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303 Stock Replacement..and thoughts on GR-3?

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by AFARR, Jul 30, 2009.

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  1. AFARR

    AFARR TS Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
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    My younger daughter (12, small for her age) expressed an interest in learning to shoot a shotgun...she can handle .22 rifles and pistols, and has (several years back) shot centerfire rifles (.223 with my help holding the weight of the rifle).

    She was fascinated at the local range by people shooting clay pigeons and wants to try. Thanks to the guys here (and at Shotgun World), I have a few 12ga shotguns (1201F, 301 (30" Full), 390 (Wally World Spl), and 686 Essential). I like the Beretta guns, so prefer to stick with them if possible.

    Unfortunately all are too big/or would likely have too much recoil for her...so I started looking for a 20ga. I walked into a local gunstore and looked. Found a 12ga. Beretta GR-3 in about 95% shape for $900....I've never seen a Beretta SxS that low, so I put a deposit down on it....I can cancel within a few days, so I'm looking for some info on the shotgun (seemed to fit me well in the store). I know it's (I believe) 26", SST, Extractor, IC/M fixed chokes.

    I don't know if that is a great deal...there aren't many on the internet to look for, so not much price comparison base.

    So, any thoughts on that....


    Then, I was looking around for a 20ga and found a 303 with a cracked stock (at the wrist) on Gunsamerica. Per the dealer, it works fine with the crack. It has a Poly Choke system installed...and I have no experience with these (So any info you can provide would be great...especially if this is something that is threaded into an existing thread or is aftermarket installed).

    I'm not too worried about the cracked stock...It looks like I can get a replacement for in the neighborhood of $150 (for the 20ga field). I can have someone do a down/dirty repair on the old stock if it needs one(or do it myself), and possibly cut the stock to "Youth" size, then once the daughters grow a bit, change to the full size stock.

    From the little bit I've seen (since I have the 301 with the 30" bbl in 12ga, it's not a good reference), the 303 20ga is a fairly light shotgun, and should work well to teach someone to shoot...and the recoil isn't too bad in a gas 20ga gun (I'm assuming here....)

    Any thoughts on doing it that way?

    Thanks!!
     
  2. skeet_man

    skeet_man Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    Look for a Beretta 3901 20ga. That is going to to be the closest in fit without having to spend alot of $ on an upgrade. Shoot the LIGHTEST loads you can find (3/4oz, I believe estate makes these as factory loads) or handload them if you have to. Anything more will kick the heck out of your daughter, and she'll get discouraged quickly!
     
  3. Ruck

    Ruck Well-Known Member

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    As I see far too often, the big misconception here is that a 20 has less recoil than a 12. If you shoot 3/4 oz. of shot in the 20 and 7/8 or 1 oz. in the 12, the 20 has more recoil. It has a little more back pressure due to the smaller bore and the gun weighs less. Either go with a 12 ga. and light loads or a 28 ga. The 28 ga. 1100's make great youth guns.......they are easy to handle and have negligible recoil.

    Ken Rucker
     
  4. jm1079

    jm1079 Well-Known Member

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    Go with the 303 20 gauge for your daughter. you will not be sorry. FWIW. jm
     
  5. hammer-time

    hammer-time TS Member

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    I don't know about the 20" but I don't think you'll be able to cut enough off of a 303 stock. At least on my 12 ga buns, you can only go down ot about 13 1/2". I agree with Tom, go with a 28 ga. 1100 and shoot light loads! Awesome gun for youth and beginning ladies.
     
  6. goatskin

    goatskin TS Member

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    I can't comment on a 303, but I'm going through a similar situation with my G'daughter. I also have had experience with 4-H Shooting Clubs and getting guns that fit small, young kids and will 'grow' with them if they keep shooting.

    My 1st suggestion is forget 'investment' or 'value' - if you can get a gun to fir her and it's comfortable and she likes to shoot, she'll shoot and THEN the fun begins.

    'Youth' automatics are a partial solution, but not real good, IMO. The GR-3 may be an awfully good choice and is a 1st class gun and can 'grow' with her, perhaps. That said, it may well be too heavy and the weight too far forward for her to manage. The 12g is not an issue, as you can load a 12 down to softer than 28ga, but weight and balance matter. At $900, the GR-3 might be a 'keeper', just because, anyhow.

    ONE of the issues on any stock for a small kid, is the grip is waaaaay too long and too big for small hands, so ... a wood rasp, hacksaw and bondo are your friends. Surely Wenig or Macon or somebody has a hammer-fit replacement stock for you to overhaul.

    I got a Franchi Falconette in 20ga for my 8yr-old G'daughter, and I load some poofter 9/16th oz loads that barely move the gun, but break clays just fine AND she took a 23½ pound turkey with one.

    Thank your lucky stars you have a daughter like her.

    Spray-paint it pink to hide the bondo job, of course. Or camo.

    Bob
     
  7. AFARR

    AFARR TS Member

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    Actually the GR-3 would be for me (just looking for info on it since I don't know much other than what is mentioned above).

    She doesn't SEEM recoil sensitive (after shooting larger guns)--I don't want to beat her up with heavy loads, but she's one to be game to keep shooting regardless--I was more concerned with her being able to handle (point and follow the clay) the shotgun--so she doesn't get frustrated with being unable to hit anything. So, a fairly lightweight shotgun is a consideration.

    She has a Purple (her favorite color) rifle (actually a Cavalry Arms lower waiting for an upper...her name is the serial #, and her older sister has the same in pink....as an aside, it's worth looking into the Story of the ATF and Cavalry Arms...450+ days ago, the ATF raided Cavalry and siezed everything...they still haven't charged anyone, haven't returned the siezed items....and even allowed Cav. to continue making firearms).

    I had figured that worst case with the 20ga 303, I would have another nice autoloader, and I can find a 28ga or something similar for her. As mentioned in the above post...with the 303, because it's a cracked stock anyway, I can go to town getting it to fit her, regardless of the appearance (and replace the stock later when she is full grown if she wants to keep the shotgun).

    Thanks for the info...Please keep it coming.

    AFARR
     
  8. vatrap

    vatrap Member

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    Location:
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    I went through a similar situation last winter, I ended up getting a 20 gauge 1100 on the standard frame and it worked out great.

    The one I found had a 26" barrel and poly choke which ended up working out well, I think it was about $350 on gunbroker and when I received it, it was in better shape than the pictures showed.

    We went through a couple of youth stocks, before eventually getting a Wenig ladies stock and cutting it as short as possible. 20 gauge shells are easy to come by and you can load them down fairly light and still get the action to cycle if everything is clean and the gas seals are in good shape.

    Something that I found out by accident was Mossberg 9200s are fairly inexpensive, reliable and don't have a spring tube in the stock. They can be cut down to just about any length you need while she is still growing and are available with 24" and 28" barrels threaded for winchokes. A lot of people discount them, but for a starter gun its hard to beat the price and if her interest fades later you are not out much. They run about $250 or so in good condition.

    Mike
     
  9. ccw1911

    ccw1911 Member

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    Don't forget if she is going to shoot with one of the youth programs she may be limited to the choice of shells, looks like most of them have 12 and sometimes 20 gauge.

    My all time favorite for low recoil and weight is the Beretta 303 series if gun weight is a problem along with recoil. I've got these down to pretty short lop by grinding the nut and even carving a recess into the recoil pad. Around 12" is possible IIRC and Wenig makes a really good Women's buttstock with a shorter trigger reach.

    If gun weight is not so much a problem 1100's are hard to beat and can be shortened a lot with a little ingenuity. The same women's Wenig stock is available too.

    Stay away from the recoil operated Benelli's. Had a dad buy one for his daughter and he refuses to believe they kicked too much because of all the advertising claims with the little rubber inserts and bs. His poor little daughter is getting the snot kicked out of her and a bloody cheek because hard head dad doesn't think the gun needs any changing.
     
  10. Ruck

    Ruck Well-Known Member

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    Likewise stay away from the Beretta 391 20 ga. youth model......it weighs 5 lbs. and is openly abusive!!

    Ken
     
  11. goatskin

    goatskin TS Member

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    I've never shot a GR-3, but I owned a GR-2 for a while. They are a 'high-end' utilitarian gun ... if that makes sense. The quality is there, as one would expect from Beretta label.

    At $900, you're not stealing it, but it is a solid value for a solid gun.

    If it fits you, a good SxS is a joy. I'm not a fan of single trigger, nor BTFE in a SxS, but that is preference.

    Bob
     
  12. AFARR

    AFARR TS Member

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    "They are a 'high-end' utilitarian gun..."

    I know exactly what you mean...that's basically how I like my firearms...very well made, perfect for the job they do, but without being too pricey or fancy...

    Too Pricey or Fancy leads to them being a safe queen, too cheaply made, and they don't instill the pride of ownership (& use) that I want in a firearm...

    Thanks for the suggestions....

    I think for now, I'm going with the 20ga 303 (the Polychoke should help some with teaching her to shoot...I did a bit of research on them, and they seem to be well regarded for a basic choke system), and if for some reason, she doesn't like it (recoil, primarily)...I'll be looking for a 28ga pump as a most likely backup...

    Thanks again...and thanks for the info on the GR-3. Anyone else used one, please chime in....
     
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