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Old July 20, 2011, 05:34 PM   #1
Wag
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State Championships.

Our club hosted the New Mexico State Sporting Clays Championship (scores are not yet posted). I've never gotten involved in any kind of competition and have absolutely zero knowledge of sporting clays of any kind. (That may soon change! )

My wife and I volunteered to help out and were willing to do anything from picking up trash to restocking water stations to filling traps. Whatever needed to be done.

As it turned out, they were desperate for score keepers and we were put on the 5-stand competition, right off the bat. We didn't know it at the time, but it was a baptism by fire, to be sure. Still, we did fine. Got some training from an old-timer and had at it.

The shooting that people did was truly amazing. They made it look easy, that's for sure. Some of those people can shoot just about anything that comes their way.

That was the first day.

The second day, we each did a stand on the main course. By comparison, this was a piece of cake compared to scoring the 5-stand shoot! I was doing a report pair station and had a blast, so to speak!

Again, there were people who could shoot just about anything that came their way. As the day wore on and I saw cards fill, there were some amazing scores coming up on the cards. One little boy, about 11 or so years old, was shooting a HUGE shotgun which he nearly couldn't tuck into his shoulder and had is arms nearly fully extended when he called his pull. The little dude hit all eight of his birds. Amazing.

We had a lot of fun and now, with the prodding of several dozen people, we're likely to give it a shot and see if we can do this.

I had no idea volunteering was going to end up costing me!

--------------------

So, the next question is, can I use my 870 Marine Magnum to get started? My wife isn't going to be able to stand the shock but we have a .410 single shot and I'm wondering if she can start with that.

Obviously, If this turns into an additional hobby, Imma have to start loading in order to be able to afford it. Well, not mad, necessarily!

--Wag--
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Old July 20, 2011, 05:53 PM   #2
oneounceload
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You can use whatever you have - use light target level loads, preferably with as long a barrel as you have

Sporting is NOT as easy as some make it, nor is it easy with a pump.

FIT is paramount, and light loads break clays easily

This is a fun addiction, and it can be a humbling one, but get guns that fit, go have fun, forget about the score initially and enjoy yourselves!
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Old July 20, 2011, 06:44 PM   #3
BigJimP
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Sure, use the guns you have ...and then see, if you like it, what type of equipment you need longer term.

In general ....most of us prefer a general purpose gun ...for games like Skeet, 5 Stand and Sporting Clays. Guns in the 7 1/2lbs - 8 1/2 lbs are common ...and barrel lengths from 26" - 30" are common. Heavier guns absorb recoil more than lighter guns ...and longer guns 28" barrels or so - help by giving you a longer sight plane - for smoother swings and follow-thru.

Shooting a .410 ....is fairly difficult/takes a lot of mental toughness and discipline ...because it only has 1/2 ounce of shot - and gives you an effective pattern of only about 18" ( vs the bigger 30" pattern of a 12ga, 20ga or 28ga ). The .410 can be effective on targets that are thrown at around 25 yds or so ...but they can also get a little discouraging. I like challenging myself by shooting a .410 ...and because there is no recoil - it'll tell you about the flaws in your swing, follow-thru, etc ...but its a difficult bore to shoot well ...and shells for the .410 are expensive unless you reload. In my area you can buy 12ga shells retail for around $ 6 - $ 7 for a box of 25 ....where .410's will cost you $ 10 - $ 12 for a box of 25. 12ga and 20ga are typically priced about the same - in retail. You will also pay a premium for 28ga shells.
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Old July 20, 2011, 07:45 PM   #4
Wag
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Thanks for the advice. Definitely taking notes and reading other things I find as well.

--Wag--
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Old July 20, 2011, 09:03 PM   #5
TheKlawMan
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BigJim, I believe Wag's wife would be shooting a single shot .410. I know nada about sporting clays, but doesn't it involve shooting pairs. I probably do not understand what he is talking about but I thought the game of Sporting Clays is one thing and 5 stand is another, but there are several kinds of games that can be called sporting clays. (Trap and skeet for two and then there are variations of them). I wonder if Wag and his lady have tried trap and if they might wish to.

Wag. I shoot a 28" 870 Express and it isn't the guns fault that I can't hit anything. I have taken the advice of these characters and recently started reloading my 12 gauge hulls so they shoot like a 20 gauge, but with even softer "felt" recoil due to the weight of the 12 gauge.

I think you will find this fun. I sure do.
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Old July 20, 2011, 10:29 PM   #6
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I had no idea volunteering was going to end up costing me!
Been there, done that.
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Old July 21, 2011, 10:27 AM   #7
oneounceload
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Quote:
BigJim, I believe Wag's wife would be shooting a single shot .410. I know nada about sporting clays, but doesn't it involve shooting pairs.
Normally - absolutely - but that does not mean that if they are on a station by themselves on an off day that they can't shoot the targets as singles.

Personally, she will do 1000 times better with a 12 or 20 semi, but she needs to crawl before she walks - (needs to determine she wants to actually do this game)
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Old July 21, 2011, 10:34 AM   #8
BigJimP
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Yes, Sporting Clays and 5 Stand are very different games ....

Either game can have 2 shot singles, report pairs and true pairs. So yes, shooting a single shot gun - is not optimum. But many pullers - for a new shooter especially / if the course or 5 stand setup allows it ( some are computer driven - not manually pulled ) - will just pull singles.

5 Stands can be very complex ...or very simple / my club has a 21 machine 5 stand ...lots of crossers, a duck tower, etc. My clubs sporting clays course - has 16 stations ...and similar targets to the 5 stand / but a little more variety of terrain, trees, downhill, uphill, etc.

Personally, I find 5 stand a lot more difficult ...because you typically only get one chance at a given pair of targets on a station. In sporting - you will often have the same targets ...sometimes on report, sometimes true ...but they don't switch machines or presentations as you shoot your 2nd or 3rd pair on the station.
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Old July 21, 2011, 11:04 AM   #9
BigJimP
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I agree that most new shooters would be way better off - learning with a gas operated semi-auto in 12ga or 20ga -- with light loads - and in a gun that has screw in changeable chokes vs any single barrel / probably fixed choke in any gague - especially in a .410

Many clubs have loaner guns ...or you can pick up a number of them used for a few hundred dollars...or maybe even borrow a gun for a day or two. Many shooters have guns they've picked up over the years for new shooters, grandkids, etc in the family ...and we take them out when we know there is a boy scout outing ...or something going on where the club needs some extra loaner guns and we help out new shooters with tips, etc.

Any club capable of holding a big state championship ...has got to have some options for you / ask around and talk to some of the folks at the club.
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Old July 21, 2011, 11:36 AM   #10
Wag
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I'm starting to realize, as I read and think about this, that the .410 might not be a good way for her to start at all. We've been out in the desert using a hand launcher on many occasions and the tight pattern on the .410 was always a discouragement. The 970 MM was pretty easy to use but we generally shot the targets at pretty close range and sometimes, we'd pump that thing for all six shots and finally break it! All y'all would have laughed at us, I'm sure! That was years ago, though. I feel like a rube thinking back on those days!

On the other hand, it's like setting the basketball net three feet higher and making the hoop just a bit smaller . . . .

I dunno. I don't want her (or me) to try it and decide it's not for us just because we don't have the right equipment.

I'll start checking the gun stores and pawn shops for some decent over/under shotguns.

What I found interesting is that the side by side shotgun scores were MUCH lower than the over-under and semi auto scores. Gotta keep that in mind as well.

Our local club has a very nice facility. I haven't observed the five-stand in operation so I can't really comment but it's not where we will start, anyway. LOOKS of it are very nice! Our start will be to launch single birds and keep the "overwhelmed" factor much lower. When I was taking potshots the other day, it was quite the project, just to nail a couple of 'em. I have a lot to learn if I want to do anything at all with this new "hobby." (Read that, "Budget Buster!")

Thanks again for your comments. Any and all others are greatly appreciated and readily accepted.

--Wag--
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Old July 21, 2011, 12:00 PM   #11
oneounceload
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Go to your club and rent or borrow as many guns as you can for her to try (and you too). Sooner or later she will find the one that feels right to her. For my wife, that was the Beretta A400 Xplor in 12 gauge. For your wife it could mean something completely different.

Fit is paramount and 12 gauge target loads from the heavier frame gun will typically have less recoil than a 20 gauge
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Old July 21, 2011, 12:15 PM   #12
BigJimP
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I'd recommend you stay away from O/U's and SXS's for awhile ...there are a lot of low end guns on the market out there these days, that are not holding up to even "average target usage" ...and good solid O/U's from Browning or Beretta are way more than you need to spend at this point.

Focus on semi-autos / where you get a lot of gun for the money ...and can shoot singles or doubles with them ...and reduce recoil. In gas guns - Beretta probably gives you the most gun for the money / or Browning - Winchester that are the same company these days.

A good new entry level semi-auto is the Browning Silve Hunter with a 28" or 26" barrels and in 12ga or 20ga retailing new around here at about $ 850 ...list for $1,000 or so.

http://www.browning.com/products/cat...unter-firearms

but I only give you this advice - so you know what is out there...
---------------------
You really shouldn't be buying a gun yet ...you should borrow or rent a gun for awhile / or shoot what you have - until you decide how serious you want to take this hobby.

Its not an inexpensive past-time ...a box of 25 shells are around
$ 6 now ...and most courses charge $ 5 - $ 7 for a round of 25 targets. So just go into this with your eyes open.

Its a great hobby ...and I've been shooting and reloading for at least 50 yrs ...and I still shoot 6 - 10 boxes a week ...but don't jump right into the deep end...keep your enthusiasm up / and have some fun with the process as you explore it a little.
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Old July 21, 2011, 12:44 PM   #13
Wag
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More great advice.

Making more notes....

--Wag--
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Old July 21, 2011, 01:10 PM   #14
hogdogs
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Quote:
I'm starting to realize, as I read and think about this, that the .410 might not be a good way for her to start at all.
What I feel about this has nothing to do with my non-existant formal clay sports experience...

But a new person entering a new hobby/sport/passtime has only a couple chances to truly develop a like/dislike of it.

Some folks (few I feel) have the ability to realize they are just giving it a try and if the equipment is holding them back, they won't get discouraged but rather they will press on happily.

I feel the majority will blame them self or the equipment and get badly discouraged further hampering their possible performance.

BMX bicycle racing is one excellent example. A kid sees a BMX race and wants to try it out... Daddy loads the $50.00 huffy with steel coaster brake wheels, bald tires and NON-RACING frame and hauls him to the track... even if all the kids hold their mud about "team flannel shirt/team huffy" and try to encourage the new kid, he still has no honest chance of placing well against kids on $5,000 titanium bikes wearing $500 in real racing attire designed to allow unrestricted range of motion jeans just cannot compare to.

I almost was that dad! Lucky for me and junior, I listened to a guy with a shop and team as he explained this very thing to me. I scrimped and saved and bought an entry lever race bike for a few hundred and put a couple hundred dollars worth of parts upgrades along with some "Team Redneck" mods and weight reducing drilling and headed to the track. Junior had a blast trying to get better with minor discouragement as we proceeded. We seen alot of the first type of dads and sons come and go and I really felt bad for the kid who might have had some real promise.

It was SOP for many of us to get the dads aside to explain while our boys would take the new kid aside and get him on their mount to show them it isn't their fault they cannot be competitive.

Brent
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Old July 21, 2011, 11:38 PM   #15
Wag
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Great post, Brent.

It hits home with me because I did a lot of BMX when I was a kid when it was JUST starting to be a big thing. We didn't have a lot of money so I had to buy my own stuff; Dad just couldn't cover it.

So, I scraped my pennies together and bought the Redline, Diamondback and Mongoose, etc. stuff. My old man couldn't understand it and never took any interest in it. I never competed competently, but I had a blast when I was able to keep up.

Of course, it applies to this project as well, as you say. I think we can get started to the point of being able to decide if we're going to do it or not. I'm sure we have people who can let us use loaners to get rolling.

Again, thanks for the tips.

--Wag--
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Old July 22, 2011, 06:47 AM   #16
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While you are getting those loaners, get a lesson or three on basic shotgunning (form, stance, etc.), coupled with lessons specific to the game you are shooting - that will shorten the learning curve exponentially and make it more fun and thus wanting to be done again
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Old July 22, 2011, 10:59 PM   #17
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You better believe we will!

--Wag--
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Old July 23, 2011, 06:12 AM   #18
Rugerismisticness
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Sporting clays is a lot like golf; about 18 stations or so, the chokes and shells are clubs, gun strollers are golf bags, golf carts are....golf carts, and the whole crowd is really helpful and wholesome. I do find it easier to shoot SC with a pump, but then again, I just made my record of 86 last week with my Monte.
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Old July 23, 2011, 09:37 AM   #19
Wag
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The golf analogy is excellent!

I thought that while I was at the meet although there is a significant parallel to bowling as well.

More than that, though, was all the genuflecting that went on as shooters pointed at the sky, following birds, then waved their shotguns in various patterns. Very funny!

--Wag--
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