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Old May 31, 2021, 03:39 PM   #1
Kalamity Kate
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A semi auto for trap and one more sport?

I have posted for shotgun choice help before and the advice was sound and helpful. I now have two- a Mossberg 500 hybrid pump with a pistol grip and a fully adjustable stock (for short lop) for hiking safety and home defense and my Benelli 20 ga youth model that I am currently using for trap shooting.

Trap is something my women's shooting group is starting up at my range. It is a lot of fun, but my range also has sporting clay and skeet, so I may want to get into sporting clays when I get much more proficient.

My 20 gauge Benelli Montefeltro is nice- love the semi-auto reduced recoil (I am a really short senior). The 20 ga is not the best choice for trap and I would like to get a reasonably priced 12 gauge semi-auto. Problem is I have not found much information on-line about the differences between guns for trap vs sporting clays vs skeet. Is it possible to use a gun that will suffice for trap and for one of the other sports? I am not interested in anything more than local competition and have no interest in championship shooting. This is strictly for fun and becoming a better marksman.

My budget is to stick to under 2K. I have been nudged towards the Beretta A300 Outlander Sporting and the Beretta A400 Xcel (30" barrel). I thought the CZ 712 Target G2 at under 1K might be a contender. No telling when that would be available with Turkey on the outs with us at the moment. The reason I thought CZ is that I have 2 of their pistols that I love for accuracy, durability and reliability.

Is it possible to get a shotgun that can span trap and sporting clays?
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Last edited by Kalamity Kate; May 31, 2021 at 03:40 PM. Reason: spelling error
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Old May 31, 2021, 04:22 PM   #2
NoSecondBest
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It would be hard to not recommend a Beretta. I’ve owned many of them, and any of the 390, 391, or the A300 would be good at all three disciplines. I’ve shot some competitions where I had to shoot all three in one day and my 390 Sporting and 391 Sporting did well in each event. A big plus is the very soft recoil. I’ve owned numerous Benelli shotguns also, and although I really like Benelli’s, they aren’t as soft shooting as the Beretta’s. Any of those guns are inside your budget.
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Old May 31, 2021, 04:57 PM   #3
Kalamity Kate
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So, are you saying that the same Beretta, in the models you mentioned, would be fine for trap and sporting clays and skeet?
Then why am I told and read that the gun has to be a dedicated one for each sport? I'm told the shotguns are different but no one says what attributes are needed between each sport. All I have been able to find is that for trap the stock should be parallel, the barrel 30" and the rib wide. Nothing on what I am supposed to look for in a gun for skeet or sporting clays. Seems sporting clays are more like hunting and therefore might use a field gun best. Maybe my Benelli Montefeltro 20 ga. is sufficient for that.
I would like to do sporting clays as well as trap. Failing that, at least skeet.
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Old May 31, 2021, 05:04 PM   #4
Jim Watson
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The dedicated Trap gun is stocked and choked for an away target, best hit while rising.
So a high stock comb and a close choke*.

The dedicated Skeet gun is stocked and choked for a variety of targets but all at rather close range.
So a lower stock and an open choke*. Your 20 should be fine for Skeet, 7/8 oz of shot is plenty for targets no farther than say 22 yards.

Sporting Clays guns are meant for a wide variety of target presentations. An SC model would probably be the best all purpose shotgun. Especially if it had an adjustable stock comb you could set to suit the game.

*Don't worry about choke, everybody uses screw-ins these days; pick your tube.

I suggest a 28" barrel if available, and try to get to a stock fitter who will cut your stock to fit your stature. But not too light. My friend the pheasant hunter loves her Benelli Ultra Light but it is kind of wearing on the Trap field.
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Old May 31, 2021, 06:15 PM   #5
Kalamity Kate
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Thanks, Jim. That is the clearest explanation I have found so far. I will try to translate that into a gun choice. Why the suggested 28" barrel? I was told to get a 30" for trap.

NoSecondBest, thank you. I am on a search for the Beretta models right now. I found an A300 Outlander Sporting online, but it has a 30 inch barrel. It doesn't have the cheek adjustments or the shims to adjust the stock either. That would be in the more expensive models.

I will post the outcome.

We have a lot of gunsmiths in my area who can cut the stock down. I live next to Yellowstone NP with a lot of hunters and gun enthusiasts to keep them in business.

Thanks
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Old May 31, 2021, 08:47 PM   #6
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When you’re shooting a gun like the Beretta it has a long receiver. An O/U trap gun has a very short receiver since you load the shells right into the barrels. Jim was pointing out that the overall length of an O/U with 30” barrels is about the same as a Beretta with 28” barrel. My point about getting a Beretta for all three games wasn’t meant to imply it was the ideal choice for all three, it’s a great compromise if you’re going to shoot one gun in three different games. Unless you’re a serious competitor, that one gun will suite you pretty well at all three games. If you become a dedicated trap shooter you’ll probably want to get a dedicated trap gun.
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Old May 31, 2021, 08:50 PM   #7
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I said 28" because of your short stature but a deal on 30" is fine.
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Old June 1, 2021, 12:22 PM   #8
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I have several Beretta gas guns - mine is the blue "Smurf" A400 Xcel while my wife has the green Xplor Unico. I added some weight to mine and it comes in a 8.25#. Hers is a 3.5" chambered hunting gun that - with the Kick Off recoil system - comes in at exactly 7#. Both guns shoot my 3/4 oz 28 gauge level reloads with no malfunctions. Both come with shims to adjust for drop and cast. Any of the other semis from the Beretta parent group will also have those shim features.
If you want to step up to a 12 gauge those and Fabarm would be my two to look at in gas guns. In an O/U, a used Syren from Cesar Guerini might be found, but it would be close, if not exceed, your budget.

A 28" semi will be close in OAL to a 30" O/U while a 30" will be closer to a 32" O/U. The clay games prefer longer barrels so if you decide to stop, you'll have an easier time selling a semi with a 30" barrel. All that said, if the swing dynamics with a 30" do not work for you and the 28 does, get the 28 and don't look back.

Good luck, the search is half the fun.

BTW, I had my smurf gun out today. Shooting by myself, I went through 6 boxes of Winchester Universal 1-1/8 shells in a short period of time with no discomfort except the heat from the barrel on my offhand; soft shooting even with those heavy loads is my message there.
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Old June 1, 2021, 01:30 PM   #9
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Berretta 300 and 400 series will garner a lot of votes for this kind of question because they are good, solid reliable shotguns with decent value. Can't fault that at all, and it is a good suggestion.

If you are talking 16 yard trap, there is no reason at all you can't get to breaking 25s just as easily with a 20g as with a 12g. At 27 yards, I'd change my tune a little. But Trap is prescriptive, it is about consistency, repetition and fundamentals on a rising clay, so somewhat "easier" while at the same time harder to be perfect, which is the goal. High ribs, longer barrels are common as they help the shooter be more consistent...to some degree.

Skeet is a shorter barrel, faster game than trap that, while there are more presentations, they are the same over and over, so still generally prescriptive.

Sporting Clays (and 5 Stand, etc.) are a bit wider in the window and will want a more neutral gun. You will see some presentations like Trap and some like Skeet, but the "prescriptive" aspect is gone. You have to see the bird, bank on your knowledge, skill and experience and pick the right hold point, swing correctly and break the bird at the best break point. Just when (as a novice) you have a station figured out, go to something new.

CZ O/Us are good, their semi-autos are not something I would recommend for the Clay Sports. I have several shotguns that I shoot Trap, Skeet and Sporting Clays with and I hunt with them as well. My Boys shoot Stoeger M3000 series in 3Gun, Sporting, Trap, Skeet and Hunting. Some All-State titles to boot. 24" barrels and set up for them as far as fit. I'd not recommend that for an all-around Clay shotgun, but we (as shooters in general) too often tend to look for hardware solutions when the solution is a case of shells and a good instructor/class. If you can shoot, you can shoot. The goal is to find a shotgun that fits you well, that you like, that it no holding you back. Fit, recoil and "too much" sighting system are the big three that hold shooters back on the hardware side. Using the sights, lifting the head, flinch and footwork are the shooter issues that hold one back. Barrel length is about swing speed and balance of the gun more than anything else, so don't let anyone talk you into barrels that are too long for your stature and strength. 6 foot 200 pound men typically have one data point and a hard time with the perspective that other statures are better off with a different piece of hardware.
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Old June 1, 2021, 06:19 PM   #10
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A few years ago I bought a Sporting gun and I've shot a little trap with it and it may replace my 2 trap gun, it's already replaced my skeet gun.. I did very well at trap with it, maybe better than my trap guns. it is a browning 725 Sporting but the same may be true for an auto sporting gun. I think mainly it's how the gun fits, it should shoot here you look.
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Old June 1, 2021, 07:31 PM   #11
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Love my Fabarm L4S Sporting with the 30" barrel. It is such a soft shooter its ridiculous, you could play all day.

I primarily shoot sporting clays but have used it for trap. I used to shoot an O/U with a 26" barrel and didnt do so hot, as soon as I went to the longer barrel I started shooting more consistently and added 10+ clays to my game. I think the Fabarm is magic

A friend of mine kills the hell out of clays with his Benelli Montefeltro, but his is a 12 gauge.
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Old June 2, 2021, 04:38 PM   #12
Kalamity Kate
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Again. The advice has been very helpful and a learning experience. Midway had a Beretta A300 Outlander Sporting with a 28 inch barrel and so it is on its way to my local FFL.

After reading your advice and spending hours on the internet reviews and talking to the people at a local gunshop, including a woman about my size who shoots trap with her sister and other women, I went with the shorter barrel. The shop has an experienced gunsmith I trust who can cut the stock down and help with the fit if I need it. Also the instructor and the range officer are teaching our group to get us going right. I can get help with correct fit from them.

Although the reviews online were, as expected, wonderful and full of raves, I ran across old articles from various gun forums talking about some feed and extracting issues. Many said it was just the break in period that required a heavier load and that after 1000 rounds, the gun worked perfectly. One man had to take his home and disassemble it to pull out a stuck round, Others said theirs was great right out of the box. Have you had any experience like this with your guns? What loads did you use to start?

Kate
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Old June 2, 2021, 05:27 PM   #13
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Kate, I think you made a great choice. Enjoy!

Remember that some of the reviews from the populace on Jesus were not favorable. I think the gun community might be worse. Have I run across a lemon here and there? Sure, but I have also seen the vast majority of folks in the industry take care of those REALLY quick. There are enough bad reviews that are bogus that they can't afford a real one. Also realize that there will always be folks on the forums that either work for, or have a direct connection to folks at the manufacturers if, by chance someone catches a customer service person on a bad day. I've been exchanging emails on an event with 2 shotgun companies today, as well as half a dozen other gun companies. Whether I have a direct connection or not, if I really see an issue, I'll send thread links to folks that need to know. I am only one of about 20,000 competitive shooters that would do the same thing. All that said, I tell my wife "don't live in the rear view mirror." Or, don't worry about it and have fun knowing that if there is an issue, a fix will happen in like 99.9% of the cases.
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Old June 4, 2021, 04:25 PM   #14
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Quote:
I ran across old articles from various gun forums talking about some feed and extracting issues.
You can go a long time shooting 16 yard and handicap trap and never know if your repeater will feed. They are all singles.
I don't know if my elderly 1100 will operate as a repeater, I always shot an O/U for doubles.

Now, for Skeet and SC, there are doubles in every round, so the auto must work.
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Old June 5, 2021, 01:27 PM   #15
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I am another Fabarms fan.
The women’s fit is marketed under Syren. Look up the L4s. They seem to take women clay shooters seriously.
Although only listing 12 ga, I would call them. A 1 oz target load with gas recoil is very soft on the shoulder.
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Old June 5, 2021, 05:19 PM   #16
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many shun semi autos on a trap range due to flying hulls bouncing off their expensive guns next to you. ask about a shell catcher for your gun. and too, itll save you from the 25 rep workout of bend and reach that follows every game!
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Old June 10, 2021, 10:07 AM   #17
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A big rubber band will do in a pinch.
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Old June 10, 2021, 10:35 AM   #18
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Kate,
My advice, now you have a new shotgun,
is to pattern all your shotguns with all combination of the screw-in chokes..
this should give you continence on where they all shoot
Which should, hopefully, be all same POA and POI.
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Old June 10, 2021, 02:33 PM   #19
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As to breaking it in - once you get it home, read the manual so you know how to disassemble for basic cleaning - and then do that - give it good basic cleaning to get any sticky rust preventatives and possibly some metal shavings from the manufacturing process out of it. Lube it the way the manual says and then go enjoy that new gun!
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Old June 10, 2021, 05:33 PM   #20
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It may not need a "break in". There are some shells out there with steel bases that can be a problem in some guns. The base expands but doesn't contract as brass does. Seems more of a problem in pump guns than in autos. Have fun, enjoy that new gun.
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Old July 7, 2021, 09:15 AM   #21
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Good choice. Have fun.

I am arriving late to the party, nut have shot skeet, trap, and clays, extensively.
Not competitive, but for fun and practice for hunting season. Gauge is not as important as most make it out to be. Common perception is 12ga is required/needed/preferred for trap and clays. Not true, 20ga works very well. Choke is what makes a difference.
Knowing your equipment and practice will have more impact on scores than gauge, choke or action type.

My hunting buddy owned 1 shotgun. 870 12ga Mod choke. Arguably the epitome of compromise. Yet, on skeet, trap or clays; he shot comparable scores to the rest of us.
Be wary of the person that only has 1 gun.
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Old July 7, 2021, 09:38 AM   #22
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If you are still reading this thread Kate, avoid the cheap promo loads from Fed and Win. Those are the typical ones that have the "stuck" shells. Even the Rem Gun Clubs, which are better can pull a case head off of a hull. On of the guys on my Trap team had that happen last night.

Waiting for an update on getting it fit and your first Clays busted with the A300.
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