Help me help my dad with shotguns

rudukai13

Too Established
Long background short: My dad will have some money to buy a shotgun soon and would like to replace his Beretta A400 Xcel for clays and his Mossberg 500 for home defense (both previously sold). While he’s open to reconsidering, he’s still very much stuck in the old “X is for defense and Y is for sport/entertainment” mentality that, known to anyone who’s followed my build threads, makes me recoil in disgust. Until my brother and I were of age and started purchasing our own semi-auto pistols and ARs he was of the opinion that his revolvers and hunting rifle were “just fine”, so while he’s shown willingness to change and modernize with the times there’s quite a bit of inertia to overcome.

The problem is shotguns aren’t really my thing in any context. I want to be providing him the best counsel possible based on the current best practices and methods, even if that means my initial inclinations are completely wrong.

So here are the questions:

1. Am I right to think he should be looking for one do-all shotgun that can be used for both clays and home defense? He doesn’t compete, so his choice of shotgun isn’t going to lose him any points at a match. My argument for using one gun for both is commonality in muscle memory and training familiarity

2. If so, which one? The 1301 comes to mind along with other 3 Gun-oriented examples

Thank you in advance, all help is greatly appreciated!

I’ll probably tackle convincing him to put a RDS on it later...
 

LukeNCMX

Member
I have an LTT 1301 with a T1 and it is an awesome amount of firepower for HD. That being said I would want a dedicated shotgun for clays. I have tried shooting some clays with my 1301 as an experiment and it is pretty hard to make that work even for just plinking. Maybe the state of the art has advanced since I shot clays as a kid but I would not want an RDS on a trap gun. You want a longer ribbed barrel with something like a gold bead the balances and swings well. A dedicated gun for clays (something like a nice over/under) will make the experience a lot more fun.

Concerning your dad's entrenched mindset about HD shotguns: I think a box of flite control through a 1301 Tactical with an RDS at 25 yards will change pretty much anybody's mind about what the ideal HD shotgun looks like.
 

rudukai13

Too Established
Ok that makes sense. So instead of getting a new A400 and a Mossberg, I should try to steer him toward an A400 for clays and a 1301 for home? I understand your point about O/Us but he’s never particularly been interested in those, even for clays
 

Arioch

Amateur
I have an LTT 1301 with a T1 and it is an awesome amount of firepower for HD. That being said I would want a dedicated shotgun for clays. I have tried shooting some clays with my 1301 as an experiment and it is pretty hard to make that work even for just plinking. Maybe the state of the art has advanced since I shot clays as a kid but I would not want an RDS on a trap gun. You want a longer ribbed barrel with something like a gold bead the balances and swings well. A dedicated gun for clays (something like a nice over/under) will make the experience a lot more fun.

Concerning your dad's entrenched mindset about HD shotguns: I think a box of flite control through a 1301 Tactical with an RDS at 25 yards will change pretty much anybody's mind about what the ideal HD shotgun looks like.
So I shoot clays maybe twice a year with my dad when the weather is nice, so I really don't know a lot in that area, but why would you not want an RDS for clays? If I'm understanding it correctly, you need to be target focused in clay shooting, and that's the entire point of dots. Is it more of a balance thing?
 

LukeNCMX

Member
I'm out of my lane making model specific recommendations on today's trap guns.

Concerning an RDS sight for a trap gun. Here's my take based on the limited experimentation I've done:

My experience shooting clays is that I need maximum uncluttered vision and a well developed shoulder/cheek weld index to get consistently good results. I shoot clays 100% target focused and only used a front bead as an unfocused peripheral reference point. I rely on a consistent index to get my "sight alignment." When I tried shooting clays with a micro the housing interfered with my peripheral vision picking up the clay and the dot was a distraction. I know there are successful shooters who only use a rib and do not even use a bead. That would be a more interesting departure from a classic bead sight to me just because of how demanding clays are on your vision.
 

Lutz501

Amateur
Trap shooting and defensive shooting with a shotgun are two pretty different things, to be fair. I think shotguns might be one of the few or maybe only instance where the argument to have one for sporting and one for defense has some ground to stand on. That being said though, I agree it is best to have one gun (or two guns of the same platform) that can do both with some simple modifications to help optimize but keep the loading/handling the same.

One easy way to get around this is to just have a sporting barrel and a defense barrel on the same gun. The mossbergs do that really easily as do most pump guns. I did me a quick google and it looks like the 1301 is not nearly as easy to interchange unfortunately. Was there a reason he got rid of the two shotguns he did have? Either of them would have been perfectly capable of doing double duty for both sport and defensive shooting with just a spare barrel.

An A400 and a 1301 could be a good compromise or simply have two different barrels for his A400. one for clays, one for HD.
 

rudukai13

Too Established
You make a good point with two different goals unlike with most handguns and rifles. From that perspective it makes a lot of sense to have different guns to accomplish the different objectives
 

nyeti

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
I am currently doing the one gun thing with 12ga. I have always been a people hunter with the 12ga. and only recently in the last few years started with hunting and the wing sports. My wife and I (she is an accomplished hunter and wing sports shooter and new to defensive work) are both using several Beretta A400 Extreme Pluses. They are the top of the food chain Beretta semi auto and the base for their premier 3 gun competition guns. We have camo guns set up for shooting winged and clay things (28” barrels) and the grey ones for ground based stuff (four legged hunting and people). They are phenomenal shooting guns, very low recoil, superior handling and the big key is they are perfectly fitted to us and with a solid mount put the sights directly in the eye line. We travel a ton with the camo guns and they never raise an eye brow anywhere and I am going to get a camo 19” barrel done to throw in the box for hotel and vehicle protection when we travel. The Beretta A400 Pro Comp would be my do everything gun for someone described like the OP is asking for. The blue receiver makes it pretty benign. You could get a 24” barrel and just run it or a 21” and buy a 28” and simply be done with one gun that is fitted and one manual of arms. BD919B2C-A9FC-4A5D-9FF4-DCD58F46B726.jpeg
 

rudukai13

Too Established
You note the A400 action is the basis for their top shelf 3 Gun shotguns - do you mean the 1301 action? That’s the only shotgun action they market as having a 3 Gun variant, the 1301 Comp Pro. That variant is available with 21” or 24” barrels as well.

Does anyone know the real technical difference between the A400 and 1301 actions?
 

nyeti

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The 1301 is based on the A400. The A400 Extreme Plus is a 3.5” Magnum receiver. The loading and ejection ports are huge and it is why they use them for the Beretta 3 gun editions. The 1301 3 gun versions are not the same as the tactical s as they use the 3.5” Magnum receivers. It is also why the “short” guns use a 21 versus 18” barrel is for reliability level. You “can” get the 3.5” Magnum guns to function with a shorter barrel, but not at the level Beretta demands for an over the counter gun. I also REALLY like the recoil reducing stock found on the A400 Extreme Plus and the 1301 Pro Comp that are basically the same gun.
 

nyeti

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
How do you like the dot mounted forward on the rib as opposed to on the receiver?
This is my preferred location on the shotgun. Keeps the receiver clear, ties the RDS to the barrel, and keeps it as low as possible to work with your hard cheek weld.
 

rudukai13

Too Established
So in practicality the choice between the A400 XP and the 1301 CP essentially comes down to preference, assuming barrel length is the same?
 

rudukai13

Too Established
Very good to know, he already liked a lot of the features of his previous A400 so the 1301 might not be too far off the mark. My recommendation to him was going to be the 1301 PC with a flush mag extension to whichever barrel length he prefers, provided that he doesn’t feel it’s too long for home and/or doesn’t swing well for clays
 

nyeti

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Very good to know, he already liked a lot of the features of his previous A400 so the 1301 might not be too far off the mark. My recommendation to him was going to be the 1301 PC with a flush mag extension to whichever barrel length he prefers, provided that he doesn’t feel it’s too long for home and/or doesn’t swing well for clays
Honestly, the 1301 Comp Pro with the 24” barrel holds 5 with no extension, would balance beautifully and would be adapt at shooting flying and ground stuff well. Many clays ranges require more than 21” barrels. With the blue receiver and a 24” he wouldn’t face snickering shooting sporting clays or trap, he could hunt with it and just for an added bonus......3.5” Magnum #4 buckshot is 54 .27 caliber pellets. Talk about a hand held claymore for home defense.
 

rudukai13

Too Established
I’ll try showing him both to compare and see what he thinks. He may balk early at using it for HD due to size, as his old pump was configured with a folding stock and pistol grip - though I don’t believe those are necessary for a good defensive shotgun
 

nyeti

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Moderator
I’ll try showing him both to compare and see what he thinks. He may balk early at using it for HD due to size, as his old pump was configured with a folding stock and pistol grip - though I don’t believe those are necessary for a good defensive shotgun
They are actually a big negative because they are terrible for any kind of cheek weld. One of the big secrets of shotguns is that the sporting guns depend on basically an optimal mount to be able to drive the gun with the eyes. It would be like a pistol that always comes up with your sights in perfect alignment. I often recommend for folks who shoot tons of wing sports to simply have a means to set their guns up to run buckshot for home defense as they can shoot the guns at a sub conscious level just through repetition and fitting. Home defense guns do not necessarily need to be short. If we are actually home “defending” you are likely bunkered and waiting to ambush an intruder while waiting for 911 to send help. Short guns help with interior hunting and offensively clearing. That is very different and most folks should not be doing that if avoided. Also during a period of unrest you are likely defending a property and not out searching for problems. Offensive and Defensive use of shotguns is very different and many folks do not understand that. It is all party of the not needing to aim a shotgun myth. That is pure b.s. and the beauty of sporting shotguns is they practically aim themselves. I spent a lot of years hunting armed felons with a shotgun In numerous environments and shotguns are my lane. It should be telling that my wife and I are using Beretta sporting shotguns almost exclusively these days for both sport and defense.
As a side note on a bit of the success of the idea of “one gun”.....my wife was Turkey hunting recently on the ground covered in camo and was charged by a very aggressive and very large coyote. She is an experienced hunter and was with another and neither had ever seen or heard of a coyote doing this. The coyote never deviated off the charge or turned to their decoys and was locked on my wife who was wearing some new super camo (sponsored is nice for all the latest stuff) and also wrapped in camo burlap and likely appeared as a downed calf or fawn. She ended up mounting her 28” A400 Extreme Plus and face shot the coyote at 5 yards with a Turkey load and turned it and immediately hit it again behind the shoulder. Having a well fitted gun (hers was professional fit to her at the Beretta Gallery) that comes right to the eye line and puts that red fiber optic sight exactly where it needs to be and to be able to rapidly follow up a fast shot due to the low recoil even with a full 3.5” Magnum load from a very unconventional seated position is gold and should be a similar situation as being bunkered down behind a bed or door frame in a home defense scenario.

We store and travel with our guns with two boxes of Magnum 00 buck loads in the case so they are always able to be pressed into defensive service.
 

nyeti

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
1620930154844.jpeg
Here is an example of a very full size magnum shotgun properly fitted to a smaller female and the natural cheek weld on the mount.
 
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