Where should I start?


June 30, 2005, 05:10 PM
First of all, I am new here and really don't know too much about guns - but would love to learn about getting into shooting clays.

I had a great experience just about two weeks ago while shooting skeet with a friend and was instantly hooked. I have been itching to get back out there and shoot some more... But I really don't know where to start.

I also don't want to spend a boatload of money on my first gun.

The gun I was shooting was a Winchester 20 ga 1300 pump and it felt pretty comfortable in my hands... But I didn't know if that was a good gun to start out with or not. I may want to start getting into shooting (fowl?) and I have read that a 12 guage is what I would need to get into that sort of thing.

Once again, I'm new to this sport, but am really enthusiastic about it. Someone please point me in the right direction. :D

BTW: I'm 24 and am about 5' 8" and weigh about 175lbs.


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June 30, 2005, 05:23 PM
The 1300 is a solid gun. But, a lot of people here prefer the Remington 870. It has an enormous aftermarket and is dead reliable. It shouldn't be hard to find a field model for $300 or less. I would go with a 12 gauge.

Black Majik
June 30, 2005, 05:26 PM
For a first shotgun I'd recommend looking into any of the "Big 4" pump guns.

that means the Remington 870, Mossberg 500/590 series, Winchester 1300 and the Ithaca Model 37 (recently went out of business)

All those brands have a proven track record and will be reliable. Best thing to do is to stop by your local shop and shoulder a few pump guns.

Now, personally.... my recommendation would be the Remington 870. And I predict a long list to follow of the 870 :D

good luck

June 30, 2005, 05:33 PM
Good advice on the pump guns. Be sure to check out as many different ones as you can for personal fit and feel.

Not knowing what a boatload of money is to you, for around $500-$550 a guy can buy a Remington 1187 or a Beretta 390 at Wal-Mart. These are auto-loading shotguns and may be a little more skeet field friendly for a beginner.

As for gauge. 20 gauge is plenty for skeet. It's also plenty for ducks IF you are patient and can get them to the decoys. Also great for quail. A little light for pheasant, but still doable and humane if you take closer shots than the 12 gaugers.

good luck and have fun!

June 30, 2005, 06:06 PM
Welcome to THR!

Find a seasoned shooter that has the ability to share the nuances of shooting and how to pass onto to you.

Listen, Listen and pay attention to everything said, not said, seen , implied - everything.

Try as many guns as you can for GUN FIT to YOU. Then get that gun and get it fitted To YOU.

With unloaded gun , start with mounting that gun 25 times a day, work up to 100 times each day...then work up some more .

Bob Brister's Shotgunning: The Art and the Science will answer most questions asked of new shooters on this and any other forum.

Fred Misseldine's Score Better at Skeet , Score Better Trap are two other great publications. Misseldine not always teaches one how to hit a certain station - he explains why you miss and how to correct.

Granted these are older publications. Granted swing through is taught. The reality is Good shooters are made - not born. -Misseldine.

Learning the CORRECT BASIC fundamentals is Paramount, repeating these is a must.

Repetiton becomes habit - habit becomes faith.

One cannot buy skills and targets. Equipement does not make the shooter...

When the Earth was flat my first rd of skeet scored was 2/25. I had a bad fitting gun. Handed to was a better fitting gun - second round I scored 7/25.

I saddled up to mentors and learned.

I ran in 28 ga alone, 1274 straight - I looked up to see #1275 dust, instead saw it sail away lost.

Being a bit upset, with this - I set out to correct my failure. In a 2 week period, I ran 2002 straight using a 28 ga.

I shrugged and figured I had done this personal challenge. Never worried about it again.

Now I grab whatever handy, with whatever loads, and shoot the durn thing.

I started with the basics, I stayed with and ingrained the basics, I learned a lot more about firearms not being the only needed basic skill to have.

Concentration is mentally keyed up - physically relaxed. - Misseldine.

Not long ago I ran 100 straight with a gun I have never shot before with a bunch of mix match loads, from target to # 6 hunting loads. I did not even bother to check the bbl markings/ choke markings.

I added a pc of moleskin to fit the stock to me - fired two at a spot to "see" POI.

It was a full choke tube screwed in...didn't care, didn't matter...focus, shoot, repeat. One bird at a time.

One HAS to learn the Basics correctly. I started with 2/25 on my first rd of skeet back when the earth was flat.

Dave McCracken
June 30, 2005, 08:05 PM
Lots of good, informed input on this already, and welcome aboard. Shotgunning is loud Zen, therapy without guilt, and a martial art of great utility in par'lous times.

Read the 101 threads in the archives. There's a plethora of good stuff there.

As to what shotgun to buy, don't buy one yet. Read up and maybe hang out at the range. A polite newbie may get handed a shotgun to try a shot or two just to guage the "Feel".

A Big Four shotgun is a great keeper, much less an entry level shotgun. After one has a good, reliable pumpgun, then you can branch out.

Used Big Four examples are oft sold for less than $300 and will outlast all of us if maintained.

And memorize this. Buy Ammo,Use Up,Repeat. Oft shortened here to BA/UU/R.

It's our Mantra, as well as the only sure way to become a Shotgunner.


June 30, 2005, 08:17 PM
Wow, thanks for the warm welcome guys!

SM, thanks for the book suggestions - I'll have to check those out.

So far the only guns I have shot are the Remington and Winchester moldels listed above. I'll have to try some more out before I buy.

There was just something about hitting those clays that felt great, and I have really been itching to get back out there.

I think I may be going again this weekend...

Post up any more tips you all may have...

June 30, 2005, 11:47 PM
I would like to read those 101 threads in the archives, but I can't find them for some reason...

Can someone post a link? Thanks! :D

Dave McCracken
July 1, 2005, 03:58 AM
Use the advanced search feature. Punch in 101 as the search item, my name as author....

July 1, 2005, 09:22 AM
Ahhh, thanks!

July 1, 2005, 10:36 PM
you won't believe the learning curve pain it will save you. You'll be shooting 15+ at the end of the two hour session.
and you'll good basics (with no "bad" habits) to learn from and practice for going forward.
Most ranges have something to rent, and the instructor will help you with what you need.

July 1, 2005, 11:29 PM
If I could find something around me with lessons I'd gladly take that as a definate first step.

The only range I've been able to locate is at the Gun Club of Lake Oconee and it's pretty pricey... I'll look into the lessons there.


July 2, 2005, 10:47 PM
Well, I think I am going to sign up for a tutorial class at the local gun club... Prices weren't too bad either.

Today, I checked out a Mossberg 500 and a Remington 870 and I think I liked the fit and finish of the Remington a lot more. It felt a little more comfortable in my hands than the Winchester. It felt a little more solid.

July 3, 2005, 10:47 PM
Hi Stitkacik,
If you want to get into skeet, dont buy a pump. Crawl around the skeet fields a bit and in general what you will see are OU's and autos. For someone starting out, and with aspirations of bird hunting, I'd suggest a 12 ga auto. If you have the cash buy a Beretta 390 or 391. That's what most of the good shooters use when they don't feel like lugging around their Krieghoffs. (you won't lose much money on it if you decide to get rid of it, and it's a fine bird gun). The last time I saw Wayne Mays "the greatest skeet shooter ever" he was using a 390). The Remington 11-87 is cheaper, but well worth looking at. Probably the gun I'd go with if I were just starting out in skeet or hunting. Don't buy a pump.

Also you should talk to someone about "fitting" the gun to you -- very important in skeet. Can't stress enough -- take a lesson. Todd Bender has some great vidios you can learn a lot from.

Be warned, this sport can send you to the mental house faster than golf.

Happy 4th.

July 5, 2005, 12:05 AM
Heh, I have heard that golf statement before. I hope it doesn't drive me too crazy.

I just had a friend today tell me he'd give me a skeet lesson later this month sometime. He shoots pretty often.

Thanks again for all the great advice!

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