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View Full Version : Sometimes Conventional Wisdom Isn't Correct.....


Dave McC
January 2, 2011, 08:07 PM
Here's the deal....

I hunt little these days, due to age and general decrepititude. I do hit the range often to wage war on evil clay frisbees.

My clays gun most of the time is a 12 gauge Beretta O/U, a White Onyx Sporter with 32" Optima bore barrels, some stock tweaks and the usual F/O sight. With the aftermarket chokes,usually .015" and .010", I get frequent smoke at PGC's new wobble trap and regular 16 yard trap singles. It's a claycrunching death ray when I do my part. Typical wobble scores are 23/25. I've put more than 15K rounds through it in the last three years.

I also have been shooting my latest bird gun, a slightly older SKB O/U, this one in 20 gauge. I picked it up a few months ago, used it on one dove hunt and a few squirrel forays, and like it mightily. This weighs about 6 lbs, 12 oz, compared to the 8 lbs and a little on the B gun.

Chokes on the SKB are Genuine Full on top, an open Mod underneath, according to one of those tapered gauges that fit in the muzzles. Spacers add a bit of length, but ti's still shorter than the Bgun's 15" LOP. Sighting down the ribs is similar, and POI matches.

So, why does the SKB, a bird gun that's light and nimble but not as steady as the Beretta, give higher scores?

I have had more straights at wobble than with the B gun, and I shoot that
one well.

It's not The New Gun Honeymoon, I have close to 1K rounds through it and am well used to it.

BTW, I'm not complaining, it just seems like I'm winning the Daytona 500 in a 4X4.....

DiscoRacing
January 2, 2011, 08:09 PM
it just seems like I'm winning the Daytona 500 in a 4X4.....


Winning is Winning!!!!

Everyone is different...the rifles are all different...Just because a person buys a skeet rifle...dont mean they will be able to shoot it more accurately than the ole 500A that they have had sittin by the front door for years.:eek:

oneounceload
January 2, 2011, 09:16 PM
Why can I shoot a 20 gauge SxS with DT, English stock and splinter forearm as well as my Browning 12 gauge target gun? Fit comes to mind - this gun is more instinctive, and at 6+ pounds, it is quick

Dave McC
January 3, 2011, 08:34 AM
Conventional Wisdom says that for busting trap style targets or even Sporting Clays, a long barreled, heavy 12 gauge is best. The Beretta here is that in spades.

The folks at Kolar have made careers of making shotguns that handle well, but run over 9 lbs.

Both O/Us here balance the same. I added some lead tape at the tip of the forend on the little gun to make that so.

Loads are similar, 7/8 oz of 7.5s at 1200 FPS. I'd go to 3/4 oz with the little gun but the inertia triggers will not reset.

Another apples to apples comparison, I get more smoke from the B gun with IC/LM chokes than the SKB with M/F. Might be the long cones and overbore on the 12, maybe not.

1 oz, game guns work best for game, but I've seen and made some great shots with them. Still,one sees few in serious competition other than Vintager style events.

Same with pumps. I shoot fairtomiddlin' with an 870. ANY 870. But, my scores are neither better nor worse than with a dedicated break action clays whacker.

krimmie
January 3, 2011, 08:52 AM
Perhaps since the skb doesn't have your traditional "fit", you're concentrating more on the target.

Hog Buster
January 3, 2011, 10:08 AM
You bring back memories of guns I should not have sold.

I had a pair of SKB’s, one in 20 and one in 12, many years ago. The 20 was a dream to shoot , but the 12 was like shouldering a howitzer. Try as I might I never mastered the 12.

zippy13
January 3, 2011, 11:10 AM
Dave, Dave, Dave…
I'm afraid you've forgotten one of clay busting's basics (it's one of the factors that keeps the international shotgun trade active): Typically, you'll shoot best the gun that's newest to you. I thought every one knew, if you wanna improve your score, get a new gun. :)Don't assume the New Gun Honeymoon is over with 1k targets. And, there's the possibility that your Beretta has some bad Juju. :eek:

Back to reality, it could be something as simple as one gun having a schnable and the other a beavertail or does one have a straight rib and the other a tapered one, etc. I'm sure you're aware that clay performance is the sum of many small components. What would happen if you were to shorten the B-gun's LOP to match the SKB?

mwar410
January 3, 2011, 12:53 PM
might be as simple as the little recoil difference.
Here's one for you, why are my 20 ga. scores always higher than my 12 ga. scores? same gun and same load ( I shoot 20 in 12 ga. events ).

BigJimP
January 3, 2011, 01:35 PM
My hunch is - your answer is probably going to be found at the pattern board ( where the point of impact ) might be a little different between the guns ( not much, just enough that it makes a little difference ..).

The difference in chokes - can only be really measured with a bore gague / so you get an exact reading on the differences between the bores and the choke tubes. How the chokes are marked is just a reference / and from choke to choke - or gun to gun ...there can be a big difference....

Like Zippy mentioned - it might be lenght of pull, feel of the forend, or any number of little things ....

Sometimes its just mental .... It might just come down to something in the new gun / where it just gives you a mental edge / or a sharpness --- where with the other gun, you were a little more casual. That little mental edge - that comes from "wanting to break one more target" vs "just going thru the motions" ...

I know you have a lot of experience - but I'd recommend you not be too anxious to develop a trend from 3 months of shooting vs the 15,000 shells you've put thru the other gun over 3 years....

In general, I think its fair to say that IC/LM in the Beretta will give you a more effective pattern than the Mod/Full in the newer SKB. I subscribe to the idea that you should shoot the choke - that gives you a 30" pattern at the kill range / and tightening up the pattern defeats the purpose of a shotgun / and the tighter chokes may lead to more chipping ...vs centering the target with a more open choke. Going a little tighter on a choke may help your shooting ( like from a Skeet to an IC choke) ....but going too tight, may give you a false impression of what is happening. I hear shooters say all the time - you were high, you were low ....but its hard to know - if you hit the bird with "back half of a pattern", or the "front half of a pattern" ...etc. Over choking a gun / I think can make it worse - if taken to an extreme by going to a Full / Full - where some shooters try to execute a shot like a "rifle" vs a "shotgun" ...with no pattern. But you have to decide what works for you .... a basketball hoop is 18" / will a 15" hoop make you a better shooter --maybe, maybe not ...( a basketball is about 9 1/2" ) ...if you go to a 12" rim ...is it better or worse ....or at what point does it get better / at what point does it get worse. I don't think a 15" rim makes you better ....and I don't think a tighter pattern on a shotgun makes you better. A tighter rim / like a tighter shotgun pattern -- might make you more tense, less fluid ....

How about the trigger pull on both guns - have you measured it ?? Is it different on 2nd barrel ( for either gun ) ??
Is the length of pull the same ...??
Does the grip area on the gun ...feel different / is one more bulky - fill your hands differently.
How about the "pitch" - angle of the butt / recoil pad ....are they different ... making you change your mount a little ....

Let's eliminate some things...

1. If the weight is the same - and loads are the same - then recoil will be the same in both guns... So its probably not load or recoil related.
2. Since the weight of the gun is the same ...its probably not follow-thru that is affecting you.

But if the length of the barrels are different ...the Beretta is 32" - and I don't think you said what the SKB was .... but a couple of inches is a big deal. The weight is the same / but sight plane is different on long vs short barrels ... so maybe there is a follow-thru issue ...or something causing you to get out of the gun quicker with one gun vs the other ....

Lots of stuff man ....

oneounceload
January 3, 2011, 01:54 PM
It could also be something as simple, yet complex, as where the balance point is and how it affects MOI while swinging the gun. The grips on Berettas and SKBs are not the same, similar, but not exact...the thickness of the wrist and how you hold one versus the other.............even the difference in what you wear one day to the next..........

zippy13
January 3, 2011, 05:07 PM
Loads are similar, 7/8 oz of 7.5s at 1200 FPS. I'd go to 3/4 oz with the little gun but the inertia triggers will not reset.
Typically, 7/8-oz, at 1200-FPS, in a 20-ga has a reassuring recoil; yet, the same load is a powder-puff in a 12-ga. I know a few shooters who compete 20-ga guns in the 12-ga events because of recoil. Perhaps, in your case, the situation is reversed -- your subconscious may have more confidence in the 20-ga because the heavier 12-ga with reduced loads is mushy and doesn't seem to have enough recoil to be taken seriously. You might try increasing the B-gun to a quick 1-oz with some fast burning powder to get a little more snap in the recoil.

BigJimP
January 3, 2011, 05:52 PM
Maybe we're all overthinking this ......and just aggravating him ...:D

( but then it is his fault for saying ...the conventional wisdom might be wrong ) ?? .......when some of us are part of the conventional wisdom ... :cool: ....

Come on Dave....just go buy another gun ..../ I'm still thinking about that new Beretta UGB ...( since my shoulder has been aching for the last 2 weeks ...darn cold weather ...) ...

Dave McC
January 4, 2011, 12:33 AM
First, thanks for the responses, folks.

I'm NOT upset, just a hair puzzled by this. Since I'm not wed to the idea that one HAS to use a dedicated clays gun to have fun with clays,this is more of a mental exercise than an effort to find the Uber-Clayslayer.

A couple comparisons....


Barrels. 28" for the SKB, 32 for the W/O.

Triggers, 5 lbs 4 oz first pull for the W/O, about 4 lbs for the SKB.

Forend. Nice slim one on the SKB, Schnabel's curse on the W/O.

POI, similar on both, about 60/40,and same sight picture. Narrower rib on the little 20.

Balance, nigh the hinge pin on both. It took a little lead tape at the forend tip of the SKB to make it so.

Sights, tiny green worm on the W/O, Raybar on the SKB.

Stocks, tighter PG radius on the W/O, more open on the SKB. LOP is 15" for the W/O, about 14 5/8" on the SKB.The stock touches my cheek in a slightly different spot with the SKB. I shoot everything Low Gun and initiate launch when the thing touches my cheek. The pad on the W/O has a bit of toe out to better fit my pocket.

Pad on the W/O,a Sims. The SKB has a plate with some spacers extending the LOP. The W/O has a little cast off, the SKB is as straight as they come.

Kick with either is negligible.

BigJimP
January 4, 2011, 11:29 AM
I wasn't serious that we were aggravating you ...just having some fun with the issue... And by the way, we agree you don't need to have a dedicated clays gun - to have fun with all these games. None of us are talking about quitting our day jobs / and living off our winnings at shooting clays / so you're right, we need to keep that in mind.

Given the additional specs - especially the Point of Impact being about the same... I think it sounds like the 32" barrel is just not optimum for you --- It just sounds llike you like the handling and swing characteristics of the 28" barrels a little better / especially at the heavier weight you've added - even though you shoot both very well.

For clay games like sporting or 5 Stand - I much prefer a 30" Over Under vs the 32" ....and it isn't that the 32" has very different specs ...it just feels clumsy vs the 30" when I get a lot of rising, falling or hard crossing targets. I can shoot the 32" at 5 Stand / but it costs me about 5 - 10% in terms of scores / because its a little clumsy finding the 2nd target. Its great on a Trap style target / if I get one of those in the mix - but it isn't the majority of the targets - so it just feels clumsy to me. It might just be that simple for you as well ....

Fine tuning a gun for an experienced shooter like you is tricky ....vs helping someone pick their first dedicated clays gun ...where I think the conventional wisdom probably applies better. I understand this is just an academic issue primarily for you - but the only way you can probably resolve your curiosity is to get a lesson - where you are shooting the same targets on video tape with each gun --- and then have the ability to go back and look at your stance, insertion point, break point, follow-thru, etc ...with each gun, if you want to go to that much trouble.

As you know, this barrel length thing has gone up and down from 26" -32" a lot in the last 5 yrs or so ....and it seems to have settled back toward favoring 30" over the 32" for Skeet, Sporting and 5 Stand ...but for me, at 6'5" and 290 lbs a 30" 8 1/2 lb gun to me - is very different for a guy that is 5'10 and 180lbs ...so its hard to generalize sometimes.

But its an interesting discussion ...

Dave McC
January 4, 2011, 11:27 PM
Yes it is, Jim. After my looming vacation, I may remove the 3 oz weight from the butt of the B gun and go back to the factory flush mount chokes to lighten up both ends and subtly change the swing dynamics just to see what happens.

Big guy myself, though not in your league,and these 32" barrels are a bit slow for me at Station 8,but that's all the probs I know of.

I do plan on having both of these until death, at least. I may be buried with them.....

BigJimP
January 5, 2011, 12:34 PM
Sure... I would certainly try that first ...

Personally, I'm at the point in my shooting - where I'm only having fun and don't really care about competiton anymore ( a few physical problems / and blurred vision that isn't correctable has taken its toll ...) ....

But seriously, I find more and more - a little notebook in my shooting vest - when I come off the line ( to make a couple of notes on which targets I missed, and why, or where I got lucky ..because I pushed the gun away - but got away with it ....really pays off. Even if its a 25 - there are still notes... ( broke a small chip off the butt, on high 2 ...) ... But on windy days, calm days, good vision, terrible vision. etc ....

I can't frankly remember from week to week - where my issues were. The notebook - gives me a much better snapshot of where I need to focus / change my hold points or something different....

BigJimP
January 5, 2011, 12:41 PM
I have way more guns than I need ....and frankly don't really want anything new ...( at least in my primary guns ) ....

but as long as a gun "Fits" you --- and you checked the Point of Impact on both of them -- so they do ....there isn't any need to go to a different gun.

It may come down to where you turn the Beretta with the 32" barrels into a "Trap" only gun or something ...and that's ok .../ but I'd never suggest you get rid of it ...

There was a guy at my club yesterday, selling a Browning Citori 4 barrel set, parallel comb, grade VII wood for $3,000 .....pretty gun, nice wood ----but 28" barrels ...and while I was tempted because it was cheap ...it would be a bad buy for me / unless I wanted to give it to the one of the kids as a gift. I might take another look at it next month or so - if it doesn't sell ....just as a gift ...but I'd never shoot it. Besides, there is always someone selling another gun ...down the road ....

zippy13
January 5, 2011, 01:04 PM
Dave,
Something you didn't mention, is your club's wobble set up like American or International trap? If International, might the difference between your two guns be in second shot performance?

Sarge
January 5, 2011, 01:38 PM
So, why does the SKB, a bird gun that's light and nimble but not as steady as the Beretta, give higher scores?


Because you can hit better with it. This is one of those things that defies rational explanation, at least in my case.

With me it is the much-maligned S&W Sigma; most days I can shoot it better than any Glock on the place. It won't choke either. I've decided to just ride the pipeline of good vibes. ;)

oneounceload
January 5, 2011, 01:43 PM
So, why does the SKB, a bird gun that's light and nimble but not as steady as the Beretta, give higher scores?


A couple comparisons....


Barrels. 28" for the SKB, 32 for the W/O.

Triggers, 5 lbs 4 oz first pull for the W/O, about 4 lbs for the SKB.

Forend. Nice slim one on the SKB, Schnabel's curse on the W/O.

POI, similar on both, about 60/40,and same sight picture. Narrower rib on the little 20.

Balance, nigh the hinge pin on both. It took a little lead tape at the forend tip of the SKB to make it so.

Sights, tiny green worm on the W/O, Raybar on the SKB.

Stocks, tighter PG radius on the W/O, more open on the SKB. LOP is 15" for the W/O, about 14 5/8" on the SKB.The stock touches my cheek in a slightly different spot with the SKB. I shoot everything Low Gun and initiate launch when the thing touches my cheek. The pad on the W/O has a bit of toe out to better fit my pocket.

Pad on the W/O,a Sims. The SKB has a plate with some spacers extending the LOP. The W/O has a little cast off, the SKB is as straight as they come.

Seems you might have the answers in hand.........;)

Dave McC
January 5, 2011, 11:10 PM
Jim, I used to keep a journal when I did 3 gun and benchrest. Now, it seems like too much work and I do this for fun. I still have to keep myself from obsessing about stuff,so it's a constant struggle.

I will do some more testing,including seeing how close I can take the targets with either gun and see if that effects things. Right now, I take them somewhere around 33 yards, going by eyeball.

FYI,Zippy, the wobble is set up with 1 and 5 at ground level, and the others forming a pyramid. Station 3 with low birds is really a nice challenge if one hasn't shot birds that low before. Speed is more like American trap than bunker, but I may try to get the trapper to wind things up a bit next time I'm shooting alone. I may also try bribing them to throw simo pairs.

An aside, this setup is new to PGC, and the veteran trap and skeet shooters pretty much ignore it. SC fanatics and newer shooters crowd it along with GP shotgunners like me.

Sarge, more proof this is more art than science.

1 oz, my hunch is there's a couple minor factors, including fit and a fine trigger, than squeezes out a hit or two per round here.

In any case, I'm having fun. Major fun.....

BigJimP
January 6, 2011, 12:42 PM
and as long as you're having fun ....very little else matters...

( I tend to be a little obsessive myself ...can't help it ....and pretty sure I don't want to change ....even if I could ....) :D

oneounceload
January 6, 2011, 12:52 PM
In any case, I'm having fun. Major fun.....

If you're not, then it's time to change hobbies.......

Took my S&W Elite SxS 20 gauge out today for some fun 5-stand. That gun, with my 3/4oz reloads was smoking targets when yours truly did his part. Any of the few misses were not the gun or ammo. It was a lot of fun......for me, there's something about a classic-looking SxS with DT and English and splinter that says "Let's have some fun"

When it stops being fun, I'll try golf or bowling

zippy13
January 6, 2011, 01:29 PM
I used to keep a journal…
A daily journal is a great idea for developing shooters. Listing your misses and probable cause/cure can help you avoid repeating the same errors:

Missed straight away -- lifted head off of stock.
Missed straight away -- dead gun.
Missed crossing shot -- hold point too high, bird got below barrel.
Missed crossing shot -- raised head for a better look, lower hold point.
Ran out of swing, missed target -- verify foot position.
Lead looked good, but missed target -- head down and follow through.
Couldn't see my leads -- look at the target not the front bead.
After the basics become second nature, the journal's benefits wane as all the entries tend to be references to between-the-ear functions:

Missed target -- brain phart.
Missed target -- didn't concentrate.
Missed target -- mind drifted.
Missed target -- was thinking about something else.
Missed target -- distracted.

Dave McC
January 7, 2011, 09:22 AM
Yup, major fun. I miss shooting with the Geezers because of that. Watching dignified older men turn into small boys is a real giggle inducer. Being one is even more so.

1 oz, any decent SxS has fun built in. So does this SKB. I just wish the inertia trigger would allow using 3/4 oz loads I have run some through using them in the second barrel at wobble and 5 stand. Busts targets well, when I do my part.

With the exception of the ones I can blame on Arthur, my misses are mentally induced. Flinching is most common.

That's Arthur Itis, BTW. An old acquaintance who has moved in for a good while and is unlikely to leave.

zippy13
January 7, 2011, 10:37 AM
Dave,
One thing about shooting with the Geezers, before you know it, you are one. :eek:

BigJimP
January 7, 2011, 12:10 PM
Cranky old buzzards ...are always fun,

my "older" buddy shot a 99 on Tue ...and was so crabby he missed that one target on station 6, I'm not sure he's settled down yet ...../ I suggested he take that old Krieghoff and tie it to his bumper and drag it thru the gravel parking lot to teach it a lesson .... :D

mwar410
January 7, 2011, 12:51 PM
Dave, can't you send the SKB out and have the triggers reset? Briley does it all the time for 410 tubes.

Dave McC
January 10, 2011, 03:14 PM
So be it,Zippy. At 64, I'm entitled. And Grumpiness is my wont. Ask WW.

Jim,let me know when he pitches that K gun in the dumpster. Since you're a Brwning man I know you won't be interested....

410, it may come to that, but I'm looking around locally first.

zippy13
January 10, 2011, 03:39 PM
Sixty-four is nothing -- at sixty-five the world's opinion of you changes drastically. Enjoy life while you can! :D


The truth be told, I've seen Jim enviously eying his buddy's fancy K-gun. I think he'd easily be converted from B to K if his shoulder allows him to shoot with heavy O/U's again.

oneounceload
January 10, 2011, 05:28 PM
The truth be told, I've seen Jim enviously eying his buddy's fancy K-gun. I think he'd easily be converted from B to K if his shoulder allows him to shoot with heavy O/U's again.

I agree - he'll get down to one gun with separate barrels and be a happy gunner..... ;)

(although a friend who has a 10# Kolar feels the same way)

BigJimP
January 10, 2011, 05:48 PM
If he shoots another 99 in the snow and ice tomorrow ....I'll drag my Brownings behind my car ....

Ok, Ok ....I've only added 4 new handguns to the safe last year ...( and its a new year ) ....so there might be room for a K gun in there somewhere...or a Beretta UGB .... or something .....

( never know what might follow me home..)...

but this winter .... the cold and wet have not been too kind to the new shoulder. I can actually feel the 2 screws in my arm bone ...where he reattached the torn bicep - half way down my arm ( or I think I can ...) ...after he cut it loose from the upper end ...and there seems to be more "grinding" and stuff going on in there ...than I'd like .../ but only wimps wait for warm, dry weather to go shooting ...

Dave McC
January 11, 2011, 11:42 AM
Young Trapper at PGC,"Mr Dave, why aren't you grumpy all the time like those guys over on Range 8?"

Me," Because I'm a shotgunner, not a trapshooter"...

Seriously,it's more about mileage than a number.

Jim, I hope things work out. If not, get yourself a nice used SKB 20 gauge and enjoy.

Speaking of Kolars, I've never handled one that went under 9 lbs, but they all handled well, great even. I wonder how they do that.....