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Just recently moved to Michigan and am looking to get into hunting. I've always enjoyed the outdoors and hiking and fishing, but didn't grow up in a hunting/shooting family, so am a beginner in my mid-20's. Excited to learn more and get out there!

I've been reading a lot about Michigan's seasons and regulations, and have visited a few gun stores and checked out some firearms and asked some questions. After the reading and advice I got at stores, I'm hoping to spend $1,000 or less on an all-purpose shotgun and a straight-walled midwestern deer rifle.

Again, don't know a ton about various brands and options, and a lot of stuff is out of stock. I'm not too picky about the details, just looking for something that will get the job done and last a long time. The less recoil the better as I've had multiple shoulder surgeries due to various injuries (which is leading me to think 20 gauge + 350 legend - but curious what people think about that). And on the shotgun, looking for something versatile enough to try out different games as I learn more - starting with spring turkey this year, then wanna give waterfowl a shot in the fall.

So given the above, I'm currently looking at the Winchester SXP Field Pump 20 Gauge for the shotgun, and a Savage Axis II XP 350 Legend for deer season. Anyone have any thoughts on or experience with these models? Or think perhaps there'd be something better that's in a similar budget?

Also, just a general question -- is there a time of year when more models tend to re-stock? I know there's a lot of new interest in hunting and gun sales are up, so makes sense that things are out of stock, but was wondering if I should expect availability to improve within a few months.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts and help here! Really excited to learn more about hunting and have enjoyed reading all sorts of threads on here as someone interested in getting into it.
 

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Welcome lach, you are actually pretty spot on on what you are looking at, but let me also add that a gas operated shotgun would be even more “soft” than a pump gun, just a thought, being a newbie a pump might be better as there are less parts when you are taking it apart and cleaning.

Hunting season things can get sparse, but spring shelves should get stocked again, also look at gunbroker.com and Michigan Gun Owners they have a couple of threads for guns for sale, you might find a good deal to you on there. If you dont mind buying a used gun.

And if it were me I would add a .22lr to my wish list. I have a older Win. 1200 in 20 and my wife has a Rem. Lt20 with the English stock, hers is a bit softer recoiling than my pump, but my 1200 has a system that unlocks the bolt persay and will move rearward on its own, I can cycle it as fast as any of my autoloaders, but Ive also have had it for 40+ years.

The 350 is a nice caliber too, will get the job done and is said to be a soft recoiling gun. And is good to go for the entire state. I have a 12g autoloader set up for shotgun/zone 3, areas and its just brutal to shoot, I also have a 44 mag carbine and a 44 mag pistol set up for zone 3 here, the carbine shoots soft but the revolver is a handfull.
 

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I second the gas operated semi auto over a pump, for the exact same reasons. Less recoil with a bad shoulder is always appreciated. Another is weight, it's great to lesson recoil but to lug it around and not able to get it on target I would opt for the lightest semi auto in a 20 gauge. Weight carrying it around can and has affected bad shoulders.
On the rifle 357 looks nice but probably would go for a Savage with heavy barrel and pre threaded for a muzzle brake. Not that you will need it but if you should it's already set up to add a muzzle brake.
I also would highly suggest like was posted a 22LR for both plinking, varmints, and small game hunting. Don't get me wrong a 20 gauge has its uses but if you live in the country or rural setting a 22 can dispatch varmints, in traps. Also squirrel hunting with a shotgun is a must in many areas zone 3 but nothing like a 22 where it is safe to shoot/hunt. It also helps in getting game in the scope quickly and helps to practice using a rifle in many different ways. FYI saving teeth instead of biting into shot.
 

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Just recently moved to Michigan and am looking to get into hunting. I've always enjoyed the outdoors and hiking and fishing, but didn't grow up in a hunting/shooting family, so am a beginner in my mid-20's. Excited to learn more and get out there!

I've been reading a lot about Michigan's seasons and regulations, and have visited a few gun stores and checked out some firearms and asked some questions. After the reading and advice I got at stores, I'm hoping to spend $1,000 or less on an all-purpose shotgun and a straight-walled midwestern deer rifle.

Again, don't know a ton about various brands and options, and a lot of stuff is out of stock. I'm not too picky about the details, just looking for something that will get the job done and last a long time. The less recoil the better as I've had multiple shoulder surgeries due to various injuries (which is leading me to think 20 gauge + 350 legend - but curious what people think about that). And on the shotgun, looking for something versatile enough to try out different games as I learn more - starting with spring turkey this year, then wanna give waterfowl a shot in the fall.

So given the above, I'm currently looking at the Winchester SXP Field Pump 20 Gauge for the shotgun, and a Savage Axis II XP 350 Legend for deer season. Anyone have any thoughts on or experience with these models? Or think perhaps there'd be something better that's in a similar budget?

Also, just a general question -- is there a time of year when more models tend to re-stock? I know there's a lot of new interest in hunting and gun sales are up, so makes sense that things are out of stock, but was wondering if I should expect availability to improve within a few months.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts and help here! Really excited to learn more about hunting and have enjoyed reading all sorts of threads on here as someone interested in getting into it.


Sounds like a plan. However as had been stated. Buy yourself a quality 22 rifle as I believe that they are an essential tool for any sportsman...
 

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I'd go with a decent semi-auto 12g over the 20g pump. In identical platforms the recoil difference between 20g and 12g target loads is minimal, but the semi-auto should give you some recoil reduction. There will be some more recoil in the heavy field and waterfowl 12g, but shooting 2 3/4" along with a good recoil absorbing butt pad can handle most of that. The 12g will open up a lot of choices for shells and reduce the future trouble and expense of searching for what you want in a 20g.
 

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I got into deer hunting at the age of 29, thanks to my father in law. Thank God. Hunting is some of the best, most wholesome and rejuvenating time I’ve spent in my life. Here’s the order of what I bought:

Barnett Crossbow: gets you active in bow season. Really extends your hunting opportunities. was about $350. In hindsight, wasn’t a great purchase because the limbs shows some splinters five years in and parts not available anywhere. Was a good starter crossbow though.

Mossberg 500 pump action shotgun (12 gauge). Got me active in gun season. (I live in Southwest MI). About $375 at the time

CVA muzzleloader. At that time zone 3 had an exclusive muzzleloader season. No other guns allowed during that window. Got it Black Friday at dunhams for like $250.

Savage .22. Love this gun. Small game hunting and general plinking in the field behind my house. About $300 in this gun.

Ruger American .450 Bushmaster. First gun that I spent a lot of money on. Bought a really nice scope and love this gun. Way lighter than lugging around the shotgun! About $1600 total in this gun.

Mathews compound bow. Replacing the crossbow and going to bow hunt with this in the future. Just bought a few months ago and been doing a lot of range shooting. All told about $700 in this.

And now about six years in I finally feel like I’m set on equipment for a while. Get a decent grunt call and practice with that. And also get a decent range finder. That was really helpful when starting out.
 

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For the OP, there is nothing wrong with your gauge and caliber pics. Though ironically, I own neither.

12 gauge is more versatile, I think. But the important thing is picking guns that actually fit you. This means shouldering them and for the shotgun swinging it etc. For the recoil there are pads you can buy and slip on which absorb a lot of the felt recoil.

Good Hunting!
 

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12 gauge would be my choice. better shells for it and I would believe a better duck gun.
I know my cheap stevens 12 gauve pump is effective at 60 yards on turkey.
helps having the extra range if they hang up.
not knowing where you will be deer hunting. I have not shot the 350 yet. my small rifle is a 243 and it's like shooting a 22. all my little ones loved this gun.
As most have been saying pick up a 22. great gun for small game. mine is set up with the same scope as my rifles so I get very use to the scope and nothing changes when I pick up a diffrent rifle from the cabinet.
your probably good to get the three guns for a grand and mave decent guns.
biggest thing is the scope.
I will no longer by package deals, as I want good glass on my guns. you can really till the difference in low light and long range.

Sent from my SM-N986U using Michigan Sportsman mobile app
 

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Great stuff. I would also reccomend a 12ga semi auto shotgun, if you're only using the shotgun for turkey/waterfowl. Assuming your shoulder can handle the recoil from a few 12ga shots a day (the recoil isn't too bad, but I don't know the extent of your injury). That reccomendation may change if you were planning to skeet/trap shoot recreationally.
.350 or .450 is what I would buy if I was just getting into deer hunting. I use a Savage 220 slug gun that does great for now.
But as some others have mentioned: Make sure you get a quality scope.
Great job on laying out the ground work for yourself to get started!
 

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I can give you my 2 cents, but it's only based off of limited personal experience. I started hunting in 2020 and also am not from a hunting family.

For my deer rifle, I got a Ruger American 450 bushmaster with Vortex scope. It's a beast of a gun, it's been perfectly reliable in 2 seasons and trips to the range, and the scope is perfect. I think that as long as your gun is reliable, the scope is your next focal point as this is the tool that aids the most in shot placement.

For a shotgun, I can't say much considering your budget because mine was gifted to me. I can tell you that it's an amazing gun, though. Remington 12ga 870 Express. I've been able to use it for geese, a pheasant, and squirrels so far.

If I were you, I'd consider a bow also. Our archery season is very long in Michigan so if you like to hunt a lot, it's a great time of year before the woods get crowded with guns. I'd also consider a .22 as others have suggested. I picked up a semiautomatic Savage .22 with camo wrap at Walmart for $100 and it's accurate, fun, and cheap to shoot.

The most important advice is read, read, read. These forums along with selective YouTube channels have really been key to my success, that and a lot of dogged determination. So far, I've harvested 5 deer, 3 turkeys, 3 groundhogs, a number of geese and squirrels, a rabbit, and a pheasant in my first two years of hunting.

Good luck and make sure to spend the time to learn your guns, learn the regulations, and have fun out there.

Sent from my SM-G988U using Michigan Sportsman mobile app
 

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You will never go wrong in owning a Winchester. However just starting out I would strongly recommend a Winchester Model 12. 12 16 or 20 gauge. You however pay a substantial premium for a 20 gauge in this particular shotgun. Why this one, because it is the pump gun against what all others are measured. if you shop around it would be hard to lose money on this gun if you ever decided to sell. Winchester also made a semi auto, the Model 50, that is hard to beat. Not really being a fan of the straight walled cartridges, a black powder rifle would be my option.
 

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My .02 cents:
I'd suggest getting a single shot rifle and put a decent scope on it. If you're a good shot, very rarely do you ever need a second one. Henry makes some very nice ones.
Then I'd get a Remington 870 pump shotgun and a few chokes to go with it.
Regardless of where your hunting journey takes you, you will always have these tried and proven firearms to fall back on or loan to a friend someday.
Pick your calibers/gauge, but keep ammo costs in mind. Limbsaver pads really drop perceived recoil.

And like others have said......you need to get a .22 someday.

Good luck!
 

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My .02 cents:
I'd suggest getting a single shot rifle and put a decent scope on it. If you're a good shot, very rarely do you ever need a second one. Henry makes some very nice ones.
Then I'd get a Remington 870 pump shotgun and a few chokes to go with it.
Regardless of where your hunting journey takes you, you will always have these tried and proven firearms to fall back on or loan to a friend someday.
Pick your calibers/gauge, but keep ammo costs in mind. Limbsaver pads really drop perceived recoil.

And like others have said......you need to get a .22 someday.

Good luck!
Henry now makes the single shot in 350. I have the Henry single in .243 and it is the nicest firearm for the price on this planet. It has a Leupold Freedom 3-9. I can't wait to get my hands on the Henry single in 350 Legend.
 

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The less recoil the better as I've had multiple shoulder surgeries due to various injuries (which is leading me to think 20 gauge + 350 legend - but curious what people think about that). And on the shotgun, looking for something versatile enough to try out different games as I learn more - starting with spring turkey this year, then wanna give waterfowl a shot in the fall.

So given the above, I'm currently looking at the Winchester SXP Field Pump 20 Gauge for the shotgun, and a Savage Axis II XP 350 Legend for deer season. Anyone have any thoughts on or experience with these models? Or think perhaps there'd be something better that's in a similar budget?
I've got three Remington 1100/LT-20 shotguns which I initially purchased for teaching trap to boy scouts. Autoloaders are light on recoil, and the LT-20 can be fitted with a number of different barrels. In addition to smoothbore for bird hunting and clay busting, I have a Hastings Paradox slug barrel (with cantilever scope mount) which cloverleafs slugs at 50 yards. The only downside might be waterfowl, but I don't use it for that. I would HIGHLY recommend an autoloader 20 gauge. Beretta makes terrific gas operated 20ga shotguns. Screw-in chokes are a must to make the shotgun more versatile for your needs. Plenty available in the used market.

I also have two Savage 350 Legends. Very accurate and mild recoil. Bought the Axis XP in 2020 from Cabela's during Black Friday under $250. Didn't have AccuTrigger so got M*Carbo Savage AXIS Pro Trigger Kit to create a terrific trigger feel. The Axis XP liked Federal 180gr best. Last year bought Axis II with 22" bull barrel for $419, which has AccuTrigger. That one loves Winchester 160gr PowerMax bonded. Have harvested three deer in two years. Longest shot so far about 160 yards. None went more than 40 yards. One suggestion - throw away the premounted scopes and get some good glass. You'll be good out to 250 yards.
 

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Just recently moved to Michigan and am looking to get into hunting. I've always enjoyed the outdoors and hiking and fishing, but didn't grow up in a hunting/shooting family, so am a beginner in my mid-20's. Excited to learn more and get out there!

I've been reading a lot about Michigan's seasons and regulations, and have visited a few gun stores and checked out some firearms and asked some questions. After the reading and advice I got at stores, I'm hoping to spend $1,000 or less on an all-purpose shotgun and a straight-walled midwestern deer rifle.

Again, don't know a ton about various brands and options, and a lot of stuff is out of stock. I'm not too picky about the details, just looking for something that will get the job done and last a long time. The less recoil the better as I've had multiple shoulder surgeries due to various injuries (which is leading me to think 20 gauge + 350 legend - but curious what people think about that). And on the shotgun, looking for something versatile enough to try out different games as I learn more - starting with spring turkey this year, then wanna give waterfowl a shot in the fall.

So given the above, I'm currently looking at the Winchester SXP Field Pump 20 Gauge for the shotgun, and a Savage Axis II XP 350 Legend for deer season. Anyone have any thoughts on or experience with these models? Or think perhaps there'd be something better that's in a similar budget?

Also, just a general question -- is there a time of year when more models tend to re-stock? I know there's a lot of new interest in hunting and gun sales are up, so makes sense that things are out of stock, but was wondering if I should expect availability to improve within a few months.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts and help here! Really excited to learn more about hunting and have enjoyed reading all sorts of threads on here as someone interested in getting into it.
One post and done? Welcome to the family. Hope you find what you're after...
 
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