O/U multi-use choice-need advice from the experts


March 21, 2006, 09:29 PM
I have only been shooting shotguns for 2-3 years. I started with a Weatherby Orion II, 28" and averaged 21 my first season. I also started hunting pheasants, etc. I went with a friend to a gun store "just to look" and ended up trading in my Weatherby for an as new, in box, Citori XS, SC with a 30" barrel. Of course I shot great with it until the next day when another friend said I should have gotten a 34" gun if I wanted to improve my trap scores. Of course I shot poorly then as I kept looking at the barrel I think. Now I have "buyer's regret." Did I make a mistake i.e barrel length etc? I bought it for $1750 and could still get a good price for it. Not being able to afford a gun for each event what I wanted was a versatile gun that I could shoot all the games with but still be a pretty decent hunting gun. (I think that I would like SC games the best actually). The trap version just didn't fit as well in any case.



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March 21, 2006, 09:39 PM

March 21, 2006, 09:42 PM
What you need most is to develop selective hearing. Your "friends" are pushing your buttons! IGNORE THEM! That is LESSON ONE in the shooting club/competition game, be it with shotguns, pistols, or rifles. You are being manipulated.

Good shooting and be safe.

March 21, 2006, 10:19 PM
I shoot a Browning 425 O/U with 30" barrels. I shoot mostly sporting clays with it, but I also shoot 5-stand, trap, a little skeet and any other game I come across. Heck, it usually accounts for a handful of pheasants each year.

A 30" barrel is plenty long enough for any clay game. Some trap shooters will use 34" barrels, but those are typically trap-specific single-barreled guns unsuitable for much else. Don't listen to your "friends". They are either intentionally messing with you, or have some pretty ridiculous biases.

You've got a good gun. Have confidence in it. Have confidence in yourself. Shoot it lots. Taunt your friends when you kick their butts. :)

March 21, 2006, 11:40 PM
If you buy a gun with 34" barrels, you are basically limiting yourself to having a gun that is great at trap and poor at the other games. There's a reason why most manufacturer's Sporting Clays models come with 30" barrels, they are the best compromise when your shots include shots that are like station 8 in skeet (really close) and "on the fence" in trap. You'll be fine with thiry-inchers.

March 22, 2006, 12:11 AM
I disagree that 34" guns are "poor" for other games. The trend is to longer barrels and 34" Perazzis and similar guns are very popular on the sporting clays circuit. I'm happy with my 32" for all the games but agree that for all round use a 30" will get the job done.

March 22, 2006, 12:25 AM
If you can only afford 1 gun you have to decide what you want to be. a hunter who shoots targets or a clays guy who hunts.

If my focus was to be a hunter than I'd favor a lite 26- 28" barrel o/u depending on game maybe I'd go down to a 20 gauge to get the wieght down.Personaly I wouldn't lug a 30" o/u in the field let alone a 34".

If you shoot clays more, then the differance in barrel length could be a problem only because you seem to lack confidence in your gun. I aggree with the others you friend is playing head games, and your worring about it too much. You bought a quality gun and unless there's some serious gun fit issues I'd take it out shoot it, love it and get used to it before even thinking about selling it, and I don't think I'd sell just to buy the same model with longer tubes.

Dave McCracken
March 22, 2006, 08:37 AM
For clays, I think 30" is about the best compromise for most folks. Behemoths may do well with longer ones, Pixies with shorter.

Shoot what you have. Beat the pants off your "Friend" and smile....

March 22, 2006, 12:27 PM
My Citori 525 Sporting has 28" barrels. Works just fine for Trap and great for Skeet. 30" may have been a better choice for Trap, but no way would I go to 32".

March 22, 2006, 04:14 PM
I went with a friend to a gun store "just to look" and ended up trading in my Weatherby for an as new, in box, Citori XS, SC with a 30" barrel.

Did you have either gun fitted?



I'm thinking that you ought to look at the buttstock, not the barrel, if you have a hard time shooting the Browning.

LOP is not a partifularly meaningful number, BTW, since different manufacturers put their triggers in different places vis-a-vis the grip, and stock shapes vary radically, as you can see in the photo. At least it's not as meaningful as it sounds. An 870 fits me pretty much like it was made for me. A stock Citori doesn't fit me at all. They have almost exactly the same nominal length of pull, but my hand sits more than an inch farther forward on the Browning -- far enough to drop my trap scores by 5-10!

Brownings have a short grip area. Note that the Weatherby handles almost like a straight grip and that the trigger is farther from where the comb meets the small of the stock, which is where your thumb naturally rests. On the Browning, your trigger hand will be forced farther forward and will be much more vertical. (This also can make you inadvertandly lower your elbow, which will make head movement during the swing far more likely.)

Brownings also tend to be long and large for a given length of pull. A stock Citori seems to fit a man well over 6 feet tall, with long arms. Unless you are a man much larger than average, the thing is probably an oversized beast on you and might need to be cut down to fit, if you even want to keep it.

The Weatherby is a far sleeker gun, too, with good pointability. I'd like one. For me, the Citori is neither sleek, nor pointable. But I'm 5'10" and 170. For a guy I shot with the other day, about 6'3" with long arms and over 200, a stock Citori works wonderfully.

Do you have any knowledgable people to consult regarding shotgun fit? (I think your "friends" and the gun shop guy can be dismissed out of hand.)

It seems quite clear just from looking at the guns that someone who naturally shoots well with the Weatherby in stock form won't like the Citori out-of-the-box AT ALL, and probably vice versa.

Barrel length is the LEAST of your concerns.

And I'll chime in that I can't imagine using my 34" trap gun for much besides trap, given my size and the way it swings. I sure as Shi'ite wouldn't want anything over 30" for upland hunting and I wouldn't choose anything over 28".

You probably got lucky with the Weatherby. It probably fit you very well out of the box. Most likely, the Citori doesn't.

March 22, 2006, 04:25 PM
I'm 5'9" 165# and the Citori 525 Sporting fit me perfectly.

March 22, 2006, 04:32 PM
True riverdog... Fit is very personal.

It's probably my enormous bulging pecs that take up some of the length...:D

Seriously, I hope Border can find someone who can help him with it in person, because shotgun fit's got to be a hands-on thing, and each dimension is dependent on a variety of factors.

And fitting a trap gun is even worse, since a straight comb doesn't have the same bit of built-in compensation for the shooter's size that an angled comb does.

March 22, 2006, 04:53 PM
Ever watch someone clean a trap score (25) with a 870 with a 18.5 inch barrel?
tain't the barrel length
see the bird, kill the bird, DON'T LOOK AT THE BARREL.
ti's a fine gun.

March 22, 2006, 05:15 PM
The reason I end up "looking at the barrel" is often poor fit.

Yes, it can be mental, or it can be due to odd lighting that shines on the bead during a nighttime league shoot, but it can also be the fact that the gun just doesn't feel right.

March 22, 2006, 08:15 PM
Thanks guys! Lot of good info here! I really appreciate it!

The very first time I shot any kind of clays it was trap and with the Weatherby that I had just bought (OK I am a little impulsive) :D It just felt right in the store and yep, friends said it was a great make (I knew zilch). They told me just to have fun and not worry about hitting anything but I shot a 23 for trap and a 25 on straight aways! (Bruises galore the next day)! I continued to do well until people started coaching me, then, along with the nerves of competition I only averaged 17 on the team shoots my first year on a team (the next) though continued to do better in practice. When my Orion broke I shot 18's, 19's with my Mossberg 500 I'd bought for $40 but never used. I don't shoot during the winter but shot 5 times over the last two weeks. The first shoot at a new range I shot 23 with the Weatherby, then 22, 20, 19 etc.The first night with the Citori I was doing great although it was windy. (Doing much better than the day befores doubles with the Weatherby-the machine was rapid firing as it was cold-and I was nailing "doubles." The point is, when I don't expect/care to do well I seem to be fine.

When I was warming up at station one tonight and the next 10 on straightaways I was getting 4 out of 5 at least. Then my friend is coaching and I couldn't hit anything! I am on a level up trap team this year and I think I am just a baby to let this rattle me but it is!:o The gun feels great-I like the thinner forearm and the high viz etc. The Weatherby felt a bit short and blocky in comparison. I am bummed as trap league starts soon and I know I can hit with the Weatherby. I have the "hoping I can settle down and remember how to do this fear!" :o

March 22, 2006, 09:35 PM
Does it fit you? Do you own it? Then shoot the gun you have. A Browning XS is a fine tool. Get comfortable with it. 30” bbl’s are a great length for just about any shooting.

I love this kinda stuff from “friends”. It’s a head game. One of my good shootin’ buddies gives advice in an inverse proportion to his shooting scores. To me it’s part of the fun. But then I tend to deal it out pretty well too!

Keep us updated on your progress.

March 22, 2006, 09:50 PM
Me thinks you're thinking too much. You try to follow all the great advice you get :rolleyes: but it conflicts with your instincts and you blow the shot. Stop over-analyzing your shots and just shoot.

Stop listening to unsolicited advice. Just ignore it, then say thanks when they're done making noise. BTW, on those shots you missed, you were using the wrong choke and you weren't leading enough, watch your follow-through.

See, opinions are like ???????s, everybody's got one.

March 22, 2006, 11:25 PM
:D Thanks so much guys!!! Now that I think about it I tanked for a bit with the Weatherby too! I just have too much going on now, my mind is not on the game as they say! It explains why I shot the 23 after 6 months of no shooting-I was relaxed, new field, no pressure, "just warming up!"

I love traditional archery-same thing-as soon as I start thinking about it-I miss! Take care, and thank you!!!

March 23, 2006, 06:43 AM
I'd say the 30 inch barrel is pretty versitile for all the clay games.

Stop listening to your friends and start listening to yourself. Whatever feels best for you is best.

March 23, 2006, 01:02 PM
I am bummed as trap league starts soon and I know I can hit with the Weatherby. I have the "hoping I can settle down and remember how to do this fear!"

I can relate.

I could hit pretty well with a 28" 870, but had a hard time with hard rights and lefts. I got a 34" BT-99, the pre-1995 heftier kind with a Competition foreend. It swings like a pendulum, and I am now powdering the hard rights and lefts -- when I can hit a damned thing at all. I'm not consistent with it, even though the gun sits pretty comfortably on my shoulder, because I'm just not used to it and my muscle memory isn't there yet. It's a pound heavier, to start with. But the more I shoot it, the more I can hit with it.

If the Citori fits you -- if the Orion felt short, the Citori might well be perfect -- then all you can do is go to the trap range when your advisors are not around and burn through some boxes of shells. You know how to shoot; with the exception of fit, which an expert can often help with assessing if there's a problem, it's you that has to figure out how to shoot the new gun.

Good luck and have fun!:)

March 24, 2006, 06:47 PM
The 525 Sporting is not a trap gun. While it can be used for a trap gun, you would be better off with a dedicated trap gun. For chump change you can pick up a used Rem 1100 trap. Put a shell catcher on her and your all set. Use your Browning for Sporting and skeet, where the stock deminsions work better. IMHO the 30 inch Sproting Clays gun is perfect. If you get stuck on a wooded course, the 30 inches will handle faster for short window shots and still be adaquite for the long crosser.

March 24, 2006, 07:19 PM
I picked up a BT-99. I only shoot singles so there's no need in having an auto or O/U. For that matter, my 870 has been modified enough to be a great Trap gun. I agree that the 525 Sporting is a great Skeet gun. Some day I'll try 5-Stand. I'm pretty sure I'll never own an auto.

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