The Ultimate Shotgun Buying Guide: Find Your Perfect Match Today!
Shotguns are one of the most valuable firearms in any collector’s arsenal. They can be used for shooting, hunting, home defense, and clay sports.
Know Your Options
Before buying a shotgun, consider the following options based on the action:
- Single-shot Shotguns: First on our list are the single-shot shotguns. These shotguns comprise a stock, a receiver, and a single barrel hinged to the receiver. As the name suggests, they can only fire one shell at a time. To fire again, you’ll have to open the breach and insert a new shell, making it a less effective gun for rapid action.
- Pump-action Shotguns: Next, we have the more commonly found pump-action shotgun. These shotguns feature a magazine tube, a single barrel, and a slide or pump for extracting shells and loading fresh rounds into the chamber.
- Auto-loader Shotguns: Also known as semi-automatic shotguns, auto-loader shotguns are among the most versatile options on the market. They use a few different types of mechanisms to offer a seamless fire action. The auto-loader harnesses the energy generated by a round of fired cartridges to automatically extract and load the next round. The semi-automatic shotgun actions are either recoil, gas, or blowback-operated
Now that we know the types of shotguns available on the market let’s look at some quick tips to help you streamline your selection.
Essential Tips To Buy The Perfect Shotgun
Before you start narrowing your options, it’s essential to determine what you plan to use your shotgun for. While the question may sound simple, determining the primary use of your firearm will help you determine the suitable shotgun for you.
Here’s how the answer will help you:
- You can’t go with heavy options if you choose your firearm for regular hunting. Shotguns used for hunting are often lightweight.
- Shotguns used in the arcade for target shooting have longer barrels and are generally heavier.
- You can’t go with either of the options if you plan to select a shotgun for home defense. Shotguns for home defense are generally shorter in length.
Many enthusiasts abandon their shotguns for one common reason: they don't suit them well. So, before you make a purchase, take the time to test out how the shotgun feels in your arms.
You can check for how heavy the overall shotgun is, what material the stock is made of, how long the barrel is, etc. Young adults and women can benefit from youth-size stocks
What’s Your Preferred Gauge?
While shotgun owners have a variety of gauges to choose from, 20 Ga and 12 Ga are among the most common options. Choose a shotgun based on the affordability and availability of ammo and one with less recoil.
Usually, the 12 gauge is mainly used for competitive shooting and hunting. However, since there are other options, we suggest you try a couple of different gauges and find out what works best for you.
What’s Your Preferred Action?
The choice of action is a personal choice for every shotgun user. As mentioned earlier, there are primarily four different categories of shotguns, categorized into three types of actions.
You can choose between break-action, pump-action, and auto-loader shotguns based on your preferred reload speed.
Can You Wait?
When shopping for a shotgun (or any firearm), remember that the MSRP is nothing but the ‘Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price,’ a mere suggestion. It is uncommon to find a gun shop selling firearms at or near MSRP, particularly when it comes to popular and commonly available shotguns.
Therefore, don’t forget to seek bargains, clearances, and other sales, especially if you're not looking for a specific model, since these might be an amazing way to obtain a better value than normal.
Choosing the ideal shotgun is more than weighing the pros and cons. It is about what works best for your build, strength, and intended use. Many shooters enjoy the convenience of an autoloader, while many prefer the pump and break.
Therefore, taking the time and testing several shotguns before purchasing is always better. Remember, purchasing a shotgun is an investment, a good investment. Ensure that you find one that aligns perfectly with your fit and function.
Lastly, it’s always wise to first test a variety of shotguns at gun ranges before finalizing one.