A buddy of mine and i have been doing some shooting and while my Beretta 390 is a ton of fun to shoot he is looking to buy a pump shotgun to go squirrel hunting on my property and maybe a deer or two. I dont have a pump shotgun so i may cruise the local pawn shops and see whats out there.
I guess a winchester model 12 would be a holy grail gun for a good price.. havent been made in 50 yrs..
Model 870 remington- the gun that put the model 12 out of business.. gazillions sold.. should be easy to find and cheap. Wingmaster would be the one i would look at.
Browning BPS- better than the 870?
Ithaca 37- a cheaper model 12?
Mossberg 500- Military proven and tested.
I think for my buddy a Mossberg 500 and for myself an Ithaca 37 would be fun to swap off and both should be good reliable guns.
Anyone own any or a few of the above guns? any recommendations?
One problem with the Ithaca Model 37 is the magazine tube. They are small, and reloaded ammunition can stick in them. When a shotshell is resized it can and often does expand the diameter of the rim slightly. This can cause the shell to stick inside the magazine tube. Ithaca 37's are all like this. I bought mine new in the mid 70's, and have always had issues with reloaded ammunition in it. Factory shells will not give problems. If you're an avid clay target shooter this can be an issue. Most all clay shooters are reloaders. And because it ejects from the bottom, you cannot feed a shell directly into the chamber like you can on a 870. You have to place it in the magazine, then cycle the action.
The Model 12 is ultimately my choice-the name "The Perfect Repeater" was well earned, and I wouldn't give mine up for anything.
With that said, for modern options I tend toward the 870. It's durable and inexpensive, and can be customized to no end.
For what you describe, I'd probably start at a 28" with a modified choke, although like pretty much all modern shotguns the world is your oyster when it comes to choke and barrel options(there's just probably more choice out there for the 870). With the trend toward defensive use, the 28" barrel has fallen by the wayside, but I think that for hunting use it still is easy to make an argument for it. Throw an 18 1/2" with a cylinder or IC on it if you want to do double duty for home defense.
One downside of the older designs like the 12, 37, and 97 is that you can't change barrels at will, and you can't change chokes unless someone has hacked a Cutts or the like onto them. I once had a 16 gauge model 12 with a Cutts(albeit a modified choke), and no one would stand next to me when I shot it.