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First, I recommend everyone go to Youtube (which led me to this great forum) and check out MDPrepper. Great series on budget guns, including my favorite, SHOTGUNS! For those that are looking for some low buck, high impact firepower that don't have the financial means to run out and grab a black rifle, consider these;

Mossberg "Maverick 88", Stevens 350 Home Defense, H&R Pardner Protector and, toward the upper end of the budget, Remington 870 Express Magnum, Mossberg 500 and the Weatherby PA-459. Unfortunately for us, the CLASSIC Winchester 1300 Defender has gone to the happy hunting ground and used, will command a "less than frugal" price.

For easily less than $300 you can own one of the first three. I own the 350 and love it. Where else can you get a $250 12 gauge pump that comes stock with an adjustable ghost ring rear sight and an AR style front sight? Patterned after the the Ithaca, or more accurately, a near exact clone, this is a great shotgun that will provide plenty of service when needed. The drawback? Not a whole lot of accessories for it. Or none, if you really want the truth. Upgrades for this gun could easily include a higher capacity magazine (which would require a new configuration of the barrel), a pistol grip stock and a rail for a flashlight. But for $250 out the door, I'm more than happy with what it does have.

You start hitting the upper limits of what I consider frugal with the latter three. At the stratosphere of a frugal budget for the upper class of us working poor, reaching the $375 to $450 range, the Weatherby PA-459 seems to be as close to tactical perfection out of the box as you can get, yet still use it for Turkey hunting. Equipped with a very comfortable pistol grip stock, it's lightweight, and comes standard with an adjustable/removable ghost ring rear sight, fiber optic AR style front sight, ported/removable choke and tactical rails built right in. The top rail translates into "pick your optical pleasure", the lower, if so equipped, allows you to turn night into day. Not many accessories that I've seen, but with all that, who really needs them?

The basic Mossberg 500 starts in the mid to upper $200 range, and can easily top the lower $300 range. The 870 picks up from there and sits price wise in between the 500 and the 459. And the Mossberg and the Remington are the poster children for "what do you want and how do you want to build it?" I have owned more 870's than I can count. I just traded a Scattergun Tech/Wilson Combat TR-870 (that I got on a trade) for a couple of very nice vintage Remington rifles in 30-06. However, this gun was way outside of frugal and I could have armed my entire family with Maverick 88's for the cost of that shotgun, or had I sold it outright for cash. But my standard 870 still has a home with me. And it as morphed into anything but standard.

The point is, there are at least half a dozen, budget priced reliable pump action shotguns available to fit nearly any budget. And as your budget allows, you can configure, build, tune-up and get down, with just about any of them.

If you have a favorite budget shotgun, let us know what it is and why. If you have information for accessories that we may not know about, such as a pistol grip stock for the 350, which despite my begging and pleading, ATI assures me they are not going to build, let us know. If "this" will fit on "that", share it. And if you love shotguns like I do, jump on this thread and let's go! ::clapping::
 

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Personally, I love my Maverick 88. I have the 7 shot magazine version and it's the best "frugal" weapon investment I've made in a long time. Picked it up for just over $250, put a heat shield with ghost ring sights, sling and a pistol grip on it as upgrades. After all was said and done, I ended up spending around $325ish.
It feeds reliably all the time, even with the crappy alluminum base #8 shot WalMart special ammo and accepts pretty much all (that I know of) Mossberg 500 accessories including barrels with the noted exception of the pump.

The only failure I've had out of it so far after probably 750+ rounds of all different types was when I wasn't paying attention and tried to load an 8th shell into the mag. The follower jammed up at the end of the mag tube. I had to retire it for the afternoon and disassemble it to get the follower unstuck. The fix? I detached the mag tube, cleaned it out with a wire barrel brush, put in some silicone dry lube and ultimately ended up replacing the follower with a $20 upgraded version from Brownell's. When I tried to jam it deliberately, it worked perfectly.
In the field I would have had to remove the barrel, at least one of the shells from the mag and shove something through the muzzle end of the mag to dislodge the follower, which could cost me dearly if messing around for 2 or 3 minutes isn't an option.

Pros:
Cheap
Plenty of accessories
Goes bang and ejects every time
Accurate with most ammo I've tested to 50 yards

Cons:
Replace the follower!
Alluminum receiver, don't even try to drill and tap for an optics mount (there is a weaver rail adapter that sells on Amazon and at Walmart for around $25)
http://www.amazon.com/Weaver-No-Gun...TF8&colid=18EMK0CDVLHW6&coliid=I2QVAE9IBC1391
Does not accept Mossberg 500 forearms without replacing the mag tube (from what I've read)
Cross bolt style safety behind the trigger (really tight and a PIA)
no factory sling mounts, have to drill the stock to attach the stud (Amazon, $15)

Overall, I would certainly arm my family with these weapons and will probably pick up at least one or two more as funding permits
 

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One of my sons recently purchased a used Maverick 88 from one of our many local pawn shops for $125.00. He broke it down, gave it a much needed cleaning and we have run 20 or 30 field loads through it as well as 6 3" 00 buck loads all with no problems. It is not the prettest gun in the world but since he will be shooting slugs in it I doubt that mane people will ever remember seeing it anyway. It holds 6, 5 loaded and 1 chambered and will be an excellent low cost Zombie killer when SHTF. I actually prefer shooting it over my Mossberg 500 since I had it cut down to 18 1/8". Great safety also.
 

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Checking in with my 870 Rem. It came with 2 barrels & I bought it at a Cabela's store when it was on sale at the end of hunting season. Payed like $300. It's my second one since the 1st was stolen by some scumbag. Yes, I liked it that much. Good for both protection & hunting.
 

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Best forget it, stick with being really fast and accurate with a used,$60 Marlin .22 auto rifle, with a silencer for shtf. Stealth, sticking to heavy cover or darkness, will do a lot more for you than belief in any silly combat arm, being exposed in daylight. You can't watch 360 or 24-7, and the noise of shooting will call in enemies for miles around. Buckshot and slugs are very expensive, 50c a shot or more, so nobody practices with them enough to be any good, and pump shotguns malfunction a lot under stress, more so than autoloaders, because the shooters don't fully manipulate the slide action. tubular mags are slow, awkward, fragile, hard to work on and exposed to the elements and damage.
 

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I've always been a po' boy, not very often can I buy any gun new - full retail. But I, like the original poster, love shotguns (and 22 cal rifles).
I'm fortunate to have a fairly good basic knowledge of firearms, having been shooting, reading about, and owning them for over 50 years. This comes in handy for shopping for used guns. Here are a couple of my pawn shop/gunstore used rack purchases:
Remington 870 Super Magnum Express 12 ga - $185, tax included
Winchester 1300 Youth Model 20 ga - $165, tax included
Ithaca 37 Featherlight DS Police Special 12 ga - $300 ( I really wanted it, so was willing to pay the price)

Why buy new? And one does not really need a tactical black plastic folding stock high capacity ghost ring sighted ninja zombie slayer shotgun. A plain bird gun will serve you just as well.
Just my opinion.
 
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I picked up a 1976 era , pre transfer bar, H&R Topper Youth model in 20 gauge last week or so for $85.

One shot, one kill.

In my younger days I've had Stevens, Mossy, and Remmy pumps and a Remmy 1187. I sold them when I was low on dough.
 

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Checking in with my 870 Rem. It came with 2 barrels & I bought it at a Cabela's store when it was on sale at the end of hunting season. Payed like $300. It's my second one since the 1st was stolen by some scumbag. Yes, I liked it that much. Good for both protection & hunting.
Im with you checking in with my Mossberg 535 with a 22 inch barrel, 5-3 shot mag, high viz rifle sights, inter-changable chokes, camo finish from stem to stern, drilled and taped for a red dot sight or what ever you want to attach there, NIB from D!cks Sporting Goods for $219.00 fun dollars out the door this last Septimber. I wasnt planning or even looking to buy another shotgun when I stumbled into this bargin!

Yes its designed for Turkey, but I am always game for a challenge when it comes to shooting guns. That being said with it I bagged a limit of Dove the very next week end. Yes I did look out of place walking along the fellas with their expensive O/U's. I even took it out and bagged a few Teal with it pass shooting. I got some Squirrels and Rabbits with it since then and it worked outstanding for that! Swapped out the choke for a IC choke and ran some drills with slugs and 00-Back and didnt feel all that disadvantaged being limited to 5 shots instead of 7 or 8. I just topped off every chance I got using a technique I learned from some SEALS using our range years back, as I made my way through the course and was able to pretty much hold my own. I gotta admit, I am getting pretty fond of the Hi Viz fiber optic rifle sights! I gotta a couple of 870's and 1 Rem 1100 too. For a gun and brand I normally wouldnt have looked at twice its turning out to impress me quiet a bit and at a cheaper price than a 870 Mag would have cost me. In fact I think the next thing I purchase for this gun is a 28 inch vent rib camo barrel to mach the one I already got!

My point here, keep your eyes peeled and you might be surprised at some of the deals you can find out there if your on a budget. Just becuase it doesnt fit the stereo typical look of a combat shotgun doesnt mean there aint a few models out there that can pull it off just as well and offer you a little more in the way of versatility.

The guns listed by the OP though are pretty decent and are usually the more affordable options. The shotguns in our armory were Mossberg 500's and they held up very well to the abuse they often had to take. They held up every bit as good as the 870's we previously had. Thats saying a lot about something that can survive a few weeks in the field with a bunch of Marines...gentle giants they are not!
 

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I picked up a 1976 era , pre transfer bar, H&R Topper Youth model in 20 gauge last week or so for $85.

One shot, one kill.

In my younger days I've had Stevens, Mossy, and Remmy pumps and a Remmy 1187. I sold them when I was low on dough.
Having sold all my firearms back in the 80's to finance a divorce, when my current (and forever)wife and I started homesteading in the mid 90's all I had to protect us and the animals was a Colt 45 Auto and a Stevens 12 ga single shot that was made in the Thirties. Still have them both. That Stevens is so loose it rattles when you shake it but it has dropped two predators that were after our chickens.
The single shot shotgun is the farmers friend, and it has been argued that it was truly The Gun That Won The West.
 

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This is a good time of year to pick one up, just watch the adds. Last week I picked up a Mossberg 500 8 round security for under 300.00. I think its Either Dicks sporting goods or Big 5 that has the Mossberg 88 for 199.99 right now.
 

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Budget and effective not a cheapy but low cost
Simple Mossberg Maverick model 88 can be had for 159-189 shop around they are about 38 inch over all not to short not to long good for both hunting and Defense.
At that price you can afford to have a couple extra around.
 

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i picked up a 1976 era , pre transfer bar, h&r topper youth model in 20 gauge last week or so for $85.
I will advise everyone here, DO NOT, repeat DO NOT get any h&r with a transfer bar.

If you have one, get rid of it NOW!

The bar will break, not a question of if but when.

They are powdered parts made by presmet corp. In Worcester ma.

Over the last five years i have replaced at least 28 of them.

They all break in the same place.

I bought the last 11 that GPC had in stock, I now have four left. They are for the gun shops i repair guns for .

I also advised them not to take any in on trade or buy outright.

The guns are junk. The cock notch on the hammer also breaks off. Did at least 6 of those also in the same time frame.

JUST MY OPINION FOR WHAT IT IS WORTH.
 

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I will advise everyone here, DO NOT, repeat DO NOT get any h&r with a transfer bar.

If you have one, get rid of it NOW!

The bar will break, not a question of if but when.

They are powdered parts made by presmet corp. In Worcester ma.

Over the last five years i have replaced at least 28 of them.

They all break in the same place.

I bought the last 11 that GPC had in stock, I now have four left. They are for the gun shops i repair guns for .

I also advised them not to take any in on trade or buy outright.

The guns are junk. The cock notch on the hammer also breaks off. Did at least 6 of those also in the same time frame.

JUST MY OPINION FOR WHAT IT IS WORTH.
I'll bet that's news to the guys over on the H&R boards at Marlin Firearms Forum, or graybeardsoutdors. I've had no problems with H&R/New England Firearms single shot shotguns or rifles. Been using them for years. 12 gauge, 20 gauge, .410, 22 Hornet, 45-70 Government.
Of course, if anyone wants to take socom42's advice and get rid of them, just give them to me. And being a nice guy, I'll pay the FFL transfer fee.:mrgreen:
 

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i'll bet that's news to the guys over on the h&r boards at marlin firearms forum, or graybeardsoutdors. I've had no problems with h&r/new england firearms single shot shotguns or rifles. Been using them for years. 12 gauge, 20 gauge, .410, 22 hornet, 45-70 government.
Of course, if anyone wants to take socom42's advice and get rid of them, just give them to me. And being a nice guy, i'll pay the ffl transfer fee.:mrgreen:
just a hint, i worked at h&r for 17 years. Toolmaker/process engineer.

The older ones, pre t-bar are fine. THEY ARE MUCH BETTER MADE GUNS.

I AM REFERRING TO THE ONES MADE IN GARDENER, MA. I CANNOT SPEAK OF THE NEW OWNERS QUALITY.

I WOULD HATE TO SEE SOMEONE HAVE THEIR LIFE DEPEND ON A T-BAR GUN. THE HAMMERS ARE ALSO POWDER PARTS.

IF YOU THINK I AM TALKING THROUGH MY A$$, FINE, I DO NOT CARE.
 

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Check local pawn shops for a used Mossberg 500 A....Should run $150-200 tops. I bought a used one and after a steady diet of Mag #4 buck it is still running strong. I am gonna guess 5000 plus rounds out of a 16 inch barrel, it rattles like a rock in a tin can but still goes bang every time.

Karsten
 

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I agree with what many are saying.

a Maverick 88 is good enough. I have one and I love mine. The current cheapest price brand new retail are at about 160. Note you can easily buy shorter barrels that are made for the Mossberg 500 and swap it in. If you dont want the long barrel. Also pretty much the parts made for a Moss 500 are interchangeable with the Maverick.

Off course if you have the money around to spend then buy a Mossberg 500. They are pretty cheap. The mossberg 500 and Maverick 88 are probably the most common shotguns around. So parts are easy to frankenstein together if when SHTF and your gun messes up.

Also the Remington 870 are quite common but cost a bit more since the military uses them and thus for no reason at all it is usually priced higher than the Mossberg 500 which is used by police officers. By this I mean there are more 500 deployed in the cities and towns in the US than the 870 in military setting.

Two more points I would like to point out for those who are frugal preppers are these ;

First is stick with a 12 gauge because is is a common gauge so finding ammo for it is qute easy if you have to break into abandon houses to look for some chances are you will find 12 ga. Also 12 ga shotshells are cheaper than the other gauges. You can easily buy them too at Walmart for dirt cheap and they are not even locked behind the glass cabinet. It really doesnt matter if you get buckshots or number 9 shots. It is best to have something than nothing (you can always pick up a rock!!). And remember this: If you shot at something with enough shots it will die!!! So if you are frugal just go ahead and buy up all the birdshots you can buy with your budget they go about 23 bucks per 100 shotshells. So they are pretty cheap.

Second is ummm shotgun dont have rifling or other issues that other firearms has. So it is perfectly fine to just go to the local pawn shop and get a shotgun used from them. There is no point of paying brand new retail price for a shotgun. (Really !!! ) Shotgun are made for rough use. If you think about it. It is really just a piece of metal tube that dispenses a huge amount of little metal balls at whatever you are pointing the tube at. So as long at the gun dont rattle too much and all the function works fine with not too much rust, you are good to go. So if your local pawn shop have shotguns that are reasonably price if not quit cheap then why not? Now be aware that some pawn shop people rip off people with their expensive prices. So at least know what it is price retail from those big box store then browse a few pawn shop to determined which one seems reasonable. Side note......pick one that holds the most rounds like a 9 round rather than a 6 round. Hey!! those two or three extra rounds might matter!!!

So in the end, I just wanted to say go with a common shotgun like the mossberg 500 or maverick 88 or Renmington 870, get a 12 ga so that you can load up with more ammo than you would with weird gauges, buy one cheap at the pawn shop or if the local gun store see if they have any cheapy ones that they got from trade ins.

Not only that it is okay to buy little metal balls dispensing metal tubing used, but it is probably a smart idea.

I am not a gun collector ,I dont need my guns to be shinny and nice. I want them all to work when I need them to work.

And also while you are at it, buy a couple of 5 gallon buckets also. I love buckets :D
 

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I just picked up a Rock Island Armory M5 for $169.00 and its a solid running shotgun. Gotta warn you though it's heavy. The other complaint is there are no after market parts for it so it is what it is. I think the Mossberg or Remington are the way to go because there are a million and one parts out there for them.
 

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One advantage with the 870 over the mossberg is, that you can get extension tubes to make it up to 8-10 shots.

The older 870's are as simple to convert by just unscrewing the end cap, popping out the spring retainer, removing spring and follower.

Newer models need the dimples removed.

There are several manufactures you can select from. Brownell's sells them and scattergun tech .

They come in 12 and 20 gage and fit the 1100, 1148 and 1187 also.

As with the 500, you can get all sorts of barrel lengths.
 

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I picked up my Remington 870 Tactical last January for $350 or so at Wal-Mart. I like it a whole lot more than the Mossberg 500s I've used in the military, and it wasn't at all hard to get a good retractable stock for it. Definitely has my vote.
 
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