Best all around auto loading shotgun - Waterfowl, Upland, and Sporting Clays


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By JAlexDuke - 8/18/2013 6:56:46 PM
I've seen a couple threads like this on here but they seem to be dated and don't include the shotguns I have been looking at or newer models. 

A little background, I currently have a Remington 11-87 Super Mag, and I do a lot of waterfowl, upland and dove hunting. Also, I do a LOT of sporting clays and would love to have an all around gun I can carry to go hunting in the morning and clays in the afternoon without having to carry multiple shotguns. I use 2 3/4 shells 95% of the time and 3 1/2's most often for geese, so that kicks out the M-2 and like guns. Remington says you can use the 11-87 Super Mag with a barrel seal activator. to shoot light loads, but I can't get it to cycle even heavy dove loads with the B.S.A. so I sent it to them, spent $106 and it doesn't shoot any better now than it did before. So, I'm getting a new gun and using the 11-87 Super Mag as a boat anchor. 

For quite a few years I have been looking at:
Benelli SBE II
Beretta A-400 Extrema

And now I am interested in the Browning A-5 but can't locate one to shoulder and see how I like the humpback receiver nor can I find anyone personally who has fired one to ask questions about it, only generic comments online regarding them, and yet they sale so quickly no one has any in stock. Also have heard a lot of good things about the Benelli Super Vinci but don't know many folks who have them.

I just wanted to get everyone's feedback as I am hoping to bring a new gun home this weekend and start breaking it in before dove season and early goose season opens in a couple weeks. 

Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance!
By Amish Amy - 8/19/2013 5:28:25 AM
Look at the Browning Maxus it works with all the loads you use, is light enough to carry all day in the uplands and is a great waterfowl gun too.  I shoot sporting clays with mine a lot recoil is light as well.
By Terry - 8/19/2013 8:57:48 AM
The Remington VersaMax uses the shell length to expose/cover gas ports and modulate the gas flow in the recoil system.  Longer shells block off more ports and send less gas into the recoil system...shorter shells expose more ports, allowing more gas into the recoil system for consistent function with even the lightest 2 3/4" loads.

I've had the VM for almost a year and am very pleased with it.
By rodeostar83 - 8/19/2013 10:47:57 PM
i bought a new browning A5  3.5 inch and like u i couldnt find one to shoot let alone hold.  but i love it. all my buddys been shooting it and the old hump back design is just right where it needs to be when pulling up to shoulder it. AWESOME gun..!!!
By Windjammer - 8/20/2013 12:26:03 PM
Go with a Beretta. I have fired several, own two, and have nothing but fantastic things to say about them. They shoot everything from heavy game loads to the light "100 round value pack" stuff for doves and clays. If there is one drawback, they are on the heavier side. That being said, they are reliable, point well for me, and cycle everything.
By JAlexDuke - 8/21/2013 9:23:52 PM
@Amish Amy - Thank you, I will look into the Maxus, for some reason I don't think I realized it was made in a 3 1/2 chamber. 

@Terry - I haven't heard much about positive about the VM, and after my experience with my 11-87 Super Mag, I'm not sure I want to give anymore of my money to Remington. I know they put a lot of marketing into the gun, just haven't met anyone in person who actually bought one.

@rodeostar83 How does it cycle everything you put through it? I like using the bulk 100 packs of Federal or Winchester for sporting clays and that is what I am having the most problem cycling, have you have any luck cycling it? Also, I've heard with the humpback you can either nail anything and everything or you can't hit the broad side of a barn. Has it helped your shooting quite a bit? I am a pretty good shot, I would say going 40-45/50. But wouldn't mind having something that is easier to view down the barrel.

@Windjammer I have seriously been starting to lean toward the Beretta since I can't touch and feel a A-5 and I have heard that you have to be careful with the 100 pack bulk loads of Federal/Winchester and that is 9 times out of 10 what I shoot when I am shooting sporting clays and/or dove. So I want something that can cycle that without issue.
By Amish Amy - 8/22/2013 5:00:39 AM
Good  Luck -
By hammer1 - 8/22/2013 12:35:58 PM
i just bought the SBE II about a month ago. ive only shot light loads at clays and its had no problems. Ive only shot a few 3" duck loads to see how they pattern. it is a little lighter than the a400 and alot slimmer, which is why i went with it over the a400. nothing wrong with the a400 which my buddy owns and i got to shoot also.
By Windjammer - 8/24/2013 6:08:25 AM
Any Beretta is going to have more heft than a Benelli. The gas and piston system adds some weight and bulk. However, because the gun is slightly heavier (a pound maybe), it does a better job of absorbing recoil. Think of an object in motion hitting a skinny guy vs a big guy- which is going to move more? I will say, the A5 (tried a friends) does point well for me, but I just absolutely love my Beretta.
By JAlexDuke - 8/25/2013 7:46:22 PM
Amish Amy -- Thank you!

Hammer1 and Windjammer -- Thanks for the additional help. I actually was at Bristol this weekend for the race and stopped in at Bass Pro and Gander Mountain on the way home and shouldered a Maxus which was very nice and I obviously like the price better than any of the other mentioned. Also, I shouldered the A-400 which I have shot before and really liked it, a buddy has it, whom is one of the worst at ever cleaning a gun... that said he has never had any issues so that speaks a volume to me. At Gander Mountain they had 3 - A-5's in stock, and two were in that new Shadow Grass camo which is pretty but retro looking at the same time. It did shoulder and point very nicely, I was very impressed. But the A-400 keeps sticking in my mind, I have kind of ruled the SBE II out as I don't have very good luck, and with all the research I have done, about 30% of people seem to not be able to cycle light loads/bulk packs while the rest don't have any issues at all. Seems strange to me, and it could be the 30% aren't holding it correctly. I don't know. The gun manager as Bass Pro was trying to put me into a VersaMax saying it is the only gun that will cycle anything, which I have heard how the gas ports work, but I don't think I could sleep at night after buying another Remmy. 

Any other information on the A-400, Maxus and A-5 would be awesome! I still don't know anyone who has fired an A-5 to verify that it can and does cycle without issue anything from the 100 bulk pack light loads up to the 3 1/2 mags.

Thanks for all the info and help guys!
By 3 Black Dogs - 8/25/2013 10:17:39 PM
I own the browing maxius and it is a great all around gun. I hunt doves with it pheasant ducks and geese and also shoot trap. I haven't had a problem with it cycling 2 3/4 trap loads or up to the 3 1/2 inch goose loads. Never had it fail on me . Shot many rounds through it for all the things you want to do with it.  And it is light enough to carry around all day. Very easy to clean which everyone knows is the key to any good gun.
Good luck in your decision and happy hunting
By Honker-Konker - 8/25/2013 10:50:45 PM
Well this gun doesn't have all the bells and whistles on it but it has never failed me. "The Stoeger 3500." I have put this gun through everything mother nature can throw at it. 90 degree September days, -10 degree January days, rain, sleet, snow, mud, and I've honest to God used it as a paddle one morning when the trolling motor battery said it was too cold out.

It took a few shots to break it in but after the break in process I can shoot 1.5oz 3.5in loads at geese in the morning and then pound doves with 1oz 2.75in loads without changing a thing. Of course the 3500 is not a Super Vinci, Maxxus, Versa Max, etc., but it has been super reliable even though I've been pretty relaxed on cleaning it. The only little hiccup I've ever had with it was when I got water down in the receiver and it double fired on me. Of course this was due to ice build up so you can not fault the gun for that.

As long as you let the bolt slam forward, because it is an inertia driven gun, it will go bang with every trigger pull and the next shell wil be waiting on you to pull the trigger again.
By Ducky192 - 8/29/2013 12:52:56 PM
I know a lot of people that bad mouth Mossbergs but I own a 935 and im very happy with it.
By Duck Dropper - 10/1/2013 3:29:07 PM
I got to tell you I love my Benelli super vinci and its hands down the best shorgun I have ever owned.
By MNwaterfowler98 - 10/3/2013 4:07:15 PM
maxus and sx3 all the way. have had my x3 for 4 yrs and love it, not a jam yet. from early season doves to december honkers in the snow up here in MN, i have had 0 problems. not  to mention the fastest cycling guns out there. also shoot my trap leagues with it and do very well.
By flannel - 10/3/2013 7:31:26 PM
MNwaterfowler98 (10/3/2013)
maxus and sx3 all the way. have had my x3 for 4 yrs and love it, not a jam yet. from early season doves to december honkers in the snow up here in MN, i have had 0 problems. not  to mention the fastest cycling guns out there. also shoot my trap leagues with it and do very well.




" not to mention the fastest cycling guns out there" LOL!
By MNwaterfowler98 - 10/3/2013 9:10:43 PM
ha, not like it changes much but its somthing to boot!
By GPSrulzofcourse - 10/10/2013 11:58:45 AM
I have the SBE II black synthetic, comfortech, 28".  I used it rain, accidently let it fall into mud, shot the cheapest 2 3/4" 2 3/4 DRAM Rio Skeet to 3 1/2" Hevi-Metal (usually use 3" Hevi-Metal); not one FTF or FTE.  It's light and balanced; tough, but not rugged; reliable as a diesel, and cleans ups easy and nice if you want to take her to the ball.  Use good cleaning supplies and good oil and it'll run like a sewing machine.

Also have:
Browning BPS
Ithica 37 from 50's
Winchester 12 16ga 50's

Had:
Remington 1100
By Yoteman - 10/13/2013 1:00:57 PM
The Remington Versa Max is great choice. Ive been a shotgunner for many years, since i was 4 anyway. I am just starting into the waterfowl arena, but im very  experianced in the world of doves, squirrels, rabbits and upland birds, not to mention an avid turkey hunter. I bought a Versa Max last year and i am nothin short of impressed. The light target loads cycle just great, and ive shot 100s of round thru it. The big 3.5 inch turkey crushers with 2 oz loads recoils like a 20 gage. Its my all around shotgun. I think you will love it.
By KYAssassin - 10/15/2013 9:06:29 PM
Not sure what your price range is but I recently was in the market for a new shotgun, and being in college I was on a much tighter budget. I went with a Stoeger m3500 for under $600. Made by Benelli, it has the same action and reliability. It is a fairly hefty gun but for me it points well and shoots great. It patterned great for turkey with an indian creek and 3.5 win #5's. I have shot the cheap 100 round win dove loads with only one malfunction (which was in the first few shots as I was breaking in the gun).  This gun is poison on dove and other birds. I look forward to hunting ducks, geese, rabbit, quail, turkey and anything else that comes my way. Overall I have been extremely pleased with my stoeger 3500 and for the price it cant be beat. Just another option to throw at ya!

Good Hunting and God Bless!