Clay shooting : choosing my first gun - Suggestions?


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Dr.Wong
May 12, 2014, 01:48 AM
Hi everyone,

I'm new to the sport of clay shooting. It's something I used to do as a kid with my old man (many years ago), and only at adventure parks and the like. I've never owned a gun and I'm busy with my license etc at the moment.

Over the weekend I found a gun dealer close to my home. The guy behind the counter was really great and even offered to take me to a range before I buy a gun to make sure I'm comfortable and then offered to show me the ropes once I've got all of my gear.

I've been doing some reading on what guns are best for beginners etc, but I'd like to know from you veterans what the truth of the matter is.

The guy suggested I get a Silver Pigeon as my first gun. He also showed me a few Brownings and spoke about Miroku but he was dead sure that the Pigeon is the one for me. Is this overkill? I don't mind spending money on a good gun, but as with all sports you often make the wrong decisions when you're starting out and once you know a thing or two you realize you should have done things differently.

He also showed me guns with adjustable chokes. Is this something that I'll wish a had a few months down the line?

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blue32
May 12, 2014, 04:34 AM
Many people encouraged me to do the same. After some online research I settled on a Yildiz SPZ ME in 28ga for $450. I've only been able to put 600 rounds down the tubes, mostly reloads. Its holding up fine and I've had no problems with it. The gun came with five chokes. Your odds of having a problem with a B gun are pretty low, but if you look around you'll find that names like Yildiz and CZ put out some quality guns for half or more of a B. A lot of veteran shooters will vehemently defend Beretta/Browning as the bare minimum for a decent O/U. My experience has been quite different so far.

I'll eventually get a nice 686 but with sporting clays being so expensive its not going to be soon. At my current rate, I'm doing a tad over two flats/year and I expect the Yildiz to hold up but we'll see on down the road.

guyfromohio
May 12, 2014, 05:40 AM
I think it is overkill for the scenario you described. I'd look at a higher-end pump such as a Browning BPS or Remington Wingmaster. You would save considerable money and get a fine, more versatile, shotgun. I would get 12 gauge.... Again for more versatility.

Pete D.
May 12, 2014, 06:07 AM
Clay shooting covers a lot of territory.
16 yard Trap, International/Bunker Trap, Skeet, Sporting Clays.....
Which?
None of these require more than two shots at a time. The ones that do need two shots - 16 yard Trap doubles, International Trap, Skeet, and some stations on Sporting Clays - are best served by an O/U. You have two chokes available (not available in a single barreled gun) and a quick second shot that does not require any movement of the gun (like a pump would).
Yes, you can shoot any of these with a pump gun or a semi...... but the winners use O/Us.
Pete

oneounceload
May 12, 2014, 08:08 AM
Be more specific about clay shooting. The Silver Pigeon is NOT overkill - IF it fits. It should already come with choke tubes and you can always buy more in different constrictions later if you feel you need to. Any clays game that requires more than one shot (which is everyone except ATA trap singles), is better served with something other than a pump. A semi or over/under fits that bill nicely. If the Beretta is the gun for you, get it, realizing that as you progress, you will more than likely be buying other guns that fit/handle/feel even better while you search for "the One" ;)

Personally, I prefer sporting clays and FITASC over trap and skeet

rule303
May 12, 2014, 09:44 AM
You will never regret buying a quality gun. The Beretta is a good gun, if it fits you well. Like others pointed out, depending on what clay sport you are looking to get into will make a difference on what shotgun is the best choice. A field gun with 26-30" barrels will work great for hunting and sporting clays, and will suffice for trap and skeet with the proper chokes.

guyfromohio
May 12, 2014, 10:17 AM
Guy walks into a store wanting a first gun to try shooting and is talked into a $2300 Beretta.... Agree 100% that it's a great gun and you would not regret it. If I was behind Dr. Wong in line, I would leave the store thinking they were taking advantage of customers.

eastbank
May 12, 2014, 10:59 AM
a pump will run fast enough for the clays games,you may not run fast enough,but the pump will. i know two men who shoot 42 to 44 at sporting clays with pumps,a mossberg 500 and a remington 870 express. thoses two men make the rest of us realy look bad. you should try a few shotguns to see what you like and people at the shoots will let you try a few shots to help you decide,i know most of the members at the clubs i shoot at will. eastbank.

oneounceload
May 12, 2014, 11:46 AM
If I was behind Dr. Wong in line, I would leave the store thinking they were taking advantage of customers.

Why would you think that? Not everyone uses a pump; and the Beretta, like the Browning, are considered entry-level target guns, even at $2300. The other advantage is, if he decides to sell it, he'll get most, if not all, of his money back out of the gun.

a pump will run fast enough for the clays games,

But not new shooters. I have watched WAY too many new shooters show up with their tactical pumps and do so poorly, they don't want to return. Forgetting to pump, short-shucking it, trying to make a short barrel gun swing smoothly (and failing) all makes the game unenjoyable. Don't need an expensive gun either; but you DO need one that fits, no matter how much it costs. Besides, shoot clay games often enough and the cost of the gun, even a $20K Kreighoff, is miniscule compared to the cost for ammo, the targets, gas, etc.

guyfromohio
May 12, 2014, 12:56 PM
I'm not hung up on the pump thing, but I think doubles less than a browning are garbage and spending $2k+ for a first gun is silly unless you have that money and truly want top of the line.

OneWound
May 12, 2014, 01:25 PM
Why not a good used BT-99? With at least an adjustable comb. And $2300 is relatively cheap in the trap world...if you want a high-end gun, new, you're talking upwards of $10,000-15,000. If you're not shooting trap, why not a Remington 1100 with adjustable comb/buttplate? Yes it's an auto, but they can be made to eject forward, so then people won't get distracted by the shells that you eject.

oneounceload
May 12, 2014, 01:28 PM
2K is not top of the line - as I mentioned above, it is considered a very good entry-level target gun price range. Top of the line starts more like $10K and up for the likes of Kreighoff, Perazzi, and Kolar. For trap single guns, the likes of Ljutic and Silver Seitz get added to those other three and they typically start about 15K. That's not a full blown, hand engraved version either. Adding bling gets expensive REAL quick, especially if you have a noted artist do the work. That doesn't break targets though - perfect fit, perfect trigger, combined with perfect stance and movement and a hard focus on the target is what separates the winners from all the rest of us mere mortals

farm23
May 12, 2014, 01:42 PM
The fit of the gun is WAY more important than the model. If possible get help on the fit and shoot a number of gun before buying Most folks are very willing to let you try their gun.

PabloJ
May 12, 2014, 01:43 PM
My top pic would be Browning Cynergy due to the barrels/receiver lockup system. It's not unlike that found in Caprinus/Flodmann or Soviet MU-6. Those are good for hundred of thousands of rounds and I suspect this Browing would be pretty wear-proof as well.

vamo
May 12, 2014, 02:01 PM
Well depends on how you feel about dropping that kind of money on a gun. If it doesn't hurt you that much financially then yes you'll get a great gun that will serve you well for years to come.

If price is a factor then you should know a $200 used pump/semi off the rack will bust clays just as good as your premium high end shot guns. Shotguns are very simple, what you are paying for with the more expensive ones is durability, balance, and smooth operation. Don't get me wrong those things matter if you get into serious competition, but if you just want to test the waters so the speak an expensive gun is not necessary.

kbbailey
May 12, 2014, 02:18 PM
Get a good fitting auto. Spend $$ savings on shells and entry fees and practice. shoot shoot shoot.
If in a year or two you are still clay-target crazy.........then you will KNOW what gun you want to buy.
If you have lost interest in target shooting, you can sell it. Or hunt doves 'til doomsday then pass it on.
Target grade autos ... Remingtons Berettas, and Brownings will last the average hunter 2 or three generations.
oh...and shoot softer too btw
My $.02

cfullgraf
May 12, 2014, 03:00 PM
2K is not top of the line - as I mentioned above, it is considered a very good entry-level target gun price range...

...- perfect fit, perfect trigger, combined with perfect stance and movement and a hard focus on the target is what separates the winners from all the rest of us mere mortals

Right.

A good target shotgun that fits makes the clay sports alot more fun and the Beretta 686 or Browning Citori are excellent entry level guns.

If the over/under price tag is too steep, a Beretta or Remington semi-auto are good alternatives. I would recommend a target grade though. When I was shooting competitive skeet in the 1990s, many of the top skeet shooters were using semi-autos for the 12 ga. event. I am not sure what they are shooting today.

Pump shotguns were the main gun for skeet in the 1930s but with the advent of the over/under and reliable semi-auto, the pump has fallen by the wayside. Skeet is a mental game and there is too much to remember to do when shooting a pump.

eastbank
May 12, 2014, 03:38 PM
i admitt a pump shotgun would not be right for most shooters, but one can be picked up used pretty cheap, and can be used for all the clay games. at trap singles it would do fine, on doubles as for skeet and sporting clays and five stand it would be touch and go. but he will run into the short commings of the pump pretty quick and go forward to a better gun if he wants to contiue and if he doesn,t want to go forward he can sell the pump and not loose much money. i have gone thru most of the entry level shotguns and my skill level is well served with them and i still use these rem 870,s 410,28ga,20ga,12ga, 12ga trap. rem 1100s ,28ga,20ga,12ga. brno o/u 12ga, browning o/u,s 12ga,12ga mag,20ga- bt 100 12ga. winchester model 12,s 20ga,16ga, two field 12ga and a 12ga trap. two ithaca 12ga,s. and several double barrels, two fox stirlingworth,s 12ga,16ga. remington 1900 in 12ga and last a browning 20ga bss sporter. for my last shotgun i want a browning 725 trap with 32 " barrels. eastbank.

Virginian
May 12, 2014, 06:32 PM
Get a used Remington or Beretta gas action semi auto (1100 or 3**) in good shape. They will break targets as well as anything made and not beat you up in the process. Then, after you have been shooting for awhile and form some of your own tastes, and you took care of it, you can sell it for no loss and get something else.
I have seen far too many people buy a new O/U and find it didn't suit them for whatever reason and take a bath selling it. I for one do not like O/Us, but they are definitely the most popular. If you wait to get one the odds of getting one you like are much better.

Schwing
May 12, 2014, 06:47 PM
Well depends on how you feel about dropping that kind of money on a gun. If it doesn't hurt you that much financially then yes you'll get a great gun that will serve you well for years to come.

If price is a factor then you should know a $200 used pump/semi off the rack will bust clays just as good as your premium high end shot guns. Shotguns are very simple, what you are paying for with the more expensive ones is durability, balance, and smooth operation. Don't get me wrong those things matter if you get into serious competition, but if you just want to test the waters so the speak an expensive gun is not necessary.
^^^^^ This is the honest truth... Unless you plan on entering the Olympics.

I have been through a lot of shotguns and spent a lot of money. My favorite for clays is still my cheap ol'e Maverick 88. I think I spent like $120 on it.

MagicD
May 12, 2014, 06:55 PM
I have had great results with "used" shotguns purchased from on line sites.
These include Beretta and Browning O/U at very good prices.

buckhorn_cortez
May 12, 2014, 07:08 PM
If you want to shoot clay sports, a gun built for the task is the best way to go. A clay sports gun will have a raised rib on the gun making it far easier to sight the clay pigeon, and that alone will help you raise your score - and in the process make the entire experience more enjoyable.

I use a Beretta Prevail Trap model and can't tell you how much more enjoyable it is to shoot now that I have a gun made for the sport. Over the years, I have used pumps and semi-autos and had fun, but the purpose-built gun I now use is a revelation in shooting trap. The gun alone has improved my scores from the 16-19 range to consistently 22+ every time I shoot.

As has been pointed out, fit of the gun is extremely important. The stock on a Browning is different than the stock on a Beretta so you should carefully evaluate which is easier for you to sight quickly and which fits you better.

I tried both a Browning 725 Trap and the Beretta Prevail. For me, it was immediately evident that the Beretta fit me better. Either manufacturer's gun is a quality product so there is no question of one being "better" - just different.

If you have the budget for a quality over / under - find the one that fits you best and enjoy clay shooting sports.

oneounceload
May 12, 2014, 10:26 PM
i admitt a pump shotgun would not be right for most shooters, but one can be picked up used pretty cheap,

In clay games you get what you pay for.

Shotguns are very simple, what you are paying for with the more expensive ones is durability, balance, and smooth operation

All of which are critical for success when competing. There is a difference between pasture clays with a handthrower and entering registered competitions

I paid $1000 for a Browning 20 years ago - that was the closeout wholesale price. In the last 20 years, I shot about 300,000 targets. At 90,000 rounds I replaced firing pins and firing pin springs - that's been it. Even at a price of $.50 target, the costs of targets/ammo far exceeded the cost of the gun. Today, I can sell the gun for more than I paid for it.

Buy once, cry once.

MinnesotaFats
May 13, 2014, 12:07 AM
Newer shooters will usually say "clay games", "trap" or "skeet" when really what thier doing is just backyard clays. And since the good Dr. Wong hasent specified yet, im going to assume this is whats happening untill further notice. So for now i strongly recommend a pump or autoloader. A remington 1100 or 870. Who knows maybe after 200 rounds you decide it isnt for you. Now you have a possible home defense gun vs a $2500 2 shot sitting in your closet. Just a thought.

skiking
May 13, 2014, 12:50 AM
I say get a pump gun. Need not be expensive, and save some money for a few cases of shells for now. For what my club charges for targets and how much my reloads cost me the price difference between a $2500 o/u and my 870 express is a little over 7000 trigger pulls. With what I have budgeted for clays, that is about 18 months of shooting.

eastbank
May 13, 2014, 04:09 AM
good info on all posts for a new clays shooter, if he stays in the game he will soon decide what shotgun he wants to use. i only say if he starts out with a low end gun he will not be out alot of money if decides the clay games are not for him. eastbank.

kbbailey
May 13, 2014, 08:47 AM
I chased ATA targets all over the midwest for 20yrs with a Mod 12 Win and a SuperX Win. I went to a 870 Competition after that. None of them were expensive guns.
I always wanted a Ljutic though, still do.

Dr.Wong
May 13, 2014, 09:59 AM
Hi all,

Thanks for the informative responses. I've read them all thoroughly and there's clearly a bit of a debate as to whether a) a pump-action or an O/U is the right choice; and b) whether spending so much money is worth it for a beginner.

As far as the pump-action debate is concerned, I'd like to get into Sporting and Skeet so perhaps the O/U is the better choice for me. Clearly if you're skilled enough a pump will do fine - to be honest I've never tried a pump so maybe I should do that before deciding.

As to the cost, there is the very real concern that I lose interest (unlikely but I won't rule it out) but as some of you have said, you don't lose too much value on the gun so perhaps this isn't a massive concern.

This was lurking at the back of my mind :

Guy walks into a store wanting a first gun to try shooting and is talked into a $2300 Beretta....

I can afford the gun - but I don't want to throw my money into something that isn't right for me, which leads me to the next point.

There seems to be consensus that the most important aspect is that the gun is comfortable for me. I agree with this whole heartedly. Can we perhaps discuss what I should look for when it comes to comfort? When I held the Berreta, the guy behind the counter started talking about my height and the length of my arms but didn't elaborate. I'm 6'5 with long arms. Right now I haven't shot enough to know what I'd like in a gun when it comes to comfort and fit.

Thanks again for all of the insight!

tuj
May 13, 2014, 10:18 AM
I'm going to get some flack probably, but my first and only shotgun has been a Remington 1100. You can get them setup for all different clay games. Very soft-shooting.

jogar80
May 13, 2014, 10:32 AM
Get the Beretta if the price is not a big deal. Otherwise, get a Yildiz O/U as others have mentioned. They are a great value for the price, and the two I have owned work great. I would not go with a pump gun for shooting clays.... plus I hate picking the hulls up off the ground.

oneounceload
May 13, 2014, 11:51 AM
There seems to be consensus that the most important aspect is that the gun is comfortable for me. I agree with this whole heartedly. Can we perhaps discuss what I should look for when it comes to comfort? When I held the Berreta, the guy behind the counter started talking about my height and the length of my arms but didn't elaborate. I'm 6'5 with long arms. Right now I haven't shot enough to know what I'd like in a gun when it comes to comfort and fit.

Thanks again for all of the insight

Go to your local sporting clays and skeet courses. Explain your newness. See if they have rentals in a variety of makes and models and try as many as possible that initially seem to fit. See if other shooters will let you borrow or try their gun. While height and arm length are factors, they are not the ONLY factors - there is cast on or off, pitch, toe in or out, drop at comb, drop at heel, etc. all factoring into gun fit.There can be seasonal differences as well. Shooting in a hot summer climate where you only have a T shirt on versus in the winter in a cold climate where you may be dressed like the Michelin man will also need to be factored. Before getting anything with any customization though, start with a regular gun - if you decide you do not like it or the games then reselling it will not be a major loss. Any gun built for you alone can be difficult, so save that for a while down the road when you are sure you want to pursue a higher level of competition.

Since you said you can afford it, I would not worry about buying a used pump or similar that has the handling characteristics of a pig on a shovel

If you were to go to www.shotgunworld.com and ask these same questions, you'd be amazed at how the responses will differ from here. There, most folks are target shooters; here more are hunters or 3-gunners or have a shotgun for HD

rbernie
May 13, 2014, 12:28 PM
I am a huge proponent of making sure that a shooter's first shotgun is adjustable for length of pull, cast, and drop. Ideally, it would also have an adjustable comb.

This is why I often recommend Benelli 'ComforTech' stocked semi's as first guns; they're a lot cheaper than most doubles, and they are quite adjustable. Folk that buy them wind up spending less time fiddling and complaining and more time shooting. Some move on to ultimately buy a double, but many simply stick with the Benelli.

kbbailey
May 13, 2014, 01:58 PM
I would not worry about buying a used pump or similar that has the handling characteristics of a pig on a shovel

LOL that is funny. I see the humor, I truly do.

Pete D.
May 13, 2014, 04:14 PM
DR: aside from picking a gun that is appropriate, be it O/U, semi-auto, pump, SXS, or single shot (like the BT-99 that was mentioned), there is the matter of "fit". Shotguns, ideally, are fitted to their owners - certainly not everyone does this and many who do not shoot quite well - but ideally a fitted shotgun is the way to go.
This is because the shotgun, unlike other firearms, does not have a rear sight mounted on the gun. The rear sight is the shooter's eye. If the eye is to the left or right of alignment with the front bead when the gun is mounted, or is high or low relative to the bead.....the shot pattern will go left, right, high, low. When the shotgun is properly fitted and properly mounted, it will shoot where you are looking....you don't have to aim in the traditional sense.
I am a tall fellow also, with long arms....a normal over the counter 870, let's say, will have a stock that is designed for a person of average size...with shorter arms. The distance from the trigger to the butt on such a gun may be 13-14 inches. With my long arms, I need to have a stock that is over 15 inches, otherwise my eye is not going to be in the right place when I mount the gun......and that is just one of a number of measurements that determine fit.
Pete

OneWound
May 13, 2014, 08:00 PM
One thing that has not been mentioned is weight. If going with an o/u or pump, it's advisable to go with heavier models to deal with recoil. Shooting 1200fps shells on a light Remington 870 ain't fun.

Master Blaster
May 13, 2014, 08:26 PM
A good Beretta Semi-auto one of the new A400 models appropriate to your choosen discipline. Soft shooting adjustible fit proper stock and rib, and an easy sell if you decide you dont like the clay games. You can shoot trap or skeet, singles or doubles and you can hunt with it. You can even buy a different length barrel for it to make it more versatile. They come with chokes and stock shims.

Take the store owner up on his offer what works for others may not work for you. Try the Semi and try the over under and see what you like best.

oneounceload
May 14, 2014, 08:10 AM
^^^ +1, what I am shooting now for a change of pace and I am liking it. Took a few months to get used to the handling differences, but it is fast becoming my go-to gun for clays

guyfromohio
May 14, 2014, 11:29 PM
^^^ me too. I have three Citoris including one trap model, but I go to my 1980s vintage A303 every time.

303load
May 14, 2014, 11:33 PM
I like my 28 in modified pump Winchester with a vented rib. Never let me down. 175.00 bucks some yrs ago. Like the wing master too. Jmo. Best wishes. Ps I prefer 12 ga.

skiking
May 15, 2014, 02:54 AM
One thing guys are talking about here is fit. It doesn't matter which off the shelf gun you choose, it is designed to fit a majority of shooters adequately. If you are a goofy proportioned fella like myself, a $2500 gun isn't likely to fit you any better than a $350 gun. 6'2" tall with a 6'7" arm span, gorilla paws for hands and gunboats for feet weighing in a 170 lbs. Doesn't matter which gun I pick up off the shelf, it isn't going to fit.

eastbank
May 15, 2014, 02:20 PM
last night i got three rounds at trap before the rains came in. i shot a 24 with the BT-100( i have shot many straight 25,s and 50 with it) and a 22 with the 1949 win 97( the best i have ever done with it) and a 22 with the 1906 remington(i have shot a few 25,s with it). i plan on shooting the 97 win more this year. eastbank.

dbarky
May 15, 2014, 03:13 PM
Don't rule out a quality pump such as a Browning BPS or a Remington 870 Wingmaster. I would suggest 28" vent rib barrel with chokes in 12 ga. I would also suggest an Accuriser (sp) to increase the comb height for trap. Don't forget ear protection. Then shoot, shoot, shoot. One of the great trapshooters of all time was Larry Gravestock. He shot a Remington pump and won Vandalia, I think, 3 times. It's not the gun, its the shooter. As other's have suggested you get into the sport at a resonable price. Enjoy!

oneounceload
May 15, 2014, 04:26 PM
Depending on how any gun fits, he may not need anything to raise the comb, especially if it means seeing rib

gus3836
May 15, 2014, 07:27 PM
Do not buy a pump it wll frustrate you as a beginner. A S-A or OU will be best. Make sure the gun fits easy to do in the store. Mount the gun several times so you get use to it. Then close your eyes and mount the gun now open if the two beads look like a figure eight you now have a gun that is close. If there is any rib that you can see between the beads it does not fit correctly. Can be adjusted but try a different gun. If you are shorter in statue try a youth model just to see how that fits. If you need a shorter stock and you cut it you may have difficulty selling the gun if you decide you do not like shooting. Buy another rear stock and cut that one not the original. No gun or rifle fits me I need length. An actual trap gun will frustrate you if you shoot sporting or skeet. A trap gun is made for trap. It is easier to shoot trap with a skeet gun than vice versa just change barrels. If you are not concerned with reloading then why would you care if the empties are ejected. Biggest disadvantage betwwen SA and OU is that you only have one choke choice with a semi where you have two with an OU. MOst important is practice, practice, and practice. Shot a 23 at skeet with a SxS coach gun with external hammers. Clays has a lot of mental attitude some days the clays look like flying garbage can lids at 10 mph next time there the size of quarters at 80 mph. I could be all wet but these are the things that I have learned. There is a lot to the buy once cry once philosphy. Good luck and have fun. Gus

Rusty Luck
May 15, 2014, 08:27 PM
I feel like you should see if there are any ranges or such that will let you try a couple shotguns in your area. It's hard to really know how a gun works with or for you without trying it out.

Also it doesn't matter whether or not a gun is expensive or not as long as its of good quality and you shoot it well. Furthermore just because a gun is expensive that does not mean it will work well for you.

For example the worst outing of skeet shooting or dove hunting I have ever had was with a Browning Citori 725. My friend who owns the gun loves it and shoots it great but not me, I tried it several different times and in different shooting capacities with no success.

d2wing
May 16, 2014, 12:19 AM
Former instructor, avoid the pump. Especially for clays. I shot a Beretta 686 o/u, but the key is how it fits you. Second choice would be a Remington 1100 or 11-87 gas semi auto for less recoil. Those guns have won thousands of matches. One way to see how it fits is to mount the gun with your eyes closed then see how it is pointing. Another way is to mount it while looking in a mirror. The muzzles should be pointing at each other.
Try a few different guns if you can. Some are adjustable too. Most guns are universal fit with only slight difference and you will learn to adapt. A gun fitting should be done but never is. Few seem to know anything about it. Anybody can sell a gun.
What ever you choose you can learn to shoot it. Pattern it to see where it shoots. Learn to mount it properly and practice that. Then learn what it looks like when you break the target, your sight picture. Not that you aim, but you watch the target and are aware of where you muzzle is. Practice and enjoy.

d2wing
May 16, 2014, 12:28 AM
After reviewing your original post, it sounds like the dealer is giving you good advise and he is going to get you started. The Silver pigeon is a well proven gun and well suited to your purpose. The guy might not be right about everything but he sounds like he knows a lot and it would not hurt to trust him.

Dr.Wong
May 16, 2014, 07:16 AM
Thanks for the advice!

I think we've ruled the shotgun out for now (I'm no Larry Gravestock... haha). I think it would be wise to keep it simple at first, so I think I'm going to go for an O/U. I like the silver pigeon, but as far as I can tell, you can't get one with a raised rib. Does this make a big difference to your shooting?

I won't rule this out, I'll see if I can get hold of one :

A good Beretta Semi-auto one of the new A400 models appropriate to your choosen discipline. Soft shooting adjustible fit proper stock and rib, and an easy sell if you decide you dont like the clay games. You can shoot trap or skeet, singles or doubles and you can hunt with it. You can even buy a different length barrel for it to make it more versatile. They come with chokes and stock shims.


I need to have a stock that is over 15 inches Thanks Pete, it's good to get actual measurements from someone in the same boat.

The guy might not be right about everything but he sounds like he knows a lot and it would not hurt to trust him.

I think he's trustworthy - I just want to make sure I'm making an informed decision.

One way to see how it fits is to mount the gun with your eyes closed then see how it is pointing.

Thanks to those who suggested this, I'll give it a go with the Pigeon and what ever else I get around to trying.

For those who are of the opinion that a cheaper gun will be just as good - I'll have to do some shoppiong around. The guy who's helping me out said "You don't want a cheap gun. You want to start off with a good one" - and then he suggested the Silver Pigeon.

Can't wait to shoot!

oneounceload
May 16, 2014, 08:06 AM
you can't get one with a raised rib. Does this make a big difference to your shooting?


Not to me, but then I shoot Sporting Clays and FITASC, not trap. While some SC shooters are gravitating towards using raised ribs and high combs, most do not because there are too many different target presentations.

No matter which way you go - "Head on the stock and eyes on the rock" - focus HARD on the bird, trust your eyes and brain to point the gun where it needs to go, and most importantly - HAVE FUN!

HexHead
May 16, 2014, 08:32 AM
If your dealer is a Beretta dealer, see if he has an SV-10 and try that vs a Silver Pigeon. It has a slightly different feel and you can select whether you want it to eject or just extract the shells. Most skeet courses don't want shells all over the ground.

One of the things I HATE about this forum, is whenever anyone asks about a relatively expensive gun, the cheapskate yahoos show up suggesting a $300 gun is all they need. I recall a few weeks ago a guy was asking if anyone had any experience with a Blaser rifle and the yahoos showed up telling him a Savage was all he needed. It's hard to take gun advice seriously around here.

cfullgraf
May 16, 2014, 10:35 AM
No matter which way you go - "Head on the stock and eyes on the rock" - focus HARD on the bird, trust your eyes and brain to point the gun where it needs to go, and most importantly - HAVE FUN!

Right, when I run into a string of misses at skeet, I usually discover that I have started lifting my head off the stock.

oneounceload
May 16, 2014, 11:21 AM
One of the things I HATE about this forum, is whenever anyone asks about a relatively expensive gun, the cheapskate yahoos show up suggesting a $300 gun is all they need. I recall a few weeks ago a guy was asking if anyone had any experience with a Blaser rifle and the yahoos showed up telling him a Savage was all he needed. It's hard to take gun advice seriously around here.

Not ALL of us (;)) are that way, but in general you are correct. Now, if he went over to ShotgunWorld.com, the responses would all be the other way

eastbank
May 16, 2014, 11:23 AM
i think you should buy what ever you want if you have the money too, but don,t think a less costly rifle or shotgun will not shoot. i,m amazed by a friends savage 110 in .308 that will give less than inch groups at 100yds with his reloads with 150gr bullets. sure my remington heavy barreled .308 shoots better, but he didn,t pay 800.00 for his savage. and that goes for shotguns to, when i see a man shoot 42-44 at sporting clays with a mossberg 500 time after time,it shows the mossberg has it in it,but does the shooter? eastbank.

Sheepdog1968
May 16, 2014, 02:56 PM
I was all set to upgrade from my Mossberg 500 for trap league to something nicer. Then, I started to hit 23 and 24 our of 25 reasonably often. As such I lost interest in upgrading. If I were to upgrade, it would be to a kind of shotgun that I've really wanted to own for a long time and even then it wouldn't be the uber optimized for trap. If you don't have a shotgun, I would get something that you like that fits within your budget. Just about any shotgun will do the job just fine.

kbbailey
May 16, 2014, 06:29 PM
I guess I would be happy to compare my ATA averages to anyones on THR. I'm not saying they are the best or couldn't be better with a nicer trapgun, but I am saying they are AA and have been for about 30yrs.
Dozens of 100x100s, even from hdcp. All with either a Mod 12 or an 870.
I have a 4E Ithaca trapgun, I just never shot it as well as my Mod 12.

d2wing
May 16, 2014, 06:56 PM
For one thing, trap is not very demanding for gun handling. A lot of guys do fine with 500's and 870's and heavy guns. In sporting clays it makes more difference. Another is you can adapt to a particular gun and be happy with it. If you switch to another gun you may not do as well. Nothing wrong with using a cheap gun. But it is a handicap for some types of shooting. For Sporting clays I like an over under because the weight is between your hands and you can turn easier. In trap you have the gun mounted and every shot is in front of you. Clays can come from a variety of positions and you must mount the gun and may have to take a target from another direction in a double. A nice trap gun would feel like a pig. I recommend a standard upland hunting gun, not a duck gun or trap gun.

mudstud
May 17, 2014, 12:06 AM
I think the Beretta 686 Silver Pigeon I is an excellent choice for a beginners sporting clays and skeet gun! I would just like to mention that you may be better served by the "Sporting" variation, rather than the standard field gun. The reason being, the standard field guns have an automatic safety, meaning every time you open and close the gun, the safety automatically resets, requiring you to remember to push the safety off every time, before you shoot. This gets to be a PITA, and you may very well lose some birds because you forgot to push the safety off. The Sporting guns have a manual safety and don't automatically reset. I think the price for a Sporting 686 and a field gun are about the same.

Further, I would recommend 30" barrels, or at the very least 28". The longer barrels are conducive to a better swing. Stay away from 26" barrels! Especially since you are 6' 5"!! The standard LOP on Beretta 686's runs about 14-1/2", with a thin rubber pad. At your height, and with long arms, that is probably too short, but not to worry, this is a very minor issue, and can easily be remedied by replacing the factory pad with a thicker pad. A 1" pad should give about a 15-1/4" LOP. Any decent gunsmith should be able to solve any LOP issues.

Good luck however you decide to go!

cota
May 17, 2014, 09:22 AM
The Beretta the store staffer recommended is the stock answer in most circles to the what gun do i start with question. That gun and the other comparative models from Browning miroku etc are unquestionably a good choice well tried and tested and accepted the world over.
The only reservation i have on recommending one of the same guns to you is the fact you are new to the sport/ discipline.
Just throwing a sporter at you over the counter you shell out the hard earned you walk out the door and live happily ever after.
Well this could be the case but it could also be the start of an expensive frustrating learning curve. Many scinarios could occur , you may fall out with sporting decide you want a dedicated skeet or trap model because you like this disapline or that. Or decide you like a X Gun X Model better than your original choice after a relatively short honeymoon.
The old WED in haste repent at leisure adage springs to mind here.;)
Your relative newness to the sport and not necessarily have you decided exactly what you want and need from the sport, i would eire on the side of caution here and think long and hard on your purchase.
The offer to try the guns is a good one but fraught with compromises, many in number to list here in entirety. They could vary from your shooting/gun handling style fit issues its virtually endless, and because you have no hard and fast rules set in your mind what you want or need to be effective at this sport is a big negative all by itself.
So where does that leave you, well i can only comment on the route i would take or advise friends or family to do in your scenario.
I would go along to the local trap club, get to see a few guns and chat with a few people most will be only to willing to offer advice, you will get to handle a few different guns, and who knows even get to shoot a few. Within a couple of visits you will have an idea what gun you want. It could be you buy the silver pigeon after all or perhaps a citori or cynergy, but it could be just as possible you decide that ancient 3200 remington was the gun for you and your search will begin for your holy grail.;)
If this all seems to be a long old dusty road to you and you want a start NOW! :eek:
Then this blokes advice to you is to perhaps start with a good used older model a Miroku 3000 perhaps reasonably priced and competent, or perhaps a Winchester 5000 or even a used Beretta but whatever you chose buy wisely if its in good order when you get it a used model wont loose you anywhere the money a new gun will the second you buy it, let somebody else loose the buyers slice not you. You will be able in most cases able to get your money back on a good used gun, or near to it. A new gun ..NEVER!.:(
Now once you have fuly got to grips with what you want to do in the sport, then fine go out and buy a new gun of your make model and style, but right now.. Tread softly thats my advice.

Virginian
May 17, 2014, 02:45 PM
I never advise anyone to start their kid driving with a Camaro SS or a Mustang Cobra, and I would not advise anyone to start clay target shooting with a Perazzi, regardless of their budget. Learn the game(s), and learn what you like, and what works and feels good to you, first. Get a good used Remington 1100 or Beretta 3** and start shooting.

oneounceload
May 18, 2014, 10:44 AM
If you have the money for a Perazzi, nothing wrong with that; if you have been professionally fitted, Perazzi will custom build it the way you want for no extra charge

Geno
May 28, 2014, 12:34 AM
eastbank said:

last night i got three rounds at trap before the rains came in. i shot a 24 with the BT-100( i have shot many straight 25,s and 50 with it) and a 22 with the 1949 win 97( the best i have ever done with it) and a 22 with the 1906 remington(i have shot a few 25,s with it). i plan on shooting the 97 win more this year.

I have shot very few clays, but do strongly want to do so. To that end, about 2 years ago, I gave my 2-year-old Remingtom M870 Wingmaster with light barrel, to my brother as an heirloom, which would pass down to his son. Son (nephew already knows it, and shoots it). I made good heirloom gift. But, now I needed a replacement 12 gauge. I settled on the Browning Citori in 12 gauge, with 28" barrels. It hits where I point.

Of course always wanting more, I have a wandering eye for the Browning BT-99 Grade III,not merely for clays, but perhaps more exciting, for pheasant. Those of you who have owned a BT-99 or a BT-100, am I off base on this thinking. I enjoy the challenge of a single barrel shotgun. So this I bend your ears, and inquire: "to BT, or not to BT, for wing shooting, that is the question. 8^)

Geno

oneounceload
May 28, 2014, 07:24 AM
The BT-99 is a great trap gun, but IMO it is way too heavy to tote all day after pheasant - single shot or not - use your Citori O/U for that

Dr.Wong
May 28, 2014, 10:36 AM
I would just like to mention that you may be better served by the "Sporting" variation, rather than the standard field gun. The reason being, the standard field guns have an automatic safety, meaning every time you open and close the gun, the safety automatically resets, requiring you to remember to push the safety off every time, before you shoot. This gets to be a PITA, and you may very well lose some birds because you forgot to push the safety off. The Sporting guns have a manual safety and don't automatically reset. I think the price for a Sporting 686 and a field gun are about the same.


Thanks for this! It turns out he was trying to sell me the Field model! This is something I wouldn't have known unless I'd asked you guys. I've put an order in for the Sporting.

We'll wait and see!

Pete D.
May 29, 2014, 07:51 AM
Of course always wanting more, I have a wandering eye for the Browning BT-99 Grade III,not merely for clays, but perhaps more exciting, for pheasant. Those of you who have owned a BT-99 or a BT-100, am I off base on this thinking. I enjoy the challenge of a single barrel shotgun. So this I bend your ears, and inquire: "to BT, or not to BT, for wing shooting, that is the question. 8^)

Let me echo OneOunceload's comment.... the BT-99 is a fine firearm but at nine pounds..... not a gun that I want to carry across and through a day in the Uplands.
I carry one of three shotguns when I am hunting either grouse or pheasant. The heaviest of them is six pounds and quarter. The Browning stays home.
Pete

AJumbo
May 29, 2014, 09:10 PM
Get one that fits, and that you like. Pretty much everything else is secondary. If the one you like is kinda spendy, get it anyway.

kbbailey
May 30, 2014, 07:04 AM
As far as the BT for hunting.....
I can't remember for sure, but I'm thinking that it doesn't have a safety??

RainDodger
May 30, 2014, 12:28 PM
Most people here know more about this subject than I do, but here's what I found... I've got a passel of shotguns... 870, Win Model-12, Browning semi-autos and a dedicated semi-auto trap gun.

Out of all of those, my Browning Citori (a Gran Lightning) fits me the very best. With only 28" barrels, it is still the gun that I take to the trap range. It fits me better than my "real" trap gun and that's what matters. Get what fits you best and buy all the quality you can afford. You'll never regret it in my opinion. I run your basic Full over Mod chokes and it works great for me.

Edit: Pete D. has a point... an O/U is gonna be heavy for the field. When I hunt I carry my trusty old Browning 2000 semi-auto.

oneounceload
May 30, 2014, 04:26 PM
Today, 07:04 AM #66
kbbailey
Member



As far as the BT for hunting.....
I can't remember for sure, but I'm thinking that it doesn't have a safety??
As a single barrel break open that would really be a non issue as you can just carry the gun broken open if that's an issue.
That said taking a 9# single shot in the upland seems rather foolish to begin with

kbbailey
May 31, 2014, 12:23 AM
Really??
I cant believe nobody suggested he pick up a Seitz to hunt pheasants.
Im done here.

oneounceload
May 31, 2014, 02:46 PM
Well, a Ljutic will work as well as a Seitz... ;)

Pete D.
June 2, 2014, 07:19 AM
Well, a Ljutic will work as well as a Seitz

Oh, you guys!

Pete

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