May 2008

12-Gauge Matchup: Stoeger’s Cowboy Gun Beats 870 Pump

With the Stoeger Coach Gun, we found there was no hesitation nor any lost time for the ?rst two shots. An intruder would have no doubts about the outcome of such a confrontation.

Alot of people are buying shotguns for home protection these days. Thereís a lot to be said for that, because a shotgun requires little training to be effective, the overall costs are relatively low, and the deterrent effect is on the awesome side, even though no shots may be fired. But what shotgun to get? What type and gauge is best? Thatíll depend on your location and type of home to some extent, but there are some absolutes. Beginning with caliber, the 12-gauge has the most to offer in load variety, availability, and ammo cost. While there are good arguments for smaller calibers, particularly when light, young, or recoil-sensitive personnel may be using the gun, for this report we considered only the 12-gauge.

We had never compared "police" shotguns with double side-by-sides, so decided to have a look at the two to see if there are obvious or perhaps hidden advantages to one type over the other. We chose a police-type Remington 870 Express Magnum Folding Stock, 12-gauge pump (MSRP $505) to test against a double SXS Stoeger Coach Gun, made in Brazil by E.R. Amantino (MSRP $369). Both had 3-inch chambers.

Although the Stoeger had 20-inch barrels, it was 2.5 inches shorter at 36.5 inches overall than the 870 with its 18.5-inch tube. Of course you can fold the stock on the Remington to give an overall length of 29.3 inches and itíll still be functional. We tested with three types of ammunition. These were 2.75" Federal 1-ounce #8 Game-Shok, 2.75" Estate 1.25-ounce High-Velocity Hunting loads, and with 3" Winchester XX Magnum 00 Buckshot (15 pellets). While the obvious difference between these two guns is many shots versus two, thatís by no means the whole story. Letís take a closer look.

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