What do I look for in a used gauge?

#1
Despite growing up with my dad hunting with a shotgun, I have little to no experience with them and all of that was "unpleasant". However I understand their utility and plan on embracing "the gauge" in the near future. As much as I'd love a Beretta or similar semi auto for the sake of my limited finances I've been haunting a local police supply gun shop in my area that usually has a metric ton of pump actions in the sub $350 range. What are some things I should be looking for or to avoid while looking through the trade-in rack? What are some basic upgrades I should plan on budgeting for?

Thank you all in advance.
 
#2
Coming as a recent shotgun adopter, I'd say save up. Seriously, just save up. Don't bother with a pump, you'll end up sinking a lot of money into it trying to make it better and then end up wishing you just had a good semi-auto. Maybe it'll take a year, so be it. Save up.
 
#3
Coming as a recent shotgun adopter, I'd say save up. Seriously, just save up. Don't bother with a pump, you'll end up sinking a lot of money into it trying to make it better and then end up wishing you just had a good semi-auto. Maybe it'll take a year, so be it. Save up.
Thanks man, I've got a small fortune of a wish list so it's just a matter of prioritizing.

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#4
Thanks man, I've got a small fortune of a wish list so it's just a matter of prioritizing.
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Ditto, man, ditto. But as the old timers here say: "Don't be poor". So, I'm taking care of family first, buying ammo and training time second, and gear third. All the gear in world will still just make you a queer with gear. And I want to be a real boy some day, so that's the priorities (i.e. "not being poor"). Until I understood what that meant, I was stupid, but now I get it, and I don't care if I don't have the Gucci stuff. I'd rather be the guy who passes the Steve Fisher quals.
 

JimH

Regular Member
Network Support I
#5
I would agree to saving up for a good semi-auto, specifically a nice ( used ) Berretta 1301 tac. The resources on the various P&S sites and Modcasts pretty much lay out the reasons why. I would also recommend watching "The Guage" Modcast episode....twice. P&S has some of the best shotgun SME's out there..

Having said that, there are a couple of things I look for when buying a used Remington 870 (and I don't know much about the other brands).
I would suggest researching the differences in 870's....870 Express, 870 Wingmasters, 870 Police models, etc.
As far as inspecting it..

First thing I do is pop off the magazine cap (or extension). I look inside to see :
1. If the tube has dimples or not, and if not.....were they removed in some funky form or fashion.
2. Is there any rust in the tube or the spring?
3. Is the tube still straight?
4. Will the follower run down the tube smoothly with just gravity...without snagging up or stopping anywhere?

Next I would look to see if the lifter has the Flex-tab modification to it or not. Is the action smoooooth?
Can you take to barrel off relatively easy? I have found that a bound up barrel is usually a sign of trouble.
Take a look through the barrel for any pitting or irregularities.
Will the action bars and action come out relatively easy?
Does it have a good, firm trigger pull?

I know I'm forgetting some things...

As far as basic upgrades....
To start with, I would recommend a Vang Comp safety and follower ($40). Replacing the magazine spring is never a bad thing ($10).

If you want a shotgun with an extended magazine, I would suggest buying one that is already set up for it, or already has one. Trying to remove the dimples without messing up the tube can turn into a real pain in the ass sometimes.

If you want a light, do some research into what works for people. I recommend buying the older Surefire fore-ends made for the 870. If you are lucky, you can snag one one fleabay for a little over 100.

A sling is a good idea, one point or two....depends on you.

Hope it might help....worth what ya' paid for it.
Good luck!
 
#6
Thanks man, I've got a small fortune of a wish list so it's just a matter of prioritizing.
Sent from my SM-G930U using Tapatalk
Ditto, man, ditto. But as the old timers here say: "Don't be poor". So, I'm taking care of family first, buying ammo and training time second, and gear third. All the gear in world will still just make you a queer with gear. And I want to be a real boy some day, so that's the priorities (i.e. "not being poor"). Until I understood what that meant, I was stupid, but now I get it, and I don't care if I don't have the Gucci stuff. I'd rather be the guy who passes the Steve Fisher quals.
Ditto.

Sent from my SM-G930U using Tapatalk
 

MrMurphy

Regular Member
#7
My primary is an AR. I run a Benelli Nova for hunting and an 870 PM as a travel and defense gun. We use 870s at work, commonality of training etc. Not against 12ga semis but for me, with how little i use one.. sticking with what i know.

Bill's list covers the common stuff. Furniture wise if the factory stuff doesn't do it for you...Magpul SGA.
 
#8
I would agree to saving up for a good semi-auto, specifically a nice ( used ) Berretta 1301 tac. The resources on the various P&S sites and Modcasts pretty much lay out the reasons why. I would also recommend watching "The Guage" Modcast episode....twice. P&S has some of the best shotgun SME's out there..

Having said that, there are a couple of things I look for when buying a used Remington 870 (and I don't know much about the other brands).
I would suggest researching the differences in 870's....870 Express, 870 Wingmasters, 870 Police models, etc.
As far as inspecting it..

First thing I do is pop off the magazine cap (or extension). I look inside to see :
1. If the tube has dimples or not, and if not.....were they removed in some funky form or fashion.
2. Is there any rust in the tube or the spring?
3. Is the tube still straight?
4. Will the follower run down the tube smoothly with just gravity...without snagging up or stopping anywhere?

Next I would look to see if the lifter has the Flex-tab modification to it or not. Is the action smoooooth?
Can you take to barrel off relatively easy? I have found that a bound up barrel is usually a sign of trouble.
Take a look through the barrel for any pitting or irregularities.
Will the action bars and action come out relatively easy?
Does it have a good, firm trigger pull?

I know I'm forgetting some things...

As far as basic upgrades....
To start with, I would recommend a Vang Comp safety and follower ($40). Replacing the magazine spring is never a bad thing ($10).

If you want a shotgun with an extended magazine, I would suggest buying one that is already set up for it, or already has one. Trying to remove the dimples without messing up the tube can turn into a real pain in the ass sometimes.

If you want a light, do some research into what works for people. I recommend buying the older Surefire fore-ends made for the 870. If you are lucky, you can snag one one fleabay for a little over 100.

A sling is a good idea, one point or two....depends on you.

Hope it might help....worth what ya' paid for it.
Good luck!
This only applies to the Remington 870...

Basically everything JimH said but I'd like to add a little more on taking the barrel off. A good number of LE trade in guns may have been neglected more than abused. I've found everything from rust to dirt inside shotguns. It could be anything from dried grease/oil to rust between the barrel extension and receiver. The biggest thing to check for when the barrel comes out is whether the ejector and ejector housing are intact and secure. Even if the barrel comes out easily and goes back in easily, if the ejector housing is loose, I'd pass unless you have the tools to rivet it back in.

Remove the trigger assembly and check the shell stops for proper staking. I've seen plenty of guns where the shell stops fell out upon removal of the trigger assembly. Again, I'd pass unless you have the tools and know how.

I've got a couple of the older Surefire forends and they work great even with aftermarket drop-in LED assemblies and OEM conversion heads.
 

JimH

Regular Member
Network Support I
#9
Picked up a(nother) used 870 last week. First 2 things done to it are a Vang Comp safety and follower for $36 before even heading to the range..
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