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Clay shooting : choosing my first gun - Suggestions?

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by Dr.Wong, May 12, 2014.

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  1. Dr.Wong

    Dr.Wong Member

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    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?
     
  2. blue32

    blue32 Member

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    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.
     
  3. guyfromohio

    guyfromohio Member

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    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.
     
  4. Pete D.

    Pete D. Member

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    Clay shooting

    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
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2014
  5. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

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    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
     
  6. rule303

    rule303 Member

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    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.
     
  7. guyfromohio

    guyfromohio Member

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    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.
     
  8. eastbank

    eastbank Member

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    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.
     
  9. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

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    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.

    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.
     
  10. guyfromohio

    guyfromohio Member

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    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.
     
  11. OneWound

    OneWound Member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2014
  12. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

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    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
     
  13. farm23

    farm23 Member

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    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.
     
  14. PabloJ

    PabloJ Member

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    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.
     
  15. vamo

    vamo Member

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    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.
     
  16. Armored farmer

    Armored farmer Member

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    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
     
  17. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    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.
     
  18. eastbank

    eastbank Member

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    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.
     
  19. Virginian

    Virginian Member

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    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.
     
  20. Schwing

    Schwing Member

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    ^^^^^ 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.
     
  21. MagicD

    MagicD Member

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    I have had great results with "used" shotguns purchased from on line sites.
    These include Beretta and Browning O/U at very good prices.
     
  22. buckhorn_cortez

    buckhorn_cortez Member

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    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.
     
  23. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

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    In clay games you get what you pay for.

    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.
     
  24. MinnesotaFats

    MinnesotaFats Member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2014
  25. skiking

    skiking Member

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    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.
     
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