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Old November 22, 2009, 09:10 PM   #1
2002gti
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thinking of getting into clays, i need a gun

ive shot skeet 1 time in mty life about 15 years ago and had a blast, now that im retired im thinking of getting into it. i really dont know what kind of gun or barrel length to get, im guessing an over/under.
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Old November 22, 2009, 09:14 PM   #2
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I shoot clays with a mossberg 500. you don't need a fancy shotgun, just one that is reliable and fits you well.
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Old November 22, 2009, 09:30 PM   #3
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Why not go to your local skeet field at your local club, introduce yourself, and explain your situation. Most folks will gladly let you try their guns. You might also be able to rent various guns. Try as many as you can to find what one fits you the best. There are pumps, semi's, O/U's and SxS's that will all work - depends on what you like. Since it's been a while, you might try, and then like, something different
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Old November 22, 2009, 09:36 PM   #4
Dave McC
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Few clay O/Us are cheap, the wear involved in pounding out thousands of rounds cannot be handled by something made to loose tolerances and of questionable materials.

About $1500 or so will get you a newish Beretta White Onyx Sporter. Mine will outlast me even if I shoot 10X what I am now.

I suggest that instead. though, you follow Bruce Buck's advice on a first clays gun. It follows.

"Get yourself a Semi Auto of known quality, like a Remington 1100 or Beretta's 390 or 391.

Get the fit right, and shoot it for at least one year. Then, you'll have a better idea of what you want and need"....

A used 1100 with a 28 or 30", choke tubed barrel can be found for less than $400,sometimes much less.

Some small parts need periodic replacement and it needs to be cleaned.

Learn those parts and how to keep it running and have fun.

HTH....
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Old November 22, 2009, 09:56 PM   #5
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I use everything from pumps, OU's and Semi's for clays. They seem to work pretty well.

For clays and skeet my preference is a Lanber 2097 with a 30" barrel (OU). I got it from CDNN a long time ago for dirt cheap. It shoots like a champ.

A very close second is my Winchester Super X2. It's a bit on the heavy side, but you can put 200 shells through it in a couple of hours and your shoulder wouldn't know the difference.

I love shooting pumps. There's a certain fun factor bringing my Wingmaster for sporting clays. Frankly, I do pretty well with it.

You don't have to break the bank for a decent clays gun. If you have the money, then by all means get yourself a nice Beretta or Browning OU and don't look back. If funds are limited and you have an old 870 or Mossberg 500 collecting dust in your gun safe, use it. If it fits you well and it goes boom, you're well on your way to enjoying the world of clays.
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Old November 22, 2009, 10:18 PM   #6
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Quote:
i really dont know what kind of gun or barrel length to get, im guessing an over/under.
I just started trapshooting myself about a month and a half to two months ago. It's at a local American Legion post, so it's a more relaxed setting (no league or anything). The guys who have been shooting trap the longest have O/U guns with fancy sights but there are plenty of guys there with pumps and autoloaders. Heck, one guy had an old bolt-action shotgun the first day.
I shoot with an oldie but goodie, an Ithaca Model 37 my grandpa gave me when he got too old and arthritic to hunt regularly.
The Rifleer is right I think. Just start off with a good, reliable shotgun until you have more experience.
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Old November 23, 2009, 06:33 AM   #7
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Greetings, BigMac, and welcome aboard.

Your Ithaca Model 37 will work admirably for an introduction to trap shooting. 2002gti specifically mentioned that he wants a to get into skeet shooting. Unlike trap, skeet requires a quick second shot. Because of this, the typical skeet gun is an O/U or auto-loader. Using a pump for skeet is an unnecessary hinderance for the new shooter.
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Old November 23, 2009, 06:52 AM   #8
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2002gti, for the new shooter to "get into" one of the shotgun sports it's really an evolutionary process. The potentially serious shooter usually progresses through at least three guns:

As a novice to shotgunning, an entry level sporting shotgun it suggested. With this gun the shooter learns basic shotgunning skills and those specific to his chosen game. Only with experience will the shooter learn the subtleties of a gun specific to his game. You'll learn why you're at a disadvantage with a general purpose gun, and how (and why) the sport specific guns have evolved. The differences between trap and skeet guns will become quite clear to you and you'll know why they are different.

You'll come to a point where you're acutely aware that your progress has become hindered -- not by your ability, but the limitations of your general purpose gun. That will be the time to think about getting a game specific gun. Until then you won't have the knowledge and experience necessary to evaluate your specific needs and the various features of game specific guns.

If you shoot enough, there may come a time when you realize that your game specific gun is too generalized for your individual needs and you'll be in the market for a custom comp gun. This frequently happens after the club shooter progresses to compete on the national level. The more experience you gain the better you can evaluate your needs. Hopefully your learning will always progress as you continue shooting. You may find you need revised comp guns to accommodate your ever improving, and refining shooting needs.

This process is by no means limited to the shooting sports. Actually, it applies to a lot of sporting (and non-sporting) equipment. How many times have you heard a golfer say he's ready for a new set of clubs? It's the old catch-22: You can't buy the equipment you want without first gaining some experience; but, you can't get the experience without the equipment.

2002gti, don't get talked into a bargain-basement shotgun for learning how to shoot skeet. Your regret will be almost immediate. Oneounceload has an excellent suggestion. I think you'll find the serious skeet shooters will be more than happy to assist a new shooter. And, yes, proper fit is very important. It can make the difference between having a great day at the range and feeling like you been assaulted by an 800 pound gorilla.

This is seldom mentioned; but, there's another area where the experienced shooters can help -- they can give you a realistic idea of the budget required to shoot at various levels of "getting into" skeet.

Have fun and shoot safely.

Last edited by zippy13; November 23, 2009 at 10:46 PM.
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Old November 23, 2009, 06:55 AM   #9
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If you have a shot gun capable of holding two shots then get out there and start shooting. Once you start there will be many opportunities for you to try different guns.

Shotgun shooting clay games is all about gun fit. The gun must point where you are looking.

Most as pointed out prior shoot semi-auto and double (o/u or sxs) if you plan on other games like sporting clays as well you might lean towards a double as you will be able to change chokes for different shots.

When you do decide to buy (I am not a gun snob) buy a b-gun (Browning, Beretta, 1500$ new range) I have noticed in the last few years that anything below this level has a tendency to fail and the shooter quickly grows out of them.

If you absolutely have to have one to get started get a Stoeger Condor. It is cheap as hell but they seem to be fairly durable and will get you out on the field with out costing you a ton. Then you can get the gun you want when you find it. A bunch of guys I shoot with have Stoegers and they go bang every time it seems. Of the 10 or so I have seen on the field regularly I have only seen one fail and the problem was quickly apparent.

Not so for the guns in the 6-800$ range most of them have been sold off (mine included) after failures and replaced with b-guns.
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Old November 23, 2009, 08:39 AM   #10
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Also a new shooter here.

The friend that got me into shooting is a retired Doc. His brother in law is an experienced hunter and sport shooter who recommended an 11-87 as a good all purpose starting gun. He bought a black synthetic 11-87 new for about $600 at Bass Pro Shops a few months ago. He cleans it after every outing and it occasionally misfires every time we're out. Really not sure why, maybe the 1 oz. loads he shoots are too light, whatever.

I decided I'd try a Beretta 391 for a couple of rounds of sporting clay and had it misfire once. Just needed a tiny bit of oil then it was perfect and seemed to fit me well.

What I noticed, however, was that the other guys (all very experienced shooters 75%+ on clays) all had O/Us. I liked the simplicity and reliability and, yes, I really liked the look of their fine guns.

I started looking for used O/Us in my price range <$1300. I bought my Citori for <$1000 showed it to my buddy and he now wants to sell his 11-87.

If you're going to take up the sport on a regular basis for recreation, I'm guessing you'll eventually want an O/U as well. Good Luck!
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Old November 23, 2009, 11:03 AM   #11
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ive already got 2 12 gauges a 1300 and a benelli but thy are both 18". i think ill look for a barrel for trhe 1300, do i go 26 or 28"
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Old November 23, 2009, 12:21 PM   #12
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I would go for a 28 or longer for targets - the weight increase is minimal, but the MOI smoothing out your swing can be a lot better.
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Old November 23, 2009, 01:22 PM   #13
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A 26 or 28-inch barrel for your 1300 will be fine. This assumes you have a conventional stock. When onceounceload mentioned "28 or longer" I suspect he was thinking of O/Us not an auto loader. If you can't get a target model barrel with a mid rib bead, install one. It's best that you learn to shoot skeet with a Figure-8 sight alignment.

An old trick to smooth out an auto-loader for target shooting (and eat some recoil, too) is to place a hull (or two) full of shot at the front of the magazine tube. After taping the hull shut, insert it from the front so the mag spring keeps it pushed forward. As 1-oz mentioned, few ounces out front isn't much, but it will increase the MOI and you'll swing a lot better. You'll be surprised how much more confident you feel with a little more wight on the gun. Oh, yeah, it works for pumps, too.
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Old November 23, 2009, 01:29 PM   #14
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you said 'clays' - and then mentioned "skeet" ......so I'm a little concerned that we are not communicating yet on what you want to do ....

In general, on O/U's - for general shooting ( which to me means bird hunting, sporting clays and skeet ) - I like a gun around 8 1/2 lbs, and 30" barrels. I find the weight is about right for a lot of barrel movement left and right.

For Trap, I go to longer barrels ( 32" ) and a gun around 10 lbs ... / and I shoot the same gun for singles, doubles and continental.

Picking a gun is all about "Fit" - meaning it hits where you look. Its probably fair to say, at this point you don't really know what the stock dimensions are that you need ( drop at comb, drop at heel, length of pull, etc ) .... Until you really know what fits you ( and different gun mfg's are different ) don't buy a gun / spend some time at a club - talk to a lot of shooters, try a lot of guns and see how this develops for you.

I'm not saying you can't shoot a pump or semi-auto / because you can. But in terms of 100,000 shell durability, reliability, etc the medium priced O/U's are solid guns ( primarily Beretta and Browning ). A big issue is adjustability - and one gun I see, with the most adjustability, that will fit a lot of shooters / and has very good resale value - is the Browning Citori XS Skeet model, with the adjustable comb. They retail new for around $ 3,000 now - but there are some used ones around in both 12 and 20ga.

I'm a big Browning fan - but last I looked in the Citori lineup alone there are about 25 models / and for me personally, only 3 will Fit me properly ( XS Skeet, XS Special, XT Trap ...) so its isn't about just buying a Browning, or a Beretta, Ruger, etc ....its about Fit ( or its a waste of money ).

But what games are you considering ? ( Sporting Clays, Skeet, Trap ...or all of the above ..)....
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Old November 23, 2009, 01:38 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maximus001
…a black synthetic 11-87… …misfires every time we're out.
I decided I'd try a Beretta 391… …it misfire once…
What I noticed, however, was that the other guys (all very experienced shooters 75%+ on clays) all had O/Us. I liked the simplicity and reliability and, yes, I really liked the look of their fine guns.
Yep, with an O/U, you've got a good chance that it's going to fire -- insert shell/s and shoot. For me, with an auto-loader (or pump) there's always the little bit of suspicion, in the back of my mind, that it may misfire, especially with doubles. That little chink in my confidence doesn't work towards maximizing my scores.

Last edited by zippy13; November 23, 2009 at 03:00 PM. Reason: tpyo
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Old November 23, 2009, 02:48 PM   #16
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While my comment on 28 and longer WAS directed towards, O/U's - "upon further review", it could apply to semi's as well. Many of the target gurus where I live that shoot semi's are using 28 and 30" barrels on those trusty Berettas. Whatever works to keep the swing smoooooooooth while you move on the target is what works best for you. If that is 26, 28, 30, 32, or 34 - find out and use it
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Old November 23, 2009, 03:32 PM   #17
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I agree OneOunce ...

I like a 30" barrel on my Benelli Super Sport 12ga for Skeet, Sporting Clays and hunting birds because its such a light gun at 7.2 lbs - the longer barrel helps me smooth out the follow thru .....( and I still added some weight inside the forend / and in the butt stock ( about 8 oz at each location ) to get it up over 8 lbs ... ( I used Lead Tape - from a Golf store ).
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Old November 23, 2009, 03:32 PM   #18
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after further investigation another barrel may not work for my 1300, its an 8 shot defender model and looks like the magazine tube nut wint match up.
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Old November 23, 2009, 03:35 PM   #19
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You've just justified buying a new shotgun ( or 2 or 3 ....) .. oh well....
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Old November 23, 2009, 05:35 PM   #20
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I use a Charles Daly 20ga or 12ga semi auto. Doesn't need to be expensive just reliable.
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Old November 23, 2009, 07:37 PM   #21
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Fit is the most important thing -- not cost of the gun.

But there aren't many less expensive guns that will give you 100,000 trouble free targets either. But having said that, I shot Trap for years with a Browning BPS 12ga pump. The gun fit me really well ( with some stock modifications ) but internally, it had to be rebuilt at about 45,000 targets ...( trigger, firing pin, bolt, forend slides... - as I recall ). Now I was shooting about 12 rounds of Trap or 300 targets a week - 15,000 targets a year ..... and it was real obvious, despite the fact that it is still a good solid gun -- it wasn't meant to hold up to a fairly routine target shooting schedule.

Today's better quality Target Guns - like a Browning Citori XS Skeet - will hold up easily to 250,000 targets / maybe 500,000 without a problem ....

http://www.browning.com/products/cat...13&type_id=066

The question is what kind of usage do you expect / or how many targets do you expect to shoot a year / over 10 yrs / over 20 yrs .... Some guys choose to buy a gun that will last 2 or 3 generations at 15,000 targets a year / some choose to shoot a gun until it gives them problems - throw it out and buy another one ... I have an acquaintance that shoots a Beretta 391 semi-auto 12ga / about 20,000 targets a year - he shoots it 2 yrs / retires it and buys a new one ( and he rarely cleans it / and abuses the daylights out of it ... so when its done / it is done ...). But he told me the other day, he's finally considering an O/U ... a Browning 625 Citori ....

http://www.browning.com/products/cat...13&type_id=355

I like nice things / and take really good care of them ... so I buy higher end/medium priced shotguns, like the XS Skeet model above, because I enjoy them / like to shoot them. To me the XS Skeet Citori / is a perfect gun for upland birds, Skeet and Sporting Clays .... but everybody should buy what they like and can afford. You don't need a $ 3,000 shotgun to shoot Clay targets / but I like them ...

my primary guns ( all XS Skeet models / a 12, 20, 28ga and .410 ) - all basically the same, with 30" barrels .... I shoot them a lot / like them a lot.

http://thefiringline.com/forums/atta...1&d=1259022971
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Old November 23, 2009, 08:19 PM   #22
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BigJim is giving you good advice - wile Jim loves those parallel comb/trap-style guns, others like different ones.....BUT in any event, the Browning is a proven design that won't break the bank, will run for a looooong time, and do the job.


Quote:
Doesn't need to be expensive just reliable
Correct - but it DOES have to be reliable to be reliable....and cheap doesn't cut it - ESPECIALLY for a target gun that might see 20,000 targets a year
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Old November 24, 2009, 01:05 AM   #23
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Oops… I thought we'd get 2002gti into skeet with just a new 1300 barrel. Now folks are talking about spending $3+K on a new Citori. Personally, in the same price range I'd opt for a Beretta -- some folks like Fords and others Chevys.

The problem I see with either a Citori or Beratta, is that it already presents options that a shooter new to skeet won't have the experience to evaluate. A quick look at the Citori catalog and we see some of the following choices:
High stock or low stock -- adjustable or fixed -- palm swell or not.
Schnabel forearm or semi-beavertail
Low, medium or high rib -- square or tapered -- standard or HiViz front sight
Standard or light weight barrel profile -- 26, 28, 30 or 32" long -- ported or not
Standard or extended chokes
I'm playing devil's advocate: Why worry about a gun that will shoot 20,000 targets a year if it's the wrong gun? (How can you choose between a semi-beavertail and Schnabel forearm if you haven't tried a pointer skeet grip?) If you guessed wrong with your initial selection, then you'll probably want to dump the gun before it has a chance to wear out. I suggest tuning it down a notch and start your skeet shooting with a more generic, and less costly, target gun. If you really get into skeet, then you'll soon trade up. And, if you don't you won't have shot enough to wear it out.

Have you looked into a sleeve/collar/spacer to permit using a standard barrel on the long mag tube 1300? Have your smith make a sleeve that will fit over the mag tube and take up the space. It would be about 4 inches long x 1.005 ID x 1.25 OD, any gunsmith or machinist could make one.
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Old November 24, 2009, 07:12 AM   #24
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This is an interesting thread for me, because I am in mid evolution. I started shooting with an 870 a couple of years ago. It made my left elbow hurt like the dickens, so I got a good deal on a Beretta 390 with 30" barrel and it has been flawless. However, I now find myself exploring the over/under route. I am leaning toward the Beretta 686.

I shoot with a couple of guys and we are pretty evenly split. One of us prefers trap, one of us prefers skeet, and we all enjoy sporting clays. We rotate around and accommodate each other, so what I end up with will have to serve on all disciplines as my trusty 390 does now.

This is a fun problem to have. I have to shoot lots of different shotguns at different games... Oh well, I'll just have to try to get through it as best I can.
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Old November 24, 2009, 02:17 PM   #25
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The Beretta 686 White Onyx Sporting is a great choice for a first target O/U. Nothing fancy but a good work horse gun at about 2/3 the price of the other Berettas and Browning sporting O/Us.

The sporting model ($200 more) differs from the Field White Onyx primarily with the new Optima overbored barrels and their corresponding chokes. The field model uses the tighter bore (typical with Italian guns) barrel with the Mobilechoke system. There are those who say the large bore Optima system hits the targets harder and has less recoil.

As mentioned time after time, the nicest gun in world is worthless if it doesn't fit you. Try before you buy.
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