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Old May 16, 2017, 01:18 PM   #1
engel556
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Buying first O/U

Fairly experienced handgun shooter here. Recently got hooked on sporting clays, but have no former long gun experience. Tried several different shotguns on the course, found that I really, really like 20g over/unders. Of the few times I've gone to the course, I've consistently hit about 20/50 clays -- granted, I've had no formal instruction (I'm going to get at least one lesson in the near future).

The pro shop at my local course offers free gun fitting if you buy through them, and they can order pretty much anything for you. The fitting will probably help my score, but not as much as proper instruction.

Anyways, to the topic of this post: is there anything I should look for or avoid when buying a O/U shotgun? I'm thinking features, materials, etc. I really like the ones that auto eject spent shells when you open them, but that may be a standard feature. Also, I'm not sure what barrel length I should be looking at. My research so far is telling me a 28" is a good all-around choice. I don't have the money to buy a bunch of different interchangeable parts, and I'm not looking to compete professionally or anything. Mostly just for fun and, in the future, NSCA shoots. All of the shotguns I fired at my local course came with modified chokes, and they all worked well with the exception of hitting two REALLY far away clays (which I think was due to me using #8, not the chokes).

Any advice is appreciated! I know better than to ask "what's the best gun blah blah blah" so, please, keep any advice to what to look for or avoid so this doesn't turn into a cluster Thanks!
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Old May 16, 2017, 01:55 PM   #2
FITASC
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What's your budget? Buy the gun that fits or can easily be fitted to you. I would suggest you also try/rent a 12 ga. A lot more ammo versatility, especially for sporting clays. I also wouldn't rule out a semi - for the same price range as an O/U, you can step up in quality.

A lot will also depend on how much you plan to shoot and whether you will be wanting to get into competition down the road. Inexpensive O/U's are, IMO, a waste of money as they are not built for the sustained volume use that target shooters shoot. You will want the target vesion of whatever brand you decide on, NOT the field version. Different stock dimensions and typically less weight make a field gun great for all day carry with a little shooting, but not the other way around.

Good quality guns, like the Beretta Silver Pigeon I can be had for less than $2k, It may sound like a lot, but buy once, cry once. The cost of ammo and targets will easily exceed the cost of the gun in a short time if you really like to shoot sporting clays; and if you decide it isn't for you, you will get most of your money back compared to the cheap Turkish/Russian/Brazilian stuff.

Enjoy the ride! Sporting clays is very addictive.
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Old May 16, 2017, 02:06 PM   #3
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FITASC gave you good advice. Get a 12ga. You can shoot 1oz loads out of a 12 and the recoil will be the same or less as it would be in the lighter 20ga gun. If you decide to go to shoots, even smaller ones, you'll be handicapped in the main events with the 20ga. Auto ejectors aren't all that great if you have to pick up empties for any reason and offer no advantage unless you're shooting driven birds or some such thing. I started shooting shotgun after a lifetime of handgun shooting as a means to enter three gun shoots and soon found that shooting shotgun far exceeded all my other shooting interests. Clays are a great sport. Get a good gun to start and as stated, "cry once". Nothing wrong with a good semi for clays either. Fact of the matter is, I shoot my gas guns as well or better than my O/U fitted guns. Good luck which ever way you go. You're getting into a fantastic shooting game.
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Old May 16, 2017, 02:06 PM   #4
engel556
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Thanks for the advice FITASC. My budget is $2000 maximum for the gun. I didn't know there were field/target versions of guns, makes sense to go for the target (I don't hunt).

Also, I've tried several 12ga shotguns in different variations. I can shoot them just fine, but after about 50 shots, my shoulder is really sore and I start flinching (and sometimes closing my eyes) as I pull the trigger. I can shoot 50 times with a 20ga and my shoulder never gets sore, which is why I'm looking at the 20s instead of the 12s. I should note that I have a very slight build, and a very boney shoulder. Hardly any meat there to soak up the recoil.
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Old May 16, 2017, 02:19 PM   #5
NoSecondBest
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Quote:
Also, I've tried several 12ga shotguns in different variations. I can shoot them just fine, but after about 50 shots, my shoulder is really sore and I start flinching (and sometimes closing my eyes) as I pull the trigger. I can shoot 50 times with a 20ga and my shoulder never gets sore, which is why I'm looking at the 20s instead of the 12s. I should note that I have a very slight build, and a very boney shoulder. Hardly any meat there to soak up the recoil.
Simple law of physics: an ounce of shot at 1150fps will recoil the same whether it's shot out of a 12ga or a 20ga. If the 20ga is lighter than the 12ga (and they almost always are lighter) the recoil effect on the shooter will be greater with the 20ga. IE, you'll get less recoil with the 12ga. A gas semi-auto will reduce felt recoil even more than an O/U due to the action of the gun bleeding off gas/recoil in order to cycle the next round. Rule of thumb here: 20ga does not recoil less than a 12ga. Get the 12ga and shoot one ounce loads.
I went to a Sportsman's Team Challenge Super Regional shoot about ten years ago and shot three shotgun events that weekend. I used all 1oz loads (Federal Target) and missed only three birds all weekend! You are not at any type of handicap using 1oz loads 99% of the time. Get back out and shoot some more and try a couple more guns and LOADS before making a decision. I know many women who shoot 12ga guns and some of them are pretty petite. They shoot them very well (one is a Master Class shooter).
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Old May 16, 2017, 02:20 PM   #6
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Well Let me just start with the auto eject, I thought the same thing its cool but then when someone next to me was using one and had to bend over to pick each and every shell up as to where I had a empty box by my feet and just dropped the shells in the box I looked like the smart one LOL. But they are cool.

Now on the rifle's I dont plan on shooting in comp. so for me to justify 2000 on a rifle doesnt work for me. I shoot clays for fun and fund raisers so I may go out 10 to 12 times a year and each time I may shoot 100 shells. Some years less times then others but that number is fair to say. I went to the big box store and got on sale a Savage Stevens 555 with some nice engraving on it and nice wood too. It is made out of Turkey but for the sale price plus you get there credit card they give you another 20% off and 6 to 12 months interest free to pay it off in. I love the gun. Points great, no problems what so ever. So for $500 or $550 I can get 3 to 4 of them in different gauges and colors compared to the 1 $2000 to start OU. But thats just me. I liked the OU so much I went and got the Savage Stevens 1200 semi auto just to add to my collection. Another on made in Turkey but the wood is very nice and it shoot well. Havent had her out all that much this year yet but I do plan too.

I figure I give you the other side of it since Im sure most here will give you the $2000 and up side. Good luck and happy shooting.
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Old May 16, 2017, 02:34 PM   #7
engel556
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Thanks again everyone for the advice. Yes, physics doesn't lie. It very well could be that I'm not mounting properly due to a lack of formal instruction. I also didn't pay a lot of attention to the differences in weight or what loads I was shooting.

I'll check out some more 12ga and see if it was just me. I will say that I'm not a fan of anything semi-automatic (all of my handguns are revolvers). Too many working parts, too many things that could go wrong, too much to clean, etc. That's just my personal preference -- not saying there's anything wrong with semi-automatic guns, they just aren't my cup of tea.

As far as my $2000 budget goes, I know that I could spend a lot less or a lot more than that. I go to the handgun range 4-5 times per month, and the majority of those visits will now be to the sporting clays course instead. I figure I can get a decent shotgun with that budget that will last me for a long time. I'm not looking for the best of the best, $12000 custom gun, but I'm also not looking for a $300 that will give me a bunch of trouble and wind up being replaced in a couple years.

edit: as far as auto-ejectors go, I'm now leaning against them per your examples. If I was to buy one with an auto-ejector, is it possible to disable it? I imagine it's just a spring somewhere, but I'm not sure.
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Old May 16, 2017, 03:27 PM   #8
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A competent gunsmith can disengage the auto ejectors on most O/U shotguns. Don't rusn into buying until you talk to more shooters and get some more "hands on" with different guns. I've been clays shooting for years and I can tell you for a fact that 99% of all shooters will be more than happy to let you try their gun if you just ask. Tell them you're trying to decide what to get and they'll all want you to try their gun. Most everyone you meet on the clays course are pretty nice people. Good luck on what ever you decide on. If you're like most people, you'll probably want something different later on anyway. I lost count of how many shotguns and handguns I've owned in my life. Handguns has to be close to a hundred and shotguns are easily several dozen.
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Old May 16, 2017, 03:46 PM   #9
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Quote:
Good quality guns, like the Beretta Silver Pigeon I can be had for less than $2k,
But not much less. As FITASC opined, inexpensive O/Us are a big waste of money. You might want to consider getting a used shotgun. The cheapest I would go is a used Ruger Red Label in good condition. You should be able to locate a nice, used Browning Citori or an SKB for a couple of grand or less. I'd much rather have a good used O/U than a brand new but cheap one.
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Old May 16, 2017, 06:29 PM   #10
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Quote:
Also, I've tried several 12ga shotguns in different variations. I can shoot them just fine, but after about 50 shots, my shoulder is really sore and I start flinching (and sometimes closing my eyes) as I pull the trigger. I can shoot 50 times with a 20ga and my shoulder never gets sore, which is why I'm looking at the 20s instead of the 12s. I should note that I have a very slight build, and a very boney shoulder. Hardly any meat there to soak up the recoil.
Gun FIT has a lot to do with sore shoulders and cheeks. You want to shoot the heaviest gun you can handle while shooting the lightest loads. I now use a Beretta gas gun that works perfectly with my 3/4 oz reloads. It weighs 8#. Recoil is something like shooting a heavy AR.
As regards slight build, one of the ladies I shoot with is all of 5'4" and she shoots a Kreighoff K-80 fitted to her and she regularly shoots 100 round tournaments. Also, she is in her 70s.

Remember, a 20 gauge gun typically weighs about 1# less than a 12. If you do not reload, you can buy 7/8oz 12 gauge loads (same payload as a 20) and in the heavier gun will have lower actual recoil. Perceived recoil, aka "kick" comes from gun fit.

As to auto eject, just put your hand over the barrels as you open the gun - you can then toss in the trash or in your back pouch for reloading.
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Old May 16, 2017, 07:48 PM   #11
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Cutting slots the end of the barrel will do nothing to reduce recoil with target loads . Anyone who tells you differently never took physics courses !!
20 GA guns are made with either 12 GA or 20 GA frames.
I am one who really needs a fitted stock. Back then Orvis had a nice deal with a Beretta and fitted stock. Worth every penny ! So was the shooting lessons I got from an old British instructor. It cost money but it greatly shortened the learning curve ! It was then fun. Sporting Clays is a great game , developed for training for hunting . Hunting then was great for hunting and introduced me to a nice competition game !
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Old May 16, 2017, 08:22 PM   #12
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Thoughts on citori

I've been trying to wear out my citori for twenty years and it's still feels like new I have replaced firing pins and springs twice
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Old May 16, 2017, 08:45 PM   #13
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The Browning Citori can have the ejectors disabled into extractors by simply changing the springs to those costing about $10 for a 1911.

Here's a link showing how it works.
http://www.retrievertraining.net/for...ractor-mod-GDG
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Old May 17, 2017, 09:34 AM   #14
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Non issue

As FITASC stated and I concur. Ejectors are not an issue on a break open gun.

Actually they are handy, the empty just jumps out in to your waiting hand. Don't restrict the ejector with your paw and you are golden. I prefer the ejector over the extractor but would be way down on my list when considering a gun.

Don't buy a cheap O/U. Among other things barrel regulation is an issue. Think about it, it takes work by the manufacturer to get both barrels to shoot to the same place, that costs money. Barrel regulation can be an issue on higher end guns, but it's far less likely.

Like all things, you get what you pay for.
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Old May 17, 2017, 11:14 AM   #15
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Browning makes a lot of different Citori models..( at least 25 last time I counted )...and some of the Citori models ( maybe only the target grade guns, not sure )...allow you to move the cam in the forend, to change the gun from an Ejector to an Extractor...( no springs or anything to change ).

But this extractor vs ejector is no big deal .../ I leave most of my guns set as ejectors...and as I open the gun, its easy to stop the spent cases from hitting the ground with a little practice.

I have a lot of Citori's ...in all 4 gagues...and more than one over 500,000 shells -- and I have never had to change any springs or firing pins...

There is a reason the entry level, field guns, for Browning and Beretta still command a premium price on the used market, if they are in decent condition ...even after many thousands of shells have gone thru them. I think Browning and Beretta both give you the most gun for your money...but fit is critical issue here. You have to have a gun that "fits" so it hits where you look.

A 12ga is a better all around choice for a versatile clays gun...and if you shoot 1 oz ..or even 7/8 oz loads in it / it will give you less recoil than most 20ga guns. ( weight of the gun, fit and amount of payload in the shell in terms of ounces and velocity of the shot ...are the key factors in determining recoil ...and how it affects you).

If a gun is beating you up ....its probably poor fundamentals..( you are probably pushing the gun away from your shoulder ) and its smacking you /...or its the angle of the comb - comb does not fit you properly )...so its smacking your cheek bone -- its a common problem on guns with too much drop at comb or on angled comb guns.

Soft shooting shells...for all the clay target games...I primarily shoot a 12ga, in an 8 1/2 lb gun, with 30" barrels and a 1 oz shell of 8's at about 1225 fps...you don't need 1 1/8 oz shells of 7.5's and 1300 fps.../ and I shoot that load for Trap singles, Handicap Trap, Trap Doubles, Trap Continental - Skeet - 5 Stand - and sporting clays.

Last edited by BigJimP; May 17, 2017 at 11:20 AM.
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Old June 15, 2017, 07:56 PM   #16
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I think a beretta o/u is a good option I got one in 12 ga and very few people can't shoot that very well the first time they pick it up and it is pretty light and they are overall good guns
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Old June 15, 2017, 09:38 PM   #17
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12ga. Beretta Silver Pigeon Sporting model.
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Old June 15, 2017, 10:04 PM   #18
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engel556,
Do take advantage of the free fitting when you buy your gun. It will make you a better, more instinctive, shot and having it properly fit will reduce the recoil you feel.
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Old June 16, 2017, 06:29 AM   #19
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The cheapest I would go is a used Ruger Red Label in good condition.
If you want a "knock around" o/u that is still well made, a better choice is the old Marlin 90 (made from the 1930s through probably early 60's). You can buy one in very good condition for about $400 in 12ga; slightly more in 20ga (and a whole lot more in .410). I would say that those were the best over under shotguns ever made in America.
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Old June 16, 2017, 07:33 AM   #20
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I would not go the Ruger route. They are discontinued, no longer supported by Ruger and have a reputation for having issues (Mine did). There are much better choices for a used gun in that price range.
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Old June 16, 2017, 09:05 AM   #21
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I have a rather new 12 ga Browning 725 Sporting gun. It's easy on the shoulder compared to most of the O/U guns I've shot. A lot of the 20 ga O/U guns are very light and kick as much as the 12 ga. The 725 Sporting is heavier than a field gun, this helps manage recoil. If you can try various guns it'll help you decide. Also, there are lite target loads available, My favorite is the AA 1145 fps, 1-1/8 oz. Also available in 1 oz if you can find them. Having the gun fitted is also a big plus.
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Old June 16, 2017, 09:22 AM   #22
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Red Label

There is a reason you don't see Ruger's in the hands of clay shooters.

They simply don't hold up to the volume. Nice hunting gun.

A dedicated clays shooter will put more rounds through a gun in a season or two then a hunter will in a lifetime.
Much the same can be said of the Turkish O/U guns.

Shooting high volume clays will tell you what your gun is made of.
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Old June 16, 2017, 11:29 AM   #23
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My recommendation for an over under is either the Remington 1100 or a Beretta 3XX series. Soft recoil, moderate, price, they have it all. Oh, wait, they don't have that extra barrel. Still worth looking at.

I don't understand the worry over ejectors. I soon developed a reflex to cover the breech when opening an ejector gun. And had a shell catcher on my auto.
These days, a lot of shooters don't consider reloading worth the trouble, shot is so expensive and bulk shells relatively cheap. Let em' fly. Or catch them, bag them, and trash them later.
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Old June 16, 2017, 05:37 PM   #24
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A Remington Model 1100 o/u? I assume a typo? The Remington Model 3200 was a decent o/u that you can still pick up for a decent price.
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Old June 16, 2017, 06:38 PM   #25
FITASC
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A Remington Model 1100 o/u? I assume a typo?
Read the rest of his sentence..........
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