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Posted: 1/5/2012 2:27:37 PM EDT
I've had my Remington 11-87 for a couple of years now (bought used, abused, broken-beaten-rusty-full-of-duck-hunt-mud from a hock shop) and I've had to replace the shell interrupter, all the springs, gas ring, piston ring, parkerized both the barrel and receiver, installed a DMW EZ-Loader, oversized safety, oversized bolt handle and some 3 gun gear saddles on the receiver and forearm. Basically I've been all the way through the gun from one end to the other and it finally runs right with heavy loads and light. The only problem is the felt recoil drives me nuts, not because it is excessive because it's not, but because the interrupted recoil of the bolt locking back for a split second then slamming forward again is distracting to me after shooting Berreta 391 variants for the last few years. Silly, but it really drove me nuts to the extent that I went shopping for something else. Enter the Winchester-

The Winchester is a used Super X2 that I got from a shop in town for $550 with three chokes and just the one piston, I don't even know which one it is. The length of pull on the Remington (factory plastic stock) is 14" and the Winchester is nearly 14 1/2", both of which are a bit long for a 'tactical' shotgun (I hate the term 'tactical' but don't know what else to use). I've seen on the web that it's not too difficult to adapt a Remington Stock for the Winchester, so I plan to use a youth stock and slim pad to hopefully lose well over an inch of stock length.

I went out and shot both guns with a variety of ammo including slugs, game loads, trap loads and reduced recoil buckshot. Both guns functioned perfectly with all loads. I also loaded up my 3GunGear saddles on both shotguns and shot them to see if being heavily loaded would affect them- both are gas guns, but it's good to check. The Remington has never had a problem loaded this way and the Winchester also functioned great.



Comparison-

The Winchester is supposed to be the fastest recoiling shotgun on the market, but if it is I can't tell the difference. I DO notice the change in the way it recoils and I can only assume that that brief pause of the 11-87 locking back and releasing causes the barrel to rise much more than the Winchester. Getting second shots off was a bit slower with the Remington because of this, in fact the Winchester seemed so flat-shooting that I could take double and triple-taps and stay on target well enough to feel controlled going as fast as I could.

The Winchester is also lighter due to the aluminum receiver.

With the DMW EZLoader the Remington was easier to load, in fact I kept stuffing rounds into the corner at the far side of the loading port in the Winchester and had to back them out slightly, lift them just a fraction and stuff them into the mag tube. I'm assuming that welding the lifter will solve this, but I'm a bit disappointed that I can't just grind a bit off the points and call it good at that.

The stock safety on the Winchester is slightly larger than the stock Remington, but smaller than the Scattergun Technologies safety that I've got on the 11-87 now. I think it's large enough to get away without buying a new oversized safety for the Winchester, but I'll see as time goes.

The Winchester has the ability to ghost load onto the lifter, where the Remington does not. This means I get one extra round of capacity out of the Winchester and end up with a 4+1+1 in stock configuration. Nice.



Overall I'm really happy with the Winchester, it feels much more like the Beretta with a snappy recoil and simple parts.

I have not owned a Benelli and don't intend to in the near future, but I have owned several Berettas and really miss the magazine lock-out when the trigger hasn't been tripped, maybe someday I'll end up with one of those too but I'm just not in a huge hurry. I might try to get an A5 and make my own mag extension and other gizmos to get it ready to go, but an A5 is just a good gun any way you look at it. The next project will be an Ithaca 37 I think.
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