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Q: I am a beginner hunter and was wandering what is a good all around gun for hunting turkey, boar, and deer. I will mostly be hunting around the northern part of Florida. Jack

A: #1

Dear Jack:

Congratulations on taking up a life long addiction. Welcome to the club!

As a beginning hunter, versatility is definitely something to look for in when choosing a weapon. Since you plan on hunting so many different species, and most likely at the same time, I would suggest either a 12 gauge or 20 gauge shotgun loaded with 00 buck shot. Further, if your value minded and working with a limited budget, you may want to look at pump shotguns rather than a semi-automatic as they tend to be less expensive and jam less frequently.

Good models to consider are the Remington 870, the Winchester 1500 Ranger, Benelli Nova and Mossberg 500. All of these guns are reasonable priced and come in a variety of finishes and barrel lengths. I would suggest staying with a 28 inch barrel that has interchangeable chokes as you can also wing shoot dove, duck and quail with the same gun by simply switching ammunition and choke constrictions. You should be able to get into a new pump shotgun for under $400 and a used one for under $300.

If you are working with a little bigger budget and would like the convenience and speed of a semi-automatic, then consider the Remington 11-87, Charles Daly Field Hunter VR-MC, Franchi I-12, Mossberg 930, or the Stoeger 2000. Prices will vary a little more with these guns, but you should be able to fit one in the range of $500 - $700.

Personally, I think the Stoeger 2000 is an unbeatable deal. It comes in your choice of a camo, wood or black synthetic stock with either a camo, blued or matte finished barrel in lengths of 26-30 inches. It's made by Benelli for Stoeger and has the same action as the Benelli M-2, which is an inertia bolt that delivers excellent performance and smoothness of action.

But the best feature is the price. At under $500 retail, you're essentially getting the same performance as you would for nearly $1200 in the Benelli M-2 with only a slightly lower grade stock. If you can afford the $500 price tag, it's the gun of choice for me. Do your homework on the internet for best pricing and comparison of features and good luck in your new addiction.

Chuck Echenique

A: #2 That's an easy question to answer. You can hunt any game animal in Florida with a twelve gauge shotgun. From squirrel and rabbits to deer and boar as well as turkeys and migratory birds. Buy yourself a well built gun (I'm a fan of pump models) and a variety of shot sizes to best suite the hunt.

Best wishes - Toby Benoit

P.S.

Be sure to get a shotgun with variable chokes. You need full to extra full for turkey, Modified for dove and quail, and improved for a slug.

You should keep in mind that you probably want to use a slug or buckshot for deer and hogs, and use #4 or #6 shot for turkey.

Tony Young-FWC