Semi-Autos, Pumps, and Ducks [Archive] - RetrieverTraining.Net - the RTF

: Semi-Autos, Pumps, and Ducks

11-02-2006, 11:00 AM
Okay, since this is a retriever site and some of us happen to have retrievers with us in the field, I felt that this would be the perfect site to pose such a question(s).

Has anyone used or owned or currently own any of the following shotguns?

Stoeger Semi-Auto
H&R Excel Auto
Charles Daly Auto
Remington 11-87

Why do you like or do not like the gun?

Do you prefer Semi-Autos or Pumps for Bird hunting?

Length of Barrel for waterfowl, 26, 28, or 30?

Chamber 3" or 3.5"?

I currently have two pump shotguns with 28' barrels, 3.5 inch chambered. Looking to get a semi-auto, I have heard good things and bad things about semi-autos in general and then manafacturer specific. Just wanted to see what the experts think.

Thanks in advance for the input.

Aaron Homburg
11-02-2006, 11:13 AM
I do not know if I would classify myself as an expert....but I have hunted for about 25 years and thouroughly enjoy it. AS far as semi-autos go I would highly recommend the Benelli Super 90, or the Super Black Eagle. I know they are a little higher, but in my humble estimation you get what you pay for! I started with a Super 90 12 gauge and used it a couple of season and now I have switched to a Super 90 20 gauge and love it!!! I kill as many birds as I had before and it is about half the weight! Not only that but for upland there are several manufacturers of shells that make a really nice 3 inch "hot" pheasant load. Waterfowling is the same....we do a lot of field hunting and I use my 20 gauge and can still bring them down. AS far as the reliability of the guns are unbelievable they are awesome!!! They have a very fast can get a lot of lead(upland of course) in the air in a hurry.


Richard Finch
11-02-2006, 11:17 AM


11-02-2006, 11:24 AM
I haven't shot one personally, but I have heard some bad reviews on the Stoeger's. They are made cheap and last accordingly. I shoot Berettas, they are more expensive, but you usually end up getting what you paid for. 1187 is probably the best gun for the money on your list. Good luck.

Greg Seddon
11-02-2006, 11:27 AM
I have been using Winchester Super X2 3.5" with a 28" barrel synthetic stock & matte finish for 6 years with a lot of shells thru it "Zero Problems". I would buy another one again for the money in a semi auto it?s hard to beat, but if I could afford it I would get Benelli Super Black Eagle.

11-02-2006, 11:42 AM
When every other kid got a big wheel when they were five I got a bolt action 4-10. My choice for shot guns, I like my Browning white lightning over and under 26? barrel for doves, for water fowl, super black eagle 26? is hard to beat. It is very reliably and has never had a problem chambering any round. (Don?t try a 7/8 ounce load). The SBE is very easy to break down in the field if needed. But on the other hand, I have a Mossberg 12 ga I paid $180.00 bucks for from academy and use it when I am in salt water, not in a blind but ducked in behind any cover I can find including my dog. The gun is indestructible, wash it out with a water hose spray some oil on it and its ready for next time. The ducks/geese can?t tell the difference. Good luck. I bought most of my guns before kids and dogs showed up, now I have no money. If you have the cash, Super Black Eagle.

11-02-2006, 11:44 AM

you are correct! i had a stoeger 2000 semi, it sucks. I shot a box of shells threw it and it busted! They are cheap in price, and are a cheap put together gun! you get what you pay for!

11-02-2006, 11:53 AM
I thought Benelli manufactured their (Stoegers) semi-autos, and they are pretty much the same gun.

Erik B
11-02-2006, 12:02 PM
Okay, since this is a retriever site and some of us happen to have retrievers with us in the field, I felt that this would be the perfect site to pose such a question(s).

Has anyone used or owned or currently own any of the following shotguns?

H&R Excel Auto
Charles Daly Auto
Remington 11-87

Why do you like or do not like the gun?

Do you prefer Semi-Autos or Pumps for Bird hunting?

Length of Barrel for waterfowl, 26, 28, or 30?

Chamber 3" or 3.5"?

I currently have two pump shotguns with 28' barrels, 3.5 inch chambered. Looking to get a semi-auto, I have heard good things and bad things about semi-autos in general and then manafacturer specific. Just wanted to see what the experts think.

Thanks in advance for the input.

I don't know if this applies to the Daly auto's but I do know that they changed barrel configurations on the maxi-mag pumps and they will no longer function reliably with 2 3/4 inch shells. (Stovepipe something fierce so no second shot) It's something I would check before I spent any money on a 3.5 inch Daly of any kind at this point.

(Based on a statistical sample of 1 new style compared to 3 older style which functioned perfectly with 2 3/4 to 3.5 inch shells)

El General
11-02-2006, 12:08 PM
I thought Benelli manufactured their (Stoegers) semi-autos, and they are pretty much the same gun.

Benelli owns stoeger, but does not manufacture the gun. Remember the nickname for an automatic- Jamamatic. An auto that does not repeat is very frustrating. Of the ones you listed, the 11-87 is the only one I would consider reliable. With Autos you get ehat you pay for.

Franchi is the only low end auto that I have heard good things about.


Dave Combs
11-02-2006, 12:28 PM
I thought Benelli manufactured their (Stoegers) semi-autos, and they are pretty much the same gun.

Benelli does make the stoeger, and to my knowledge they share the same rotary bolt, but the rest of the action is different. Same with the Franchi auto's. Like many others I prefer my SBE to the many other scatterguns I've had. Relatively light, reliable and easy to maintain.

I had a CD Maxi-Mag auto for about a year and ended up trading it in. JUNK, JUNK, JUNK!!!! Lost count of the number of times I had to tear it down in the blind because of one malfunction or another. Also does not shoot 2 3/4" shells, where the Benelli will. The gun is very poorly made and it didn't take long to proove itself. Do a little searching on and you'll soon find varying opinions on them. I think inconsistency in quality would be the take home message.

Also be aware that Remington has just released a new line of 'more affordable' guns one of which is a 3.5'' auto. To my knowledge, all they have done is put their name on the Russian made Spartan line that they have been importing for several years. IMO also junk - cheaply made, manufactured and sold.

They may cost more but I think you'll be happier in the long run with a Benelli SBE or Beretta extrema. The Beretta is also a very reliable gun, but a bit more bulky than the SBE's. I've shot both and prefer the Benelli. I think one of the best ways to go is to find a good reputable dealer and buy a VGC used model. Due to both Benelli and Beretta releasing 'updated' models of both the SBE (SBE II) and the Extrema (Extrema 2), I have seen many barely used guns being traded in so guys can keep up in the latest technology. I bought both of my Benelli's used in great condition and have had no problems with them.

As far as barrel length is concerned I like 26". IMO I think they swing faster and point quicker. I know many guys that won't shoot anything other than 28", but the best way is to try them out and see what fits you best. I used to shoot a Mossberg 500 pump with a 24" barrel as well.

11-02-2006, 12:31 PM
I have a Benelli SBE 2. It is a very reliable gun. The only jam I have had is when I was shooting back over my left shoulder and I didn't have the gun shouldered solid and it didn't cycle the 3.5 shell properly.

My buddy has the 11-87 and the only thing about it is if it goes in the drink, it becomes a single shot until you can break it down and clean it thoroughly. The SBE 2, just dump the water out and keep on shooting.

I still prefer side x side over anything but my older sxs gun is not steel friendly.


11-02-2006, 12:37 PM
If that is all you are limited to, then go with the 11-87.

11-02-2006, 12:39 PM
I have shot a Franchi 612 for the last 4 years in the field. It has been a very steady reliable gun.I bought it for about $300 at a gun it was a fairly cheap gun as autos go. It has only jammed on me once and the cause was not the gun but rather some rusty shells ( I had forgot to take them out of the boat). It was easy to break down and put back together.

My buddy shoots a 11-87 and it also has been a reliable gun in the marsh except when they get wet.

Just my 2 cents


Ricky Elston
11-02-2006, 12:57 PM
I have a Charles Daly semi-auto and I like it. Still fires even after going through Hurricane Katrina. It's not my favorite out of my collection, but is trusty so far.[/img]

11-02-2006, 01:55 PM
Autoloader - Benelli SBE (matte finish wood with 26" barrel), hands down, best, most hassle free auto available. Bought mine in 1997 and have shot a boatload of ammo through it. Have a rifled slug barrel with scope for deer and is just as lethal/accurate as a rifle out to 170 yds. Mine has been soaked in mud/blood, wheat straw and water and still keeps ticking. The ducks absolutely hate it when I combine 1 part SBE and 3 parts Hevi-Steel 3" dueces!

Second choice for autos would be the Winchester Super X2. Very solid gun and from what I have seen, pretty damn reliable as well.

I would shoot a Rem 870 before I'd own an 11-87. Have just seen and heard of too many troubles to justify owning one. The other guns you mentioned are not worth owning.

Lastly, the best gun is the one that works the best for you.
Ask a buddy to let you shoot his for a day or go out to a sporting clay range and ask someone if you can squeeze off a couple rounds out of their gun. Then decide and go forward from there.


11-02-2006, 02:11 PM
The BEST gun for the money would have to be the Baikal/Spartan M153. They flat out work, and for 1/3 the price of a Benelli, Beretta, Winchester, or Browning.

The only problem with them to date is a strong propensity to get surface rust.

I love Beretta's, but the Xtrema is just too bulky. The Browning Gold in 3.5 gave my father fits for awhile, but I've got nothing at all bad to say about the Winchester X-2 (which is essentially the same gun as the browning).

I have only shot 1 Benelli, and found it to kick far more than I was used too, although I understand the SB II has pretty tame recoil.

I've heard to many horror stories about the 3.5 inch 11-87 and Charles Daly to ever recomend one, although the 3 inch 11-87 is a true work horse.

I'll assume from the 4 you've listed that money is a consideration. You can't go wrong with the Baikal or Spartan.

Good luck,


Steve B.
11-02-2006, 02:20 PM
Remington 11-87 Super Mag

It is a consistent gun when shooting and mounting to your shoulder. I know where it's always going to be when i shoulder it. It has a 28" barrel with a Briley extended choke tube in modified.

The 11-87 Super mag chambers all three sizes of shot shells 2-3/4", 3", 3-1/2". Never had problem cycling 2-3/4" 1 oz. loads followed by a 3" load.

It's been a little wet here the past few weeks and she keeps on workin'!

11-02-2006, 03:16 PM
Do you prefer Semi-Autos or Pumps for Bird hunting?
Length of Barrel for waterfowl, 26, 28, or 30?
Chamber 3" or 3.5"?

Pumps and double barrels only.
Semi's are just too danged heavy and carrying them around all day long is a major drag (pun).

Personaly, I like the 26". Again - less to carry.

3.5 (but then, I goose hunt)

11-02-2006, 03:28 PM
CNBarnes, if you want a light shotgun try out the Franchi's...they all seem to be light as a feather.

On the topic of 3.5 v. 3 might as well by a reliable 3.5 inch gun and plan on shooting 2 3/4 or 3 inchers in it. Then if you get into a situation where you are pass shooting geese you've got the option of switching to 3.5 BB or BBB.

Whatever you do, don't get a 24 inch barrel if you expect to hunt with anyone else. They are much, much louder. I shoot both 26 and 28 inch barrels with no real advantage either way. IMO shorter barrels will make it harder for a novice shooter to learn how to swing well, although they are generally considered as a better "pointing" length.

Keith Stroyan
11-02-2006, 04:22 PM
I have tried several semis. The 3 inch 11-87/26 in bbl 8+lbs is my favorite for field trials because of the low recoil. Very well-thought out factory made gun. I would say it it the best of the guns I have, except that it is very heavy. Too heavy to carry pheasant hunting, for example.

Learn to clean the gas rings and leave them dry - no oil. (Lightly oil the slider bars, etc.) Never had a jam.

I would say forget the 3.5 inch shells. Spend the money on 3 inch Hevishot for geese, (2.75 std vel. for ducks.)


Benelli Super Black Eagle 3.5/24, 7.25 lbs - easy to care for & clean, more recoil than 11-87, but lighter. Good waterfowl gun. (Still too heavy for me to carry for pheasants. Mine is 24 inch, but I am small.)

Benelli Ultralight 3in/24in, 6 lbs- nice pheasant gun.

Franchi AL48 2.75/25, 6.5 lbs - nice pheasant gun, but long action mechanism is fussy to care for.

I've tried others, but these 4 are my favorite 12ga's for different things. I have a beautiful double barrel gun with case colors, etc. that I don't like to shoot nearly as much.

Many folks like the Beretta semis. They don't work for me as well as the 11-87, but I believe they are well made.

Remember that fit is everything in a shotgun. Mine have had the stocks adjusted to fit me. And that it's all personal preference - get what YOU like, forget us jerks on here...

11-02-2006, 05:31 PM
Since no one else has spoken up for Beretta semi auto's I will. Have have shot, at first a Beretta 390 Silver Mallard nicely wooded, and now a 391 Ulrika synethic. THe 390 is my "range gun" and the 391 my hunting gun. Both guns fit me very well and is the primary reason I bought it at first. I have had a rare problem with slow cycling but almost ALWAYS it was because I did not clean it well enough prior to that hunt. Now after every hunt I strip it completely down, takes 2 minutes, let it dry well in the house. Then wipe the pieces down with a moist patch with Hoppes, run a barrel snake thru, put it back together and it works great. I do think I need to get a Sure cycle system for it, as it occasionally hangs up. I think again that was my fault for huting in a good rain, then just setting the gun with teh chamber open to dry. I did not take it apart (a few years ago), and I bet the cycle spring is going bad. Have never shot a benelli, have known of people who have had a lot of probelms with ANY model you can think of. Like Keith says, go for fit, buy the best you can afford as it will pay off in the long run.
And no matter which gun you take to the field be sure to carry soem de-icer in you blind bag. A smal squirt can make a huge difference if you gun begins to work slow or get sticky of frozen.

Steve Bean
11-02-2006, 05:54 PM
Your best info will probably come from professional waterfowl guides. But from my 35+ yrs of experience plus about 12 close hunting companions, hands down, no argument, the Benelli SBE is in a class of its own. BUT, this is based on the original models imported by H&K initially from 1988 until about 1992. Mine is a 4 digit serial number as are most of my buddies....I've shot sporting as well as hunting and have around 60K rounds thru mine. The trigger assembly has been rebuilt 3 times, one ejector, and one extractor. Many hunts out west and Canada. The only other gun that will compare is the SBEII. The other benellis in between were a different gun for some reason. I've shot several different "II's" and they have the feel of the original. On the sporting clays range, the 390 and 391 are pretty much the king of semi-autos. But some can be finiky, and others tempermental in some tough hunting environments. Look at any used gun rack and you will see plenty of Browning Golds and Win. S 2's. There's a reason for that. If you only want to buy once, get a Ben. SBEII.

11-02-2006, 06:05 PM
Beretta 391 Urika!!

I have them in both 12 and 20.

I love these guns!!

The Ammo manufactures love the fact that I have them also! They never Jam, and cycle quickly---way to quickly!! I go through a bunch of shells!!-----WAY TO MANY SHELLS!!!

Ducks dont seem to mind though!! In fact I believe in these parts its become a mode of entertainment for them to fly past me!! :oops:


Rick Hall
11-02-2006, 06:46 PM
Though I've guided fulltime for 20-some years, the 11-87 is the only gun on your list I've seen enough of to offer a firm opinion on, and I'm afraid it isn't a good one. They're the most problematic semi-autos I see. Also had a love/hate relationship with one of my own, though that was years back. Loved the way it shot. Hated how maintenance sensitive it was. If the chamber wasn't squeeky clean it wouldn't feed, and when rain got in the action, unspent powder that stuck to it may as well have been sand.

If I didn't shoot Benellis, I'd shoot Berettas.

(Steve, my SBE and 20ga Montefeltro are also relics from the HK importation days. Both look like they fell out from under a dump truck but just keep crankin' 'em out.)

11-02-2006, 07:08 PM
I own a SBE and wouldn't think twice about getting another. It is the best gun that I've ever owned, and I grew up with Browning A-5's. Generally the lightest load you would use in it is 1 1/8 oz althought you can go down a tad. If I wanted a gas semi, then the Berettas are top notch too.

Steve Amrein
11-02-2006, 08:20 PM
I may own a couple of rugs but I would never own anything but a Benelli SBE I have shot cases of shells in the worst weather and have yet to be let down. On other thing to think about is field maintnance. You can clean the mud and water out in a jiffy with a stick and can of WD-40. The only time I remeber it kicking is standing flat foot shooting a pattern board. Buy the best and only cry once cause you will end up buying one anyhow so bite the bullet and get one you wont replace. BTW folks who own benelli's quit bringing a back up gun :wink:

11-02-2006, 08:38 PM
I've been guiding for waterfowl for several years now on the Saginaw Bay in Mich. and duck hunt nearly the entire season near my home town close to the Ohio River. After watching, and listening to many clients express their satisfaction with the Benelli SBEII, I purcahsed one at the begining of last years duck season. I love mine, but I highly recommend one of the after market chokes. ie...terror choke ect...The gun has been very depedable, and on several occasions, I've been given boxes of shells some of the other guns wouldn't eject, but my SBEII always would!!!

11-09-2006, 04:46 PM
SBE/M1 Super 90.

If you want the recoil reduction

or just shoot 3". Almost everyone that I hunt with has gone to these in the last few years. No problems. If I didn't shoot a benelli, I'd shoot my Beretta 391, I just don't shoot it as well.

You should be able to find a used SBE/M1 in excellent condition for $500 - $700, and it will still outlast anything you buy new, even if you buy 2. :wink:

11-13-2006, 09:36 AM
ditto to other comments re 11-87 supermag problems. Growing up a dedicated Remmington customer, I've been very disappointed with the 11-87. I've shot out 3 ejector clips, 2 different 0-rings have failed and if it wasn't kept sparkling clean, it wouldn't cycle properly. Not nearly the reliable workhorse other Remingtons I've owned.

My wife doesn't know it yet, but my Christmas present is a new SBE II. :D


12-05-2006, 01:07 PM
Every gun has it's pro's and con's. Find one that fits you.
I had the Xtrema and did not like the feel, too bulky so I switched.
I now hunt with a Xtrema 2 and have had no problems and it fits me great. Especially in bad weather it still cycles great. Sorry to say but I have hunted side by side with many people who swear to the SBE and SBE2 but every time the weather gets nasty I have witnessed many of them turn into a single shot.
I have used the 11/87 the 870 the SBE the X2 and right now I just prefer the Berettas in reliability and feel of the Xtrema2 but thats just one opinion.

Jay Dufour
12-06-2006, 06:12 AM
40 years with a twice barrell.....then last year I got a Beretta urika.I also found it to be bulky,and I never once fired three shots!I sold it yesterday and got a beretta silver pidgeon s .They offered the extended yall think I should get them? Its a 28" gun which is what Ive always hunted.Ive got the first shot IC and the second M has selective trigger.

12-21-2006, 12:05 AM
I gave up on semi’s…..I’ve owned Bennelli, Franchi and Remington and I’ve had them all fail on me duck hunting. Not just jam, I’m completely done for the day broke. I hunt with folks who tell me I don’t take good enough care of them, I don’t clean them well enough, I use them too much. Yet every single one of them over the years have ended up borrowing my O/U because their sitting in the boat without a functioning gun. Just last week a client of mine with a Remington auto took a second shot at a great big mature redhead drake and I kid you not the damn thing literally broke in half. Barrel/action separated from the shoulder stock and he was holding it in two hands. I shoot almost every day of the year. If I got to do that much maintenance and reduce my shooting then its just not worth it. I sold every one of them and bought a Berretta Onyx with the dipped shell over wood. It never fails me, one of the safest guns I own, durable, good looking, simple and I can clean it in minutes after a days use. And for those of you who say I only have two shots instead of three, ask anyone I hunt with. 90% of the time I’m limited out drinking coffee before they have two birds. In my opinion if you need 3 shots, you need practice or shooting lessons. I may work in a high tech complex world, but I like my guns simple and reliable.