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Good starter shotgun for sporting clays?

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by tuj, Jan 8, 2013.

  1. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

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

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

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

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

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

    Deer_Freak Member.

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

    Let's get back to the topic. The OP has no experience with a shotgun. He has no clue if he will even like the game. Why make it so complicated he is overwhelmed before he sees how great it is to spend a morning with good company just having fun? Any form of clay shooting is great entertainment I don't care what gun one shoots.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2013
  3. NEW TO THE GAME

    NEW TO THE GAME New Member

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    Even cheaper but practically the same gun as a mossberg 500 is the Maverick 88 pump. It also can be bought with two barrels to do double duty and most if not all of the 500 accessories will fit the Maverick. It's made by Mossberg. And u can get one for about $200 I and thousands if others swear by them.
     
  4. nm3

    nm3 New Member

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    I'll throw in a vote for a used Remington 1100 semi. I do pretty good with mine against all the singles & O/U's at my club. I certainly have fun and I'm out there without a huge investment.
     
  5. BigJimP

    BigJimP Member

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

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

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

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

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

    oneounceload member

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    Was it for sporting clays? I doubt it as that sport was just getting started and there was no National Team at that time.

    The OP, however stated:

    (Most likely a fun or charity shoot)

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

    kbbailey Senior Member

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

    tuj Senior Member

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

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

    Browning Senior Member

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    Try a Rem 1100. Faster for doubles and easier on your shoulder than a pump.

    They make lightweight models.
     
  10. BigJimP

    BigJimP Member

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    As long as you had a good time...and were safe...it doesn't matter.

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

    oneounceload member

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

    tuj Senior Member

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    So I'm looking real close at the Remington 1100. Would a 30" be good or is that too long? What kind of choke should I be looking for?
     
  13. nm3

    nm3 New Member

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

    BigJimP Member

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    No, a 30" barrel is not too long.../ I prefer a semi-auto in a 30"....

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

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

    Cyclinder
    Skeet
    Improved Cyclinder
    Modified
    Improved Modified and
    Full

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

    oneounceload member

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

    tuj Senior Member

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    Yeah guys, I need to focus on the breaking the bird a lot more than worrying about chokes, I just want to know what I would eventually need to have a fairly competitive setup.

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

    Deer_Freak Member.

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    I responding to your statement that doubles are hard to shoot with a pump. There are a lot of people out there that can shoot aimed shots with a pump so fast it's hard to count the shots.

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

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

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

    oneounceload member

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

    tuj Senior Member

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

    Any drawbacks to a used Rem. 1100?
     
  20. nm3

    nm3 New Member

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

    tuj Senior Member

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    I definitely liked the reduced recoil of the semi I shot a few times. My shoulder had a bruise on it after 75 rounds through the 870!

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

    oneounceload member

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    Beretta 390, 391, 3901, 300, or even an older 303
     
  23. Teachu2

    Teachu2 Senior Member

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    Beretta 305, 390, 3901, 391
     
  24. Jaxondog

    Jaxondog Member

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    It's just hard to go wrong with a Remington 1100 or 1187 and you want break the bank. You can get two of these for the price of a Citori. Good luck and enjoy. I loved it.
     
  25. BigJimP

    BigJimP Member

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

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

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