18.5/28" barrels. Only wanted one but at $135 each I grabbed them both. Later picked up a rifle sighted barrel and it cost me as much as one of the shotguns.

    I had previous experience with the brand as years ago I had bought two of the their ghost ring model, one each for my son and grandson. They have had zero issues.

    It seems they have dropped the 350s from their catalog and only offer the 320 (Winchester 1300 clone) in several configurations.
     

    Jonathan Swift

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    Dec 31, 2020
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    Priorities are:
    1: Hunting
    2: Bug Out - Self/Home Defense
    3: 3 Gun (I’m not a gamer - more for fun/training as opposed to being actually competitive)
    4: Clays (more for fun/training as opposed to being actually competitive)

    The biggest factors for me are quality, reliability, simplicity, and longevity. I have an AI for my bolt, an LMT-CQB for my AR, and a Glock 19 for my handgun - I’d like a shotgun of similar quality to round it out.

    For the above purposed I’m trying to find a shotgun that is:
    • Reliable with light and heavy loads
    • Threaded for chokes
    • 12g
    • Ability to take a tube extension for 3-gun
    • Ability to install a pic rail and add an RMR for home defense
    • 24” barrel (?)
    • Company w/ High quality, QC, and CS
    I’m looking at the following:

    A
    Benelli Supernova:
    Pros: Reliable (pump), easy maintenance/cleaning, simple
    Cons: Pumps are not ideal for 3 gun, NOT drilled and tapped for pic rail, not many aftermarket parts

    B
    Benelli M2:
    Pros: Popular for 3 gun, lots of aftermarket, less cleaning than gas gun
    Cons: I’ve heard it shoots slugs poorly (POA does not match POI), Not as reliable with light loads?

    C
    Beretta 1301 Comp:
    Pros: Shoots light and heavy loads, already drilled and tapped for pic rail (I think?), decent aftermarket, little recoil, they came out with a part to fix the shells from going everyone if you hit the release button wrong
    Cons: Sounds like it requires the most maintenance/cleaning/replacement of parts

    From this post (https://www.snipershide.com/shooting/threads/one-shotgun-to-rule-them-all.6961501/)it sounds like the above are pretty good options. Any additional thoughts?

    Below are some I’ve, more or less, written off, but feel free to convince me otherwise:

    Remington 870: would have been one of my top choices due to the platform, but am concerned about quality, QC, and customer service if I have an issue (especially since they went bankrupt and were sold off)

    Benelli M4: No chokes, won’t shoot light loads reliably

    Franchi Affinity: Might as well get M2?

    Stoger M3000: Might as well get M2?

    Mossberg 500: Not enough capacity for 3-gun & Can’t take mag tube extension, questionable QC

    Mossberg 590: Can’t replace chokes or barrels for hunting

    IWI TS-12: Unproven, won’t shoot light loads reliably, barrel length might be an issue for hunting, requires RDS
    "Cries in Molot ban"
     

    teddyw19

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    Look at the benelli Super Black Eagle. 3.5 inch chamber but can shoot 2 3/4 or 3 inch. Not too heavy. And has the benelli durability you would want in a shotgun in situations where failure could have consequences
     
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    ToddM

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    M2, or 1301 are both great options, pick whichever system your brain likes the design of better. Inertia guns typically have less moving parts and are less picky about being clean. The downside is they can be picky about the lightest loads and more recoil. Gas guns have less recoil but can be a bit more picky about cleaning. That said by all accounts both of these are top notch picks. The only downside to both is if you do have problems, both companies are horrible to work with so it's good that you'll likely never need assistance with either.
     

    BBVDD

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    Not that the OP will but if he or anyone else chooses and 870, it will have to be cerakoted when you buy it.

    if not, it will rust sitting in a vat of oil.
     

    kwityurbeachn

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    49
    17
    Your all use gun is a hard bill. M2 is my comp gun and quad loading is not hard. For waterfowl I will use only my Browning Maxis. I do shoot shotguns more than anything else. We carry 2 backup guns hunting and they are an 870 and benelli. Either one of those will malfunction if short shucked. The m2 is your best bet.
     

    x2cross

    Joe Dirtè
    Supporter
    Full Member
    Minuteman
  • Nov 13, 2020
    361
    251
    Mathis, TX
    My vote would be an 870 and have a 28" barrel for hunting/shooting, and a 18 for home defense. I wouldn't be too worried about customer support as they're very simple, and not much ever goes wrong with them. It's the most common shotgun worldwide, so I figure parts will always be available if something needs to be replaced.