I love my 11-87 20 gauge but I know it wouldn't be the best choice for all use. It is heavy for a 20 gauge which makes it better for target shooting, waterfowl or turkey hunting with 3 inch magnums. Not as much fun to carry on an all day quail hunt. I think Franchi or Benelli make the lightest 20's. Good for an all day carry in the field but can be brutal target shooting or with heavy shells. A real light gun doesn't swing as smoothly either. You have to keep it swinging. A Browning or a Beretta would be in between in weight. They are all good guns. Some would never use a 20 gauge for ducks or turkeys but I enjoy using it. With hevishot I don't feel that compromised. I can kill either to 40 yards.
Guy's thanks for all of the tips. Do they still make an 1100? Also I had heard good things about the Benelli's and will have to see if they fit me. I will primarily be using this for pheasants in SD and will shoot 3" shells. Any other thoughts I appreciate.
The only 1100 20 gauge they make now would be a sporting clays model or a skeet model. They both have 2 3/4 inch chambers. They make an 11-87 with 3 inch chambers. My friend's 20 gauge Benelli has trouble with 3 inch shells. Might be just his gun. You need to handle them all. There is a big difference in how the Benelli will feel and how the Remington will feel. If you plan on doint any target shooting with this gun I would avoid the real light guns. If I was going to be shooting heavy 3 inch shells but still wanted a light gun I would go with the Browning or Beretta. The Benelli will pound you with target loads much less 3 inch magnums.
Benelli is a good choice for hunting as noted, but they seem to be 'way overpriced. Look for a used one. I looked for and used Remington 31L pumps (very light weight due to their alloy frames) - carried like a dream all day pheasant hunting: 12ga. 28" barrel = 6.25lbs; 16ga. = 6lbs.; 20ga. = 5.5lbs. Now they're impossible to find. Regards, Ed
You don't tend to notice recoil as much when you are shooting at a game bird because your excitement level is so high. But light guns do have high recoil regardless of the stock. I patterned an 11-87 and a 12 gauge Benelli auto with the comfortech stock on the same day with 3 inch shells. No comparison. The Benelli almost knocked the teeth out of my head and dislocated my shoulder. I haven't felt that much pain since patterning my Mossberg 3 1/2 inch pump. Heavier guns have less recoil as do gas operated autos. The most pleasant gun I have ever shot at the target range was my 11-87 20 gauge with the R-3 limbsaver pad and light target loads. I could shoot that gun all day long without a mark on my shoulder.