Help! Shotgun Shopping [Archive] - RetrieverTraining.Net - the RTF

: Help! Shotgun Shopping

Nick Toti
05-27-2011, 11:20 PM
After about 15yrs of solid service from my Remington 1100 I think its time to put it into semi retirement. Im looking to move up to a semi-automatic that can handle 2 3/4 to 3 1/2" shells. I have a 870 super mag but am looking for a semi-auto. I have the Remington 1187, Browning Gold, Beretta Extrema II, or Benelli SBE II in mind. I've heard good and bad on both from internet reviews but am looking to hear from the RTFers. All comments, suggestions, and experiences are welcome!

05-27-2011, 11:29 PM
Got an 11-87 super nag and love it! Haven't had any problems. Ny uncle also has one and it is just starting to see flaws after 8-9 years of hard hunting. He also loves it!

05-27-2011, 11:48 PM
I like shooting my SX3. I have the 3" model, but I am pretty sure there is a 3 1/2" as well. First Semi-Auto I've owned, but when shopping it was the best feeling gun when I shouldered it.

Just get out shopping and shoulder a bunch of guns, you'll know which one is for you when you feel it.

Nick Toti
05-27-2011, 11:55 PM
I've shouldered them all and like the remington, beretta, and browning bc of how they resemble my 1100 in feel.

05-28-2011, 06:53 AM
I have a handful of shotguns with a couple Beretta autos in the mix. I shot Remington pumps for a lot of years. Functionally the Beretta autos are fine. One thing that I still find a bit irritating on the Beretta autos’ is the safety placement. It is forward of the trigger guard unlike the Remington’s which is aft. If it comes down to more than one that you like or are choosing from consider ergonomics or layout as a tie breaker. You may find that you like it forward of the trigger guard. Sometimes it bothers me so much that I have considered trading it in for a Benelli.

joel druley
05-28-2011, 07:38 AM
Another shotgun to include on your review list is the Browning Maxus. It will shoot 2/34, 3 & 3 1/2..comes in wood, black or camo and is a light recoiler.

05-28-2011, 01:13 PM
I have a Benelli SBE II and a Winchester SX3. The SBE is my all time fav. Light. Shoulders great. Has never malfunctioned. I went all waterfowl season last year without breaking down or cleaning until February. I shoot Black Cloud which is a little dirty. Still no problems. Cleaned and looks like new ready for this season.

Pas Bon
05-28-2011, 07:59 PM
I think many of the high volume outfits in places like Argentina use Beretta. Specifically the 390 or 3901 but the Extrema or new A400 can handle the 3 1/2's.

Personally I went through an 1100 like you and retired it, then shot an 870 for several years then went with an 1187 super nag. Not I didn't misspell it it was a SUPER NAG! The most reliable thing about that gun was that it would reliably BREAK about once a year. I sold it and went to a synthetic Beretta 390 (I never shoot 3 1/2's anyway)for about $600. I wouldn't touch a Remington product anymore the older ones are good but they went down hill in their later years. I hear that Beretta 400 is sweet if you want to shell out that kind of scratch.

Doc E
05-28-2011, 08:15 PM
Benelli SBE


05-28-2011, 08:58 PM
Love my Gold Hunter 3 1/2. Next autoloader for waterfowl will be an Old Style SBE !!! Bullet proof. period!!


05-28-2011, 11:32 PM
I recommend the Beretta Extrema II. Softest shooting semi-auto that I've ever fired 2-3/4 to 3-1/2" loads, everything and never a jam. Similar pointing characteristics as my much older 11-87. Got one 3 years ago and have never looked back.

05-29-2011, 05:20 AM
Had a Browning Gold Hunter 10 yrs loved it. Gave it to my grandson and he's had it for over 2 yrs and loving it. Replaced it with the Winchester Super X3 and loving it. Both are 3" 3 1/2". No problems with either gun.

05-29-2011, 02:18 PM
Benelli sbe is light and holds up great and have never had any problems! I have a Browning gold hunter I like it but it is a lot heavier.

Keith Stroyan
05-29-2011, 04:18 PM
In my experience, 2.75 inch low velocity Hevishot from a gun that fits you will beat the heavy recoil of 3.5 in shells every day. If you shoot the 1100 well, invest in Hevishot instead of a new gun.

I have an 11-87 that I like and a SBE1 that is easier to clean. Good waterfowl guns, but too heavy to carry. I use the SBE 1 most for waterfowl and the 11-87 for targets/trials because of the low recoil.

NEITHER for upland.

duck stamp
05-29-2011, 04:49 PM
I had most of the auto loaders starting with the A-5 to the sbe2 Last year I bought the benlli Vinci and all I can say is what a great shotgun. I see this year they came out with the super Vinci 31/2 , I cant say enough about this autoloader. (good luck)

05-30-2011, 09:08 AM
extrema II

05-30-2011, 10:10 AM
New Beretta A400 light and will do everything the heavier guns will do.

05-30-2011, 04:38 PM
Have had all of them and in my opinion. SBE is the best waterfowl gun made it also makes a great boat paddle. I have guided hunts since about 2001 and have seen very few problems from the SBE. Also goof for sporting clays and dove hunting.

05-31-2011, 06:49 AM
All four guns you listed are great guns. I'd let my pocketbook and the way it feels in my hands and mounts the finial deciding factor. I shoot Remington and Brownings myself and have one Benelli. Love all three of them. I would even consider the Winchester I've heard great things about them. Only thing about the Beretta is if they break its going to cost you for parts. Another thing about Beretta they keep changing choke model's and if you have several you'll have to have several type/models of chokes to fit them all. Good luck.

Jim Danis
05-31-2011, 09:55 AM
I am shooting a SBEII and have been for about 3-4 years now. It has digested every type of round I've shot and no problems at. Recoil is very light, relatively speaking. I use it as my do everything shotgun. I dove, waterfowl, upland and turkey hunt with it. Before that I shot a 11-87. It was a fine shotgun but the SBEII is like night and day compared to it.

With all of that being said I have shot the Beretta Extrema II and it is also a very nice shotgun. However, the SBEII fits be better. You can't go wronmg with either of those 2 choices!!

John Fields
05-31-2011, 11:02 AM
The A400 is worth every penny. You can adjust cast and drop for right or left handed shooters. The recoil is unbelievably light. It wiehs less than the exptrema II. It cycles faster than any auto on the market today. I have an 1100 and a 391. The A400 is my next one.

06-02-2011, 07:47 AM
Not that you asked but Iíd suggest looking at O/Uís.

I for most of my life was an auto fan and have had most of the guns suggested here. I have hunted a lot of geese in the panhandle laying in the dirt and without fail every auto I ever had at one time or another became a single shot and it always seemed to do so on the better days. It didnít matter how diligent I was about cleaning or care in the field. A few years ago I sold my last auto and bought a Super Nova, this thing is a beast. For the price compared to the value I highly recommend it.

My wife and daughter bought me an O/U for Christmas about 3 years ago and it has become my go to gun for everything except geese. They (I) found a Synergy at a store on sale and I am really happy with it and to be honest there have only been a couple of times I really wanted the third shot. It cleans in a couple of minutes and never jams.

troy schwab
06-02-2011, 08:10 AM
Go shoot the Maxus!!! I wouldnt give mine up for the world...... shot almost all of them, and this is the lowest recoiling 3.5 gun I have ever shot, and shoulders just like the remingtons. Good luck!

06-02-2011, 08:55 AM
Go shoot the Maxus!!! I wouldnt give mine up for the world...... shot almost all of them, and this is the lowest recoiling 3.5 gun I have ever shot, and shoulders just like the remingtons. Good luck!

Same here. I've had mine since they first came in to my local shop and have put lots of different rounds through it in temps from 100 above to 20 below and it has never skipped a beat. This fall I was up to my waist in the cattails waiting for the ducks to show up and somehow dropped it to the bottom of the pond. After lifting it with my feet and splashing it in the water to get the muck off, she fired just fine the rest of the week without a good thorough cleaning. It's also fired without a problem in spring snow goose field hunting conditions when everything is packed in mud.

Nick Toti
06-02-2011, 10:31 AM
Thanks everyone for the comments. I'll let everyone know the final verdict!

06-16-2011, 03:03 PM
If you really USE your equipment, I'd say the SBE. I have two SBE's and a M2 20 gauge. Bulletproof and easy to maintain. After that, personal preference and fit. I hunted ducks in Mexico and the outfitter had Benellis. They weren't much to look at after what had to be several years of hard use but they went "bang" when you pulled the trigger !!

Shawn Dunn
06-26-2011, 08:36 PM
The SBE II performed very well for me this past phesant season in South Dakota. We hunted in very cold sub zero weather and it cycled shell flawlessly.

06-26-2011, 11:46 PM
I pheasant hunt with a group of about 20 guys, 10 having SBEs. For the first 5 years they were above average for functioning, since then they started having more problems. I don't think anyone of these guys would consider them bullet proof. I have a Browning Gold because it fits me perfect, I would say it pretty average functioning. However for some reason they have a flaw in the ejection port, where the metal get scratched up after you put a thousand rounds through it, tough to explain but look on some old ones and you might see it. Heard good things about the Maximus, but hate to looks. The safety on the Vinci I could never get use to.

06-27-2011, 01:23 PM
I have had nothing but problems with my SBEII's both of them have had cycling issues. I wouldn't go out on a limb and make the statement there bullet proof. One of the few guns that can go into that department is a Winchester Model 12 or and 870. Of any gun I have ever owned the Model 12 has stood the test of time. Even 1 year when I shot 60PLUS thousand rounds my Perazzi blew a trigger spring. My model 12 duck keeps on going. Then next gun is a Beretta 391 or the XtremeII there also work horses. One 391 I have has a little over 125 Thousand rounds through it. Along with an XtremaII that is going into 60K so if you want real world averages of rounds there you go.

06-27-2011, 01:35 PM
Own a Browning Gold (Love IT), put a sure cycle recoil system in her, as the slugs beat up the original recoil spring pretty issues now, just will not cycle skeet loads.....but I use a Citori for that.

For waterfowl, Beretta Xtrema2, with patternmaster chokes. I have the kick off also, it is a bit longer with the kick off, and takes some getting used to, but the best autoloader I have ever owned. Goes bang every time, and very easy to clean.....

06-27-2011, 02:23 PM
Bag the kick eez and you can use 2 recoil pads. Why do you need aftermarket chokes, seems any wizz bang with a lathe is turning out chokes in there garage today.

You want a choke call Seminole up, have them cut chokes to your bore.

08-02-2011, 10:04 PM
Isn't it great that we live in a time with so many incredible choices? Plus we have the freedom to buy one or all of them (finances permitting) and use them responsibly. I have an O/U, a Beretta, an A5, but my favorite is still my first, a Remington 870 Wingmaster (1967) in 20 gage.

08-03-2011, 08:12 AM
There's a GREAT buy out there right now at Gander Mountain stores, they'll even ship to an FFL. Winchester SX3 which is normally $1000 is $100 off in store and $100 mail in rebate. $800 for that gun is one hell of a deal!

08-03-2011, 09:07 AM
Beretta just launched a new version of their popular A400 Xplor for the serious Waterfowler. I have an Xtrema II and would strongly consider going to an A400 Xtreme after shooting the Xplor.

John Fields
08-03-2011, 09:09 AM
Man you are really missing the greatest opportunity if you do not shoot the A-400 from Beretta. You can shoot all shell lengths, it has the kick off recoil pad.

It is light as a feather, you can set cast and drop for right or left hand shooting and have the safety moved over for left hand shooters.

I am saving my pennies now to buy one. I hope my wife does not read this...

08-03-2011, 09:33 AM
Beretta just launched a new version of their popular A400 Xplor for the serious Waterfowler. I have an Xtrema II and would strongly consider going to an A400 Xtreme after shooting the Xplor.

HOLY $1700!!!! That's crazy, I don't care how much couch money you've got.

08-03-2011, 08:42 PM
I Have A Sbe 2 And It Is Not Bulletproof. Been Disappointed. Like Someone Else Said It Only Jams On The Good Days. I Would Consider A O/u Or 870. I Have Both And They Will Be Riding With Me This Season.

08-03-2011, 08:54 PM
Cant go wrong with a Browning

08-03-2011, 09:16 PM
New Beretta A400 light and will do everything the heavier guns will do.

Light in weight and recoil. My five year old daughter shoots mine.

08-10-2011, 11:43 PM
Weatherby Athena...Never had a problem with it.

Rich Martin
08-11-2011, 12:10 PM
I have a gold hunter and had trouble with cycling, seemed more when I was out of state with it. I now use a SBE II and love it, it has made it to the bottom of a lake (muck bottom) made sure the barrel was not blocked and BOOM,BOOM,BOOM. until it froze soild in the 15deg weather we had that day. unthawed and was good to go.

08-12-2011, 08:27 AM
In the end you'll be in better hands with a Beretta. Most of all the hype with the Benelli is well just that hype. Why not just buy a Stoger there the same gun for under 500 bucks.

Of course in the end there all Beretta's but for some reason one of the greatest semi's ever made is the Beretta 391 hands down.

Mike Smith
08-12-2011, 11:06 AM
Have to agree with the Benelli hype. Not impressed with owner feed back when you get them to finally admit failures.

08-12-2011, 11:16 AM
For me shooting is part of my life, I also have the opportunity to pretty much shoot any gun I want under the Beretta brand. I have had my share of Benelli's and never liked them, jamming was one issue, recoil "they kick hard" the step rib was the answer to such a low stocked gun. Then someone came up with the idea of a recoil pad that pops off. Everyone and there brother talks about fell to the bottom in mud, i used it as a paddle, between that and the Foile's patten copy of Pattern Master choke tube there the best gun ever made.

Hell most guys think they shoot a pattern over water YEP I'm choked tight LOL the real test is I very rarely see a Benelli at a shooting event. That must say something about them.

08-12-2011, 11:55 AM
I am a big beretta and benelli fan. I have had one beretta 390 silver mallard for about 18 years and still hunt pheasants with it every year, and an occasional duck hunt too. I also have a very nice beretta O/U that I use a little more each year. When the extrema came out I was going to get one and both the extrema 1 and 2 just don't fit me very well. The SBE2 fits me so much better and I believe the hype is well worth it. Probably the best semi out there I think. Well I finally was going to get one last year. Some of my hunting buddies swear by the SX3 and I felt one and kind of liked it. Then I saw a place had one for sale for a screaming deal, especially when compared to the new SBE2's. I jumped on board, used it a few times at the end of the season and really like it a lot. Just my 2 cents...

Robert C
08-12-2011, 04:19 PM
The answer is easy: Buy the one that fits YOU the best !!!

In my case that is the Xtrema II. No adjustments needed, it fits me perfectly right out of the box (although there are shims to adjust drop and cast). SBE doesn't fit me at all. I can't make an 1100 or 1187 shoot anywhere near where I am looking.

I don't care what it looks like, or how many folks say it's best for them. If it shoots where YOU are looking and YOU can consistently hit things, that's YOUR gun !

Rich Martin
08-13-2011, 11:39 AM
Why not just buy a Stoger there the same gun for under 500 bucks.

Not the same gun. the inertia system is different. The gun that fits is the best. I will say I have not had the trouble with my SBE II that I have had with my Browning. everyone has their perfered gun and will tell you they are the best but like anything it can have problems just like Ford, Dodge, Chevy,
Good luck in your search for your next gun.

08-13-2011, 04:19 PM
The stoger is guided along the feeding tube like the Beretta,it also has a recoil reducer, while the Benelli is guided in the rear of the stock. The bolts are interchangable. Fit only goes so far, it's practice on a weekly basis that makes a top flight shooter. To me nothing sounds as cool as perfectly timed set of ejectors from a side by side.

paul young
08-15-2011, 11:45 AM
my buddy bought an SBE. WE WENT SEA DUCK HUNTING AND WATCHED THE BARRELL AND RECEIVER RUST over the course of ONE morning. it did work reliably though.

i have a traditions (Fausti) o/u that i love. best shooting shotgun i have ever used.-Paul

08-17-2011, 03:17 PM
Another for the SBE. I hunt a lot of coastlines and wouldn't take a blued gun anywhere near the Texas bay systems, but if you can accept that your gun is going to look like crap it's an able performer.

08-18-2011, 09:41 PM
Had this same decision last year and tried them all...Remington, Benelli, Beretta but to me the Browing offered the most value. Shouldered perfect, easy to clean, low recoil, and looks cool.

08-30-2011, 09:13 PM
I would recommend the SBEII.

08-31-2011, 04:08 PM
I just went through 400 bucks to fix a SBEII what a POS they are I tell ya. Dam thing would not eject, i know you guys are going to tell I didn't shoot hot loads at first bla bla. What it came down to was the ejector was off by a few thou. Of course I had the barrel backbored, longer forcing cones, custom choke job and action polished. Now that I got it back and ran a fw rounds thourgh it today YEP it works, kicks like a mule. That comfort tech pad binds right into your shoulder.

So for my early season goose 15 bird limit with 7 rounds in the gun it's back to my ExtremaII. I mean I have about 40 thousand rounds through that bad boy and she's always ready for action.

08-31-2011, 05:18 PM
I like the weight of the SBE11.

Jim Person
08-31-2011, 05:45 PM
Old faithful is the my Remington 870.I also own an 1187 semi too, no real problems.. For a semi auto I like the Beretta's... In an O/U that won't break the bank and I wouldn't feel bad about using it as a paddle in a pinch would be the Lanber or the Fausti Traditions... If money was no factor I'd like a Browning O/U or a Beretta O/U

09-01-2011, 10:17 AM
Jim if money wasn't a factor you'd get fitted for a Perazzi then made to your specs. Even better a Fabri but after owning them all I always go back to my Winchester Model 21 SxS.

09-07-2011, 05:58 PM
Browning Maxus. DO NOT GET THE 11-87 !!! Its a piece of junk. Take care of that Maxus it'll last you a lifetime.

09-09-2011, 06:11 AM
I have an older 11-87 SP never a problem I CLEAN IT EVERY COUPLE BOXES OF AMMO

09-12-2011, 11:52 AM
I never had good luck shooting a Krieghoff but that was the model 32's. Today I am pretty much a Perazzi and Winchester 21 for competition. Waterfowl it's hard to beat a XtremaII. In a few weeks I am headed to Madrid for the King's Cup shoot, I hate to tell you this but my main gun will be a Browning Superposed Lightning Broadway worked over by Tim Wilkenson. So you can have all the guns in the world it just shows ya you gotta go with what works. I never in all my years of gunning for high stakes a 1500 dollar gun would be my first choke. Then again the world pigeon shoot was won with a Browning Cynergy a few years ago.

10-19-2011, 10:54 PM
extreme ii, 2000+ rounds no problem. but, i have had problems with remington shells

10-20-2011, 07:25 AM
The Extrema II is being discontinued for the A4 and can be purchased at a bargain.....great gun

10-20-2011, 10:16 AM
You can't beat the Beretta for durability and light recoil.

As noted above by another poster, the big volume shooting outfits always seem to use the Beretta, because it seldom breaks down and is easy to clean.

I have several of them, but I even have an old AL-2 that has around 200,000 rounds thru it.

For many years, I shot ducks with it in the mornings, and trap with it in the afternoons.

the new ones are just as reliable in my view. Stick with a proven track record.

10-20-2011, 11:02 AM
For the money a Beretta 390 can't be beat......not 3 1/2's......but will never fail you.

10-22-2011, 08:17 PM
You can practice,, shoot targets,, shoot live pigeons,, get the gun fit fer yer T-shirt,, But where the money meets the road is how YOU and your equiptment perform when its 10 below,, 30 mile an hour wind,, and the ducks are just a bit stupid,, and want nothing more than that warm water you got the dekes in.

Shootin with HEAVY GLOVES,, 10 coats,, 30 pairs a long johns, will sure bring your Sportin clays scores to "0":razz:

Then Ya gotta convince that non FF'd dog Ya got to get his sorry tail in the water and get the bird,,, if'n ya do knock one down!!:cool:

Huntin aint NOTHIN like Games...... Dog games or Gun Games.

P.S. Beretta 391 works well fer me in these conditions.
20 guage also.


M R Ducks
11-27-2011, 08:54 AM
If you are looking for an all around shotgun, one that will do it all, upto 3 1/2 shells - then you either pickup an XTREMA 2, or an A400 XPLOR. These are the only guns I know that can handle hunting as well as all-year target practice with light loads. The SBE just isn't realiabe with cycling target loads.

The Browning Citori Satin Hunter is another good choice - but recoil will be an issue with heavier loads.

As a hunting gun that may/may not reliably cycle target loads - the Baikal MP-153 is impossible to beat. You can get one shipped to your FFL on gunbroker for under $400 - and this is a no frills, duck/goose/turkey killing machine. Mine never would cycle light target loads - but it was the best waterfowl gun I ever had. Sold it for $300 a few years back because I was on an SBE kick. Huge mistake. IMO, it is better than the SBE at 1/4 the price.

01-09-2012, 12:35 AM
If you are going semi-auto, then benelli all the way. They are bombproof.

01-09-2012, 01:34 PM
Bineli Super Nova, for a pump its great

David Poffinbarger
01-24-2012, 01:04 PM
Baikal MP153 - The Ak47 of shotguns. Got mine for $352 new. It's not pretty and it's heavy, but like the AK it just shoots. Never had a jam with 1oz or larger loads...a hunting machine. All the parts are metal except for the stock...old school.

01-25-2012, 03:17 PM
:)Baretta extrema II can't go wrong.

Darin Brewer
01-25-2012, 08:47 PM
I'ver had a black eagle 1 that had 8 years of flawless service, its just a mud gun now, changed to the sbe II, gun is great, hunt everything and everywhere with it, mostly sees time on the bay in maryland, haven't had a hiccup out of it. great guns.

02-05-2012, 06:25 PM
I shoot a stoeger m2000 i like it! Its very dependable