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Recommendations for sporting clays

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by savage116, Jan 3, 2021.

  1. rabid wombat

    rabid wombat Member

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    @savage116 Your attitude is right! You are in PA. If near Lehigh Valley, try Lehigh Valley Sporting Clays. You may be able to rent or borrow - talk real nice to everyone around you! If you are a member of a club, beg, borrow, etc. You are better served buying better - for the resale - than something cheap. If you have a good gunsmith near by, he my be able to guide you on fitting (fitting is more art than science...check throughly! - my guy’s link below). Find what works for you before buying.

    You can get a better gun used, than buying new...know your seller (the two Brownings I bought came used from Feland’s).
    Unless you are competitive, you are shooting for the enjoyment of being with the people around you.

    For me (with your budget), I would buy a used Browning O/U (figure a $1000), an O/U looks “better” on the course, use the rest for fitting and ammo. If @George P comments, listen to him before me.

    I started with a Mossberg 500, my duck gun. I surprised a couple of people underestimating the 500....I still hate “rabbit” shots...

    https://www.lvsclays.com/
    http://www.felandgunsmith.com/
     
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  2. entropy

    entropy Member

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    Still is, mostly. A Browning CX or CXS would be an excellent start for a Sporting Clays gun, savage116. I shoot my 1100 Competition, like Armored Farmer's, for Sporting and hunt pheasants with it too. I personally don't have a Hi-visibility bead, but some like them.

    If you are on the opposite side of the state from Lehigh Valley, Etchen's Gun Shop in Ligonier will be able to outfit you with a nice Sporting Clays gun that won't break the bank. Or one that will, they have those, too. They cater to and shoot all of the clays games, and have some great hunting guns, too.


    If you buy an O/U first, you will most likely not want to buy an auto later on. If you buy an auto first, you will more than likely want to get an O/U later.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2021
  3. George P

    George P Member

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    [​IMG] proxy-image?piurl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.gunsamerica.com%2FUserImages%2F5754%2F945467004%2Fwm_7555011.jpg

    I bought one of these in 1994 when they were being discontinued for the then new 325. Paid $1K back then and can sell it for that today, even after ~350,000 rounds over 15 years. It was rebuilt at 90K with new pins and springs and tightened up and it's due again.

    Now I shoot one of these:
    sets.timeincuk.net%2Finspirewp%2Flive%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2Fsites%2F6%2F2012%2F08%2F1-630x420.png
    Got a good deal on one used and it even came with a second trigger group. It is a nice gun but the fit is quite different due to stock differences. Even though the Beretta costs a lot more, if it doesn't fit (or you make it fit) it doesn't matter how much it costs.

    Both have 32" barrels (as does my other Browning 12) and my 30" for my 20 (because they didn't make a 32 in 20 at the time) I am almost 6'3" and these guns work well for me, even with some serious factory loads.
    The advice about trying to borrow/rent as many guns as you can at a sporting/trap/skeet club is always the best way. How a gun swings in the store is one thing, but until you fire it and see how the recoil feels and how well you point it on flying targets, it is just a guess (and can be an expensive one if wrong)

    ADDED: The top gun is a Browning Gti, the bottom one is a Beretta DT-11
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2021
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  4. garandsrus

    garandsrus Member

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    Back about 30 years ago when I started shooting Sporting Clays, a puller would walk around the course with you and then go behind a wooden wall or some other type of barrier and would load hand operated traps with clays. The traps often had two spots for clays, one on top of the other. If two clays were loaded, they would come out together. They would fly within a foot or two of each other to 5-10 feet apart based on how the clays were loaded. Those are the true doubles I referenced. Similar to two ducks crossing in front of you at the same time. You have to shoot both pretty quickly and a pump is at a disadvantage.

    An incoming and outgoing target, or two incoming targets in the air at the same time is very different. Skeet doubles with a pump are not hard to hit. I shot a lot of them with a 20ga 870.

    My favorite Sporting Clays station ever was a true double springing Teal. You only saw one target, which was a normal size. As soon as you broke it, a midi would appear right where it broke and continue flying. I don’t have any idea how both didn’t break with the first shot, but they never did. The puller said that the targets were nested together on the trap. I don’t know if they stayed nested the entire time, but I think they did.

    I don’t particularly like the current sequences that are unrealistic, such as a rabbit and target coming from behind you. You would most likely never see that in a lifetime of hunting, and would never shoot both targets from the station unless you knew to expect it from looking at the station layout.

    I do very much like Sporting Clays. It’s great practice for bird hunting if things are kept realistic.
     
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  5. entropy

    entropy Member

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    The term true pair , meaning two clays in the air at the same time, is used to differentiate between them and a report pair, where the second bird is launched at the sound of the shotgun, as sometimes happens with game.
     
  6. garandsrus

    garandsrus Member

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    Entropy,

    You are of course correct, but back in the day a true pair was a pair, not just two random targets thrown at the same time.

    Since the OP is only shooting for fun, he also has the option of shooting report pairs so the pump is not an issue. If he finds that he really likes the sport, then an O/U is the way to go, as I mentioned in my first post.

    When I started shooting Sporting Clays, I used a left handed 11-87 and a good day was hitting half the targets and finding half my hulls. Courses were designed for right handed shell ejection! Now, with an O/U I never hit all the targets but find all my hulls, even when there is snow on the ground.
     
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  7. savage116

    savage116 Member

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    So what I’m gathering is if I don’t want to dish out 2k+ go with an auto? So unless I want to have a larger capacity or save some $ the O/U may be the way to go. The capacity doesn’t seem like an issue because if you shoot sportig clays and shoot doubles you make two shots then move on, no? So there would be no advantage to increased capacity unless you want to tote around a loaded gun? I’ve heard gas autos mentioned, does Benellis system and their autos not really work well with clays? Heavier recoil with them maybe?

    Seems as though the general opinion is, do not by any means buy a cheap O/U so something like a mossberg or stoeger would be avoided at all costs? A good life long trouble free sporting clays gun for a hobbyist would be something like the browning Citori or beretta equivalent? Almost any sporting clays model auto is acceptable? So maybe the thing to do is go look at and shoulder some semis and some O/U’s and see what has the best fit?
     
  8. ColtPythonElite

    ColtPythonElite Member

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    Gas guns are generally softer shooting than recoil guns.

    Yes, avoid a Mossberg, Stoeger, Tristar, CZ, and most any of the other "budget " O/U.

    A Citori will last nearly forever. You will need a new locking bolt probably every 100-150k shells or so. Other than that, you pretty much just replace firing pins and springs as needed. They can be replaced at your kitchen table with little effort.

    Almost any sporting clays auto that fits you will work....I can almost guarantee that if you get into a lot of organized shooting, you will end up with a O/U sooner or later. Regardless of which you choose, fit is everything in clay shooting.
     
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  9. Armored farmer

    Armored farmer Member

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    If you aren't familiar with the nearby 'clays ranges, or the guns that are being used there, by all means, grab your pumpgun and go shoit a few rounds. Visit with the regulars. Shoit a 5-stand. Shoot some skeet. Shoot some trap. Most trsp clubs have evening or night shooting. That seems to fit in better with busy schedules and kids than clays that are always shot in the daylight.
    My son has a beretta 686 silver pigeon 1. It is an excellent o/u 12ga. He uses it for almost everything.
     
  10. George P

    George P Member

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    You do not "tote around a loaded gun". You will never load more than two cartridges for a target presentation in trap, skeet or sporting clays. After your series of targets are finished at that station, you exit the stand with an unloaded gun. The semi's saving grace is less initial expense up front, although comparing same level of quality, the actual pricing is fairly close. And yes, you would be better off with a higher end semi like a Beretta A400 than a lower end O/U like a Stoeger.
     
  11. savage116

    savage116 Member

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    That’s what I was kind of getting at about toting around anloaded gun. Somewhere capacity and reloading was mentioned, but I don’t see it as an issue because you’re not carrying it around loaded. You load what you shoot and that’s it. So semi or O/U you’re reloading at the same interval anyways.

    That makes sense about the gas vs recoil operated. I don’t imagine recoil bothering me with a o/u. All I’ve shot are pumps which have nothing to absorb recoil like a semi. Recoil doesn’t bother too much right now but things could change with time, I’m still young and bigger built 6’2” over 200lbs but the less recoil is always better!
     
  12. kudu
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    kudu Moderator Staff Member

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    You are pretty much to the point that you either get a good target auto shotgun or a decent O/U shotgun. Go to a shotgun club that has sporting clays and skeet and try some guns. Chances are what you pick out will be a B gun, Beretta or Browning.
     
  13. savage116

    savage116 Member

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    That sounds like it for sure. It seems that a lot of it is more preferance than anything. I just didn’t want to go the wrong direction on one if there were a lot of specific reasons to get one vs the other. I’ll try to maybe shoot at least one auto and one O/U and then maybe look at and shoulder a few of each in the stores to see. I’m just anxious to get back out and do some shooting again, whatever it is I’m shooting.
     
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  14. kudu
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    kudu Moderator Staff Member

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    Remember that most "target " O/U shotguns will have a manual safety switch that doesn't reset itself when you break open the gun. Field guns are generally lighter and have auto safeties. It might be a little thing, but makes a big difference on a clay target range where you really don't use a safety as the gun is always unloaded unless you are up to shoot.
     
  15. George P

    George P Member

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    My normal recommendation is to buy a flat of nice target ammo like Remington STS or Winchester AA. Remington ammo is currently not being produced and ALL ammo is damn near unobtanium, BUT if you can find some, take it with you to the gun club and offer a box of ammo as a thanks (and the empties if they reload of the box you shoot) when you politely ask to try out their gun for a round of trap/skeet/5-stand. Shouldering the gun in the store is one thing; shooting it can give you a much better idea of what will work for you. There is an old adage that goes along the lines of:"If the Browning fits, odds are the Beretta will not - and vice versa"; it doesn't mean one is better, just different and fit is king.
     
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  16. entropy

    entropy Member

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    They work, but as you guessed, yes-more recoil. Interia operated semis (which is what the Benellis are) are king in the duck blind, becuse they are very reliable in rough conditions. Not a concern at the gun club.

    You can find used Browning and Beretta O/U's under that, but it helps to take a knowledgable O/U shooter with you to examine them. This is where that asking to try out some guns at the club comes in. Try both, if possible; as George P. says, if one fits well, the other probably won't. I find Brownings work well for me for clays games, and Berettas work well for me for live birds. But you can get the 1100 Competition Synthetic for around $1000, and it will cover every clays game and even hunting. (Upland birds only, the gun is 2 3/4" for target loads only. I hunt pheasant with Sporting Clays loads in mine.) Beretta semis are a little more, but most are still under that $2000 mark. Either one will put you in an excellent clays and hunting shotgun.

    Right, but the only time a gun is loaded for a clays game is when it is your turn to shoot, and then only the number of shells needed for that station. The main advantage of semis for clays games is recoil reduction, and less initial investment.

    Keep in mind, recoil's effects are cumulative. You might not have a problem with it now; I didn't either, when I was young. But as I got back into clays games after a 35 year hiatus, I didn't want to shoot a whole lot of Trap rounds with my pump shotgun. so it traded it towards the 1100 Competition. I can, and have, shot all day with it, without noticing any recoil effects. (sore shoulder, bruise, etc.)
     
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  17. kudu
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    kudu Moderator Staff Member

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    I like the feel of a Beretta shotgun over Browning when it comes to O/U's, but can shoot both well. Some of the newer Brownings that I have shouldered actually felt quite nice, it is all about perception and feel and how it fits the shooter. Good luck on your search for the holy grail.
     
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  18. entropy

    entropy Member

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    Me? My holy grail in an O/U is an MX-8 or MX-2000. Still want a Ljutic Bi-gun, also, but probably wouldn't shoot it much.
     
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  19. George P

    George P Member

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    I'll take an MX-8 with fixed chokes designed for sporting/FITASC
     
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  20. savage116

    savage116 Member

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    Well fellas, I appreciate all the opinions/advice. Just what I was looking for. Good to know that there are some slight and differing advantages to each. It does sound though, like this will become addicting like any excuse to get out and shoot end up being and I’ll probably end up doing it a little and end up buying myself a decent new shotgun once I narrow down which fits me the best. I really had a lot of fun throwing clays and shooting them I’m looking forward to doing that more and going out and shooting sporting clays on the course.
     
  21. rabid wombat

    rabid wombat Member

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    Cocaine is cheaper....:rofl:
     
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  22. savage116

    savage116 Member

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    The worst part is, there’s always another gun you end up wanting. You can never have enough.
     
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  23. George P

    George P Member

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    upload_2021-1-4_21-27-35.png

    Don't forget the engraving!

    upload_2021-1-4_21-28-29.png

    upload_2021-1-4_21-29-20.png

    These are done by father and daughter Firmo and Francesca Fracassi
     
  24. rabid wombat

    rabid wombat Member

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  25. George P

    George P Member

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    Or Ken Hunt:
    jpurdey_540x.jpg

    Enough sidetracking; hope the OP doesn't get discouraged!;):thumbup:
     
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