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Calling all Duck Hunters

Old 08-12-2020, 08:12 AM
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Default Calling all Duck Hunters

I am buying a new 12 gauge and am looking for some recommendations. Will be used mostly for waterfowl as I want to get more into duck hunting this season. Will also get a decent amount of use on clays as my brothers and I like to mess around with that. Nothing serious on that front though.

Ive narrowed it down basically to a Browning Maxus Wicked Wings, Benelli M2, and possibly a Franchi affinity elite. Don't need to shoot 3.5" shells but I know the Maxus can. I initially only wanted a inertia/recoil gun but I have gotten over that and am open to either gas or inertia. After a lot of research I am leaning towards the Browning. Though I will probably never shoot 3.5" shells it has the ability to do that while also being able to reliably cycle really light loads. I am a fan of Browning already so am comfortable with them. I really like the look of the Maxus Wicked Wing in Bottomland (controversial, I know). And Bass Pro is running a good deal on Maxus Wicked Wings right now, ~$300 off.

Looking for any and all input and recommendations.

Dont know how many duck hunters we have on this forum but lets find out!
Old 08-12-2020, 08:20 AM
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Beretta a400 extreme! fastest cycling gun on the market and the least amount of recoil. can shoot 3-3.5's all day long and shoulder will feel great

i use to be a browning guy, this gun has converted me to a Beretta!
Old 08-12-2020, 08:22 AM
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Have been around a LOT of waterfowl guns over the years. I would absolutely go with a 3.5 gun, but that's all I really shoot at ducks anymore so that's just me.

I am a Benelli guy, so I'd probably go for the M2 out of that list, but I would absolutely not steer you away from the Franchi. Guys seem to rave about them and they rarely have issues. They do make the Affinity in 3.5 if you want.

Browning is a brand that's let me down in the waterfowl gun market recently. Both the Maxus and the A5 seem to fail in the field more often than just about any gun I'm around. Maxus less so than the A5 though.
Old 08-12-2020, 08:24 AM
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My duck hunting shotguns are all Remingtons, so not much help to you on brand advice. Before you buy a 12 ga with 3.5" chamber, make sure it will cycle 1 oz skeet loads reliably. Some will not, some require changing parts in the gas system. I shoot skeet regularly with my duck hunting guns to keep myself sharp on wing shooting.

3.5" chambers are popular, but in years of hunting giant Canada Geese, I have plenty of proof that 3" BBB or T loads do the job just fine.
Old 08-12-2020, 08:41 AM
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New Remingtons are junk. New Brownings are junk. Those two companies are riding on the coattails from years past. My Maxus was a great feeling gun but literally fell apart in my hands one day. My buddies did the same. We cannibalized both guns and ended up with a functioning gun that was sold for pennies on the dollar. Both guns had been sent back twice.

After putting my hands on an 887, I lost it for Remington. If you want one though, look for an older 870 or 11-87. The versamax was over rated and I saw failures but they were less dramatic than the Browning.

Beretta and Benelli are the only ones to really talk about.

If you are getting into it, I would go with a Benelli SBE II Classic. I am a huge Beretta fan but my A400 had trouble cycling in Canada 2 years in a row and sold it. My original Xtrema is like a sewing machine. Never an issue from my SBE.

I prefer the SBE and SBE II as far as ergonomics. I liked the Classic because I didn’t like the comfortech (sp) stocks. They will get wet and in freezing temps, swell.

My father has an SBE III and it is nice but it just doesn't fit like the classic.
Old 08-12-2020, 08:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Rolandt03 View Post
Beretta a400 extreme! fastest cycling gun on the market and the least amount of recoil. can shoot 3-3.5's all day long and shoulder will feel great

i use to be a browning guy, this gun has converted me to a Beretta!
I have one of these too and it's awesome!!
Old 08-12-2020, 08:50 AM
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I agree with ytmorris. I have an A400 and my hunting buddy has a SBE II. Both good but the SBE feels better ergonomically. Both very reliable but not totally jam proof. Try both to see what fits best. Btw both are 28” bbl.
Old 08-12-2020, 08:50 AM
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Based on what you said you like I'd go M2, have had one for years, no issues, but I shoot Remington's better and have had them all 870,1100, 1187 purchased Versamax last year love the gun. There is a reason they copied Benelli. Agree with someone else that you don't need 3.5 inch shells for Geese, go T's or BB's and shoot em in the head.
Old 08-12-2020, 08:54 AM
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SBE 3 or Affinity. They are absolute work horses. I hunt with a buddy that’s got both and shoots his affinity better but the SBE is newer so seat time is lacking. My next gun will be one of the two. 3.5” is the standard these days. You can still kill ducks with 2 3/4 like we all learned on but when you get into big sky’s and wind you want to pack a punch. A box of 3.5s in the right gun will be plenty fine on your shoulder. If your shooting 2-3 boxs a day then any size shell is going to be felt the next day.
Old 08-12-2020, 08:57 AM
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My vote is Beretta A400 or SB3. Although, I would take the A400 by a wide margin over the SB3.

A400 > SB3 > Browning A5 Wicked Wings > everything else.

I shoot an a350/391 Xtrema which is basically an A400 without the kickoff system. That gun has only FTF 1 or 2 times in over 1000 shells.
Old 08-12-2020, 09:10 AM
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I love my Affinity 20 gauge . I imagine a 12 would be a good all around gun . If I'm going to need 3.5" I shoot a BPS 10 gauge .
Old 08-12-2020, 09:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Rolandt03 View Post
Beretta a400 extreme! fastest cycling gun on the market and the least amount of recoil. can shoot 3-3.5's all day long and shoulder will feel great

i use to be a browning guy, this gun has converted me to a Beretta!
I have heard nothing but good things about the a400. Only thing is that I can get the Maxus for a several hundred dollars cheaper right now. Is the a400 worth the extra money? Everything I have heard about the Maxus has been positive (besides below post) so I am hesitant to spend the extra money if the Maxus is a good gun. But again, my mind is not made up yet.

Another open question to everyone: I have heard people talk about the speed loading and unloading on the Brownings and how once you use it you will never buy a gun without it. What is the consensus on that around here?
Old 08-12-2020, 09:15 AM
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Originally Posted by ytmorris View Post
New Remingtons are junk. New Brownings are junk. Those two companies are riding on the coattails from years past. My Maxus was a great feeling gun but literally fell apart in my hands one day. My buddies did the same. We cannibalized both guns and ended up with a functioning gun that was sold for pennies on the dollar. Both guns had been sent back twice.

After putting my hands on an 887, I lost it for Remington. If you want one though, look for an older 870 or 11-87. The versamax was over rated and I saw failures but they were less dramatic than the Browning.

Beretta and Benelli are the only ones to really talk about.

If you are getting into it, I would go with a Benelli SBE II Classic. I am a huge Beretta fan but my A400 had trouble cycling in Canada 2 years in a row and sold it. My original Xtrema is like a sewing machine. Never an issue from my SBE.

I prefer the SBE and SBE II as far as ergonomics. I liked the Classic because I didn’t like the comfortech (sp) stocks. They will get wet and in freezing temps, swell.

My father has an SBE III and it is nice but it just doesn't fit like the classic.
This is the first time I have heard of such problems with a Maxus. How did it happen?
Old 08-12-2020, 09:19 AM
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Originally Posted by CaptianNick92 View Post
I have heard nothing but good things about the a400. Only thing is that I can get the Maxus for a several hundred dollars cheaper right now. Is the a400 worth the extra money? Everything I have heard about the Maxus has been positive (besides below post) so I am hesitant to spend the extra money if the Maxus is a good gun. But again, my mind is not made up yet.

Another open question to everyone: I have heard people talk about the speed loading and unloading on the Brownings and how once you use it you will never buy a gun without it. What is the consensus on that around here?

The Maxus is NOT a good gun. If you want to save a few bucks, get the SBE II Classic off of gun broker. I think I was around 1200 shipped for a NIB gun. The M2 would be a close 2nd, but I like the ability to shoot 3.5”. I would prefer an old stock M90 before the M2 even if it was used. They are out there but they are unicorns.

I think I sold my A400 used for about even money on the Classic.

Old 08-12-2020, 09:22 AM
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Originally Posted by CaptianNick92 View Post
I have heard nothing but good things about the a400. Only thing is that I can get the Maxus for a several hundred dollars cheaper right now. Is the a400 worth the extra money? Everything I have heard about the Maxus has been positive (besides below post) so I am hesitant to spend the extra money if the Maxus is a good gun. But again, my mind is not made up yet.

Another open question to everyone: I have heard people talk about the speed loading and unloading on the Brownings and how once you use it you will never buy a gun without it. What is the consensus on that around here?
to me a gun that has issues or not fun to shoot is worth about as much as the cardboard box it came in. as mentioned some of the manufacturers are riding on the coat tales of previous years. if you can swing the extra money go for the a400 you wont be disappointed.

however, dont blow your budget, get what works for you and your budget! plenty of guys shoot do just as well with a POS charles daily! it all comes down to the operator and the gun working as a team. the gun doesn't make you instantly shoot more ducks, it just another tool to help you get the job done! it is still widely dependent on YOU the shooter to do YOUR part
Old 08-12-2020, 09:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Rolandt03 View Post
to me a gun that has issues or not fun to shoot is worth about as much as the cardboard box it came in. as mentioned some of the manufacturers are riding on the coat tales of previous years. if you can swing the extra money go for the a400 you wont be disappointed.

however, dont blow your budget, get what works for you and your budget! plenty of guys shoot do just as well with a POS charles daily! it all comes down to the operator and the gun working as a team. the gun doesn't make you instantly shoot more ducks, it just another tool to help you get the job done! it is still widely dependent on YOU the shooter to do YOUR part
I agree. This really is the best bang for your buck:

https://www.beretta.com/en-us/a350-xtrema-max5/

They can be had sub-$1000 on Gun Broker if you look around. Shoots 3.5". Comes in camo (essential for me because I hunt from a boat)

Old 08-12-2020, 09:25 AM
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Originally Posted by CaptianNick92 View Post
This is the first time I have heard of such problems with a Maxus. How did it happen?

Real world use. The guns were not cased but they were maintained.

The duratouch finish was the first problem, not ejecting was the 2nd, The trigger group fell apart a few times but fortunately they let me send just that back. Read up on them, the stories like mine are out there.

The just didn’t hold up for consistent use. The last straw was having to carry 2 trigger groups to ND in case of a failure. Both failed and I shot my buddies back up. We were hunting 35-45 days a year at that time. Well before adult hood and family.

Browning was gracious and took it back, fixed it for the 3rd time and with a few parts from my buddies, the guy I sold it to it still banging away with it. It was sold with a disclosure though.
Old 08-12-2020, 09:25 AM
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Originally Posted by CaptianNick92 View Post
Another open question to everyone: I have heard people talk about the speed loading and unloading on the Brownings and how once you use it you will never buy a gun without it. What is the consensus on that around here?
My answer to the speed unloading problem is a Remington 870. Loaded for ducks and geese appear? Rack open the bolt, remove two duck loads, drop in one goose load, close the bolt and put a second goose load in the magazine.

I haven't hunted waterfowl with semi-autos for years. I got tired of all the ammunition changes tearing up the little finger on my right hand- pulling the bolt lever back.

Last edited by yarcraft91; 08-12-2020 at 12:30 PM.
Old 08-12-2020, 09:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Rolandt03 View Post
to me a gun that has issues or not fun to shoot is worth about as much as the cardboard box it came in. as mentioned some of the manufacturers are riding on the coat tales of previous years. if you can swing the extra money go for the a400 you wont be disappointed.

however, dont blow your budget, get what works for you and your budget! plenty of guys shoot do just as well with a POS charles daily! it all comes down to the operator and the gun working as a team. the gun doesn't make you instantly shoot more ducks, it just another tool to help you get the job done! it is still widely dependent on YOU the shooter to do YOUR part

I hear you but you are completely incorrect about it being the operator. Every shot I have even missed was the guns fault. I am perfect, just don’t ask my wife.
Old 08-12-2020, 09:29 AM
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The new Savage looks appealing to me, I know it doesn't answer your question but I have plenty of Savage rifles and have never had an issue. I buy cheap shotguns cause I am rough on them, my winchester and Mossberg have seen the bottom of the swamp a few times.

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