28 Gauge for Everything Clay Related?


January 4, 2005, 12:52 AM
I should probably just PM Steve about this ;), but I thought I'd throw it out there for discussion.

My wife has started seriously considering switching to an O/U. She currently shoots a Benelli 12ga and hits pretty well with it most of the time. However, for a number of reasons, she's been eyeing O/Us recently.

There are really three games she plays with any regularity: 16 yard trap, sporting clays and 5-stand. Although she shoots league rounds for winter trap and sporting clays, she doesn't really care if she's competetive. She just wants to have fun and break targets more often than not. At trap, her average is in the upper teens and she shoots around 50% on most clays courses.

A couple other pieces of background. First of all, she does not seem to be particularly recoil sensitive. Secondly, she's tiny and the overall weight of the gun is an important factor. Lastly, she prefers an action which is not bank-vault tight, as that can require too much arm and hand strength to open.

As we've looked around, she found a 12ga. Browning Feather XS that she liked. It seemed to fit her well, and even with 30" barrels, it was of a reasonable weight for her.

Here's where I'm looking for input. All else being equal, I'm thinking that a 28ga O/U would be perfect for her. It would be more scaled to her physical dimensions, without offering up the punishing recoil of a lightweight 12ga. A 20ga would also be lighter, but the lightweight 20ga shotguns I've used seem to generate nearly as much recoil as their bigger brothers.

Now, if I convince her to go with a 28ga, how much is she likely to be giving up to the 12ga in terms of absolute clay-breaking performance? Remember that we're talking 16 yard trap and sporting clays. What I want to try to avoid is her getting a new gun and then becoming discouraged by her shooting.

I guess I'd like to open a discussion on 28ga vs. 12ga, also desiring comments on the viability of 20ga as middle-ground alternative. If you have specific brands or models in mind, please feel free to mention them.

FWIW, I'm NOT (no, really, I mean it) trying to do this as a way for me to end up with a 28ga. I've got that Model 42 to play with now. ;)

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January 4, 2005, 01:31 AM

Seriously? Get her a 28 ga.

Yes it will depend on the distance of the 5 stand and Sporting Clay targets, and you know all about loads and chokes. You know as well as anyone the short shot string, less flet recoil and payload to bore ratio.

Here is the truth as I personally have participated in , and observed. Some shooters had detached retinas or other physical limiting factors, neck, spine or back problems. Many folks set up 28 ga trap leagues and "shorter courses" for 5 Stand and SC. Skeet - never been a problem AEB most folks , including myself had their best scores with a 28 ga . Look up any tourney and read the results.

Granted I am not a Trap shooter. I have run 'em with a 28 ga [ 50/50 ] Then I remember my bad habits. I keep looking for High and Low house, or something...

The less felt recoil allows a shooter better focus and concentration. Allows them to better learn the CORRECT basic fundamentals - and continue to use these skills.

Fatigue, leads to improper gun to face mounting, then the recoil hits, leading to flinching...vicious cycle.

I have always said and will continue to - 12 ga is the best all around shotgun, it has the benefit of slugs and buckshot loadings- non- toxic loadings as well.

That said having a 12 for those "special needs " is needed. Everything else - I can do - have done with a 28ga.

The Guns are just that much smaller, the Rule of 96 is there, the feel is all balanced, one can tote one afield all day - and still be fresh enough to shoot if need.

I kid about the 28 ga, getting someone all wide-eyed and drooling, getting a person to thin a wallet...the truth is- I am SERIOUS about the abilty of the 28 ga. I warn becasue I know what the gun will do - has done for me...too many other folks seem to agree with me.

Disclaimer: I have not met , or contacted Mrs. Trapper. I take no responsiblity if Mrs. Trapper has read any of my posts. ;)

January 4, 2005, 04:54 AM
What Steve said.

I have also shot my best scores on skeet with the 28ga. A good shooter gives up very little to the bigger bores except recoil. Granted the long crossing shots in sporting clays may be a problem with a few less pellets, but it is for a 12 ga as well.

Just my 2 cents as sm already covered about everything else.

Dave McCracken
January 4, 2005, 06:31 AM
I've seen much good work done with the 28. Inside of 30 yards, I doubt anyone can improve much on their hits with a 12 vs a 28.

But, out there in trap land, or longer shots in SC, it'll take a hair more choke to keep pattern density up with the 3/4 oz load, so spread goes down IOW, more of a challenge.

If I had a 28, it'd get purpose built reloads worked up after lots of patterning. They'd have HARD shot to keep them in the pattern and moderate velocity. And I'd keep a full choke tube handy.....

January 4, 2005, 09:16 AM
It's hard to be objective on 28 gauge O/U's, they are sweet. :)

No problem with skeet targets and 16 yard trap targets, for the most part. They break targets well, but less shot and pattern size do decrease your "hit" potential, no way around that. You have to be more "on".

Long sporting clays shots will be a challenge, and you will miss more with a 28 than a 12. But the recoil factor, weight and "fun" factor can out weigh the fewer hits.

IMO, given all that, I would look at the steel framed Browning in 30" in 28 gauge and think about the 20 gauge, similiar size and close in weight I believe.
I have the 28 gauge version and I love it. I've shot the 20 gauge version, but don't own one or any 20 gauge. It felt good, but more recoil. I assume you can reload lighter if you wish and heavier when you need it.
It's too bad Browning doesn't sell a two bbl set.

The Brownings I've bought are very tight and took quite a few shells to loosen up. IMHO, being machine made, they could benefit from a "shotgun smith's" file to make them easier to open and a bit smoother. Not critical however.

Good luck

January 4, 2005, 01:09 PM
OK, I did a little "pre-shopping" today. Of the guns locally available, there was:

Franchi Veloce
Browning Citori White Lightning (sporting) - 30" barrels
Browning Citori Lightning (field) - 28" barrels
Ruger Red Label - 26" barrels

The only gun my wife has handled from this list is the Franchi, and she did not care for it. Of them remainder, the Ruger was far and away the lightest, with the typical Ruger "easy opening" action. The two Brownings were heavier, but still considerably lighter than a 12ga. If I were picking for myself, I liked the field-grade Citori. The balance felt very good indeed.

Any comments on the above guns? Any others to seriously consider? Anyone have a spare 28ga MEC they're not using? ;) :D :D

January 4, 2005, 01:41 PM
TR - Since you know about proper gun fit, allow me make a comment for the new folks.

Since "trap" targets are rising folks want a "higher shooting gun. Skeet shooters - well at least me anyway- prefer a more "field " stock. For the most part I preferred a "field" stock for 5 stand, and SC.

Sporting Clay guns with the longer tubes are GREAT guns, they do well for anything...I actually prefer the longest tube I can find. I do have a soft spot for 28" bbls - no matter the action type of the gun. For ME - this is a "sweet spot fit" . Even with the longer actions of a repeater - 28" bbl.

I was taught, learned from Brister, Misseldine , others one thing I have strived for and keep the attitude for. I get into a LOT of trouble when I mention it. I don't care.

Good shooters are made- not born - Misseldine

Paint them out of the sky... ( paraphrased ) Isleng and Brister both.

I want the Earned Skills to allow me to " if I can see it - I can fell it " -

...one gets to the point they can fell it with a stick... - All 3 gentleman have said the same thing.

I concur with you TR and recommend the -Browning Citori Lightning (field) - 28" barrels.

Heaven forbid some perp put the Mrs. or the Kids lives in danger - I ASSURE you a 28 g with loading of Hard #5 shot will stop an immediate threat.

She will become one with the gun - That is the Goal . It is said "beware the man that shoots one gun".

Well hell " beware the fun, the scores of a 28 ga shooter".

Hell hath no fury has a lady with a 28 ga; she can beat your butt with her scores, and have fun doing so. She will run through shells faster than you can load them.

HD - Hell hath no fury as Mom protecting her kids, she can protect with fingernails, kicking, biting, scratching...pointy sticks ....28 ga.

I don't and won't apologize for being passionate about my beliefs.

So post a Pic when you get it. :D

"Too bad" - I'm not close enough to take her shopping...I'd fix her right up with a gun, shells, loads, reloaders , reloading stuff...might have to get some new shoes and outfit while we are out... Leather covered Decelarators on Citoris require a leather shell belt and pouch btw... :uhoh: :eek: :D :D

Your Welcome. :p

January 4, 2005, 01:58 PM
You might want to consider the Beretta O/U also.

They make several in 28 gauge with different bbl lengths. Nice guns.

January 4, 2005, 02:15 PM
Sounds to me like the Red Label is the best bet. I'd opt for the longer barrels if she really likes the games, but I find the 26" barrels to have a lot of charm. :)

January 4, 2005, 02:59 PM
Heaven forbid some perp put the Mrs. or the Kids lives in danger - I ASSURE you a 28 g with loading of Hard #5 shot will stop an immediate threat.

Remember that 12ga 1300 Defender I talked about in another post or two? THAT's the one for Mrs. Trapper if someone endangers the kids. She shoots it well enough, even with #4 and 00 Buck. Like I said, she's not particularly recoil sensitive. The only load I've ever seen her balk at was slugs from the Defender. The buckshot was OK, but she didn't like the slugs one bit.

Jim Watson
January 4, 2005, 03:08 PM
You don't handload?

I shoot recreational skeet with 7/8 oz shot in a 12 gauge Anschutz (Miroku, allee samee Citori.)

There is data available for 3/4 oz 20 gauge loads, same shotload and velocity as 28 gauge target shells with more choice in guns.

January 4, 2005, 03:38 PM
Jim - You should see my little corner of the basement. I most certainly do handload. The reason I'm considering nudging her towards a 28ga isn't so much for the recoil as it is the overall weight. A 28ga would be better scaled to her size in general, and if I'm going to be downloading 12ga shells to 20ga or 28ga capacity, it may make more sense to go with a smaller gun altogether.

You do bring up an interesting point about the 20ga though. What do folks think about a 28ga load in a 20ga gun?

BTW, one of my favorite handloads is a 12ga 7/8 oz loaded to a bit more than 1200 fps. It will break clays nicely all day long and not beat up your body too badly. I had to experiment a little to get the powder charge right, though. Too little, and it patterned very tightly. Pushing it faster helped open the patterns up and it's great for under 35 yard shots.

In fact, my next reloading experiment is going to be working up some 24 gram Olympic trap loads.

January 4, 2005, 03:51 PM
3/4 oz

The 28 ga loads in a 20 ga work very well !!

20 ga guns "can have" a snappy recoil. Back in the day before all the new powders and such ( I always used Win powders) I had a 28 ga load for the 20 and I reloaded a lot of 11/16 oz loads for the 12 ga.

Kinda following the ideas of The British. I didn't catch the term " Rule of 96" - or I forgot it - Dave Reminded me of it later... Still makes sense.

I don't have my Reloading Info here, besides new powders are out. I bet Hodgeon has some...seems to me they did...don't have any reloading data here...

There is a certain balance with a true 28 ga gun , built on a 28 ga frame. Two bbl or Three bbl sets are nice [ I competed with a Citori 3 bbl set] ...something about a 28 ga tho'.

January 4, 2005, 03:52 PM
I like the 28 gauge and have always felt it hits out of it's weight as far as clays is concerned. But most of the guns available in this gauge are built on 20 gauge frames -- the Ruger Red Label is an exception as I believe is the Rizzini line. Shooting 3/4 ounce 20 gauge loads will equal if not better the performance of the 28 gauge.

The 28 gauge is not my choice for trap shooting but for skeet or sporting clays it will get the job done even on longer targets.

My love affair with the 28 gauge is waning somewhat. I like it for skeet and some sporting clays but I still go back to the 12 gauge when breaking the maximum number of targets is the objective.


January 4, 2005, 04:41 PM
My love affair with the 28 gauge is waning somewhat. I like it for skeet and some sporting clays but I still go back to the 12 gauge when breaking the maximum number of targets is the objective.

Sounds like an anecdote from Brister's book.

If my wife were truly interested in maximum clay busting, then I'd probably get her a 12ga 391 and have it worked on a bit. She's a recreational shooter (for now) and isn't too concerned with scores (as long as she's hitting at least 50-60%).

It looks like the thing to do is discuss the pros and cons with her and then have her shoot a variety of guns. Fortunately, the place we shoot sporting clays has a number of 12ga (and at least one 20ga Red Label) O/Us for use. I can get/make some real light loads and see what she thinks. Unless he's sold it off, a buddy of mine has a 28ga stackbarrel she can try.

January 4, 2005, 05:51 PM
I have the Ruger Red Label with the 28" barrels. It is a joy to shoot and carry. The majority of my shooting is through my tubed gun with the 28ga tubes slipped in. It is a Beretta 682 Supersport with 30" barrels. The funnest 28ga I have is an 1100, but it really throws the shells, 10-15 feet away. As valuable as 28ga shells are this is a handicap. I also have a Rem 870 Wingmaster in 28ga, it is a sweet little gun also.

Do you get the feeling that I like the 28ga? :D It is shot about 70% of the time, and the other 3 gauges about 10% of the time each.

If there is money or a side bet on the line I'll get serious and break out a 12ga, but for all around enjoyment I'll tke a 28 over the rest any day.

January 4, 2005, 06:30 PM
What are your opinions on the longevity of the Ruger Red Labels? Without a hinge-pin, I'm a little leary, since I'm not sure they can be rebuilt if shot loose. Then again, if they'll hold up for 80,000 shells or so, it might not matter.

January 4, 2005, 06:37 PM
I had a Red Label 28 and used it for maybe 30 or so rounds of sporting clays. It's about like handling an air rifle or small .22 in terms of weight. The Red Label is one of the few, if not the only one, built on a gauge-appropriate frame. It was super light, fast pointing, and 100% reliable.

If you buy ammo (which I did), it's way expensive. If you handload, that's not an issue. You could load up to 1 oz, but then the recoil factor would come back into the picture, especially with the Red Label.

Longer shots, particularly if the bird was mostly "on edge", were pretty much a lost cause. I traded for a Weatherby Orion II Sporting Clays 12 gauge. My best with the Red Label was maybe 58. My first round with the Weatherby was 79.

January 4, 2005, 06:57 PM
What are your opinions on the longevity of the Ruger Red Labels? Without a hinge-pin,

I had a 12ga Red Label for my original skeet competition gun. I put Kolar tubes in it and had all four gauges. In about 5 years I put about 100,000 rounds through the gun, probably 30,000 were 12ga, the rest evenly assorted. The hinges on the gun were as loose the first time that I opened the gun as the lat time before I sold it to help finance a trip to S. Africa for a safari hunt.

The gun did go back to Ruger twice on issues about the fireing pins. One time it had broke a rebound pin spring part way off and had to be replaced, the other time was about the fireing pin on the upper barrel not always hitting the primer. It was worn too bad. In both cases all I had in repair was shipping one way to Ruger.

I also had 2 Red Label Sporting Models with 30" barrels, I shot them OK, but they shot a 30/70 pattern for me,and beat me in the face badly, and I prefer a 60/40 pattern on a target gun, or higher. I put 2-3 thousand rounds through both of these guns before getting rid of them. They all had the loose opening hinges.

I still see my old Red Label occasionally. The guy I sold it to 11 years ago only shoots a couple thousand shells a year through it if he's lucky.

Somewhere the Rugers got a bad rep and people bad mouth them, but in my experiance they have held up better than expected considering they are designed as a field gun.

January 5, 2005, 09:03 PM
Well guys, thanks for the input. While I'd kind of like to see the lovely Mrs. Trapper go with a 28ga, she just doesn't seem to like the way they handle. We spent a fair bit of time with her trying them out in the stores, and she just didn't care for the way they felt. She didn't much care for the lack of heft and was concerned about stopping her swing too quickly.

However, she has found a couple of 12ga O/Us that fit her well. One is the aforementioned Browning, and she also tried a Beretta that was agreeable. Fortunately, our favorite sporting clays place has a similar Beretta available to shoot.

So, in the next week or two, she'll try that out and decide if she likes it enough to switch from her current gun. In the meantime, I'm going to load up some 7/8oz loads for her to test it with.

Again, thanks! I'll keep you informed if/when things change.

January 5, 2005, 09:09 PM
I should have taken her shopping...

If the Browning fits and she like it - go for it. Some 3/4 oz loads would be nice...you know they DO make 28 ga tubes for that gun? :evil:

January 5, 2005, 09:19 PM
If the Browning fits and she like it - go for it. Some 3/4 oz loads would be nice...you know they DO make 28 ga tubes for that gun?

That's why I just started this thread (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=119115). :)

January 5, 2005, 09:20 PM
I know that this thread is about the 28 ga for clay sports. What about for hunting? What kinds of bird hunting would it be suitable for? I'm thinking I want a Red Label in 28 gauge, with the English stock. What are the benefits or the drawbacks to the English stock as opposed to the pistol grip stock.

I don't mean to hijack the thread. I think this still fits somewhat.


January 5, 2005, 10:09 PM
Macavada - A 28ga would be quite usable for most anything except waterfowl and/or turkey. Grouse, quail, doves, chukar, etc... are all fair game for 28ga loads.

While I'm sure that loads of pheasants have been killed with a 28ga (I've seen it done several times), IMO, it's not ideal. Wild pheasants often flush well ahead of the dog and/or hunter, and long shots are common. Also, they can absorb quite a bit of damage, and if they're not dead when they hit the ground, they can run for quite a while. I've seen several lost even when hunting over a very good pheasant dog. That's why I almost always use a 12ga with 1 1/4oz of high-velocity #5 shot.

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