View Full Version : Deciding on an O/U

Hog Hunter
March 1, 2011, 02:52 PM
Ive been shootin alot of skeet here lately with my 870 express. Its my all around gun but I would really like a o/u cause me and my dad are startin to get pretty competitive at the ranges around town. Everybody is shootin these high dollar shotguns and my dad just bought a Ruger Red Lable that is sweet. I dont wanna be the only one shootin a pump when we do start shootin in big tourny's. I was leanin towards the Red Lable or the Ithica SKB but since he got the Ruger I think ima go with the SKB. I know you pretty much got to fit a shotgun to your style of shootin but what Clay guns do you guys prefer or shoot yourself. Lets see some pics cause these are some of the pretiest gun out there to me. Also maybe some of you vets can give me some tips to help me bust more clays. Thanks guys!!

March 1, 2011, 03:06 PM
what Clay guns do you guys prefer

I personally prefer the steel & wood ones :D Right now I'm shooting an SKB. I wouldn't pay to much attention to the the name on the gun (maybe a little). Pick up (better yet shoot) as many as you can before you make up your mind.

March 1, 2011, 04:29 PM
I prefer high-end guns for their triggers and balance. My wallet, however, limits me to decent entry grade Brownings.

IF this gun is for targets only, you might want to consider using a target-grade O/U. Their weight is more than the field version (a good thing), their stocks are typically configured for target games better, they typically are built more robustly for the higher target count versus field count of rounds fired

March 1, 2011, 05:33 PM
Browning and Beretta both give you a lot of gun for the money ....and have a variety of models ranging in price from $ 1,500 - $ 3,500 or so ....

Picking a shotgun is all about fit / and to some extent "adjustability" ...so you don't have to pay hundreds of dollars to have the gun fit / you can adjust it yourself.

For me - for an all around O/U it means the Browning, XS Skeet model, Citori, 30" barrels with the adjustable comb. Its a gun that will fit 99% of the shooters out there / an easy gun to sell used ...and a good gun to look for in a "used gun"... New The XS Skeet, adj comb - in a 12ga lists at $ 3,430 but I think the new street price is around $ 3,100.


I like the gun a lot .... so I've invested in a 12ga, 20ga, 28ga and a .410 in the same model ( 28ga and .410's were built on the 20ga receivers - and were dealer special orders / priced the same as the 20ga ) ...

In the 12ga version - its my primary Skeet gun, sporting Clays, 5 Stand ..and my upland bird hunting gun .... in the attached photo all 4 of mine are 10 yrs old or more .... and the 12ga and 20ga have way over 150,000 shells thru them with no issues .... 12ga on top, then 20, 28 and .410 ( all have 30" barrels ) ....the 12ga and 20ga are ported ...and I use Browning Midas grade extended choke tubes in all of my Brownings... I carry a case with a pair of Skeet chokes, a pair of Imp Cycl, a pair of Modified, 1 Improved Mod, 1 Full choke - put 2 in the gun /carry the other 6 in a plastic fishing lure box ..

My XS Skeet models



For Trap - I go to a longer, heavier gun ..... Browning, Citori XT, 32" barrels, adjustable comb ....same concept of fit. But the XT at around 10 lbs is too heavy and clumsy for a faster game like Skeet or Sporting clays, in my opinion ....but still very nice guns ..... Here are a couple of my XT's both 12ga's ...


The adjustable GraCoil system on one of them - reduces the recoil about 20%...and its a nice addition on a Trap gun.

Brownings are not cheap / but expensive guns in my view ....are when you get into the $ 7,500 price and up area ( Blazer, Perazzi, ... ) or at $ 10,000 and up in Kolar, Krieghoff .... all very nice guns .... but $ 3,000 gets you a lot of gun ....

March 1, 2011, 05:46 PM
You got some nice wood on those Jim!

March 1, 2011, 06:04 PM

The one XT --- with the light stock / was a big time upgrade to someone ... ( looking at the gun overall --- its a grade 6 or better custom stock ) but I picked that gun up used a few yrs ago for about $ 3K and was very happy to find it. Story was - the guy was just getting rid of some of his guns ...and needed some cash ....so he sold several ....

The gun is only about 12 yrs old ....

The other 5 guns ....are all grade III / IV stocks ...right out of the box ...from Browning.


To the OP ....I like the Brownings a lot ....especially the parallel comb, adjustable combs - but that isn't to say that the Rugers and SKB's are bad guns - they aren't .... / in my opinion, they may not be 200,000 shell guns ....but with some TLC, they will last a long time as well....

March 1, 2011, 08:04 PM
My Skeet guns are Perazzis w/ Briley tube sets and custom stocks; but, I didn't get my first until after I was shooting competitively and classed AA. If I were starting over, I'd probably go with a Beretta 686 as an entry comp gun. I have a Beretta 682x entry trap gun that I'm satisfied with.

March 2, 2011, 09:30 AM
Browning and Beretta both give you a lot of gun for the money ....and have a variety of models ranging in price from $ 1,500 - $ 3,500 or so ....

True! However, our main gunshop around here seems to have a "$999.00" sale once or twice a year on Citoris so if you shop around you should be able to get one for around a grand as I doubt our shop is the only one that does that.


March 2, 2011, 10:59 AM
O/U and S/S doubles are fine pieces, and I'm luck to own a few. The bad news is that they all will loosen up after many rounds of tournament shooting and practice sessions. You'll wind up in a 'smith's shop getting the hinge pin(s) replaced or peened to tighten everything back up, only to loosen again later. Many of the "super shooters" that have been on the circuit a while carry autoloaders for this very reason. Two guns I've had this done to in particular are the Lightning 20 ga., and the 425 in the 12 ga. That said, they are still fine field guns.


March 2, 2011, 11:33 AM

I've never heard a competitive shooter complain that he/she wore out an O/U comp gun. That doesn't mean it doesn't happen. If shot dirty, gun wear will be accelerated. All the O/U shooters I know are meticulous about their guns and the bearing surfaces are cleaned and well lubricated each tine the gun is used.

It's been my experience that some Skeet shooters will use auto-loaders in the 12-ga event and a tubed O/U in the .410-bore and 28 and 20-gauge events. This is for recoil reduction and has nothing to do with gun wear. I think you'll find most comp guns are of the break-open variety. In images from the last Olympics, I didn't see anything else.

Over many years, my primary Skeet gun has been shot so many times with reloads (contrary to the makers recommendations) that primer blow-by has eroded the firing pin channels. The breech face is nearing being serviced; but, the action is still very tight. On the other hand, I replaced my R-1100 Trap auto-loader with a break-open before I completed my rookie year in ATA competition.

March 2, 2011, 11:37 AM
For me - for an all around O/U it means the Browning, XS Skeet model, Citori, 30" barrels with the adjustable comb. Its a gun that will fit 99% of the shooters out there / an easy gun to sell used ...and a good gun to look for in a "used gun"... New The XS Skeet, adj comb - in a 12ga lists at $ 3,430 but I think the new street price is around $ 3,100.

A big this.

Do yourself a favor- keep an eye on the bulletin boards at your skeet club. You'll find somebody selling something good at a decent price. Recently I was thinking I might want a good O/U, but was having trouble seeing myself lay down the $6K for a Blaser F3 American Skeet model. Well, I saw ad ad for a guy selling a Citori XS with the adjustable stock, and last week I picked it up for $1700 (gently used, but with a couple finish spots on the stock).

If you're just getting into things, do yourself a favor and keep your eyes peeled for used guns; when you're talking Browning, Beretta, and other guns in that general strata, they will usually last a very long time, so buying used is a great way to get a fantastic gun at a very reasonable price.

March 2, 2011, 01:18 PM

I understand your comment ....but let's not forget that the "Citori" lineup of Brownings now has 27 different models within the group....

The Citori you're talking about seeing on sale - is usally the entry level model or the "lightning" ...and while mechanically, its a very sound gun ...its nowhere near the same gun, with the same adjustabilty of the XS-Skeet model Citori - with a parallel adjustable comb.

Technosavant is right on used guns ....there are some very good deals out there. But we also need to remember, we have to be careful when we use terms like XS ...when we refer to Brownings. Browning has used the XS term in 4 or 5 different models over the years - Ultra XS, XS Ultra, etc / and they aren't all the same in terms of stock measurements, weight, etc. ....today there is an XS Skeet with an adj comb, an XS Skeet without the adj comb, an XS Special high rib, and an XS Special low rib. An XS Skeet without the adj comb / has virtually no adjustbility - so its a poor choice / unless it happens to fit you.

The Browning marketing dept has run amuk ....on their model name bastardization ....and its confusing.
I own and shoot primarily 6 or 7 Browning Citori shotguns ....but within the Citori lineup of guns ... many of them, like the 625 series, do not come close to fitting me / and would be a complete waste of money for me in terms of a good gun. The 625 series does not have a parallel comb ...and it would require a lot of stock customization for me to shoot that gun effectively - even though it shares the Citori name / with the XS Skeet or the XT Trap models I prefer.

March 2, 2011, 01:41 PM
+1 on Zippys comments on how well O/U's hold up ....

My 12 ga and 20ga XS Skeet Citori models - each have well over 150,000 shells thru them ( probably way less than Zippy's guns ) but still significant ...and they show no signs of having to be rebuilt or adjusted.

While there are always a few semi-autos around ....the vast majority of Skeet shooters I know/or read about ...shoot upper end O/U's for serious competition ( Perazzi, Kolar, Krieghoff primarily ) ...and many of them shoot at least 50,000 shells a yr thru their primary guns ....often with "carrier barrels" using sub-gague tube inserts for 20ga, 28ga and .410.

These days I only shoot around 10,000 shells a year ...but I expect all of my Browning Citori XS Skeet models ...will last well into my kids, my grandkids and then my great grandkids generations -- with little, if any, major issues. Besides replacing firing pins, or a few springs once in a while is no big deal ...( but I haven't had to do that yet either ) ...

March 2, 2011, 02:03 PM
What model SKB are you looking at?

March 2, 2011, 02:21 PM
The bad news is that they all will loosen up after many rounds of tournament shooting and practice sessions.

Perhaps you need to define "many rounds". I have a few guns with over 100,000 each - I did need to have some minor springs replaced. Hinge pin is still in great shape.

Now if you take a cheap SxS and load it with nothing but uber-mag super loads, that will shorten its life span considerably; otherwise a quality gun, properly maintained will last a lifetime or three

March 2, 2011, 05:37 PM
If money was no object ..../ and if I was younger - and still looking to shoot serious competition ... for Skeet and Sporting Clays and some upland bird hunting.... I would invest in a Krieghoff -- with a Carrier barrel system ...


krieghoff K-80 ....30" 12ga barrel / and a stand alone Carrier Barrel - with a full set of Briley Tubes in 20ga, 28ga and .410 . It would have a parallel comb / and an adjustable comb insert ( style 6 Trap Stock ) ...but in a more versatile setup on the receiver like a Skeet gun in the 8 3/4 lb range.

I would want a full set of extended chokes for each of the tube sets ( 2 Skeet, 2 Imp Cycl, 2 Mod, 1 Improved Mod, 1 Full ) / and an Americase to lug it all around in .../ some mid level engraving on the receiver - nothing too exotic --- grade V / VI stock would be nice enough and an investment of about $ 30,000 - $ 40,000 would probably cover it.

Its a far superior system to what I've done with my Browning O/U's by having 4 different guns. It also eliminates the weight issues on tubing a standard 12ga barrel making it close to a full lb heavier ---- because the stand alone 12ga barrel would weigh the same as the Carrier Barrel and the tubes installed. Plus a gun / with a better trigger - than any Browning is really capable of ...

Since I'm no longer interested in serious competition / my Brownings are just fine ....but just saying, there is a better system out there ...and its a "carrier barrel".

Companies like Briley - can make a "Carrier Barrel" from a customer supplied barrel ...( so if you had a pair of 12ga Citori XS Skeet models ) / you could send them both to Briley / let them bore one out for tubes as the carrier barrel --- and then fit both barrels to one receiver. But by the time you're done - 2 guns, carrier barrel, tubes, chokes ,etc --- its still about $ 15,000/ and at some point, if I was really going to do that --- I'd rather have the K-80 --- and it would be a better long term investment.

March 2, 2011, 06:38 PM
i don't want to stereo type, but.... isn't it funny that the browning guys like the german guns and then there is the italians?, or is it just my observations.:D:D:D

to the O.P., if you think you'll continue to shoot in comp. you will definitely not be happy with the ruger level of gun. They are nice guns, but like many others are trying ( I think) to say is they aren't comp guns, more field guns than anything.

March 2, 2011, 09:45 PM
To the OP. Do yourself a favor and spend a bit more than you feel comfortable doing now. In the long run you'll save money! Trust me on this one. If you're going to start shooting clays the gun will be the least expensive part of your yearly budget after 1 year.

For example at my club $3 round plus figure $5.50 per average on shells. I usually shoot al least 8 rounds per weekend equals $68. Say you shoot most every weekend but take a few off for winter and vacations and wife obligations.... so say 46 weekends you're at $3,128.

So as stated before me by people with a lot more years in this than me, take your time and buy something that fits and feels/points good for you. Also for relatively cheap money that is the best money I ever spent. get the shotgun "fitted" to you by an experienced fitter. Makes the sport so much more fun and get's rid of most kick-back so you can shoot comfortably all weekend long. Oh and you can actually hit what you're aiming at.

So to boil it down, I would suggest starting with a "B" gun at least (Browning/Beretta), and used is fine. After you break it out of the package and pattern it once you own a used gun so might as well save some money up front.

Oh and do you prefer 7.5's or 8"s:D You'll get this joke after a bit the most asked question in the world I think

March 3, 2011, 12:33 AM
i don't want to stereo type, but.... isn't it funny that the browning guys like the german guns and then there is the italians?, or is it just my observations. :D:D:D
I think you've got it covered, mwar410. My 5-man Skeet squad shot with three Krieghoffs and two Perazzis. The K-guns are fine pieces, but I could never get past the butt-ugly aesthetics of their external locking device.

March 3, 2011, 12:18 PM
But when you're built like a Buffalo ( like me ) ....the K guns are a nimble , and slender, thing of beauty ...:cool:

" Butt Ugly" ....oh, come on man .... "little tears are welling up in my eyes" ...sniff, sniff... ( well maybe not ) ...big guys can be sensitive, we don't look like it, but we could be ....

...."Butt Ugly" would be some skinny Italian thing in my hands ..../ I just can't go down that path ... :o

March 3, 2011, 12:42 PM
I'm not that big of a guy, they feel like a 2x4 in my hands.

O.P. as said before, your gun is the cheapest part of the obsession. Mine as well get one that you'll be happy with for a long time, nothing is worst than losing targets for gun malfunctions, it could ruin your mind.

March 3, 2011, 12:42 PM
Different strokes for different folks…
Back in the day, some car buyers chose the Edsel because they found the toilet seat grill a thing of beauty. :barf:

Big Jim, my friend, you like the K-gun 'cause it's slender, but not the P-gun because it's skinny. Doesn't the K-gun have a lower and longer action than a P-gun? It seems the K-gun is the skinny one. ;)

March 3, 2011, 12:48 PM
isn't it funny that the browning guys like the german guns and then there is the italians?, or is it just my observations

AW, just because we can't afford one at the moment, doesn't mean we can't appreciate them for what they are......unlike many folks here who disparage anyone who spent more than $2-300 on some pump gun as a waste of money.....;)

Dave McC
March 3, 2011, 11:01 PM
In some old thread here, some one came up with the Dave McCracken Monetary Unit, or DMMU. It was around $250, the price of a decent used WM 870 then. That was because I was in the habit then of pricing some of the high end guns as costing so many used WM 870s.

These days, 870s still outnumber other shotguns here, but the O/Us are catching up. The Beretta 686 gets the most action now, but the little SKB 20 gauge is getting some exercise also.

Best advice I can offer is to get some pump guns, then whatever you like. For many folks, a decent O/U will fill some niches well, and last a lifetime.

And finally, the price of a decent O/U,factored out over the useful life, is much less than one would think.

Get what you want and use it. If it's a US made pump or a B gun, it will last longer than we will, no matter how healthily we live.

"Never saw a hearse with a luggage rack"- Don Henley....

Or a gun rack....

.300 Weatherby Mag
March 3, 2011, 11:28 PM
I sure can't fault one of these... For skeet and sporting clays, this thing is downright awesome... Can't find a pic of mine.. So this will have to be a stunt double... Beretta 682 E Sporting with 30" barrels... Completly rebuildable...