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Old April 29, 2009, 08:00 PM   #1
txag09
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few questions on a sporting gun

Im sure this has been beat to death, but after searching I couldnt really find the info I was looking for. Currently i have a Remi 870 wingmaster that I use for skeet. Its a great guns by all means, but i am getting a little tired of using a pump for skeet. I started looking at autos and o/u's to buy for my next gun that will be used solely for skeet or sporting clays (ill use the 870 for hunting and whatever else)

My first question is a bit vague, but, are O/U's good for skeet? Ive heard mixed opinions about them being too heavy to swing, some people saying that the added weight helps with follow through, and even some people say that O/Us are only for trap. Im most comfortable with a pump so I know there will be a learning curve involved with switching to an O/U or auto.

Secondly, ive been shooting for a few years now but I am far from being good enough to drop 2000+ on a new gun, preferably I would like to keep it around 1200 or less since im a college student.
I have looked at the remington spr310, Charles Daly 206, used beretta 391s, and the remington 1100 competition (the only auto ive really liked).
What is the general consensus on these guns, and are there any other recommendations that i have looked over? I dont really care about looks as long as it works.

Thanks in advance for any advice, its much appreciated.
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Old April 29, 2009, 08:07 PM   #2
masterhunter
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Remington 1100...........
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Old April 29, 2009, 08:32 PM   #3
oneounceload
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I'm sure Big Jim P will be here to give you the benefit of his many years of skeet.....personally, I shoot low gun for everything, which is less and less skeet these days and more 5-stand and sporting.........In that vein, I prefer an O/U for several reasons

I like a little more weight forward to help my swing and follow through

I like the ability to shoot 3/4 or 7/8 or 1 ounce loads without worrying about cycling issues

I hate bending over to get my empties for reloading

I like the choice of two very different chokes for sporting as the presentations may present such

My personal advice is to try as many guns as possible to see what YOU like best and works for you.

Buy quality first, it isn't cheap, but it will be in the long run
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Old April 29, 2009, 08:51 PM   #4
Tophe
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I have a Win SX2 that I used for skeet, trap, sporting clays for a while.

I bought a Verona O/U a couple years ago and the SX2 has been to the range a couple times, but even though I take it, it pretty much sits in the case.

I LOVE my O/U. It is just way more fun to shoot for me than a semi auto. I even prefer the OU for upland hunting.

My vote goes to the O/U
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Old April 29, 2009, 09:42 PM   #5
6x6pinz
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really like my SPR310 for duck and general hunting and prefer it for trap or skeet shooting. Just seems right to me. Depending on your demand and how much you actually plan on shooting would depend on the cost/value of the shotgun to purchase. I also shoot the SPR453 but would not consider it as a good trap/skeet gun, yes it would work but it makes a much better duck/goose gun.


oneounceload
has some great points most of which I agree totally with. I just don't like to see people spend a small fortune on a shotgun to only shoot a few thousand rounds of trap/skeet. If this is something you are serious about then the cost/value would be much higher. Like any sport the more serious the more it will cost to get better at.
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Old April 29, 2009, 10:47 PM   #6
zippy13
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Greetings txag09, and welcome aboard,

You're at the same point where I was 40+ years ago. Like you, I started shooting skeet with a pump gun. But mine wasn't even up to the standards of your Remington 870 Wingmaster. My financial situation was probably more limited than yours, I was in the service. A transfer to Vietnam put my skeet shooting on hold for a while.

You're now at the end of what I call Phase One, the Initial Gun Phase. You've shot enough skeet with pump gun that your performance is now hindered by the limits of your gun's performance. To progress you need a new gun, a Phase Two gun.

There will always be stories of how Robert Stack (TV's Elliott Ness) won the 20-Gauge World Championships in 1936 with a pump gun. They forget to mention that, unlike today's champs, he didn't shoot a perfect score. Like you, I'm sure Bob wonders how many targets he wouldn't have missed if he hadn't had to shuck that cob. Yes, you're ready to put that 870 aside.

A Phase Two gun is generic gun that is designed for a specific shooting sport. In my case, I got a Winchester 101 Skeet model O/U after I got off of active duty. It served me shooting club skeet on and off for almost 18-years. It wasn't until I got into shooting NSSA tournaments that I dumped the W-101. Next came a Phase Three gun, a custom comp gun. During each phase you'll gain experience that will help you determine what to look for in the next.

Q1. Are O/Us good for skeet?
Yes, for all the reasons you mentioned, and some more. I started shooting comp skeet over 22-years ago, and O/U dominate the sport. I've never seen a pump gun used at a tournament. There are some auto-loaders in 12-ga and Doubles events, but their owners use an O/U in the .410, 28 and 20 events. The tubed O/U's heaver smooth swing is the key to winning scores. Sure, you can get an auto-loader, but you'll soon reach it's limits and wish you had an O/U.

Q2. What to get on a limited budget?
For a Phase Two Skeet O/U, the B-Guns (Brownings and Berettas) dominate the field and have for many years. They are the Fords and Chevys of the skeet world -- each having it's strong and weak points, supporters and detractors. New B-gun skeet models start in the neighborhood of $3K. Obviously with your budget you'll need to be thinking about a gun that has already had all the misses shot out. I'm glad you said, "I dont really care about looks as long as it works." With your budget, you may end up with something OJ would call uglyass.

Do yourself a favor... look at and shoot a lot of guns before you make any decisions. It's one advantage of being in the used gun market. The gun store wants to keep that new B-gun sealed in the factory box. A used gun can usually be test fired for a round or two, especially if it's a private sale.

Good luck and good shooting,
Pete

Last edited by zippy13; April 30, 2009 at 07:59 AM. Reason: hit the wronk geys
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Old April 30, 2009, 12:52 AM   #7
olddrum1
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What Z13 said Plus

With an OU you will not be wasting time searching for hulls laying on the ground. Things go a little smoother. If you are or do decide to take up reloading, you will find the OU a little more forgiving on the reloads than a pump or auto.
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Old April 30, 2009, 03:05 AM   #8
txag09
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Thanks guys, lots of good information here. I dont know exactly what the demands will be right now. At the moment i shoot around 1000 rounds a year, but would like to shoot more. I basically shoot as much as i can afford to. I do also reload shells, which is a big selling point to me for an O/U. I get tired of picking up empties after a few rounds, but i didnt want that to govern what i buy next. Looks like i will look into a used browning or beretta to try out and see how it fits me and then go from there.
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Old April 30, 2009, 07:38 AM   #9
Waterengineer
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Welcome to the addiction. I would say you are well on your way shooting 1K rounds a year.

I like Zippy's and Oneounce's thoughts. And, yes, Jim will chime in at any time.

While looking for what Zippy calls a "Phase Two" gun you may also consider broadening the group of O/Us you consider, in addition to Browning and Beretta.

There are a number of companies that make or import an O/U and are attempting to break into the sporting market.

- SKB
- Franchi R-gun
- Winchester Select Sporting
- Remington Premier

I own a Franchi Renaissance Field gun that I used for Five Stand and SC until I retired an inherited Browning Superposed. When the Franchi started going to the Pheasant fields I up graded to a Browning for a sporting gun.

Depending on what you can find and what you can live with for scuffs and scratches you should be able to find a respecable used O/U in the $800 to $1400 range and a used 1100 for oh, say, $450 or $600, easy.

I strongly agree with Zippy on two points: a) if you go to an auto you will likely not stay with it long and b) upgrade guns incrementally, although this will be more expensive in the long run that reaching for a top tier gun immediately.

I think that is why it is called a hobby - you (we) stick with it for a while, learn evolve thoughts and figure out what we want/need. Until you upgrade - don't be shy - shoot what ya got!
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Old April 30, 2009, 08:11 AM   #10
jmr40
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If you can afford a good one there is probably nothing better than a good O/U. On a budget you can probably get more gun for the money with an auto. Nothing wrong with a Remington 1100 or 1187. Never owned one but have heard good things about the Winchesters as well. In my opinion the absolute best bargain in an auto shot gun is the Beretta 390 sold at Walmart for around $550. There are a lot of shooters that claim the older 390 is still a better design than the newer 391 which sells new for around $1300.
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Old April 30, 2009, 10:21 AM   #11
zippy13
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jmr40
The OP, txag09, is looking for a target specific upgrade from his existing R870 slider. Beretta makes many suitable target guns (I'm a Beretta owner); however, sadly, the Walmart Beretta 390 doesn't fall into that category.
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Old April 30, 2009, 10:34 AM   #12
txag09
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Is there anything I should watch out for when looking at a browning or beretta that has been shot a lot. As much as I'd like to get a new gun, at 3k thats out of the question. I dont mind buying used as long as these guns are reliable. My 870 has had the snot shot out of it between skeet and hunting and still works like the day it was new, but i dont know how those guns compare on reliability. I just need to know what to look for and what to stay away from. I assume a lot depends on how its kept and maintained.
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Old April 30, 2009, 11:38 AM   #13
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Zippy13, oneounce, waterengineer said everything I would have said - so plus 1 to you boys ... But you guys are giving me too much credit - Zippy13 is a much more experienced competitive Skeet shooter than I am / and I think his points are especially well taken in terms of competition guns especially.

To me Trap and Skeet are very different games. Trap has a lot less barrel movement left to right - and I like a heavier and longer gun for Trap ( like a Browning XT 32" barrels at around 10 lbs ). For Skeet, Sporting clays and bird hunting like Quail, Pheasant, etc - I primarily use an O/U and I like a gun around 8 1/2 lbs, 30" barrels - with a monte carlo or comb parallel to the rib - with and adj comb cut into it for adjustments of point of impact.

Browning and Beretta make a lot of very solid guns - but I think most of them are poorly designed, in that they don't fit that many shooters - with their angled combs ( and that includes relatively expensive models like the 525 and 625 even at $ 3,500 new ). A standard Browning Citori Lightning is a gun you can pick up for around $1,000 used / new about $ 1,500 - there is one at my club right now with fixed chokes for $ 700 - but it will need barrel work to add chokes and a comb pad or stock modification to make it fit you. Its a good solid O/U - but it isn't a good choice for a Skeet or Sporting Clays shooter.

A parallel comb just makes the "Fit issue" a lot simpler / and it makes the gun more versatile. With a gun that has an angled comb - if you shoot in a T shirt your face is at one point on the comb / if you shoot in a heavy coat your face is at a different spot - causing the barrel to move up or down and your point of impact to change significantly. You can add a vest, remove a pad, put a sticky pad on comb ... but its a real pain in the butt. If the comb is parallel - its the same point of impact if your face moves up or back on the comb 1/2" ... every time.

A gun like the Browning XS Skeet / or XS Special - fits my criteria - and you might see some used ones - but they're usually over $2,000 even used. But it will be a gun you can shoot for 10 - 20 years easily vs fussing with a standard Citori that may not fit too well. A moderate grade O/U like the Browning XS Skeet is a better long term choice / like others told you - but if you pick a cheaper model, and it doesn't have a parallel comb, I think you're making a mistake.

If all you want to do is shoot Skeet casually - and you can't afford to get into an O/U with a parallel comb - then a semi-auto like a Beretta 391 or a Benelli Super Sport are very good guns / both have some adjustability - the Beretta is about $ 1,250 new / the Benelli about $ 1,850 new - and while I like the Benelli super sport - there is nothing wrong with the Beretta 391 either. Like Zippy said - its a transition gun - not a pure competition gun - but its not a terrible choice either.

Beretta 391 is a gas gun. Benelli is an inertia gun. Benelli super sport has more adjustabiltiy, changeable comb inserts, changeable butt pads, it comes with 5 chokes - and in a 30" barrel its my semi-auto of choice. It shoots cleanly, cycles very quickly - and if I travel, and I only want to take one gun - it allows me to shoot Skeet, do some hunting, sporting clays, etc ... I am seeing a few used ones around - but the Euro is hurting the cost on these guns - and even used ones are about $ $ 1,500 / but I think its a gun you may keep for 30 years - even if you get into a competition grade O/U down the road.
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Old April 30, 2009, 12:08 PM   #14
BigJimP
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In terms of checking an O/U ...

Overall outward condition - scratches, etc

If the gun is dirty ( inside or out ) I will discount it heavily ( like 30% ) or pass.

Choke Tubes - will the chokes come out with just finger pressure / or do you need a wrench ( if you need a wrench its not good ). Are the threads in the barrel clean / same on chokes. With a little lube on them - will chokes thread in easily and smoothly ? If not - its an issue. It may just need cleaning and lube ? If they won't go in and out easily - to me its a dirty gun / maybe worse.

Condition of inside of barrels - especially chambers - no residue,etc. Look for any bulge or any dents on outside of barrels. Make sure rib is secure.

Take forend and barrels off. How does the inside of the forend look - any galling, etc ? pass / it should have grease on it, but be clean. Any indications of water damage inside - if yes, pass on it.

On barrels - inspect the barrel to receiver connection / any galling pass on this gun. Check the extractors - are they clean, move easily.

On receiver - especially where barrels connect - any galling pass on the gun - pass on this gun. It should have grease on it / but wear marks are an indication of abuse and someone slapping a gun together carelessly. Rest of receiver should be clean / no excessive marks even around breech.

Get a couple of snap caps - check the trigger on both barrels - how does it feel / check it with a trigger pull gague if you have one / is it the same on both barrels ( clicking safety back and forth will reset the 2nd barrel on a Browning ..) so its easy to check both. It should be crisp / I like mine around 4 - 4 1/2 lbs but a good gunsmith can fix a heavy trigger. But if it has too much travel, or a snag as it moves - pass on the gun.

Barrel opening lever - should be tight. The gun should not virtually fall open / after you move the lever. You want the barrel connection - when you open the gun - to be a little on the stiff side ( not sloppy, so it falls open ). Its expensive to fix if its really loose.

Extended chokes are a plus these days ( if he or she has 6 or 8 to fit the gun - they're $ 40 - $65 each these days ).

Many Brownings over last 4 or 5 years - have adjustable triggers / 3 little spots - where you can move trigger a little / and many of them came with 3 different trigger pads ( pick one to fit your hands ).

Some guns have "palm swells" on the grip / see if you like it - some don't have it. Which forend style do you like - beavertail,etc - lots of different styles.

You probably can't take the stock off to inspect the inside of the firing pins, springs, etc - ( but it is the first thing you should do when you get home ). Some guys remove them a couple times a year, lube, etc - some don't ever remove them and they are nasty and rusty. If they are nasty and rusty - go see your gunsmith. If the firing pins are pitted - they need to be replaced.

Wood can be lightly sanded / restained, refinished - some guys are careless - gun racks can leave marks ... but unless its really deep, you can get a deal - and with 20 - 30 hours of labor it can be fixed.

Lots of good used guns out there ..... but that will get you started.

Warranty - if you shoot it / and point of impact is off on the barrels - can you bring it back ? Some guys will say yes - some no. If I sold you a gun - I would say if it was mechanical, I would fix it - give it back to you, but not take it back just because you changed your mind.

New guns - you are stuck with warranty - ship it back to factory - you buy it, you own it.
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Old May 1, 2009, 04:57 PM   #15
txag09
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Thanks BigJim, lots of good info. I guess ill start looking around for a few used guns to try out and go from there.
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Old May 1, 2009, 05:02 PM   #16
BigJimP
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You're welcome - and have fun with your search. There really seem to be more good used guns out there right now than ever / mid range / and even on the high end ( Perazzi, Krieghoff, etc ).
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Old May 7, 2009, 05:48 PM   #17
output
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I have been researching a little on my own as well and this was a great find. Thanks for all the input everyone...
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Old May 7, 2009, 06:14 PM   #18
oneounceload
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Output - ask away

the only stupid questions are the ones that don't get asked.....folks here will give you whatever the benefits of their knowledge and experiences are....

good luck!
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Old May 14, 2009, 07:42 AM   #19
output
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Hey guys,

I went to a few local gun shops, and even started asking around at the range (which I’ve never done before)…I ended up shooting and feeling-out a bunch of O/Us.

To keep things short, I found a very nice Citori XS Skeet w/ adjustable comb at a shop and brought it home last night. I can’t find a scratch or a dig on it anywhere, I went over everything I could think of after reading Big Jims post on what to look for…and have one two quick question right now.

Just how tight should the barrel opening lever be? The guy at the shop said the fellow that brought it in said he never used it…it also came with the original box, manual, triggers, etc. I plan on going over it again today when I make it home and lightly oil everything. I don’t think I have anything to worry about, I’m just a little curious.

Also, choke tubes…when I tighten them, I should always just use finger pressure? I had to use the wrench to slightly loosen the tubes that were already in the barrels but it didn’t take much pressure at all to loosen them, and then I used my finger to screw them out the rest of the way, and back in again.

Thanks again!
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Old May 14, 2009, 08:04 AM   #20
oneounceload
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Quote:
Hey guys,

I went to a few local gun shops, and even started asking around at the range (which I’ve never done before)…I ended up shooting and feeling-out a bunch of O/Us.

To keep things short, I found a very nice Citori XS Skeet w/ adjustable comb at a shop and brought it home last night. I can’t find a scratch or a dig on it anywhere, I went over everything I could think of after reading Big Jims post on what to look for…and have one two quick question right now.

Just how tight should the barrel opening lever be? The guy at the shop said the fellow that brought it in said he never used it…it also came with the original box, manual, triggers, etc. I plan on going over it again today when I make it home and lightly oil everything. I don’t think I have anything to worry about, I’m just a little curious.

Also, choke tubes…when I tighten them, I should always just use finger pressure? I had to use the wrench to slightly loosen the tubes that were already in the barrels but it didn’t take much pressure at all to loosen them, and then I used my finger to screw them out the rest of the way, and back in again.

Thanks again!
If the gun is NIB, then the lever will be a little stiff - it should also be fairly over to the right of the top of the receiver - this will "wear in" over time. As to the chokes - are they flush mounted or extended? Flush mounted require a wrench to seat them all the way in snugly. If extended, (where they stick out past the muzzle, you can hand tighten them - one of the pluses of the extended chokes. Whichever type, put a little grease, not oil, on the threads - it helps the choke thread smoothly and it also helps keep it snug once tightened down. When you're shooting a lot, it is advisable to check their tightness on occasion to make sure they aren't loose - that can cause issues
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Old May 14, 2009, 08:12 AM   #21
ammo.crafter
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clays...

I'm a die hard Rem fan.

Try the G3 it's a fantastic auto, very smooth. I use the 20ga for upland birds and clays.
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Old May 14, 2009, 09:12 AM   #22
output
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Thanks for clarifying that oneounce, the chokes are flush mounted. I’m going to pick up some extended chokes soon as well. I appreciate the info, thanks.

Ammo, I’ve always liked Rem I’m just not in the market for an auto right now. If ever…it would be a consideration though. I have a few older pumps that I’ve had for years and they’ve done the job.
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Old May 14, 2009, 09:45 AM   #23
zippy13
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ammo.crafter
Check out Ruger4570's thread Remington G3
The fate of that model is questionable.
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Old May 14, 2009, 09:57 AM   #24
zippy13
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output
Quote:
...I found a very nice Citori XS Skeet w/ adjustable comb at a shop and brought it home last night. I can’t find a scratch or a dig on it anywhere...
Congratulations!
I predict your scores will take a upward turn, and you'll wonder how you ever did as well as you did shucking the ol' cob.

Good luck and good shooting,
Pete
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Old May 14, 2009, 12:48 PM   #25
BigJimP
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Congratulations .... I hope you enjoy the gun.

I'll differ with OneOunce a little - I use finger pressure to put chokes in, even flush mounted ones. I don't think you need a wrench to seat them / my hands are plenty strong enough, with a finger inserted in the choke, to tighten them down. But I must admit, I put all the flush chokes away / and use extended chokes all the time too.

I use Break Free on my chokes tubes / but many of my buddies are using Rig Grease on theirs ..... I don't think it really matters - as long as you take them out and clean them / and the barrel threads - and they go in and out smoothly.

Here are 4 of my XS Skeet guns ( 12ga at top, 20ga, 28ga and the .410 ) - they are my primary guns for Skeet, Sporting Clays and even bird hunting. http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/...1&d=1236031020
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