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Going to purchase a new shotgun for ducks. 12 gauge. Marsh/timber. Semiauto. Looking to spend about $1200 or less. Wondering what my best options are. Thanks.
 

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My preference would be a SX3
Keep it halfway clean. It will kill birds…
 
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I've been using a Mossberg 935 since the second year of production and am vey happy with it....cycles and fires as it should, plus throws great patters as well
 

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Going to purchase a new shotgun for ducks. 12 gauge. Marsh/timber. Semiauto. Looking to spend about $1200 or less. Wondering what my best options are. Thanks.
It's all about fit and user preference. If you want brand new, there are a ton of options for $1,200 or less. If you want to go used or a "classic", there is a plethora of good used firearms for sale that will get you what you are looking for. Just remember, it doesn't have to have plastic stocks and camo dip to kill birds, our dads and grandfathers proved that by the millions.

New options to consider - American Made (I wish there were more in this category...):

Mossberg 940 Pro Waterfowl

Savage Renegauge (some people love it, some hate it, but the specs seem to be good. common complaint is it's front heavy)

Remington V3 (Again, good for some, bad for others. It's ok in my opinion having handled many but the fit and finish has been hit or miss regardless of production run - people seem more impressed once they shoot it - They never should have discontinued the VersaMax...)

New options to consider - Imported

Benelli M2
Benelli Montefeltro
Benelli Vinci

Franchi Affinity 3 or 3.5

Weatherby 12i

Stoeger M3000 or M3500

Winchester Sx4 (Awesome shotgun, great patterns, great handling, I recommend the 3-1/2" version even though I do not like the 12ga Supermag just so you can stuff anything in it that's available)
Browning Silver Hunter
Browning Maxus (old variant, some NIB still hanging around)

Beretta A300 (great gun, a little finicky to take apart and clean)

Breda 3.5SM (formerly the Grizzly - basically an original SBE with minor differences. every once in a while they show up NIB for around $1200 - $1500)
Breda B12Is (3" version of the Grizzly for all intents and purposes)

Retay Masai Mara (good reports are good, bad are horrendous - buyer beware, as always)


Great Used Guns to Consider (3" or 3-1/2" chambers only considered):

Winchester SX2
Winchester SX3
Browning Gold 12
Browning Silver 12
Browning Auto-5 Magnum Twelve (Japanese production from mid 80's to '99 have Invector Choke)

Benelli M1 (sometimes can be found for a good price. I know one NIB that is $1250 on a gunstore shelf)
Benelli SBE (Same as above at same gun shop, can be had when the seller is reasonable - don't overpay or be stupid, they are not worth more than $1,100 used, I don't care who tells you otherwise)
Benelli M2 "American"
Benelli SBE II "American"
Benelli Vinci/Super-Vinci
Benelli Montefeltro

Remington VersaMax

Bakial MP-153 (Used to be imported by Remington. Great guns that are pretty cheap, but they can have issues here and there. Most guys thrashed them because they were cheap when imported, but I will tell you that they are very nice shooting guns and handle a lot like a classic Remington.)

This list could go on for days.... but those are my highlights off the top of my head.
 

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Save up more $$$ and get a new M2 or other italian made gun such as Beretta. Don't waste your money on a turd from Turkey.

ETA:
The Montefeltro is also nice and can be found new under $1200.
 

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Of all listed I'd look first at the Winchester SX3.
New it came with shims so I suppose those will be with a used model in case you want to tailor fit your gun...Real soft shooter.
 
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Second the sx3. Just bought one off of gunbroker for $700 shipping and all. Had to do a rather deep cleaning and currently it’s at the gun shop getting gone thru and then getting dipped in bottomland. Total will be less than $1k. Didn’t need to be dipped but had a few scuff marks and rough places.


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This one is easy: A300 Outlander. Well under your budget, great handling, as reliable as anything else on the market. You'll have enough money left over for about three cases of good steel ammo.
 
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