OR RATHER, WE MIGHT PUT IT THIS WAY, what makes a shotgun good?
There's been a fair amount of debate here amounting to "My shotgun can whip your shotgun". Maybe some dialog on what we want and expect from our shotguns is in order. This can apply to both "Serious" and recreational shotguns. Here's my [set of] opinions, none graven on Tablets of Stone. A good shotgun should be....
Reliable. A failure rate of LESS than 1/200 rounds is minimal.Most modern US made repeaters qualify.
Durable. A use life of upwards of 35K rounds. Again, most modern US made repeaters can do this, some with a bit of small parts replacement.
Comfortable to use. This means fitting the shooter, of a weight consistent to the Rule of 96 with the load of choice, and capable of being shot many times in a short time period w/o pain. Ergonomics fit in here, and so does a clean, light but safe trigger.
Appropriate to the mission. 410s should not be used for pass shooting geese, nor 10 gauges weighing 12 lbs lugged through alder thickets for woodcock.
Appropriate to the shooter. That 10 gauge in pixie hands is punishing to use.
Affordable. Either on base price or per use. A $1K gun that lasts 50K rounds may be "Better" than a $500 gun that barely makes it through 25K.
Esthetically pleasing. This is completely subjective.
Capable of quick and effective deployment. Most shotgun usage, from crisis management to quail hunting, takes place in short time frames. The weapon, in the hands of THAT shooter, must be fast but sure.
Uses commonly available ammo. No 24 gauges. No 2" chambers.
That's about it. What do YOU think?
Thanks to Big Dave McCracken for the perfect shotgun theory detailed above, as he adds, "It's the pianist, not the piano." Works for me, as well.