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Old March 17, 2014, 02:18 AM   #1
.300 Weatherby Mag
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20 Gauge O/U Quandary

So I'm a little bit stumped right now.. I recently purchased a Beretta 686 Silver Pigeon 20 gauge with 30" barrels.. I've been having a great deal of difficulty shooting consistent skeet scores with it, breaking 20 birds was the best I could do and most rounds were yielding 18-19.. The gun was giving me such a fit that I had it patterned.. It turns out that the point of impact on both barrels was near perfect but the pattern quality was not great with the Beretta factory skeet mobile choke, choke tubes.. I was told to try it with an I/C choke installed to see if it improved my scores.. With the I/C chokes in the gun I picked up four birds right away, and shot a 23.. Although not the 25 I want, that 23 is a vast improvement over what I was doing with the gun...

Now here's my question to those that know more than me... Why in the heck would a tighter choke improve my scores shooting American skeet?? Is the pattern quality possibly that much better?? Did I possibly get a bad set of skeet chokes from Beretta?

This darn gun is giving me a headache just thinking about it
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Old March 17, 2014, 03:49 AM   #2
Bake
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The first place you should shoot a new (or new to you) shotgun is the patterning broad. Just because it says "Skeet" on the side, it doesn't mean that its the best choice for skeet. Pick the choke that's gives you a uniform pattern ( 30" diameter at 25 yards) without holes. Every time you shoot a different brand of shells, your pattern & your PoI may change and you may be required to change the chokes. Even, just going from #9s to #8s can change things. Going from 2 1/2 drams to 3 drams can blow up you pattern.

Some aftermarket choke makers claim that there Ext. chokes will give better patterns than the OEM chokes, of the same size.

One of the main reasons I shoot an O/U, is so I can shoot the lower barrel with an I-C choke first, and the upper barrel second with an skeet choke.
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Old March 17, 2014, 03:51 AM   #3
Virginian-in-LA
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Opinion: how any shell will perform out of any particular choke tube can only be determined at the pattern board. The interaction between the choke constriction, the shot, and the wad, at the given velocity can make a lot of difference. If you have a choke you want to use, you may need to try a bunch of different ammo and see what it likes best. If you have a particular load you want to use, you may need to experiment and see what choke tube(s) work best.
In your situation I think I would try some Trulock, Carlsons, or Briley (plain) Skeet tubes and see how they do. You may run thru a lot of loads before you find the one that works best with your factory Skeet tubes. I suspect there is nothing wrong with the factory tubes, but who knows what exact load they used in setting them up.
I have an acquaintance with the same gun with 28" tubes. After drinking the Kool-Aid he got some Mueller tubes, and he was raving about them. He was not happy when I finally talked him into actually patterning them and he found they didn't pattern one whit better than some plain Briley flush tubes out of his daughter's gun.
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Old March 17, 2014, 08:03 AM   #4
NoSecondBest
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Virginian in LA got it right. Try different loads, not chokes.
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Old March 17, 2014, 09:18 AM   #5
PetahW
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.

I would opine that 30" bbls would be an impedment to better Skeet scores - as most dedicated Skeet guns usually have somewhat shorter barrel's, given the different dynamics of the game, as compared to Trap, etc.


.
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Old March 17, 2014, 02:18 PM   #6
BigJimP
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30" barrels on skeet guns, in my area, are very common these days....its hard to believe it has anything to do with the barrels ( unless you're used to shooting a 28" gun ...and this is the only 30" gun you have).

It might be the choke ...or it might be the shells.../ but you said point of impact is fine...so the only other variable is the choke or the shells.

The pattern board is the only way you're going to be able to see if one choke or one brand of shell is giving you holes in your pattern. I'd also pattern both skeet chokes ....and if you have 3 or 4 skeet chokes, then pattern them all...
----------
The other thing ...is the dynamics of the gun...20ga guns are often built on lighter receivers than their 12ga cousins....sometimes meaning they weigh almost a full lb less than their 12ga cousins. Consistency ...in your swing and follow thru ...can really be affected by weight...

Case in point - I have 4 of the Browning Citori XS Skeet models ( 12ga, 20ga, 28ga and .410 )..../ they are all 30" barrels.....12 ga weighs about 8.5 lbs....each of the other 3 guns, built on the 20ga receiver weigh about 7.5 lbs....so what I've done is put 8oz of lead tape ( lead golf club tape) inside forend ...and 8 oz inside the stock ...making sure I did not change the balance point....so all 4 of my guns feel the same...

Sometimes its the little things too ....maybe the throat area on your 20ga just feels a little different than your 12ga version....( or maybe its psychological ...that you know you're shooting 7/8 oz loads...and its getting in your way..../ .....and its funny that you're having an issue with your 20ga....because I tend to have issues with my 20ga as well...but I don't have the same issues with my 28ga...( and I shoot higher scores with my 28ga than I often do with the 20ga...and I know its in my head / but I've had a hard time getting over it )... I've shot way fewer 25's with my 20ga ...than my 12ga or 28ga, and other than mental, I don't know why .....( but I know its not my chokes or my shells .....( now the .410 tortures me too ...but that's a different issue on effective patterns)...and the .410 is really a mental barrier for me .

I know you've been shooting skeet long enough to know that score consistency comes and goes...especially as we get older../ and there are some days where it just does not work ....and its usually because one of my fundamentals has changed ( not rotating lower body as well, lifting my rear foot heel, rolling my shoulders, something....)....and usually it takes someone behind me, to tell me what is going on....and settle me down.

But first things first....veryify your patterns with both the chokes and the shells...and pattern the IC chokes as well...with the same shells. If everything looks good...then start looking at guns specs ...and your fundamentals...and your mental game.
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Old March 17, 2014, 02:58 PM   #7
NoSecondBest
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BigJimP gave an excellent write up. I actually have the same gun with 30" bbls and it's not been a problem on the clays course or the skeet field. I shoot no where near as much skeet as I did years ago but I can still break a few 25 straights with the gun if I remember I'm not shooting my heavier 12ga with 32" bbls. I have seen some really, really good shooters take their clays guns onto the skeet field and proceed to shoot 25 straight with fixed chokes (lots of Brits seem to like fixed choke guns for some reason. Maybe they know something we don't). Don't look at your shooting with a very narrow limit of time. Look for consistency over time. You need to work on being CONSISTENT in your every move....from mount to shot. Yes, the pattern board needs to get a workout as a place to start.
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Old March 17, 2014, 03:59 PM   #8
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Thanks... ( a lot of us struggle with this kind of stuff...)...

NoSecondBest is a much more accomplished shooter than I ever was.../ I'm pretty content to shoot in the low 90's on my skeet practice these days ...(
23's or so ....)...

I'd like to be better than that....but most days I'm just not there anymore...( upper 90's ( 96 plus) used to be in the cards - and still are once in a while....but not too often these days) --- but it always feels good to run 50 straight once in a while..on the way to a good day....
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Old March 18, 2014, 02:34 AM   #9
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Quote:
30" barrels on skeet guns, in my area, are very common these days....its hard to believe it has anything to do with the barrels ( unless you're used to shooting a 28" gun ...and this is the only 30" gun you have).
The best shooting gun I own is a 12 gauge Beretta O/U with 30" barrels. I sold a 686 Silver Pigeon 12 gauge with 28" barrels to my brother.. This 30" 20 gauge is an attempt to get close to the swing dynamics of the 12 gauge silver pigeon..
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Old March 19, 2014, 04:17 PM   #10
BigJimP
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OK, but check the weight --- and all the specs on the two guns.....so you can really compare them.

....my hunch is, the 20ga is probably almost a pound lighter even than the 12ga version with 2" shorter barrels....but it's dimensions - drop at comb and drop at heel may be different as well...

If any of those factors have changed...it will feel ...and swing very differently than your old gun.../so its not surprising if your scores suffer a little right now. You may just need time with the new gun....or you may need some stock dimensional changes...
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Old March 20, 2014, 01:56 AM   #11
.300 Weatherby Mag
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Put two I/C beretta factory chokes in the gun and shot a 25 straight with the estate #9 shot.. Wind started blowing and I dropped two in the second round.. I'll take a 48 out of 50, with a gun I couldn't previously break more than 20 birds a round with...

It really makes me think that its a choke tube issue.. Based on the vast improvement.

Quote:
OK, but check the weight --- and all the specs on the two guns.....so you can really compare them.

....my hunch is, the 20ga is probably almost a pound lighter even than the 12ga version with 2" shorter barrels....but it's dimensions - drop at comb and drop at heel may be different as well...

If any of those factors have changed...it will feel ...and swing very differently than your old gun.../so its not surprising if your scores suffer a little right now. You may just need time with the new gun....or you may need some stock dimensional changes...
The gun is definitely lighter than the 12.. The LOP is the same as the 12 gauge.. The only real difference is the 20 gauge stock is slimmer..
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Old March 20, 2014, 01:09 PM   #12
BigJimP
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Nothing wrong with 48 out of 50....
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Old March 20, 2014, 09:27 PM   #13
Bake
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Excellent! Now look at the box, and find the Lot#. Go back to where you got the shells and buy at least a case, if not more...
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Old March 21, 2014, 12:23 AM   #14
.300 Weatherby Mag
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Quote:
Nothing wrong with 48 out of 50....
With a 20 gauge field gun... I'll take it for now.. Still want to figure out if I have a bad set of skeet tubes... They aren't free after all
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Old March 21, 2014, 04:40 AM   #15
Bake
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300,

Don't worry about how the chokes marked. Just worry about breaking the birds, for now. After you have run a few hundred rounds (Boxes) thru the IC, then compare the last few rounds to a few rounds with the skeet choke.

Don't worry about the .005 to .010 difference. Right now you are leaning "How to Shoot" you new shotgun, it will take awhile.
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Old March 21, 2014, 12:00 PM   #16
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You would need a bore gage .....to measure the inside of the barrel accurately .....and then the choke ( so you can get an accurate reading on the constriction amount )....

Barrels ....from some mfg's ...and on some models / especially with this "back boring" barrels that has been common at least among Browning and Beretta for the last 10 yrs or so, especially on their "target" guns...will vary a little bit over traditional dimensions on a 12ga or 20ga barrel...

but you'll have to check it to see......some gun clubs, have a bore gague that they let members use.../ or maybe one of your buddies bought one...( you can't do it accurately with a caliper...)
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Old March 25, 2014, 12:16 AM   #17
340 Weatherby
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I'd still trade it in for a Browning. The beatings will continue tomorrow! I guess I can't say that. That 48 beat me last week.
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Old March 26, 2014, 01:51 AM   #18
.300 Weatherby Mag
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I'd still trade it in for a Browning. The beatings will continue tomorrow! I guess I can't say that. That 48 beat me last week.
And you got beat again
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Old March 26, 2014, 12:04 PM   #19
BigJimP
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My adult kids think the same thing....and they haven't beaten me yet either....

Score One....for the Old Guys !!
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Old March 26, 2014, 12:59 PM   #20
Dreaming100Straight
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Now if you could only get that bend out of the barrel.
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