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Is the m4 a good hunting shotgun


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Is the m4 a good hunting shotgun ? just wondering if it is just as good as a hunting shotgun

to shoot bird or rabbit? or just close up defense.


The real question here is, "are you good at using ghost ring sights and a pistol gripped short barreled shotgun to hit distant objects under stress"?


Most people aren't. So they blame the gun and say it doesn't shoot as well as the "bead" equipped 28 inch "hunting" shotgun that they're used to and comfortable with.


It's not the gun that is the problem, it's the users familiarity/expertise and match with the gun that is lacking.


The m4 has ghost ring sights, which are not the best for hunting by majority opinion, perhaps because people are not used to them, perhaps because they actually are inferior for this type of shooting, whatever.


I see plenty of people that use both pistol gripped and field stocks, so that's just a matter of opinion.


So while the gun in question may not be the most user friendly package for a certain activity for a certain person, it is no more or less CAPABLE than any other smoothbore autoloader from Benelli when it comes to hunting, IMO.




It's like this, as I see it, and I see this asked a lot.


The length of a shotgun barrel is a greatly overestimated characteristic when it comes to a shotgun's "huntability", as a longer barrel really does not offer anything more than a shorter barrel in terms of accuracy or terminal ballistics. Really, it doesn't.


Modern shotgun powders burn quite quickly, and everything I have read says that the powder is entirely utilized well before the shot leaves the barrel in a 18.5 inch shotgun. It isn't like a rifle, where longer barrels give you more velocity and thus more range and terminal ballistics ... longer smoothbore shotgun barrels also won't necessarily make your shotgun any more "accurate", as that is mainly as a function of the round/choke combination, and the bore/length of the barrel is a pretty moot point. (If anyone has a chronograph and wants to give us some numbers comparing 18.5 and longer barrels ...)


So no, longer shotgun barrels won't give you anything a shorter barrel doesn't IN TERMS OF CAPABILITY!


However longer barrels offer a number of things that many users seem to like find desirable in a "hunting" gun, these things include:


-Different balance, more forward weight, better "swinging" gun, etc

-Longer distance between the sights

-More "precise" control of what is being shot, as the front sight being farther away makes it appear smaller and thus less of the target is obscured

-Increased confidence from having a "precision" length shotgun barrel :)


These advantages are not to be ignored, as really all shooting comes down to is the quality of the interaction between the user and firearm ... it doesn't matter if you're shooting the best gun in the world if you can't shoot it well or comfortably.


In a kind of silly example, think of it in terms of a manufacturers car line ... if all the cars in the line have different bodies/shapes/colors, but they all have the same engine, suspension and core components, all you really have changed is cosmetic things that allow the user to better interact and utilize the core components.


The same holds true with the m4, it has the same smoothbore, 12 gauge, autoloading "engine" as any other benelli (a better one actually, but that's not important here), it's just cosmetic things that make it better or worse in the eyes of various users.


So there you have it ... the m4 is CAPABLE of being a great hunting gun (and I'm sure it is to some people), it's just a matter of what works for you and what you want to use for a hunt. If you can used to the ghost ring sights, you'll be just as deadly with an m4 as you would with any other smoothbore ...


Sorry for the rant, it's just a pet peeve of mine.


ETA - If you throw a good red dot on the m4 and are experienced with the use of one, IMO you've just surpassed all iron sights ...

Edited by Duggan
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About 18 years ago, I met a group of guys who considered themselves to be the best Pheasent hunter group ever. Real traditionalist. They invited me to tag along the following Saturday to see how the pro's hunt. I was sternly advised not to show up with one of my "girlie" 20 gauge guns and only bring a pump or semi-auto.

The following Saturday, their I was with the only 12 guage that I owned. A H+K Benelli M1 S90 in defense configuration. All black, pistol grip, 20 in barrel with open rifle sights. After the laughter and mean looks died down a bit, I reminded them it was a semi-auto in 12 guage as required. They had never heard of Benelli, and inertia operation was beyond their grasp of gas/recoil type experience. Needless to say, I didn't shoot well as I wasn't used to the pistol grip and open sights and perhaps cylinder bore. No pheasents for me but I had provided them with enough amusement so that they invited me back the next Saturday.

That Saturday, I showed up with the same gun only I had outfitted my Benelli with the standard grip stock and a 28" vent ribbed hunting barrel with modified choke. They still didn't like the black synthetic stock and again, I didn't get any pheasents. My poor Benelli was a beast to lug around mile after mile.

The next Saturday, I converted my Benelli back to it's police configuration and left it home. Took one of my favorite 20 guage girlie guns (Browning Special Field O/U) and bagged two nice pheasents, although I wasn't with the elite group anymore. What I learned was, shoot with whatever your good with and used to, and that some hunters are so wrapped up in working the perfect hunt with all the "correct" equipment, clothing, dogs and electronics, they forget to have fun.

Now-a-days, it's mostly my little short stock, 20 gauge Monty that goes walking with me, but I can say all the Quail, Grouse and Pheasents I've dropped with this little Monty don't seem to notice the difference. :)

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  • 8 months later...

With modern powders, the powder is mostly burnt in the first 14 inches of travel down the barrel. Personaly, the sight plain is just to short on a tactical barrel for me. I hunt and shoot clays with a 26" barrel. There is no reason you can't hunt with it. I think it might be kind of fun to blast Jacks at close range with an M4.

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I have a Benelli M4 I changed it from Duty configuration and put a traditional hunting stock on it with the 3 shot tube, and left my quck adjust 2 point sling on it. Then went to Arizona for opening day of Quail season the first of October.


On opening morning having never shot at a real bird with the M4, I was lucky enough to be in the birds. I was able to limit out that day. I have hunted with both a pump 12 and a beautiful Beretta Silver Pigion 12 O/U as well. I have take may birds in the past with those guns. BUT, I have to say taking the all-biet heavy M4 out there and humping up the hills for those little qauil was a great time. Ihave convinced my hunting budy to get one as well. We both love the light kick even after a full day of blasting.


So, My vote is take a M4 out and have fun, it is what you bought if for right!

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I use an M2 Tactical with the pistol grip and ghost ring sights for bird shooting all the time. I find that it works great, but it does take a bit to get used to the pistol grip. If the bird is going straight away and upward at a sharp angle it gets in the way some of the time. Otherwise no problems at all. Not an M4 but close in configuration.

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