Good starter shotgun for sporting clays?


PDA






tuj
January 8, 2013, 05:25 PM
Hi fellow shooters!

I just recently got invited to a sporting clays tournament. I've never shot skeet before and don't own a shotgun, but I'd like to give it a try. Not looking to spend a ton since I don't know if I'll like it or not.

A bonus would be a gun that could be used for HD as well, but primarily focused on getting a decent gun for skeet. So I'd consider an OU, autoloader, or even a pump.

Thoughts? I'll buy new or used.

If you enjoyed reading about "Good starter shotgun for sporting clays?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
rcmodel
January 8, 2013, 05:37 PM
Don't confuse Sporting Clays with Skeet.
Two different games.

You can start with a basic pump shotgun like a Remington 870 Wingmaster with a 28" vent rib barrel and learn to do well at Sporting Clays with it.
http://www.remington.com/en/products/firearms/shotguns/model-870/model-870-wingmaster.aspx

You can buy a short HD barrel as a spare and change them in about half a minute.

http://www.midwayusa.com/product/516311/remington-barrel-remington-870-express-12-gauge-3-18-1-2-rem-choke-bead-sight

IMO: You probably don't want an O/U for HD as it isn't safe to leave it setting around loaded.
You can leave a pump or auto with the magazine loaded and chamber empty and make it ready as you grab it up.


rc

tuj
January 8, 2013, 05:44 PM
Cool thanks for the info; I was under the impression sporting clays and skeet were the same game. I'll look at the 870.

Do you need a choke to do well at sporting clays?

Teachu2
January 8, 2013, 05:46 PM
For an inexpensive first shotgun, you'd be hard pressed to beat the value of a Mossberg 500 combo pump. These usually have a 28" vent rib barrel and a 18.5" plain barrel. Often in the $300 range new.

Next step up, to me, is a Beretta 3901 semi-auto. About $700 new. Available with 26" and 28" VR barrels with choke tubes. Great all-around shotgun.

Ask around - maybe you can borrow a gun!

rcmodel
January 8, 2013, 05:49 PM
Do you need a choke to do well at sporting clays? Yes.

You might do well at Skeet with no choke.
But you won't do well at Sporting Clays.

Here are the three major clay target games.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sporting_clays

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skeet_shooting

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trap_shooting

rc

oneounceload
January 8, 2013, 08:18 PM
Pump guns are typically poor choices for games with doubles, that would be skeet, sporting clays, FITASC, bunker, box pigeons, etc.
Better to go with a good semi versus a cheap over under

Crunchy Frog
January 8, 2013, 11:33 PM
Many sporting clays facilities offer guns for rent. I would check on that before shelling out the money to buy a gun. Better yet, team up with one or two other shooters, rent different guns and swap them around. If the club allows it of course.

kbbailey
January 9, 2013, 03:15 PM
Your best bet imho is to borrow a 'real' sporting clays gun to shoot. Because you're gonna like it. What's not to like??

Sav .250
January 9, 2013, 03:21 PM
Many sporting clays facilities offer guns for rent. I would check on that before shelling out the money to buy a gun. Better yet, team up with one or two other shooters, rent different guns and swap them around. If the club allows it of course.
Makes sense! Why invest money into something you might not like. Plus you don`t know much about the sport.

bodam
January 9, 2013, 03:34 PM
Don't buy a pump for clays. I just got into clay shooting myself and got some help in buying my first clays gun.

The basics are either an o/u or semi that is set up for clays. Do not make the mistake of thinking that any shotgun is set up for a clays gun. Sure, you can shoot anything, but a true clays gun, is set up a little differently.

The basics that were told to me were that you MUST shoulder the gun to see the fit. The gun should be level with your eye when you shoulder it each time. If it is not, move on the to the next gun, that one does not fit you. You shouldn't have to make adjustments to get the rib level when you sight it. If you have to do that, you miss one of the clays.

I ended up buying a Browning Citori. I wanted the Beretta silver pigeon, but it just didn't fit me as well.

And make sure it is a clays gun, not sporting or skeet. Extended choke tubes make it easier to change, but when you are starting out, you probably won't mess with them much. I know I don't. But they look cool, so I had to buy a set.

Of course this all depends on your budget. I got gun, case and chokes out the door for $1,700

UnderTheGun
January 9, 2013, 03:36 PM
I shot my first rounds of skeet with an 870. Did pretty well and think it's a great way to start out for a good price. After that I bought a Beretta A400 since a buddy takes me duck hunting several times a month.

Where and when are you going to shoot? I'm planning to go to Am Shooting Center this Saturday with a buddy from work (sporting clays). If we go, you are welcome to join us. I'll bring my 870 for you to try and you can shoot the Beretta as well if you'd like.

oneounceload
January 9, 2013, 04:42 PM
And make sure it is a clays gun, not sporting or skeet.

This doesn't really make much sense - both sporting clays and skeet ARE clay games - the others being trap, international skeet, international trap (aka "bunker") FITASC and Helice

What makes better sense is that you want a target gun and not a field gun - the stock dimensions tend to be different, the field guns weigh about 1 pound less (means more recoil) and a field gun may have some obnoxious features like an automatic safety - nothing like hearing "lost bird" because you forgot to take the safety off before calling for the bird.... ;)

Sheepdog1968
January 9, 2013, 04:51 PM
As a beginner, just about any shotgun will do just fine. Figure out after a year or so if you really like the sport before investing in something that is expensive or a more specalized firearm. Personally I started with a Mossberg pump becuase that is what I owned and it had two barrels (one for HD and one for birds/clay). The Remington 870s are fine as well. I have seen plenty of folks who do just fine with a pump and a fixed choke barrel on a pump. If you take some shotgun training, you will learn that you can rack the pump about just as fast as it takes for the muzzel to drop from recoil of the first shot.

Also, the local places where I go, we often do just a single bird in the air (it's easier and we still miss enough where we don't need to make it harder by having two birds in the air at the same time) so in this case, a pump is also just fine.

Hapworth
January 9, 2013, 05:01 PM
I echo the 870 suggestions since you are starting out. It's a small investment to determine if you like clay games, and a fine piece to use if you do like them but only casually.

The ability for the 870 to do double-duty as HD with an easy barrel swap is the main selling point, to me. And the clays get you better at racking the shotgun under pressure and gaining quick target acquisition than the range does, so it's fun and useful, too.

BigJimP
January 9, 2013, 05:51 PM
For a beginner....most any pump gun, with a 26" or 28" barrel and changeable screw in chokes is ok, to go out and get some experience with - in a 12ga or a 20ga...

Long term - for sporting clays or Skeet...no, a pump gun is not your best option...

An 870 is fine / although I prefer the Browning BPS Hunter model - as a better long term alternative / and new in my area they're under $ 600.

http://www.browning.com/products/catalog/firearms/detail.asp?fid=011B&cid=012&tid=211

I like the BPS for a number of reasons...its a smoother action, it ejects out of the bottom, safety is on top of the tang - easy to reach even with light gloves on...and its cast neutral ( so ok for lefties or right handed shooters).
-------------
Personally, I use the same gun for Skeet, Sporting Clays and for hunting upland birds....so I like an O/U at about 8 1/2 lbs and 30" barrels ( my choice is a Citori XS Skeet model with the adj comb / for Trap specifically, I go to a longer and heavier gun - an O/U with 32" barrels and around 10lbs....but "Trap" gun(Citori XT Trap is the gun I like) but it is too clumsy for the faster games of Skeet or Sporting clays .

http://www.browning.com/products/catalog/firearms/detail.asp?fid=008B&cid=013&tid=066

but that gun is a $3,000 gun these days ...and while it will fit 99.9% of the shooters, which is critical on shotguns ...and its a gun that you'll have for 3 generations...don't go down that path yet until you find out if you like these games.
-------------
A semi-auto is fine....guns like a Browning Silver hunter, maybe a used Browning gold semi-auto in 12ga, some of the Beretta models....or the gun I prefer, if I want to shoot a semi-auto is the Benelli Super Sport..but again you're into about $ 1,900..../ or maybe the Vinchi model....

http://www.benelliusa.com/shotguns/benelli-supersport-and-sport-2.php

but there are a lot of used guns out there..../ ask your buddies if you can borrow a gun from one of them.....shoot a few hundred targets before you buy a gun / maybe rent a gun ..../ most of us that shoot these games, have lots of guns. In a sporting clays tournament ...sometimes there are 2 shooting stations for one station ....but in general, its not a problem for 2 guys to shoot one gun. Just buy your buddy a few boxes of shells ...and have some fun.

Deer_Freak
January 9, 2013, 06:30 PM
I would look at a Mossberg 500 combo. If you must buy a gun to shoot sporting clays one time. Personally I would borrow a gun. For just one day 2 men can shoot the same gun. I shot skeet and sporting clays both for the first year or so with a pump. I ended up shooting skeet at a very high level with a pump. There is no need to spend $1200 on a nice citori to let it gather dust for the next 20 years. I do own a citori now but I knew I was going to be shooting skeet/sporting clays for the rest of my days.

Don't listen to the naysayers that say you can't shoot doubles with a pump. A friend I shoot with quite often can throw six skeet in the air and bust them all before they hit the ground with a maverick 88. Either you have the gift or you don't. Some people buy guns trying to give themselves the gift but it aint happening. Having the proper choke for the course is more important than a fancy gun.

bodam
January 9, 2013, 06:57 PM
OP, American Shooting Center does rent guns.

BigJimP
January 9, 2013, 07:50 PM
In shotguns ....there are guys that have talent....but its more about whether a gun "Fits" you or not....

because with a shotgun - your eye is the rear sight....so if a gun "Fits" you - then its Point of Impact - is where you look. If it doesn't "Fit" you --- the POI maybe be off a foot or more - high, low, or left or right....at 21 yds...let alone at 40 yds...

and if you look at shotguns - they all have different specs for drop at comb, drop at heel, and length of pull ...and while experienced shooters will know exactly what stock dimensions it take to "fit" them ...a lot of shooters, go thru a lot of guns before they get this figured out...

If you get serious about shooting clays...10 boxes a week or so / or where you're shooting 12,000 or more shells a year....then durabilty of the gun becomes an issue as well..../ some O/U's like the target grade Browning Citori's will easily last 500,000 to a million shells.../ and a lot of the less expensive O/U's out there ...won't come anywhere close to 100,000 shells...

picking a gun isn't about nice wood....its about what "Fits" ...and good steel - and good internal parts..../ but none of this matters to a new shooter...

Another point...for someone to say, buy a Citori ...is not telling you anything valuable ...there are 36 models of the Citori today ...( and while I own about a dozen Citori's --- only 3 or 4 of the 36 current models fit me personally .../ a gun like the 625 or 725 series, nice guns, but they do not fit me - will beat the daylights out of me because they have too much drop at comb and heel...and its not just because I'm 6'5" and 290 lbs...its about the dimensions from the shoulder to your face...and 1/4" is a big difference...

http://www.browning.com/products/catalog/firearms/finder.asp?f1=008B

Parallel comb shotguns ....like the Citori XS Skeet models, XT Trap model or the XS Special ....are the only models that have parallel combs...not that any gun - with a comb pad, maybe an adjustable jones pad on the recoil pad...won't work to adjust it so I can shoot it ....but the XS Skeet models, right out of the box will fit me.

Because they're parallel combs....vs angled combs....it means if I shoot in a T shirt in summer....or a sweater, wind breaker, and vest in winter...even thought the thickness of my clothes causes my face to move up or back on the comb maybe 1/2" ...my point of impact, on a parallel comb gun, will not change. On an angled comb gun ...it'll change big time....

Grade 1 stocks ( very plain ) vs grade IV stocks (some nice burl in them ) will certainly affect the price...but picking a "Citori" is about knowing which of the Citori models will fit you ....and if a Citori fits you ....then its likely none of the Berettas will fit you - or vice versa....they're subtly very different ...and they feel way different to an experienced shooter.

The response that said the guy with the Maverick can hit 6 targets in the air at once...means the Maverick fits that guy ..../ but I know the gun, and I'd be lucky to hit a broad butt bull - in the rear end at 15 yds with that gun...it doesn't mean its a bad gun / its a bad gun for me ! But at the same time, if you think that Maverick is going to hold up thru 100,000 shells ...?? I'd be real suspicious - maybe it will, but I'm betting not...

177463
My XS Skeet models ( a 12ga, 20ga, 28ga and a .410 ) ....all of them, when this photo was taken are well over 250,000 shells ...the 12ga is well over 500,000 shells....

177464
a pair of my Citori XT Trap guns...one with a GraCoil system on it ...and I don't shoot much Trap ( I find it boring ) ....but both of these guns are well over 100,000 shells...

kbbailey
January 9, 2013, 08:50 PM
and I don't shoot much Trap ( I find it boring )

....hey that's my game. I guess you must have a .98- .99 average then??

BigJimP
January 9, 2013, 09:06 PM
Yes, I find Trap singles pretty boring....and I don't shoot Registered targets anymore...but my average ( 16 yds singles ) is only in the mid 90's ( 95 - 96 )..../ I'm not pretending to be a Trap shooter....or any kind of a big time shooter.../ I'm just a recreational shooter...shooting about 8 - 10 boxes a week is all..( but I don't shoot in the heavy weather either anymore ).

but to each his own..../ I'd much rather shoot Skeet or Sporting Clays.../ and in Skeet - most of the time, I shoot a 28ga ( cheaper to reload / just as effective ) ....but my scores in skeet are about the same ( 95 - 96 avg )...its rare anymore ( 3 or 4 times a yr is all ) when I run a clean round and break 100 straight.

Bad eyes have finally caught up to me....I'll leave the 98's + avg to you young studs...:D
-------------
I might start shooting a little more Continental Trap ...or Bunker Trap ....for something different.../ but again, just for fun.

kbbailey
January 9, 2013, 09:37 PM
lol bigjim,
...I don't shoot 'em much either anymore either....too much like work. 'Clays with a 28ga is more fun.

Nasty
January 9, 2013, 10:45 PM
I aspire to shoot skeet with a 410.

Someday...

Boattale
January 10, 2013, 03:57 AM
A good starter shotgun for sporting clays would be a used 1100 or 11-87 which you should be able to find without any difficulty and at reasonable cost. I would not recommend a pump gun for clays. I would recommend screw in chokes.

I love 870, have owned and shot them for years (40 plus now) at game. But when it comes time to shoot clays or skeet, the semi-auto comes along every time. You will find doubles very frustrating with a pump gun, that's why you'll never see a serious skeet shooter or sporting clays shooter with a pump.

kbbailey
January 10, 2013, 08:59 AM
I agree with Boattale^^^^^

I have broken many 100x100 trap with 870. The fact is sporting clays with a pump is like running at Daytona with your minivan.....it'll maybe go the distance, but............

czhen
January 10, 2013, 09:34 AM
I second RC advice, about 870 Wingmaster in 28" and ashort barrel for HD. From the start point.

Henry

oneounceload
January 10, 2013, 10:58 AM
A Beretta 3901, or the newer replacement, the A300 Outlander will run about $600 and last you several lifetimes with minimum maintenance. This is a gas gun, which will help mitigate some of the felt recoil, it comes with shims to allow a much better and closer fit - which is crucial with any shotgun - comes with chokes, and just works.

In the clay games, the O/U reigns supreme - absolutely, no questions asked. But a small and growing segment (about 25% now) use a semi gun, especially for sporting clays. The semi of choice (99.5%) is one of the Beretta gas guns; even being used by several champions. No pumps, no Remington semi, no Chinese or Turkish - Beretta. Get it properly fitted with the shims, take some lessons, and there is no reason you can't finish in the top tier as well. I use an O/U - and have for over 20 years - but I am really lloking VERY hard at a Beretta A400 gas gun to give my Browning a respite.

Why? I bought my wife an A400 Xplor - the field model - for her to shoot sporting clays. On a whim I switched the shims for me (LH guy here), and was smoking targets at the local 5-stand/FITASC set up we have. AND, it worked with my light 3/4oz reloads. Not bad for a gun designed to shoot 3.5" goose loads, eh?

The other thing is simply this as well - the better gun you buy to start with, IF you then decide it isn't for you, you will be able to get a higher % back when you sell it;
that being said, the cost of the gun is NOTHING compared to ammo and targets over the long run. My O/U, bought new at a closeout wholesale price, was $1000 about 18 years ago. Over that time, I have spent over $100,000 on targets, ammo, reloading, gas, etc........

Read me sig line before you buy and realize, it really is a true statement

Deer_Freak
January 10, 2013, 11:41 AM
A Beretta 3901, or the newer replacement, the A300 Outlander will run about $600 and last you several lifetimes with minimum maintenance. This is a gas gun, which will help mitigate some of the felt recoil, it comes with shims to allow a much better and closer fit - which is crucial with any shotgun - comes with chokes, and just works.

In the clay games, the O/U reigns supreme - absolutely, no questions asked. But a small and growing segment (about 25% now) use a semi gun, especially for sporting clays. The semi of choice (99.5%) is one of the Beretta gas guns; even being used by several champions. No pumps, no Remington semi, no Chinese or Turkish - Beretta. Get it properly fitted with the shims, take some lessons, and there is no reason you can't finish in the top tier as well. I use an O/U - and have for over 20 years - but I am really lloking VERY hard at a Beretta A400 gas gun to give my Browning a respite.

Why? I bought my wife an A400 Xplor - the field model - for her to shoot sporting clays. On a whim I switched the shims for me (LH guy here), and was smoking targets at the local 5-stand/FITASC set up we have. AND, it worked with my light 3/4oz reloads. Not bad for a gun designed to shoot 3.5" goose loads, eh?

The other thing is simply this as well - the better gun you buy to start with, IF you then decide it isn't for you, you will be able to get a higher % back when you sell it;
that being said, the cost of the gun is NOTHING compared to ammo and targets over the long run. My O/U, bought new at a closeout wholesale price, was $1000 about 18 years ago. Over that time, I have spent over $100,000 on targets, ammo, reloading, gas, etc........

Read me sig line before you buy and realize, it really is a true statement
If all that is true why did I get an invite to try out for US national team in 86 shooting a pump? I will tell you why I got that invite. I am built my instinctive shooting skills on live game long before I ever saw a skeet tower. By the way, you have to be a fair shot to get invited to try out for a national team.

Let's get back to the topic. The OP has no experience with a shotgun. He has no clue if he will even like the game. Why make it so complicated he is overwhelmed before he sees how great it is to spend a morning with good company just having fun? Any form of clay shooting is great entertainment I don't care what gun one shoots.

NEW TO THE GAME
January 10, 2013, 09:00 PM
Even cheaper but practically the same gun as a mossberg 500 is the Maverick 88 pump. It also can be bought with two barrels to do double duty and most if not all of the 500 accessories will fit the Maverick. It's made by Mossberg. And u can get one for about $200 I and thousands if others swear by them.

nm3
January 10, 2013, 11:49 PM
I'll throw in a vote for a used Remington 1100 semi. I do pretty good with mine against all the singles & O/U's at my club. I certainly have fun and I'm out there without a huge investment.

BigJimP
January 11, 2013, 01:27 PM
Like most of us have said ...any decent pump gun is a good gun to start with ...and if you're only going to shoot 500 targets a year ( about 5 rounds of sporting clays ) ...maybe a decent pump gun will be all you'll ever need.

When I was raising kids - and had a lot of bills - I shot a Browning BPS for a long time..before I decided I wanted to take the next step in the clay target games / or before I knew whether I wanted to make this a major hobby....

In my mind, there is no question - that better equipment / if you want to take these games pretty serious / shooting 10 boxes a week in practice and a local tournament every weekend ( 100 - 150 shells)...you'll need a better gun to stand up to 350 - 500 shells a week ...and about 20,000 shells a year or so.

Its not about scores...its about reliability / and durability long term for a gun at maybe $ 3K that will last for 500,000 - 1 Million shells..or more.../ and that's when target grade guns like the higher end Beretta O/U's, Browning Citori XS Skeet model, Perazzi, Blaser, Krieghoff and Kolar ...start to make some sense as a long term investment - and guns, if you take care of them, will sell for a lot of money even on the used market.

"Fit" is always the number 1 issue in any shotgun..so it hits where you look. As long as any gun, even an old bolt action Westernfield, "Fits" you, you can hit a lot of targets - or a pump gun of whatever variety your budget will allow. Its fun to shoot these games with a pump gun ( although I don't do it too much anymore / its fun to challenge my buddies to a pump gun day at the club and have some laughs - and its amazing how quick we get back into the groove shooting some of our old guns ) ...but its also amazing with the balance and feel, better triggers, etc of some nice O/U's how your scores will probably be more consistent...so you can improve on a 75% - to an 80% or whatever your goals are in sporting clays...

oneounceload
January 11, 2013, 01:42 PM
If all that is true why did I get an invite to try out for US national team in 86 shooting a pump?
Was it for sporting clays? I doubt it as that sport was just getting started and there was no National Team at that time.

The OP, however stated:

I just recently got invited to a sporting clays tournament (Most likely a fun or charity shoot)

Which is why I said to go for a semi. Should he try as many as possible of all types? Absolutely, no question about that. But I still stand by words for a beginner to get a good semi, and IMO Beretta currently makes the best for clay games

kbbailey
January 11, 2013, 02:49 PM
I'll throw in a vote for a used Remington 1100 semi. I do pretty good with mine against all the singles & O/U's at my club. I certainly have fun and I'm out there without a huge investment.

^^me too^^
Shots fired at sporting clays, trap, skeet, hunting, etc, etc,....who knows. For me, it's tens of thousands.
Shots fired in sd/hd?? For me.........none, thank goodness

tuj
January 13, 2013, 10:19 AM
well guys, a very gracious forum member offer to take me out to shoot sporting clays yesterday! I of course took him up on the offer. I shot an 870 and a Beretta semi (I forget which model). I had a great time even though I was humbled by the game; I missed A LOT.

The other thing that was a bit tough for me was that the gun got heavy on me. (I know, I know, lift more weights). Are there some good lighter guns out there?

Browning
January 13, 2013, 10:21 AM
Try a Rem 1100. Faster for doubles and easier on your shoulder than a pump.

They make lightweight models.

BigJimP
January 13, 2013, 02:08 PM
As long as you had a good time...and were safe...it doesn't matter.

and now you have a little bit of perspective on the games...and the next time will be a little easier because you know more what to expect. Keep it up !

oneounceload
January 13, 2013, 02:52 PM
The other thing that was a bit tough for me was that the gun got heavy on me. (I know, I know, lift more weights). Are there some good lighter guns out there?

The issue with lighter guns then becomes more fatigue from the recoil and the possible introduction of a flinch - which you do not want

tuj
January 14, 2013, 08:15 AM
So I'm looking real close at the Remington 1100. Would a 30" be good or is that too long? What kind of choke should I be looking for?

nm3
January 14, 2013, 09:13 AM
The 1100 that i bought had a 28" ribbed fixed choke barrel. I just put a 30" ribbed choke tube Remington barrel on it. So far I like it and can change chokes, if i desire. I use it for Trap an enjoy the 1100....good luck in your search.

BigJimP
January 14, 2013, 01:09 PM
No, a 30" barrel is not too long.../ I prefer a semi-auto in a 30"....

What type of choke ....you should make sure the gun has changeable, screw in chokes, not a fixed choke gun. Buying a fixed choke gun, limits you way too much....and is not smart in my view.

For a sporting clays gun ....I will carry chokes in :

Cyclinder
Skeet
Improved Cyclinder
Modified
Improved Modified and
Full

....and probably 75% of the time, depending on the course, I'll shoot either a Imp Cyclinder or Modified in a 12ga with 1 oz of 8's at about 1225 fps.

oneounceload
January 14, 2013, 01:27 PM
Jim's a big guy and can carry all that weight of all those tubes.... ;)
with a single barrel gun, like the 1100, for sporting clays you will need one choke for close, one choke for medium, and one choke for far, realizing that the medium choke will be used about 85% of the time. Depending on where you live and the course layouts that would be: SK, LM, IM, (.005, .015, .025)or if the targets are just a little further: IC, M, LF (.010, .020, .030). Don't sweat choke and always changing them - focus on the bird and prepare your mental plan on how to break it - reading the target line, determining your hold, insertion, and break points, etc.......

tuj
January 14, 2013, 01:30 PM
Yeah guys, I need to focus on the breaking the bird a lot more than worrying about chokes, I just want to know what I would eventually need to have a fairly competitive setup.

I managed to hit I think 14 birds out of 50 on Saturday, so I definitely need more practice!!!

Deer_Freak
January 14, 2013, 02:00 PM
Was it for sporting clays? I doubt it as that sport was just getting started and there was no National Team at that time.

The OP, however stated:

(Most likely a fun or charity shoot)

Which is why I said to go for a semi. Should he try as many as possible of all types? Absolutely, no question about that. But I still stand by words for a beginner to get a good semi, and IMO Beretta currently makes the best for clay games
I responding to your statement that doubles are hard to shoot with a pump. There are a lot of people out there that can shoot aimed shots with a pump so fast it's hard to count the shots.

I got invited to shoot skeet. Lots of people use a golf anlogy to break the three games down. Sporting clays are like a round of golf. Trap is like the driving range. Skeet is practice on the putting green.

There is no way I can advise someone to buy an expensive gun who has never shot a shotgun. If the OP buys a pump and he decides he doesn't like shotgun games he has a good, reliable, self defense weapon or he can sell it for a small loss. The guns you are recommending are large investment for someone with no experience.

I shoot sporting clays most of the time myself now days. I have a nice 28 ga citori I shoot most of the time. There are times I get lazy. I don't get my shells reloaded. My score actually goes up when I shoot my 20 ga pump, as it should. Factory 20 ga shells are 1 oz loads. I shoot 3/4 oz loads in my 28 ga. Yes, I can buy reduced recoil 3/4 oz loads for the 20 ga but they are more expensive than the regular AA 1 oz loads.

oneounceload
January 14, 2013, 02:08 PM
I reload 3/4 oz fopr both 12 and 20 - for practice. When the targets become those of the registered type, then the factory 1oz come out. A pump is a handicap in games with doubles - simply true. Are there a few folks (like Tom Knapp) who can do well with a pump? Absolutely there are - there's one who shoots at my local club who is 6'7 and shoots a pump with a 13.75" LOP and he does very well. However, for most folks, a semi will be the better choice and in either case, if the OP doesn't like the game, he will recoup most of his money from either purchase. There is just no point, IMO, handicapping someone new trying to start out with a pump for anything except trap singles

tuj
January 14, 2013, 02:11 PM
Yeah guys, I tried shooting the doubles with the pump and really struggled with it. I plan on going with a decent semi that hopefully will hold its value should I decide later that clay games are not for me.

Any drawbacks to a used Rem. 1100?

nm3
January 14, 2013, 03:01 PM
There may be some to a die hard fan of the O/U, but quick second shots, reduced felt recoil & being pretty commonly available for +/- $400 is not a drawback, IMO. I found a pretty(really) nice one at a LGS a few years ago for $425.
Even if you don't like it and desire something else, you should be able to resell it for little to no loss. Good luck with your purchase, I know I enjoy mine....

tuj
January 14, 2013, 03:25 PM
I definitely liked the reduced recoil of the semi I shot a few times. My shoulder had a bruise on it after 75 rounds through the 870!

Are there any other good used semi's to consider in the same price-range as the Remington 1100?

oneounceload
January 14, 2013, 03:59 PM
Beretta 390, 391, 3901, 300, or even an older 303

Teachu2
January 14, 2013, 04:00 PM
I definitely liked the reduced recoil of the semi I shot a few times. My shoulder had a bruise on it after 75 rounds through the 870!

Are there any other good used semi's to consider in the same price-range as the Remington 1100?
Beretta 305, 390, 3901, 391

Jaxondog
January 14, 2013, 04:04 PM
It's just hard to go wrong with a Remington 1100 or 1187 and you want break the bank. You can get two of these for the price of a Citori. Good luck and enjoy. I loved it.

BigJimP
January 14, 2013, 04:34 PM
Most of the bigger name companies...like Remington, Beretta or Browning ..are decent investments in semi-auto's, and they'll hold their value pretty well....especially if they have changeable screw in chokes.

If they are "fixed" choke guns...in general, they will not hold their value - because they're not as versatile.

tuj
January 22, 2013, 10:10 AM
Well guys, I went out again to shoot sporting clays with some friends. Buddy brought along an older Remington semi, I think the precursor to the 1100. I ended up hitting 22/50 so that was an improvement from my first time out.

Anyway, decided to buy an 1100, 26" barrel, vent rib.

Thanks for all the help!

UnderTheGun
January 22, 2013, 10:32 AM
Congrats on the purchase!

Let me know when you want to go out and we'll try and plan it.

bodam
January 22, 2013, 10:37 AM
grats, and welcome to the world of clays.

Kymasabe
January 22, 2013, 04:27 PM
I shot trap for years with my 870 Wingmaster, put over 60,000 rounds thru that gun without ever having a problem with it. I'd change out barrels for home defense or for hunting, and I'd use my hunting barrel for sporting clays.
There are shooters that have specific guns for each sport but I'm not that rich, bought one gun that served me well. Yes, sporting clays is a challenge with a pump gun, but then again, so is bird hunting or small game hunting, same handicap. If you can overcome it on the sporting clays course, you'll be better in the field as a hunter (and vice versa).

Virginian
January 22, 2013, 06:54 PM
You did good. A new shooter trying to adjust to everything going on, hit targets, AND remembering to pump is sometimes a bit of an overload in my opinion. I always advise a new shooter to get a good used name brand gas operated semi - Remington, Beretta, Browning, etc. - take care of it decently, and then IF they decide they want to switch guns later they shouldn't lose a dime on the experience. They may end up like me. 49 years later and probably 45 or so more different shotguns and have yet to find anything I like better or can shoot better.

AJumbo
January 22, 2013, 08:29 PM
I shot my first couple dozen rounds of Sporting Clays with a Winchester '97, 28" tube, full choke. I do not recommend such a rig. I moved on to a Remington 870, 28"/modified, the an 1100. It had a 28"/modified barrel as well, so I bought a 30" Rem Choke barrel for it and my scores went way up. That being said, don't get sucked into an arms race with your fellow shooters, or yourself. It's east to think that you'd break more birds with "X" gun or "Y" barrel length. Get a shotgun that fits you, and go shoot it. I don't draw a line between competition and hunting guns; my best clay guns are also my best hunting guns.

If I was starting over, and money was no issue, I'd have a Beretta 686 or a Citori with 30" barrels, interchangable tubes, and a quality reloader. I'd have the stock fit to me and fitted with a quality recoil pad.

oneounceload
January 22, 2013, 09:58 PM
To add toAJumbo, don't go overboard about chokes either. Most folks who shoot a single barrel gun do fine with putting a LM in and forgetting about it, and instead focusing on the targets. A lesson or three will get you more targets than a gun that doesn't fit, no matter how expensive it is

Old Unc'
January 23, 2013, 12:13 PM
you cannot effectively shoot skeet or sporting clays with a pump action shotgun. Any serious skeet or sporting enthusiast will tell you the same. On the cheap, buy yourself an inexpensive autoloader like a Weatherby SA-08, Stoeger 2000, or a better quality Beretta 3901. Forget the pump action guns...

single stack
January 24, 2013, 12:18 PM
Skeet and Sporting Clays can be shot effectively with a pump
action shotgun. Although probably not up to World Shoot levels.

Some guys I shoot with will occasionally shoot Skeet with .410 pumps
for fun. I'll shoot most any game with a pump. Wee, probably not Bunker.

I'll grant you that they are very good competition shooters, but
out of our fun shooting squad with .410 pumps there will be a few 25's
in ordinary skeet and maybe 1 or 2 when we shoot doubles.

My results are not as stellar but it's still fun.

oneounceload
January 24, 2013, 03:05 PM
We have a few folks at my club who all own Win model 42s. They bring them out to the 5-stand now and again. These older gents have many years using them and do very well considering the pump action and the diminutive cartridge's capability - but they do have fun, which is the name of the game.

If you enjoyed reading about "Good starter shotgun for sporting clays?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!