Fit is important with a shotgun...maybe more so than with any other firearm. This is partly because shotgun shooters focus on the target, while rifle shooters focus on the sight, so the shotgun needs to point naturally where the shooter is looking. It's also partly because shotguns can have rather intense recoil-and the best way to combat recoil is good fit. More and more firearms manufacturers are recognizing the need for shotguns sized to fit young or small-statured shooters. Here's a look at 10 top picks that should cover any shotgun pursuit...with prices that won't make you "choke."
Remington Model 870 Express Compact Camo Built around Remington's new Adjustable Length of Pull System, which allows a 1-inch adjustment range in ¼- or ½-inch increments, this shotgun can be configured to fit almost any young shooter. And the shotgun will continue to fit them as they grow. It is built around the reliable 870 action just like Dad's shotgun and will accept the Rem-Choke system. The rugged synthetic stock is available in either a Realtree Hardwoods camo or a pink Mossy Oak finish. In this writer's estimation, Remington's Model 870 Express Compact Camo gets the "best over-all buy" award.
Remington Model 870 Compact Synthetic This is a non-camo version of the Compact Camo Model 870 Express. It has all the same features, but comes with a black synthetic instead of a camouflaged stock. With a suggested retail of only $383.00, this shotgun is also a great buy.
Remington Model 870 Express Compact Jr. If you are very young or still waiting on that growth spurt, Remington's Model 870 Express Compact Jr. is a good option. It comes with an adjustable length of pull (LOP) that's a full inch shorter than the standard Compact 870. And, like all 870 Compact models, the Compact Jr. will also accept the Rem-Choke system.
Mossberg 500 Super Bantam Turkey This is one of Mossberg's 14 shotguns specifically designed for young or small-statured shooters. For more than a decade, the Mossberg 500 pump shotgun has served as one of the most practical starter shotguns ever. The Super Bantam features a standard 12-inch LOP, but comes with an innovative stock spacer and extra rubber recoil pad to bring the synthetic stock to 13 inches overall. When the shooter is ready for a grown-up gun, just turn in the certificate that comes in the box and receive 50 percent off the price of the full-size stock. The Mossberg 500 Super Bantam Turkey comes with an Xtra-Full choke and fiber optic sights. It's field-ready to help a young shooter bag his or her first gobbler.
Mossberg 500 Super Bantam Field/Deer Combo Not all shotguns are used for small game and birds. Local laws restrict some deer hunters to slug guns, and Mossberg has not forgotten that kids might want to slug-gun hunt with their parents. Mossberg's 500 Super Bantam Field/Deer combo will let you do that. Even cooler, the shotgun comes with an extra barrel so you can switch off and go after squirrels, turkey and upland birds too. As with all Super Bantam models, the Field/Deer Combo comes with an adjustable LOP and 50-percent-off certificate for a full-size stock.
Barrel: 22 to 24 inches Weight: 6 pounds Length: 40¾ Inches LOP: 12 to 13 Inches Gauge: 20 MSRP: $484.00
Mossberg 510 Mini The Mossberg 510 Mini is a shotgun designed for the smallest youth shooters. It weighs in at a remarkably light 5 pounds and has an overall length of less than 3 feet. It also has an incredibly short LOP that is adjustable between 10½ and 11½ inches. It is available in either .410 or 20 gauge. A fixed-modified or an Accuset choke is an option, as is the choice between a black synthetic or camo stock. For this writer, the Mossberg 510 Mini earns the "best buy" award for very small shooters.