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New to shooting, first gun recommendations?an


Clarkey
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Hello everyone! 
 

I’m new to the forum and only just got my first shotgun licence.  I’ve only been with friends to shoot clays and look forward to getting my own shotgun, but what to get? 
 

I live in the West Midlands, so would be up for going to try before I buy if that is even a thing.

I’m 6”2, bulky build with good upper body strength, so I presume a heavier longer barrel would most likely suit me, also very important I have huge hands/fingers (I.e fat fingers) so I need something I can grip.

Great news is I have zero brand loyalty and I’m not bothered in the slightest about how posh a gun is, what I care about is quality,  reliability and residue prices if I come to sell.

I want to have something I won’t learn bad habits from and will help me improve as I go on, I.e I don’t want to buy junk that I’m just want to upgrade from instantly.  I want to know the gun is better than my ability for years to come and it’s only me that needs to improve.

budget, well cheaper the better really, but I have learnt with everything you buy cheap you going to buy twice, I also know your better to buy something that has a value at the end otherwise it’s just throwing money away..  but saying that I would sooner spend £2k on a gun and have a £2k for ammo and fuel to go and do more shooting then a £4-5k I’m scared to scratch . 

style wise, I’m open minded, care more about fit and how it will shoot then it’s looks, so would really like to go try them first, but be nice if I have an idea of what to look for.
 

I’ve watched a few YouTube videos but they are always pushing the major brands so bit bias towards what deals they have going on in the back ground ..

hopefully if you could offer some suggestions for me to look at that would be fantastic.

Only guy I have shot was a friends which was a Browning 725 pro sport with 32” barrel and I found its size to fit me well (I think) but I found it a bit bulky to swing around but that could be lack of any experience, but I hit more then I was expecting with it tbf, only thing I didn’t personally like was the style (black frame).  Its within my budget to get one but I feel would be totally wasted on me right now…?

Thanks in advance, look forward to seeing peoples opinions.

clarkey.

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Get out to some grounds with gun shops attached and try a few is the only way to find out what suits you.

Standard advice is that if you want residual value go for a Browning, Miroku or Beretta.  Second hand is probably better for your first gun - if you get hooked you'll probably end up changing it after a year or two anyway.  If you are looking second hand, you might want to add Blaser to that list if you're looking to spend up to £2k.

Another generalisation - if you are buying off the shelf without any stock adjustments, browning / miroku tend to fit larger chaps better than beretta.  My husband is 6'4, has to hunch himself up to get a workable sight picture on a 686, but 525/725 brownings he fits reasonably.  Currently shoots a 725 and the palm swell seems to suit his large hands.

Don't worry about the weight, as a beginner every gun feels heavy and unwieldy.  It gets easier with practice - muscle memory and not holding the gun up for ages checking your mount every time helps a lot.  Balance is probably a bit more important and I'd suggest testing to see if whatever you settle on balances around the hinge pin or just in front.  A really front heavy gun won't help you out as a beginner.

 

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I'm 6ft 4in and about 18st. Initial bought a 30" Browning 525SL, which I still have. I adjusted the comb and used a spacer and larger butt pad to get the sight picture and length of pull right.  Did try a 725, but didn't like the grip angle or palm swell.  Although I still have the 525SL, I now mainly shoot a 32" XS Ultra Pro, which is still a 525 action. Changed to that because I prefer the trap style forend on the XS as opposed to the Schnabel on the 525SL, still has the same grip dimesions, and has weights to get the correct gun balance. Also prefer 32" barrels.

If you liked the 725 but it felt bulky to swing, as Bebo mentioned,  it might just be the balance of the gun wasn't right and was muzzle heavy.  I'm pretty sure the 725 comes with a stock balancing kit.

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Thank you for the advice. 

Clearly after trying the Browning 725 Pro Sport I really liked the package, I can't really have much opinion on it other then it felt nice because I do not have the skill set to appreciate that.  I looked into the 525 vs 725 and I would prefer the 725 on paper, but all of this doesn't mater if it doesn't fit me.  I would ideally like to go somewhere to try them, does anyone have any suggestions in my area I could go? 

So lets say I had the 725 pro sport and XS Ultra pro to my list of guns to try, what else? 

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The West Midlands is a big place - could you more specific.

Premier Gun at Doveridge has a (very) large stock of new guns but I'm (personally) not convinced they care much beyond the sale.

Hadfields (Lakeside) near Wymeswold are also very good - I find Jamie in the shop good to talk to and helpful. If I was buying new he would probably be my first call though I would not necessarily buy on the first visit.

Rugby Guns are very good and more of a "local" shop with strong loyalty to their customers. The same is true of Rose at Kibworth. Their ranges are not as wide however and with Rugby there is no option to try on site.

All of these though are more to the East side.

Also, do whereever beforehand. Ensuring they have a gun to try is imporant and as is ensuring they have some time to spend with you.

You cannot got far wrong with a mid-range Browning or Beretta. If you buy a Pro-Sport (for example) selling it on or trading it in will not result in a great loss. Significantly less if you get something second hand. Once you get a gun your shooting style is likely to change, you will learn more, and you are then likely to start looking again as you have a better idea of what you want. The only serious word of warning is do not get the lightest gun thinking its easier to move around. Long term the weight means control. And it's probably best to get an adjustible comb.

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If you buy any adjustable guns . 


1) then spend say £100 on an hour or so with someone who really knows how to set up all the moveable bits for you . That’s someone who really knows , not your mate who’s read it on the Internet . This should be done with your shooting at targets , not a bloke in a shop “ fitting it “ . 

2) lock all the spare bits and tools in a cupboard for a year and just shoot it . Don’t be tempted to touch anything . 

3) when you are shooting consistently go see the bloke at 1) above again and see if there is any tweaking needed after you’ve settled into the gun . 

 

Edited by MartynB
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4 hours ago, Freddypip said:

The West Midlands is a big place - could you more specific.

Premier Gun at Doveridge has a (very) large stock of new guns but I'm (personally) not convinced they care much beyond the sale.

Hadfields (Lakeside) near Wymeswold are also very good - I find Jamie in the shop good to talk to and helpful. If I was buying new he would probably be my first call though I would not necessarily buy on the first visit.

Rugby Guns are very good and more of a "local" shop with strong loyalty to their customers. The same is true of Rose at Kibworth. Their ranges are not as wide however and with Rugby there is no option to try on site.

All of these though are more to the East side.

Also, do whereever beforehand. Ensuring they have a gun to try is imporant and as is ensuring they have some time to spend with you.

You cannot got far wrong with a mid-range Browning or Beretta. If you buy a Pro-Sport (for example) selling it on or trading it in will not result in a great loss. Significantly less if you get something second hand. Once you get a gun your shooting style is likely to change, you will learn more, and you are then likely to start looking again as you have a better idea of what you want. The only serious word of warning is do not get the lightest gun thinking its easier to move around. Long term the weight means control. And it's probably best to get an adjustible comb.

I should have been more specific on location, I just wanted to case a wider net as I was willing to travel if it was worth it… if your going to spend £2-4k then it’s worth a trip 🙂 

I live in Halesowen, West Midlands, right next to junction 3 of the M5.  
 

Thank you for the suggestions, I will look into those place, if now you know where I’m situated If you know any more be sure to share.

I would prefer a heavier gun as you say more mass it’s going to be more stable, and will build my strength up 🙂 

 

1 hour ago, MartynB said:

If you buy any adjustable guns . 


1) then spend say £100 on an hour or so with someone who really knows how to set up all the moveable bits for you . That’s someone who really knows , not your mate who’s read it on the Internet . This should be done with your shooting at targets , not a bloke in a shop “ fitting it “ . 

2) lock all the spare bits and tools in a cupboard for a year and just shoot it . Don’t be tempted to touch anything . 

3) when you are shooting consistently go see the bloke at 1) above again and see if there is any tweaking needed after you’ve settled into the gun . 

 

Thanks for your reply.

1) totally agree, there needs to be a balance between self discovery and professional guidance, I would like to invest in some lessons or training at the start as not to learn poor habits.  Maybe you could kindly recommend such places that could offer these services. 
 

I’m sure a cheap well set up gun is going to be better than a expensive  gun that is set up completely wrong.

2) also agree with this, I think changing to many variables constantly you won’t learn the basics.

3)OK

appreciate your advice 👍🏻

Edited by Clarkey
Missed a word out… doh
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I’m a bit too far north of you to know who is about your area . Thing is not all coaches understand gunfit , not all gun-fitters can coach . The Holy Grail is a coach who can set up an adjustable gun , or tell you what to change . There will be a a good few in the Midlands , and I’m sure the members on here can direct you 

With a single cartridge and a missed clay costing  60 pence your attitude to coaching is dead right , you’ll soon get payback on the outlay 
 


 

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4 hours ago, Clarkey said:

I should have been more specific on location, I just wanted to case a wider net as I was willing to travel if it was worth it… if your going to spend £2-4k then it’s worth a trip 🙂 

I live in Halesowen, West Midlands, right next to junction 3 of the M5.  
 

Thank you for the suggestions, I will look into those place, if now you know where I’m situated If you know any more be sure to share.

I would prefer a heavier gun as you say more mass it’s going to be more stable, and will build my strength up 🙂 

 

Thanks for your reply.

1) totally agree, there needs to be a balance between self discovery and professional guidance, I would like to invest in some lessons or training at the start as not to learn poor habits.  Maybe you could kindly recommend such places that could offer these services. 
 

I’m sure a cheap well set up gun is going to be better than a expensive  gun that is set up completely wrong.

2) also agree with this, I think changing to many variables constantly you won’t learn the basics.

3)OK

appreciate your advice 👍🏻

Pop in to Brierley Guns . 15 minutes from you.  The shop caters specifically  for clay shooters. The owners are prolific clayshooters themselves and really know their stuff. Very good shots too. They have a good range of guns. I have used them for years and they have gone above and beyond my(high) expectations on numerous occasions. I believe that Brett (owner) does some coaching and gun set up work .Used to be at Shugborough(oakedge) shooting ground on Wednesdays. Not sure if this is still the case but a quick call will confirm. 

Prices very competitive.

www.brierleyguns.com

Jasper.

Edited by jasper
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I’m 6ft 6 ins and weigh the wrong side of 19 stone. I shoot a Beretta 682 Gold E which is a reasonable fit. I agree with others that you should ideally buy from a shop attached to a ground so you can try the gun out. Kibworth isn’t too far from you, if you want to make it a half day then try Oxford `gun `company who also do gun fitting etc. Welcome to the sport!

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Just had a bad thought, When I bought my gun cabinet I just asked the shop for a shotgun cabinet and they supplied one, thinking it was universal size.. is it?

i can’t find how long a Browning 725 pro sport with 32” barrels would actually be.. bit worried I might have messed up…eek.

when I search for dimensions I get the stock length and then the barrels, but my understand it’s only to the trigger from back of the stock, so 32”+15”(stock length) is 47”…how much more is between trigger and where the barrels start? 

my cabinet is 48” opening, its only narrow 3 guns apparently, so might be able to put bottom in first then get something touch longer in, so maybe 49” max.

Clearly I can remove barrels to put the gun in several pieces for now.. but can anyone tell me overall length so I know what to expect..

also is 32” barrels including choke extension or is that more again.

Edited by Clarkey
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6 hours ago, Clarkey said:

Just had a bad thought, When I bought my gun cabinet I just asked the shop for a shotgun cabinet and they supplied one, thinking it was universal size.. is it?

i can’t find how long a Browning 725 pro sport with 32” barrels would actually be.. bit worried I might have messed up…eek.

when I search for dimensions I get the stock length and then the barrels, but my understand it’s only to the trigger from back of the stock, so 32”+15”(stock length) is 47”…how much more is between trigger and where the barrels start? 

my cabinet is 48” opening, its only narrow 3 guns apparently, so might be able to put bottom in first then get something touch longer in, so maybe 49” max.

Clearly I can remove barrels to put the gun in several pieces for now.. but can anyone tell me overall length so I know what to expect..

also is 32” barrels including choke extension or is that more again.

Just measured my dt11 in 32" and it is 49 1/2" with flush chokes, a pro sport will be somewhere similar, expect it with extended chokes to be 50 to 51" ish give or take a little.

Edited by Jonny English
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2 hours ago, Jonny English said:

Just measured my dt11 in 32" and it is 49 1/2" with flush chokes, a pro sport will be somewhere similar, expect it with extended chokes to be 50 to 51" ish give or take a little.

Thank you ever so much for taking the time to measure that for me, that is very kind of you!! :D 👍

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

I presume if I change my cabinet for a larger one then I need to get it inspected again even if its in the same location? 

When I bought this cabinet I had my back up against the wall a little bit, I got the call that the police chap was coming round to interview me for my license only 24h before the appointment, I held off getting a cabinet and drilling it to my wall until I heard back from the licensing department, because if it was a "No" on other grounds and I didn't even get to the interview stage I didn't want to waste my money.  So I was in a bit of a rush to get something quick so that it didn't delay the process, as he said to me that if they had to come back it wouldn't be for a while, which I thought my harm my chances of getting a license.  So I was all systems go and who ever had one that fit the bill I was going to buy.. ..  

Normally I do my research and find something ideal, and I was happy to spend whatever to get a quality unit, but I quickly found no one stocks them, (well near me within reasonable distance), they order them for 2-3 days delivery time which wasn't going to work for me as the interview was only the next day.  So when I found a local place that had one in stock and I could drive and get it, so conversation was more, do you have one and can I collect.  So its not really their fault or my own, just didn't have the time to go through the decision and didn't tell them I wanted to put the longest shotgun I could find in there ..

The cabinet I purchased was >>Buffalo River Economy 3 Gun Safe<< but not from this place, but I saw it was £190 online (plus some delivery) and the place that had an ex-demo one was £140 collected, so for the sake of not holding the licensing situation up, whatever like, I'm sure I could sell it for £100 or something. 

So if anyone has some suggestions of a quality safe that will be future proof that would be ace, I guess I'm not bothered about how many guns but just enough room that it doesn't feel like I'm going to damage the wood of the gun every time I put it away ..  (again I now have time to plan this step).

Oh and I wouldn't have started this thread unless I got a very strong indication from the officer that there is no reason to issue me the license and I should be good to go.

For anyone wondering also, it took 96 days (basically 14 weeks) from applying for a new license and having my intervew, and it's been suggested I will see the license arrive end of jan start of feb.  

Sorry that was a bit of a rant . :D

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49 minutes ago, Clarkey said:

Thank you ever so much for taking the time to measure that for me, that is very kind of you!! :D 👍

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

I presume if I change my cabinet for a larger one then I need to get it inspected again even if its in the same location? 

When I bought this cabinet I had my back up against the wall a little bit, I got the call that the police chap was coming round to interview me for my license only 24h before the appointment, I held off getting a cabinet and drilling it to my wall until I heard back from the licensing department, because if it was a "No" on other grounds and I didn't even get to the interview stage I didn't want to waste my money.  So I was in a bit of a rush to get something quick so that it didn't delay the process, as he said to me that if they had to come back it wouldn't be for a while, which I thought my harm my chances of getting a license.  So I was all systems go and who ever had one that fit the bill I was going to buy.. ..  

Normally I do my research and find something ideal, and I was happy to spend whatever to get a quality unit, but I quickly found no one stocks them, (well near me within reasonable distance), they order them for 2-3 days delivery time which wasn't going to work for me as the interview was only the next day.  So when I found a local place that had one in stock and I could drive and get it, so conversation was more, do you have one and can I collect.  So its not really their fault or my own, just didn't have the time to go through the decision and didn't tell them I wanted to put the longest shotgun I could find in there ..

The cabinet I purchased was >>Buffalo River Economy 3 Gun Safe<< but not from this place, but I saw it was £190 online (plus some delivery) and the place that had an ex-demo one was £140 collected, so for the sake of not holding the licensing situation up, whatever like, I'm sure I could sell it for £100 or something. 

So if anyone has some suggestions of a quality safe that will be future proof that would be ace, I guess I'm not bothered about how many guns but just enough room that it doesn't feel like I'm going to damage the wood of the gun every time I put it away ..  (again I now have time to plan this step).

Oh and I wouldn't have started this thread unless I got a very strong indication from the officer that there is no reason to issue me the license and I should be good to go.

For anyone wondering also, it took 96 days (basically 14 weeks) from applying for a new license and having my intervew, and it's been suggested I will see the license arrive end of jan start of feb.  

Sorry that was a bit of a rant . :D

No problem.

1.308m is 51 - 1/2", take off 1/2" for steel and floor padding you should have 51" of room inside. If you pop the bottom in first and go cross corners through the opening a pro sport should go in, even with extended chokes in. Worst case is take the chokes our first, just make sure you put them back in when you take it out. I wouldn't rush into selling it before you've tried it.

If you do change cabinet I would hope you wouldn't need another visit, but an email notifying them of the changes and a photo should be reasonable. I may however be wrong with that depending on your area and FAO.

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I have "take down" cabinet. I use a "take down" case. Put the gun in the case at the ground and then put the case in the cabinet in one go.

You have to remove the gun barrels to clean the gun properly anyway so why not store it like that if the cabinet is too short. I would mange and then if it gets on your nerves change the cabinet. I have say however that my cabinet will take 7 or 8 guns broken down so I can easily get both mine & my daughters guns in their cases ready to go.

Before anyone asks I ensure the guns are totally clean, oiled & dry etc before they go back in their cases & the cabinet.

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@Jonny English

Yeah I hear what you saying, I found the real world measurement due to the double security lip means the opening is only 49" (about 1/16" under).  Also worth noting that the front door is tiny, you can only open it half way, i.e so it points directly towards you when fully opened, and has two massive lock bodies on the back, so I think you could say the entry width is about 5" max.  I will however get some true measurements tonight as I only quickly put the tape up against it and approximated the lip top and bottom... clearly, you don't put the gun in all at once, you put bottom or top in first hook it around the lip then put the other part in etc. 

I'm in no rush to swap it out, but I also wouldn't have picked this as my first choice so there will be no love lost in selling it and getting something more suitable.. because if I did scratch the wood or chip the coating on the gun because I can barely get it in, I will be very annoyed.

I also did a quick search on the box and many people that had it said 2 guns max as it was so tight in there.. and if that was a stretch. 

What I'm thinking is to get a nicer cabinet for home, specially when the lads are round we can lock everything away etc, and have this one maybe at my place of work so if I'm there for the day I can store it away safely.  

@Freddypip

I will look into what your saying, would be sweet to have it so that it in a box ready to go that I can just pull out.  And yes will be cleaning the gun after every use and I have lots of Ultrasonic cleaners at work so when it gets really grubby I can give it a proper bath and re-oil :D

 

Edited by Clarkey
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For a decent quality traditional cabinet , Brattonsound are superior in every respect to the others . They are U.K. made .
 

Do not be misled  there is no such thing as a police approved cabinet , just cabinets that purport to be made to the relevant British Standard .  2 years ago I needed an extra cabinet In a hurry . I bought something called the Ultimate Safe , it was ultimate … ultimate sh*te ! , my cat could have levered it open ! 
 

To put it in perspective  my small Brattonsound  ( 15” cube ) section 1 ammo safe cost the same as the 6 gun Ultimate Safe . I left the Ultimate safe bolted to the wall  when I sold the house , it was honestly worthless . For a bit more space in a cabinet buy one made  for scoped rifle depth . 

Edited by MartynB
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So done a nights worth of research and I think the Browning B725 Pro Sport is the top of my list to try right now, what is similar in the Miroku range? (as I believe they are made in the same place)

I was reluctant to say this before as I know this might offend some people and I don't want to be rude, but the biggest thing that put me off the Browning was the bright yellow logo on the barrel, I really don't like that at all, but I thought it was painted on but I realised its a sticker, so I presume I will not be beaten to a pulp at a shoot because I've taken the barrel sticker off? . 

Would mean I'm happy with the styling of the Pro Sport.

Clearly this is just on paper at the moment.

4 minutes ago, MartynB said:

For a decent quality traditional cabinet , Brattonsound are superior in every respect to the others . They are U.K. made .
 

Do not be misled  there is no such thing as a police approved cabinet , just cabinets that purport to be made to the relevant British Standard .  2 years ago I needed an extra cabinet In a hurry . I bought something called the Ultimate Safe , it was ultimate … ultimate sh*te ! , my cat could have levered it open ! 
 

To put it in perspective  my small Brattonsound  ( 15” cube ) section 1 ammo safe cost the same as the 6 gun Ultimate Safe . I left the Ultimate safe bolted to the wall  when I sold the house , it was honestly worthless . For a bit more space in a cabinet buy one made  for scoped rifle depth . 

I was going to ask do they actually get tested to a standard... because I do fabrication at work, would be very easy for me to make a really nice safe of my own which I would like more because, well because I made it myself :D

Design it in CAD and get the plates Laser cut, I mean its a box with a hinge and a few locks on the front :D

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People don't leave those barrel stickers on - I suppose there might be a few that do but they are the ones that get the odd looks.

Personally I would worry that the barrel heat might permently weld it on - I'm sure it won't but I'd get the shop to remove it just in case.

There is nothing in the Miroku range that matches the Pro Sport. The MK38 & MK70 are nice guns and worth a fondle to see how they fit and they may be worth a good look if you can find a decent second hand example with an adjustible comb. The Pro Sport has the balancing weights and other stuff to allow you to set it up for you personally. Do not go in with too much a preconception fo what you want - try them all - something will click. For example - https://www.brierleyguns.com/guns/shotguns/used/184 should be given a feel even it's to discount it.

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1 hour ago, Freddypip said:

People don't leave those barrel stickers on - I suppose there might be a few that do but they are the ones that get the odd looks.

Personally I would worry that the barrel heat might permently weld it on - I'm sure it won't but I'd get the shop to remove it just in case.

There is nothing in the Miroku range that matches the Pro Sport. The MK38 & MK70 are nice guns and worth a fondle to see how they fit and they may be worth a good look if you can find a decent second hand example with an adjustible comb. The Pro Sport has the balancing weights and other stuff to allow you to set it up for you personally. Do not go in with too much a preconception fo what you want - try them all - something will click. For example - https://www.brierleyguns.com/guns/shotguns/used/184 should be given a feel even it's to discount it.

Yeah totally agree, I guess I just want to not be blind sided when I'm there and have some knowledge of what they might recommend etc, but won't make my mind up until I've actually tried one thats for sure.

When I have some time I will pop up to Brierleyguns and see what they say, I'm just a little be worried to go there before my license lands because I'm sure they have plenty of time wasters etc, and I don't want to give that impression.

I'm so glad you've said people take them off, I have seen loads with them on, but I guess I didn't notice the ones that didn't so to me all brownings people leave the stickers on ..  Not a fan of logos or wearing closes with brands on... if they want to pay me to wear there brands they can do so :D

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I wouldn't worry about visiting before your license arrives. The shop will be very familiar with the process and that you have had a home visit etc. Its probably a good thing. Gives you time to look & think and listen without any pressure. A gun is a tactile thing - the more you hold and feel and get used to the more you will have an idea about what you want. I am sure others will add to this list but I would keep in mind the following,

  • Barrel length - not really the length but the weight out front.
  • Overall Balance - Do you prefer the weight between the hands or more evenly spread.
  • Forend - Does the design feel right in the hand.
  • Palm Swell - Does that feel right in the hand.
  • The trigger position - it should be on the pad of the finger - many are adjustible. Your hand should not be cramped up.
  • Stock length - a spacer or two can change this alot even if its only a 1/4 inch.

All of the above is subject to the comb being in the right place and the gun shooting where you point it. This is where the adjustible comb bit comes in until you know exactly what works for you. And everyone is different - bit like people driving - we all have a slightly different seat setup etc.

There are other factors. Very few poeple get their choice right first time.

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That cabinet looks like the one I have and mine fits a 32" 525 with a few extended stock pad bits over standard cos I'm an inch taller than you and similar build, so I'd have thought it would fit. It's snug getting through the door, I'll give you that, but it definitely goes in my safe.

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If you're worried about marking the gun in a tight cabinet "gun socks " are your friend, I use them on all mine (only 3 now) in a 7 gun cabinet. If you change the cabinet you don't have to inform the licensing authority as security is your responsibility just do it properly, I  found online a brattonsound 7 gun musket cabinet cheap years ago it's tall enough to take a 32" semi auto without splitting it down! but I don't think they make them anymore 

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Re somewhere to "try before you buy" Coleys nr Cheltenham which is not too far from you do look to have a Pro-Sport or two, they could set it up for you and there you are able to shoot a few stands. 

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