Make an informed choice

If money is an issue, shoot a pump. If recoil is an issue, shoot an autoloader. If neither is an issue, shoot a double.  If either is a real big issue, shoot a rifle.

#1 - The ability to tolerate and absorb recoil will dictate whether someone can take up or stick with predator shotgunning. A double or a pump both kick like a mule - and a 3.5" lead #4 buck shell has as much recoil as a scoped .458 WinMag. A modern gas-operated autoloader can lessen the punch by as much as 40%, but the fact remains. If you can't tolerate recoil, use a rifle.

This is the result from twenty-nine rounds of 3.5" magnum buckshot fired from a Beretta O/U over a weekend while wearing just a long sleeve shirt. A couple of shots were less than ideal and got off my shoulder a bit in the heat of hunting. I was a little sore but didn't expect to see this much color Sunday afternoon as I got ready for the shower. On the upside, I started predator shotgunning almost exclusively in '05 and since don't notice the kick of a magnum rifle much.

I recommend to anyone who is considering their first purchase of a predator shotgun who has not done some previous waterfowling, please go borrow a 3.5" duck gun, and put 10-15 rounds of Winchester's XB12L4 down the tube before making any investment in a shotgun of their own. Then save your money and buy the best gun you can't afford. A collection of cheap guns is just that, a collection of cheap guns. Bide your time and buy a quality shotgun. Beretta, Benelli, Browning hunting shotguns all come to mind and will last a lifetime. The pain of the price will go away long before the regret of a cheap gun.