Searching for a Used Shotgun?

By Randy Wakeman


Commentary on used shotgun choices doesnít happen very often. The shooting sports are heavily new product driven, of course, and it is only natural that manufacturers want you to buy what they are making right now. That is what keeps them in business.

Well made shotguns donít wear out quickly, to be sure. By far, most of the shotguns purchased in the US are bought by hunters and casual shooters, not high volume clays shooters. A lot of people buy guns that donít get used much and when they were used, they were carried more than fired. Things change, of course. Perhaps your job, the places where you used to hunt and shoot, or perhaps you've simply accumulated more guns than you have room for. There are a few Guns and Shooting Online staffers who fall into that category. These are examples of ways good guns wind-up on the used market.

What shotguns are commonly available on the used market that are worth having and might be a really good value? Here are a few suggestions:

BROWNING CITORI O/U

Miroku made, steel receiver Browning Citoriís are very, very consistent. They have shown uniform build quality for years by now, and generally have spot-on barrel regulation. (An area in which many cheap doubles fail.) Though they get renamed and repackaged every year (325, 425, 525, etc.) the same basic action hasnít change since the B-25 that launched the modern ďAristocrat of Shotguns.Ē They are hard to wear out, they are plentiful and they are good. For a used O/U, thatís a very good choice with many different configurations and grades available over the years.

RUGER RED LABEL O/U

They are reliable, under-rated (if anything), under-priced and they offer what is likely the most bang for the buck in an O/U today; even more so with a used model. This is a plain gun with good basic lines and handling characteristics, just what a basic field gun should be.

REMINGTON MODEL 870 WINGMASTER PUMP

The largest-selling shotgun in history is a great choice used. They are all over the place, many of the bit older guns have excellent polished blue and attractive walnut and they can be had for surprisingly low prices.

BROWNING B-80 and BERETTA 303 AUTOLOADERS

These are tough, simple gas operated semi-autos that are easy to clean and soft to shoot. Though there are some real beaters out there that should be avoided, there are also many clean examples available for half the cost (or less) of many new semi-autos. A clean one is hard to pass up. Iíve found that to be the case, anyway, with the last dozen Iíve purchased.

WINCHESTER SUPER-X MODEL ONE AUTOLOADER

This is a sleeper pick of sorts. They were expensive to make and Olin Winchester supposedly lost money on every one they sold. They are in 12 gauge only and 2-3/4 inch chamber only and considered on the heavy side for carrying around in the field. The only design curse is an overly heavy bolt that can eat original recoil buffers. Parts are no problem; Nu-Line has enough SX parts to last for the foreseeable future. If they were made today, theyíd have to sell for close to $2000. They have never had huge collector interest (in the sense of Belgium A-5ís) and can still be found new in the box or lightly used for a comparative song. Many feel the SX-1 is the best-built gas autoloader ever and they are probably right.




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Copyright 2009 by Randy Wakeman. All rights reserved.



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