View Full Version : Shotgun for sporting clay?

March 24, 2008, 03:49 PM
Can Anyone out there give me some ideas on what kind of gun to get for clays. What is your suggestions on semi autos or over & under. :confused:
Is one better than the other?


March 24, 2008, 05:12 PM
What is your price range?

March 24, 2008, 05:27 PM
You don't need a special gun for sporting clays. Having said that - you will find a consensus on some things. 12ga is preferred. Semi-autos and over unders are well represented - shooters like one or the other. A pump is ok - but you won't see many among competitive shooters. Probably 75% of the guns you will see are Over-Unders.

Real key to picking the best gun for you is fit - so it hits where you look. Shotguns don't come in one size fits all - and by going to pattern board / working with someone to fit the gun - you find some trends. Most pump guns and a lot of semi-autos have a lot of drop at the comb and at the heel. If that fits you great - if not, then you need to consider a paralell comb (paralell to the rib ) - and an adj comb so you can raise or lower the point of impact is even better. Most pumps and semi-autos do not have paralell combs / so you will have to add pads on comb, etc to get them to fit. Browning as an example has a lot of over-unders with paralell combs ( like the XS Skeet ) so its a gun you will see often because of the amount of adjustability it has. So "Fit" controls the guns you see people pick on the course for competitive shooters.

You will see a lot of pairs / where one bird is close and one is 35 yards out so its an advantage to have a different choke on one bird vs the 2nd bird. You can only do that with an over under. The heavier the gun - the less recoil there is - for a given load - and I think you'll generally find most competitive shooters shooting an Over Under in the 8 1/2# weight range. Most pumps are 7 1/2# guns so you'll get more recoil. Semis are either gas operated or inertia operated - and they absorb some of the recoil.

In general - a 30" barrels on over unders is real common - and in overall length an Over Under with 30" barrels is about the same overall length as a semi-auto or pump with 28" barrels. Because semi-autos are lighter some of us go to 30" barrels on semi-autos to give us a little more weight and a longer sight plane.

My personal choice for sporting and skeet - both games where you want a gun that swings pretty easily - 30" Over Under ( like Browning XS Skeet ). I find an 8 1/2lb gun just about right. If its a wet crummy day - I will often take a Benelli semi-auto super sport model with 30" barrel, synthetic stock - that gun has an optional comb pad and a lot of adjustabiltiy. Browning Cynergy models have some parallel comb guns as well ( but that's what fits me, may not fit you ).

For Trap I like a 10 lb gun and a longer barrel - like 32" in an over under but that gun is way too heavy and swings too slowly for skeet or sporting clays. I use it for trap because trap birds have less relative movement left or right from the center of the trap than skeet or sporting - so a heavier and longer gun is an advantage in Trap.

So what kind of gun - its a combination of things - first "Fit", then style of action, then weight and length of sight plane. You don't have to change chokes - some shooters don't - but that defeats the ballistics issue of putting a 30" pattern, with the right density, at the kill range the target is at. If I shoot a single barrel gun - I may go with an IC choke - and then change my shells to get a little tighter or a little looser pattern on the first or 2nd shell .....but then you have to pay attention to how you load them ( and if they are all the same shell, Remington STS, and all the same color, I confuse myself ). 90% of the time I shoot a 1oz of 8's 12ga load at about 1225 fps for sporting / but for a real long bird where you only get a view of the edge of the bird - I want some 1 1/8oz
7 1/2's and I like them a little faster like 1300 fps. I hope that helps a little - but shoot the gun you have - have a few laughs - and don't worry about having to buy a "special gun" unless you want to. Then ask a lot of shooters why they selected one gun over the other - you'll see a lot of Beretta, Browning, Krieghoff, Kolar, etc out there .

March 24, 2008, 07:13 PM
Im willing to spend up to $1300.00.
And Thank you so much for the tips on the right feel shotgun for me.
the Beretta xtrema 2 looks real nice. I do like the feel of the Berreta shotguns. I will be checking the other brands also.


March 24, 2008, 07:33 PM
$ 1,300 won't get you a good over under that will stand up to a lot of target usage ( Browning XS Skeet is about $ 2,400 ).

But the Beretta semi-autos will fit your price range / and the Benelli semi-autos especially the synthetic models with the comfort tech system in them are a little more ( about $ 1,500 right now ) but you might find a deal on a super sport model out there. Have fun with the process.

March 24, 2008, 07:36 PM
Thank you very much for your help.:)

March 24, 2008, 09:02 PM
you could find a nice used browning or beretta

March 24, 2008, 10:02 PM
>>$ 1,300 won't get you a good over under that will stand up to a lot of target usage<<

Not necessarily. I just sold a like-new Beretta 686 White Onyx Sporting for that price, and it will stand up to anything you can throw at it. There are likewise many other good used O/U's in that price range that would do just nicely, especially for a beginner who'll most likely not be shooting thousands of rounds each month. (Weatherby Orion for one)

March 24, 2008, 10:34 PM
you can easily find a used citori for under $1,300, it may not look pretty but they are reliable and parts are easily found.

March 25, 2008, 12:58 PM
I do like the feel of the Berreta.

March 27, 2008, 02:57 PM
For that budget, you must be doing some serious shooting. :p

For clays, I got a Maverick Arms 12g pump at Wal-Mart for around $125. Personally, I think it's fun having the extra challenge of using a pump.

March 29, 2008, 12:21 PM
I just bought a Benelli M2 for 5 stand and sporting clays, I've put 200 rounds through it so far and it has performed flawlessly! I have a Browning Citori XT Trap 32" bbl that I use strictly for trap I love this citori but felt it was to bulky for fast action stuff JMO, I previosly owned a Benelli Super Sport and that was another really good Gun! would still have the SS today but I had to sell it to help fund the Citori at the time. I am very pleased with my new Benelli M2 but it definately isn't as smooth finished and soft shooting as my Super Sport was! I shoot more Trap than anything and have a great gun for it so I figured I would save about $500.00 and go with the M2 instead of the Super Sport for a 5 stand and Sporting clays as I dont shoot these events that much. If I were into sporting clays and five stand only My choice would be the Benelli Super Sport hands down! Great gun

March 30, 2008, 10:43 PM
Ive been using a Remington G-3 in 20ga and found it to be flawless and reasonably priced.

April 1, 2008, 11:18 PM
What about the Berretta's you see advertised at Academy sports for under $500.00

April 4, 2008, 12:32 AM
What Bigjimp mentioned is pretty much rule of thumb. When I was shooting a lot of clays, the gun I found to be most reliable was SKB 685 or a SKB 885. I went through two Brownings before I got the SKBs. I have tried pumps, and autos. When you are running a lot of shells through them they do not hold up as well as a quality over and under. I have never liked the Beretta in that I am not a small person and it seems that all of the Berettas that I pick up are to short. My two buddies and I when we go shoot would usally carry from three to six five gallon buckets of 12 guage shells for an afternoon of shooting. I would like to carry two loads, one being one ounce of eights going atleast 1300 fps for close up work and one and an eigth ounce of seven and a halves going around 1200 fps for shots a little further out.

Now that we have talked cheap guns, I once picked up a hand built Perazzi that had a left hand cast off stock made for a very tall person. Better than sex! If I remember correctly it was around 12,000 and change.

My point being, if you are into this and I mean really into it buy the most that you can afford. But I would look around and not be afraid to ask the seller if you can take the gun out and shoot a round or two with it before you buy. If the dealer says no, then move on. I have seen to many people buy a gun to just trade it shortly thereafter and by the time they are happy with what they have, it probably could have been that Perazzi.