View Full Version : Which auto for clays?

August 3, 2001, 03:23 PM
I'm new to trap, just finishing up my first leauge this summer, and I've been shooting on the club's rentals: stock, open bore Rem 870 pumps while I was learning. Not the most suitable gun for trap, but a fair fraction of shooters in the leauge are using field guns and it hasn't left me at much of a disadvantage yet. Also, I figured changing guns mid-leauge might really scew up my scores.

I obviously want my own shotgun, and would like the option to try doubles and sporting clays etc., which would leave out pumps and single barrel break actions. My budget dosen't allow for even the reasonably priced over/under doubles like a Ruger or Browning, so I think that my best option right now is an auto. (which I think I'll be partial to anyway)

I was looking at the Remington 1100, and the Beretta Al 390's and was wondering which would be better in terms of accesory availibility such as adjustable comb stocks, drop spacers/(washers?) and replacment high-rib barrels so I could eventualy part together a fitted gun from a field gun as money allowed.

Any ideas welcome. Thanks

August 3, 2001, 04:48 PM

From the perspective of the accessories you mentioned I believe Beretta has more in the way of adjustable stocks, high-rib barrels and stock spacers.

I have owned both a Remington 11/87 Sporting Clays (same as the 1100) and a AL390. Both were quality guns that served well until I decided to buy over/unders. One of the best sporting shooters I know swears by his 390.

But you need to try both guns and pick the one that fits you best and feels right. Use a modified choke or tighter for trap and an improved cylinder for sporting and skeet. Get the gun set up to shoot were you want it and use it at all the games.

August 3, 2001, 06:14 PM
The Beretta 390 seems to be the gun of choice amongst clays shooters. The Beretta comes with shim kits that make fitting easier and there are a host of aftermarket parts to make it function more reliably.

Right now the 390 can be found at bargain prices because Beretta introduced the 391.

The 1100 is a great gun and Remington has brought back the Trap and Sporting Clays model. The Wall mart models are not as nicely finished as the clays models.

For Beretta parts try Cole Gunsmithing www.colegun.com they are the gurus when it comes to the Beretta. they have replacement parts that will extend the life of the gun and lots of other goodies for the 390.

Geoff Ross

Dave McC
August 3, 2001, 08:49 PM
Good advice so far, in your shoes I'd choose between the 1100 and the Berettas. The Berettas may last a little longer, but it's a moot point if they both will outlast you. Over on the Shotgun Report, the guys say that 1100s start to really eat parts around 35K rounds.

One small quibble, the 870 is quite suitable for trap. One shot at a time,so the pump action is at no disadvantage. The 870's a superb trap gun, and will outlast you, me, an 1100, and any Beretta you care to name.

FYI, I shot my very first rounds of trap doubles today with my 870 TB at the Geezer League.39/50. Might have done better if my front bead hadn't left at Post #4.

I hear people say that the 870 is a hard kicker for a trap gun.At least some of those folks need to work on their form,as a few minutes observation of them shooting will show.

But get what you want. Life's too short to go without a good trap gun(G)....

August 3, 2001, 08:53 PM
I followed some of the advice on this forum awhile back and bought a 390 Sporting model NIB for $525. Been shooting skeet with it this summer and I'm very happy with the hardware.

August 6, 2001, 08:38 AM

I have shoulderd both and was leaning a bit twoard the Beretta myself, and all the info seems to be giving it the slight nod (although both appear to be good) over the 1100 as well. I liked the Beretta a bit better for it's feel, but it was close, and who had the most/best accessories and mods would tip my hand.

Is the "sporting model" that some of you are referring to the ones already set up to some degree as a clays gun, or was that the black polymer furniture Wal*Mart model 390? (Since I'm seeing those for $569 there!)

And where did you get the ~$525 prices? Were these marked as close-outs for the new 391 Urikas, or thier normal price?

I think it is a Beretta, 390 now just a matter of which, where, and how much.

Thanks again,


August 6, 2001, 09:04 AM
My 390 is one of the Wal Mart guns. I have heard some gun shop commandos slam it saying that Beretta sends second rate guns to Wal Mart as do Remington and Ruger. Thats a bunch of um, rubbish. ;) My best research indicates that the Wal Mart model is the same as the Sporting Clays, having a synthetic stock, and lacking the stock shim kit and front swivel for a sling. Both those parts are available for less than $10 if you need them. It also lacks a magazine cut off which I discovered most people didn't use any way. One last remark, for some reason it lacks a recoil pad. I shot 2 rounds of trap without one and am a little sore today. Get one.

As far as price, the local Wal Marts here have them all for $525. Have a clerk double check the price ont he computer. When the Rem 1100 were closed out, not all stores had the $328 price tag but the scanned at $328. I got my Beretta from them for $450 because it was the last one and had two minor scratches which I rubbed out at home...

August 6, 2001, 11:40 AM
There's some truth to the fact that Wal*Mart gets different/custom models and variants from the various mfg's. But only because of thier VAST marketing clout.

But I've been over the issue as well in other forums and you are right, low-quality el-cheapo's they aren't.

It would probably be more expensive for an established firearms company to disrupt thier line to downgrade thier QC rather than just run off a normal "high quality" batch.

The one example I can actually think of is Mossberg, and they actually set up another name/company, Maverick, and a plant in Mexico (IIRC) to do it, so thier cut-corners basic value line wouldn't detract from the reputation of the main Mossberg line.

Now just let W's little tax-rebate come before they sell out!


August 6, 2001, 06:53 PM
Andy, I believe you are correct about the 390 "Sporting" model being a clays version. It has the wide rib and a magazine cut-off, matte black barrel and walnut stock.
I got it at a hardware store/sporting goods store (I avoid those wal-martians whenever possible) $525 cause it was the last one they had and the 391s were in, and because I've done business with the mom-and-pop outfit whenever I could.
Side note: at this store, I once walked in and bought hardware for my antique 1927 model T Ford touring car's top. I walked in and said "I know you don't have... but I'm looking for.... and they did. Made me a loyal customer and an anti-Wal-martian.

August 7, 2001, 02:03 AM
Go with the pizza shooter. I have been using my 390 for 5 years and have never had a failure. They are the best auto going for the money if want my opinion.

Concerning the Wal Mart AL390, it is different from other field grade 390's in the ways mentioned above plus the fact that it is not equiped with a magazine cut off. This point is moot on the clays range as I do not see where you would ever have to bypass what is loaded in the mag and put a different load into the ejection port. Personally I would miss it at all.

Hope this helps.

August 8, 2001, 10:42 AM
Thanks for the further info.

I will try to buy a 390 from a local shop first. I live about 4 blocks away from my fav. gunshop and they told me to try a mass retailer for more "common shotguns" as they're moving twoards black-rifles, handguns, and "exotics" (managers words, not mine):D which in all other things is good, as it mirrrors my other interests perfectly except this particular instance.:rolleyes:

I'll even try the big sporting chains like sportmart and Dunham's And our local Gander Moutain/Cabela's first, and use Wally as a last resort. (Although, I feel that Wally deserves some support, as they do thier part by at least keeping firearms as a "normal" and "American" thing by being the last major chain to keep firearms visible to the public.)

BTW. to Dave McC, I didn't mean to malign the 870, just open-bore beat-to-s**t rusty rentals with 10 different feeling triggers, and 10 different stocks! As I'm used to messing with my cut-down sporterized .308 Ishapore, and my .44mag Winchester Trapper, and slugs in my Mossberg 590, trap loads in pumps don't bother me in the least.

So far I'm happy, repeatedly nailing 22/25 each time with the rentals, since the last half of this summer's leauge. Although 23/25 and more, has eluded me, even so much as a one-time fluke, and I want to do better with something that's "mine".