Since I use a rifle when sitting in a tree stand, and a shotgun when hunting with dogs in the swamp, maybe I can provide a little bit more of my opinion. Down here we hunt deer with buckshot, not slugs(if I hunt on the Federal WMA, then slugs are mandatory). The reason is the thick cover we're shooting in, the deer are usually running, the nearness of other hunters, and the required speed and repeat shots often needed. Most of us simply choose a shotgun with interchangeable choke tubes, rather than separate barrels, and it's very important to determine the shot pattern of not only the choke tube, but the different brands of shotgun shells used. The Remington 870 and all of it's variants is a good choice along with the Mossberg 500, if you can work the pump action and keep the barrel on target. I own a few pump guns, but actually prefer a semi-auto for deer hunting; and since I'm usually using a shotgun in the swamps, I prefer synthetic stocks. Because a synthetic stock is more inclined to have a little stronger recoil, I outfit my guns with Sim's, or Tru-Glo recoil pads, and also have slings on all of them which makes it easier to wade through the water, as well as, getting the deer back out after I kill 'em. You can usually pick up a real nice Remington 1100, Stoeger, or Winchester semi-auto or pump at a pawn shop for a fraction of what you'd pay at a regular gun shop or even Walmart. Browning, Benelli, and Beretta will usually set you back considerably more. Also, for deer hunting, I recommend that you go with a .12 gauge, simply for the distance and the knockdown power; plus the ammo selections are better, and the .12 will work fine for turkeys, doves, and ducks along with most other small game(again choke tubes help when the game changes). I might also mention that when deer hunting, there isn't much discernible difference between 2 3/4"or 3", but a gun that provides the option of the two and even 3 1/2" might be a good investment if you plan to do a variety of different types of hunting. I've killed running deer at nearly 100 yards with my Mossberg 935, using the 3 1/2" 00 buckshot, but missed at 10 feet with the same load.
I guess my point, is don't get yourself locked in to one particular brand or action, and if possible, try several different pumps and semi-autos, to see which one suits you the best. Then happy hunting!!!!
NRA LM, NAHC LM, Buckmasters LM, The Second Amendment Foundation, GOA, NAGR, Palmetto Gun Rights, , ASAdisabled sportsmens' alliance, EDH, and Proud SC redneck REBEL still flying the Stars and Bars!