First Shotgun - Informal Clays

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by eocoolj, Oct 26, 2012.

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  1. eocoolj

    eocoolj Member

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    I have gone clay shooting roughly half a dozen times so far with borrowed shotguns, and I think its time I got my own. I think its by far the most fun type of shooting (though I have never shot full-auto or at explosive targets!). I am envisioning this gun being used almost exclusively for clay shooting, including sporting clays and informal shooting. I wanted an opinion on the best choice for me. I have narrowed it down to (if you can call this narrow):

    1) Pump shotgun - Seems to be my cheapest option, and would probably be perfect other than the fact that I will be shooting doubles sometimes, and there is no getting around the fact that a pump will be a liability. I am leaning towards either an older 870 Wingmaster or an Ithaca 37.

    2) Semi-auto shotgun - More expensive, less recoil, and obvious advantage for shooting doubles. Was looking at the Rem 1100, but I also tend to like older guns so I was also looking at the Auto-5, but getting the impression that has alot more recoil??

    3) SxS Double Shotgun - This is my favorite design, and what I really want. I have been looking at the Stevens 311 as well as some older Ithacas. I am concerned though that I am going to buy one of these and find it to be less than idea for clay shooting, and that parts & accessories will be basically non-existent for a 60 year old gun. I have never shot a SxS and really like it for reasons of style and nostalgia. Are there any other older, American made SxSs that I have not considered?

    I have no real interest in the O/Us. Also, lets say my max budget is $800. Of the three designs I am considering, semi-auto is probably my least favorite. To date they only types of shotguns I have shot are pumpguns and O/Us. Are all the observations I have made about each design correct? What are your thoughts?

    Thanks
     
  2. Hunterdad

    Hunterdad Member

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    With a budget of $800, an auto-loader is the way to go IMHO.
     
  3. Kristensdaddy

    Kristensdaddy Member

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    If clay shooting is a principal use, buy the autoloader. The pump will work fine, the SxS, not so much. The older SxS will most likely not have changeable chokes either.
     
  4. Ruezim

    Ruezim Member

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    I would go with a 870 the wingmaster is under 700 new used around 400 and the express is under 330 new. My 870 12g was my first gun and it will be the last one I let go. It was used for everything from clays to hunting and attempts at trick shots until I replaced it with my wife's 20g because it is very light and I have gotten lazy while I hunt and no matter what I go to do with shotguns my 870 always is my backup because it has never failed me yet. True that a pump is a little slower than an auto but with a little practice they are very quick.

    Ruezim
     
  5. MAKster

    MAKster Member

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    The Beretta A300 Outlander is an excellent semi-auto for around $650.
     
  6. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

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    ^^^^^ the Outlander is replacing the 3901 as Beretta's inexpensive semi that was sold at wally world, Cabela's, among many other big box places. Good gun, will last a long time
     
  7. eocoolj

    eocoolj Member

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    What about a SxS makes it inherently worse than the other options? Before the O/Us caught on, didnt it hold a large portion of market share vs the autos and pumps for clay and bird shooting?
     
  8. Centurian22

    Centurian22 Member

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    My only experience is with pumps. You definitely would not go wrong with an Ithaca 37, great gun well made awesome to shoot. You could always save 3/4 of your budget for ammo and practice by getting a Mossberg Maverick 88 also very well made, would serve you well and take a very long time before you'd wear it out (if you could). At least worth a look at the Mav 88. Though as others have said if you're serious about clays a semi is probably your best bet. It's funny you mentioned the Auto 5 as someone was just telling me about one today that he has been shooting for 32 years and has never had a problem with it or had to replace anything accept the front sight bead just broke off.

    Best of luck.
     
  9. smokeyandthebandit05

    smokeyandthebandit05 Member

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    I use a cheap stoger SxS and my Browning BPS. Last time I went out to the range with some friends I was breaking almost all the clays with the SxS. I switched to the BPS and couldnt hit a damn thing :confused:
     
  10. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

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    In TODAY'S market, the decent SxS like an equal to Parker, L Smith, et al from yesteryear will cost you about $5000 for a sidelock and about 3500 for a boxlock

    It really is that simple - oh there will be those who claim how wonderful a CZ or similar is - but the reality is that they are crap.

    So you need to ask yourself - what is the gun to be used for and hw much are you willing to spend to get a decent gun, knowing that an equal O/U will be half the same SxS
     
  11. JAshley73

    JAshley73 Member

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    I checked one out at Dick's tonight. For $650, I can't see how you could go wrong. Even comes with stock shims, LOP spacers, recoil pad (that the synthetic 3901 didn't have), sling studs, and screw in chokes. If I didn't already find a good used deal, I'd have probably picked up an A300 myself.
     
  12. Sheepdog1968

    Sheepdog1968 Member

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    Take a few shotgun lasses and you will learn to run the pump on recoil so that by the time you are back down on target from recoil another shell is loaded.
     
  13. Ed N.

    Ed N. Member

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    Nah, you can find field grade L. C. Smiths for well under that. My LCS field grade featherweight cost me $700. I'm talking shooters here, not restored masterpieces. My LCS has had hundreds of rounds through it, and it's going dove hunting with me this afternoon.

    Check out
    http://www.gunsamerica.com/Search/Category/635/Guns/Shotguns/LC-Smith-Shotguns.htm

    Lots of nice doubles are available for less than you're thinking. Here's a good looking Parker for $2500:
    http://www.hillrodandgun.com/picture.php?id=12653

    For that matter, you can find nice old English SxS guns for far less than your $3500 - $5000 figures. Take a look at
    http://www.hillrodandgun.com/invent.php

    To the OP, if you like SxS guns, that's what you should get. At this stage, you're not in serious competition. You're just shooting for your own enjoyment, and if a SxS will add to your enjoyment, buy one. Even low end field SxS doubles make decent shooters. I have a Stevens 511 that I used for trap shooting for years.

    Get the gun that feels good in your hands and that you'll have fun using.
     
  14. PJR

    PJR Member

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    x2 on the Beretta A300 Outlander. All the features you need, easy to get replacement parts if necessary and should you decide to go on to another gun then it will probably be easy to sell on the used market.

    Pumps and sxs are great. I own both configurations but neither are what I choose first for clay target shooting.
     
  15. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

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    I was talking about new guns of equal quality/build. Older guns can be found, but they are still not the best for trap or other clay sports; they are hard for most to shoot decently, let alone master - and i own and shoot several of them and like them a lot - but when the clay shooting gets serious, the O/U target gun comes out of the safe
     
  16. eocoolj

    eocoolj Member

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    To respond to some of your answers, no matter what kind of gun I buy, it will be used and probably older. Strongly prefer American made guns. I am the type that likes to show up with something a little different, hence the thought of the Ithaca 37 or SxS shotgun. I really like Ed N's approach here, as he points out I am not looking for a masterpiece, just something that is solid and not too banged up. If my pockets were limitless, I'd get a Holland&Holland, but I think that's a little out of my budget for now!
     
  17. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

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    The A300 Outlander mentioned is made in MD by Beretta and will give you a lot of gun for the money
     
  18. AJumbo

    AJumbo Member

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    Some shooters can cycle a pump faster than an auto can cycle itself, but that's not the norm. Unless you're going to reload, a good auto like the A300 will be hard to beat. If you are going to reload, an O/U will help you save your hulls.

    Whatever you choose, reliability should be a prime consideration. Having to clears jams will really mess with your game.

    I have all three, and my favorite clays gun is a Winchester 97 made in 1950. It's not even my fastest pump (that's an 870 Wingmaster), but it oozes style points and I don't give up many birds to the O/U or auto shooters.
     
  19. Bozwell

    Bozwell Member

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    How often do you shoot? When you shoot clays, how many clays are we talking? If you are into SxS's, CZ makes several firearms that will be sufficient for field use/light clays shooting. The notion that you need to drop $5,000 on a casual clays SxS is silly. For that matter, if you're spending that sort of money on a clays gun, don't buy a SxS. Generally speaking though, most people don't shoot enough to really stress their firearms, and if you do shoot frequently, ammo and clay costs will outpace the gun's cost very quickly, in which case you should probably extend your budget. For a casual shooter, something like a CZ SxS would almost certainly hold up just fine, and they have excellent customer support if something does go wrong.

    Personally, I would go with an autoloader, but your autoloader selection at that price range is a bit limited. A300's are an option and you can probably find a used 390 for that price or a bit more. Add a few hundred bucks on to your price cap, and you'll really see a lot of options start to open up. Also, you can definitely make a pump work on the clays course, and if you enjoy that, I'd say go for it.
     
  20. twofifty

    twofifty Member

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    Before getting a sxs I'd find out if the wide muzzle configuration could be a detriment, meaning that on double targets your acquisition of the second target might be delayed by an obstructed field of view.
     
  21. eocoolj

    eocoolj Member

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    An afternoon of clays for me is probably max of 100 rounds, and I would probably be only be shooting around 10 times a year. A nice round number is 1000 rounds per year. For a lot of you guys this probably sounds like I'm not shooting very much! Again, I strongly prefer an American made gun. I believe the CZ's are made in Czech Republic?

    For everyone who said a double is a bad idea, what is the difference between the "classic" doubles (Stevens, Ithaca, LC Smith) and the CZ Ringneck, which they even make a special model specifically for clay shooting?
     
  22. PJR

    PJR Member

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    The CZ shotguns are made in Turkey.
     
  23. Gun Geezer

    Gun Geezer Member

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    Pumps are not the best for skeet and most clay games. Working the pump will pull you off, take time, and cost you some dead birds.

    A double gun is prefered. O/U or SxS. But a good autoloader is also a decent choice.
     
  24. Red Cent

    Red Cent Member

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    The next time you go look at the scatterguns, pick up a double and shoulder the gun. How much of the barrels do you see? The double is "notorious" for "aiming high". Much like a trap gun. In the skeet game this may be detrimental.
    If you were shooting trap at station three and they were all "straight away" the double would work. It does not shoot where the front bead says to shoot.
    Cowboys remove the wood at the top of the stock to bring down the point of aim or take a really low 6:00 hold.
    Like a lot of new cowboys, you are buying "cool":evil: and you will wind up bit by the game and looking for an O/U or a semi-auto.
    REMEMBER!!!!!!!!! Have fun.
     
  25. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

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    Those SxS guns are light field guns, meant for hunting, not the rigors of a lot of clays shooting. Their lightness, balance and handing, coupled with their being hand made, are what makes them costly

    SxS guns are also hard to shoot well, especially if the fit isn't perfect - the cast, drop, pitch, etc., are all critical for successful shooting a SxS.

    If you look at the guns shot by the serious clay shooter, you'll see 80% O/U and 15% semi gas guns, with the remainder being specialized single barrel trap guns and a few older trap pumps - there is a reason for that - those particular guns lead to better success
     
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