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Good Shotguns.....

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by Dave McCracken, Aug 22, 2008.

  1. Dave McCracken

    Dave McCracken Moderator In Memoriam

    Dec 20, 2002
    One of the reasons Yr Humble Scrivener is found often at PGC on Fridays is the other kids let me play with their toys.

    I shot my Beretta WOP today as usual. I also took a few shots with....

    Superreverb's delightful 28 gauge Winchester 101.

    His 11-87 Sporter.

    Another 11-87, this one with a synthetic stock instead of decent walnut.

    And a high grade, sideplated and engraved Blaser with fantastic wood and a propensity to grind targets into separate molecules. A very pretty shotgun that's absolutely lethal, the modern equivalent of a 16th Century Spanish Rapier with a blade of fine Toledo steel and a arabesque handguard.

    It and the little 28 handled like rapiers, quick and responsive. Two well built O/Us different in design and mission but alike in quality and handling.

    The autos were decidedly muzzle heavy, which kept the swing going nicely on trap style targets.

    I hit targets and had fun with all.

    So, I'm letting the pony run for home afterwards with the Ipod (See, I'm not totally anachronistic) and Lee Ann Rimes telling me about good friends, and I fell to musing about this fine morn.

    I shot guns ranging from about 6 lbs to more than 8. Balance went from neutral to brick on a snow shovel muzzle heavy. Gauges were 12 and 28. Loads were my usual 7/8 oz of 7.5 shot in 12 gauge and whatever Ed loaded up in those teensy red hulls.

    I get a bit obsessive sometimes on things like fit and keeping things the same. My 870s get little exercise these days because I like to stick to one gun for clays and right now that's the B gun.

    But t'is fun to try out the other guns and note that regardless of weight, balance and load, I got hits and plenty of them.

    I note that Al and Brian of the Geezers shot similar scores today.

    Al used a Model 21 Winchester that's a fine piece of functional art.

    Brian used an off brand SxS made in Europe somewhere, possibly in a factory that also produces tractor parts. It's a blue collar double, but the barrels shoot together and I've taken a few shots with it also and found it worthy.

    We spend way too much time and bandwidth here debating the merits of 870s vs 500s, Brownings vs Berettas ad nauseam.

    The hardware is simple. Buy a durable, easily serviced shotgun, get it fitting you and try to wear it out.

    The software is more crucial. We need to learn the mount and swing from our toes up. We need to learn how to find the line and where the shot should happen on it. We need to learn how to narrow our focus down to the leading molecule of the target and how to sustain that focus again and again. We need to learn to do this without thinking. Shotgunning is too important and quick an activity to trust results to intellectualizing.

    The Shotgunner's Mantra, Just shoot the $%^&**( thing.

    And while I like my shotguns, I have to admit they're not the part that misses.

    Darn near any shotgun will do the job. A good thing, since I like most shotguns,

    Heck, if shotguns talk to each other, they'd be saying.....

    Dave? He's SO easy.....
  2. sm

    sm member

    Dec 22, 2002
    Between black coffee, and shiftn' gears
    Way to go Dave, you dunnit agin.

    -Thursday is Mod Bashing Day and since you are a day late, folks will have to wait 6 days to bash you.

    -This thread is totally going to ruin the release of :

    How to buy skill and targets by Shister

    Posting Pics of Ultimates on teh Intrawebz by P.Osturing

    Oh well, like the song sez, he ain't as good as he once was, just as good once as he ever was...

  3. chas08

    chas08 Senior Member

    Feb 6, 2008
    South Central Texas
    Chas? He's SO..... Hey wait a minute...I resemble that remark :D
  4. Beagle-zebub

    Beagle-zebub Participating Member

    Dec 18, 2006
    Moscow, Russia
    Really? I feel like if that were widely accepted, people wouldn't often spend over a grand on a shotgun, let alone going into the successive orders of expense that they do.

    Way I see it, the equipment generally isn't the limiting factor: you can shoot round after perfect round of skeet with a modest pump-gun, unlike a stock-car driver's chances of victory in a truly stock automobile. A better gun might make you better, sure, but so would more practice; indeed, you could treat it like a another handicap, allowing you to save shooting weak-handed for later.

    Asbestos undies on....
  5. Superreverb

    Superreverb New Member

    Sep 9, 2005
    Beautiful Western Howard County
    I think that was Dave's point... ;) One doesn't need to spend over a grand on a shottie to grind the targets into dust.

    I received my first 870, bought from "Law Enforcement Ordnance" in Athens, Georgia, when I was 12 for the princely sum of $79. She was my primary skeet/trap gun from age 12 to age 24, when I bought myself a Citori for skeet and The Old Man bought me an 870TC as a prezzie for trap. Yes, I still have that gun - changed out the cut-down riot stock for full-size Wingmaster wood when I hit 14 - and might take her out to PGC next Friday, schedule permitting.

    I reckon I can probably do just as well with that first 870 as I could do with one of my Parkers.

    Software is key. Hardware is secondary.


    As an aside - my Mantra is "Don't think!! Just shoot the #$%^&*^%$ thing!!!"
  6. Beagle-zebub

    Beagle-zebub Participating Member

    Dec 18, 2006
    Moscow, Russia
    Oh, I know he meant it--my quibble was whether most shotgunners would agree with it.
  7. Superreverb

    Superreverb New Member

    Sep 9, 2005
    Beautiful Western Howard County
    Ah - gotcha.

    Maybe not most. What was it that SM posted above? Ah, yes: "How to buy skill and targets by Shister"

    Certainly pertains to many I've encountered over the years. But there are always surprises, thankfully.
  8. Dave McCracken

    Dave McCracken Moderator In Memoriam

    Dec 20, 2002
    Thanks for the responses, guys...

    Yup, I meant the mantra. Lots of folks with shotguns stop themselves from being shotgunners by overthinking, and focussing on the hardware.

    It's not having a shotgun that makes someone a shotgunner, it's knowing how to use it.


    I've nothing against someone getting whatever shotgun gladdens their heart. I'd like to own all the shotguns I shot today, especially the two O/Us. Both of them are eye candy as well as very good shooters.

    That Blaser would run into 5 figures in that upgraded version.

    But, that shotgun in the hands of a clueless tyro is darn near useless. Same with the others. In the hands of a veteran,skilled shotgunner, it's deadly as well as art. In the same hands, so is a Maverick or NEF single shot. Well, maybe not art. You know what I mean.

    This might not rest easy with the folks posting Cool Pics of new looking shotguns. Nor with the folks that think that one buys skill or targets.

    Skill is earned.
  9. sm

    sm member

    Dec 22, 2002
    Between black coffee, and shiftn' gears
    Dave and others around here know my take on all this.

    I have harped for years, even before THR come to be, about correct basic fundamentals, gun fit, lessons and quality practice.

    And I have done so, in regard to other shotgun uses besides Trap and Skeet.

    Live Pigeon, Columbaire, Int'l Trap, Int'l Skeet, 5 Stand, Sporting Clays, Defensive Shotgun, 3 Gun...

    There are 5 things one must do with a shotgun for a shotgunner to make effective hits.

    Ask Tom Held, Hoser, Zak Smith, Larry Correia, Gordon, Lee Lapin, Will Fennell, PJR, TrapperReady, kudu, Smoke_Rizen...Dave McCracken...

    Larry Correia can run a 870, 1100, SX1, SX2 and it ain't the gun , it is Larry.

    He is using dummy shells to practice loading a shotgun for 3 Gun, do you folks realize how fast Larry is?

    Lee Lapin is another one, that will use dummy shells to practice loading a shotgun.

    When I was competitng back in the day, I did at least 100 repetitions a day of correctly mounting shotgun to face and other dry fire drills.
    At least.

    Add shooting at Least 100 rds a day.

    I am the dingbat that was known to do 500 reps in a day, and I have shot 16 practice rounds in one day. [ 16 x 25 = 400 rds downrange]

    I ain't got good sense, I was eating and sleeping shotguns, and it was every day of the week.
    Typical was 8 rds of skeet , each day of the week at minimum.
    [8x7 = 56 rds x 25 targets per round = 1400 rds a week]

    This is not crazy, this what one does.
    Go ask any IDPA/IPSC shooter how many rounds they blow throw a day and in a week.

    Trigger time pays off.
    Including dry fire drills.

    I'll stick with Skeet, still applies to any shotgun discipline.
    We had gals and guys with expensive custom fitted guns without beads.
    Perazzi, Kreighoff, Beretta...name one.

    Now one of these knuckleheads would show up with a J.C. Higgens they bought at a Estate Sale or Pawn Shop, or maybe down at a bait shop...

    After the razzing about the durn thing don't break into....
    Finding some shells...

    These folks would run a straight with this gun, and we others would too, because we ain't got good sense either and we had to shoot it too - this is pure fun!

    Known shooters, out Dove Hunting is a hoot! No telling who is going to shoot what, and folks shooting weak handed, from the hip and just having a good time...except sometimes.

    Get a fund raiser, and partnered up with a kid.
    Oh it gets serious fast!

    15 bird limit.
    One only gets 15 shells.
    $100, maybe $200, even $500, and one time $1000 to play the game.

    Nice size pot, and he/she that fells the most birds, with the fewest shells takes the pot.
    Pot went to kids stuff, and the $1000 deal was for a terminally ill kid to go with his parents someplace special.

    Which is another interesting key one will find out about shotgunners, and that being is it not about them, instead others.

    Can't buy it - gotta earn it!
    - me
  10. TrapperReady

    TrapperReady Senior Member

    Jan 29, 2003
    Software first? Yep.
    Hardware appropriate for the task? Yep.
    Do better guns cost more? Yep.
    Do better guns promote better shooting, as long as the shooter's fundamentals are sound? Yep.
    Can a good shooter do OK with a crappy gun? Yep.
    Will a good shooter do better with a good gun? Yep.
    Can a shooter be hampered by a crappy gun? Yep.

    Dave's post is a good one, in that it reminds us that we should be focusing on the fundamentals and the physical and mental aspects of shotgunning far more than the equipment. However, equipment does certainly play an important role.

    I do some instructing and see students using all manner of guns. Some have cheapo things that barely work. Others use higher-end purpose built and modified pieces. The important things are function (is it safe, does it feed and operate correctly, does it go BANG every time) and fit. Dang near anyone can break targets (at least some of the time), with dang near any gun. Doing it consistently and comfortably is another matter entirely.

    I can and have broken targets with Stoeger double-guns which I would classify (at least these specific examples) as a bad imitation of a shotgun. It didn't mean I liked it. It didn't mean that something (anything) else would have been a better choice.
  11. plumberroy

    plumberroy Active Member

    Sep 25, 2006
    to me The simplicity and reliability of A single shot is art. sorta like mission stle furniture simple clean lines and perfectly functional
    like you said Dave "Just shoot the $%^&**( thing." :D
  12. Brian Dale

    Brian Dale Senior Member

    Aug 12, 2003
    on the farm
    Nothing wrong with eye candy. A fancy gun won't make you shoot better but, again, a straightforward, blue collar gun won't either, no matter how much fun the old "I beat some frou-frou city boys with my 870 yesterday" threads might be.

    Get what you like, as long as it fits, and then shoot it. Shoot it a lot. To me, some wear on a fine gun makes it look better, not worse.

    {This message has been brought to you by the Department of Redundancy Department}
  13. Beagle-zebub

    Beagle-zebub Participating Member

    Dec 18, 2006
    Moscow, Russia
    Maybe modern art? Pop art? American Gothic, all the way.
  14. PJR

    PJR Participating Member

    Dec 30, 2002
    True enough but it might let you shoot better.
  15. MCgunner

    MCgunner Senior Elder

    Dec 3, 2005
    The end of the road between Sodom and Gomorrah Tex
    What's the fun of a post where you can't argue for your favorite platform, gauge, or model? Sheesh!

    With shotguns, fit is more important than model, action type, or even gauge. It's taken me a while to figure this out. I'm a little slow. So, now days, I think it terms of making it fit right if it doesn't already, and few seem to.
  16. Dave McCracken

    Dave McCracken Moderator In Memoriam

    Dec 20, 2002
    Thanks, folks. A coupla small things....

    Steve, my own practice at home isn't as extreme. I do mount a few times several days a week, and use weights in between to tone up the arms.

    Another exercise is on focus. I look at the far wall, then at the light switch on it. Then I look at the top screw that holds the plate on. Then I look at the slot in the screw, then just an end of the slot. IOW, I keep narrowing down the focus,

    On the range before calling for the bird, I open my eyes as wide as possible, then focus on a leaf or similar object at the limits of vision.

    TR, agreed on your yeps. For a student, and I'm one, a shotgun that shoots where we look is crucial. Much more than the name on it.

    Few people would sneer at my equipment. The B gun or any of the 870s are well known as "Good" shotguns. But the crucial element is me.

    Roy, if you know anything about old flintlocks, you know that the Pennsylvania Long rifle came quite decorated with brass inlays. The Southern Mountain rifle that was kin to it was much more plainly made but its simplicity and graceful lines remind me of Shaker furniture. And both are absolutely beautiful.

    Brian, my views on wear marks are well known.

    Beagle, art, like beauty, is in the beholder's eye. Frankenstein, my parts 870, may be cosmetically challenged to a stranger but looks real good to me.

    True, Paul.

    "Fit is more important than model,action..."

    AH, Grasshopper, the Satori has arrived.....
  17. dogbob

    dogbob New Member

    Jun 1, 2008
    On Friday's, you will never forecast what the Geezers will bring to shoot. But you CAN predict the level of fun that will be had. The fun meter is pegged!!!

    I'm new at this shotgun stuff. I only own inexpensive guns. Others who have been around a while shoot the more exotic.

    When everyone is out on the field shooting, none of the hardware matters. When the bird breaks, everyone cheers!
    Great fun for all!!! (Especially when Dave Mc. is on the button) Shoot what ya got now!

    Worry about the super nice stuff later. You can't possibly have any more fun. (and look at all the money you have to buy ammo, etc. with until then!) As my dad says " It costs how much? It's only a piece of pipe with some wood on it!" Well maybe not, really it's only in your mind.....
  18. Two Cold Soakers

    Two Cold Soakers Member

    Jan 22, 2007
    West Michigan
    Don't really know what I'm trying to say here, but.....

    I suppose I could post higher Trap scores with an old 1100 than a H&H SxS.

    I KNOW I can post better Skeet and Sporting scores (and bag more grouse) with an Italian SxS than a Mossy 835.

    It ain't so much about overspending as it is about spending on the right thing. One of the best uses of time and money in my experience has been practice, fitting, and patterning.
  19. sm

    sm member

    Dec 22, 2002
    Between black coffee, and shiftn' gears
    My contention has always been, learning the correct basic fundamentals first is best.

    Correct Basic Fundamentals includes Gun Fit To Shooter.

    Now I know I am not the only one that subscribes to new shooters and even those that used to shoot, and have not for some time and getting back into shooting - shoot a gun that fits them.

    Anatomy & Physiology changes as one is growing up, and going through stages of developments, and continues as they age.

    i.e. Kids just get bigger.
    Even that custom fitted shotgun someday will not fit the owner, as the A&P of the owner will change.

    The Mental Game is so important in shooting.
    In anything...

    If a person does not like the shotgun ( any firearm, anything) the Human Being and its systems will just not do well with it, and the "self esteem" is not going to allow the shooter to well.

    Attitude is part of the Mental and therefore so important.

    i.e .410 shotgun.

    Follow me here...

    I. A wittle kid wants to hunt with the big people and they shove this wittle kids gun in his/her hands and they go hunt.

    This gun is so much smaller than everybody else's and it only shoots one stupid shot...
    Stupid squirrel did not even fall out of the tree...
    Everybody else got squirrels, and their guns shoot more than once and ...*sniff*....they just shoved this wittle gun in my hands to shut me up...
    I didn't have a good time...I felt in the way...hunting is stupid...guns are stupid...

    II. Young lady or young man is with the big people and they are being honest about the .410 not being very effective.
    All sorts of neat .410 shells, and guns and that pattern board.

    -That .410 is older than daddy! It is so old but it is so neat!
    -That one is a really cool pump gun and they said it was a Model 42.
    -Oh wow! That one is really pretty/neat! It is really expensive, and he/she won a real skeet tournament with that one! It is called a K-80 and what you do is use a hammer to knock in them tubes and it shoots .410, 28, 20 and 12 ...
    -Oh how neat! That Citori has 3 barrel sets, and they are .410, 28 and 20...

    Okay, we are all going to go shoot wabbits in the snow, and the Beagles are so funny.
    Big People are going to use .410 single shots like mine and ...
    Oh this hunting stuff is so much fun! The dawgs were so funny...
    Big people missed wabbits, and looked funny trying to take a second shot ...
    I cannot wait until I get to go shoot again...
    Get bigger so I can carry and shoot a bigger gun...like that 28 ga one.
    It sure did pattern well when we shot that pattern board.

    III. Kid is now bigger. They have correct basic fundamentals down pat.
    Thousands of thousands rounds fired , lessons, and quality practice, with guns that fit them.

    They run a Beretta with gauge inserts for serious Skeet shooting.
    This gun was fitted to them, and it is an extension of them.

    Still...they have a youth .410 and adult .410 single shot, this is for introducing a kid, and having one for a kid , and having one to use with the kid when out squirrel hunting, or wabbit hunting.

    Model 42 was found right and that is such neat old gun...reminds them of a mentor back when they were wittle.

    Lookee there, Kathy/Bob come out today with a Citori 3 barrel set, I'll be, another Mentor had one of those, I gotta shoot it for old times sake...

    My points are, the same ones I keep harping about, and will always harp about.

    These Correct Basic Fundamentals encompass so many things.
    A .410 is not the best gun for a kid to learn on, still sometimes this is what has to happen, and if the big people will parent and mentor the kid, this will work.
    Kids understand if you are honest and take the time to share with them.

    Gun fit, lessons, quality practice, with all aspects of Correct Basics is what makes a shotgunner.
    Side games such as Pump Gun events, and especially the "Littlest Critter" where folks use pump action .410s, are a lot of fun!

    The Citori 3 bbl set might not really fit them, still the Mental Game is such, due to such fond memories and respect for a Mentor, they shoot the gun well despite gun fit.

    Even some kid that comes out with his/her new to them .410 single shot...
    Be it brand new or one Grandpa had as a kid and is passed down to that kids on field 3 ...
    "See my gun! Want to shoot it?

    Darn right I want to shoot that kids little .410 shotgun. Stick a clay on that box and let me "blast it to smithereens!".

    You show up with a custom K-80, Perazzi , Beretta D-10, Webly & Scot 28 gauge, AyA 32 gauge... and I am going to be like a kid and you darn right I want to shoot it.

    "Hey, wanna shoot my____ ?"

    You know, some folks ask the dumbest questions! *grin*

    I look great shooting a youth .410 single shot, painted yeller with 70's era tie-dye paint scheme.

    "Uncle 'teve, can I have my shotgun back puh-leeze!

    "No, I ain't through yet..."

    Mom said she will let you have another homemade brownie...


    Pride of ownership is not based on price tags.
  20. Striker

    Striker Active Member

    Nov 16, 2004
    NE Ohio
    C'mon Dave and Steve, everyone knows that more expensive guns shoot better....they just may not break targets any better (and that ain't the guns fault!!!)! :D

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