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View Poll Results: Gentleman's Shotgun for Upland and Clays Platform choice
Semi-Auto 26" barrel 3 15.00%
O/U 26" barrels 4 20.00%
Semi-Auto 28" or longer barrel 4 20.00%
O/U 28" or longer barrels 9 45.00%
Voters: 20. You may not vote on this poll

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Old March 30, 2018, 08:36 AM   #1
MarkCO
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Semi-Auto or O/U in the $1k to $1.5K Range

Just curious what those of you with 50K+ rounds of shotgun under your belt would choose, and why. General Purpose shotgun for the Clay target games and upland bird hunting on generally nice days. Call it a Gentleman's shotgun. No waterfowl or defense considerations at all.

I'd like to know why you prefer the SA or O/U and why you choose the specific model you did. Things like fit, budget, barrel length, etc.
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Old March 30, 2018, 09:45 AM   #2
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A shotgun was my first gun, a Mossberg 500. Since the age of 21 a shotgun has always resided in my safe. I don't prefer them but shoot one from time to time.

I've owned pumps and O/U over the 48 years, but never an auto. I have nothing against autos, just never owned one.

My favorite for what you described is an O/U. Why? Because the O/U offers 2 quick shots and I don't have to worry about having a plug to limit the loading. An O/U is also shorter then a pump or auto because the shells go right in the chamber making the gun about 2" shorter.

My first O/U was a Ruger Red Label. It did not feel well balanced and was heavy. I've since gotten rid of it and replaced it with a Browning Superposed. The Browning is awesome in my opinion. If I didn't have a Browning I'd probably own a Beretta. The Red Label after 2 years started having mechanical problems which I felt shouldn't have happened. After the second trip to a gunsmith it got old.

If you go for the O/U follow the advice of those that tell you to go with Browning or Beretta, they just work and are trouble free.

Would I get an auto? Yes, but my preference is an O/U.
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Old March 30, 2018, 11:18 AM   #3
ocharry
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i have a couple 26" o/u brownings,,one is a field grade i have owned since new in 75,,,it has been around the pike a few times,,i have shot everything with it,,sporting birds(clays) skeet rabbits quail grouse fox,,,some say the 26" barrels are to whippy,,,i think you learn to control it,,,i never had a problem

i just like a shorter gun

i also have a grade 6 browning skeet gun,,,26" with tubes,,,i like it a lot but it doesnt see the field much,,,sporting birds is about the extent,,,it is just to purdy

my older browning is choked imp-mod,,,3"chambers,,,,it still after all these years,,,if you tuck the stock under you arm and unlatch the barrels,,,they will not fall to the stop,,,been well taken care of,, not abused,,,but it has been used

good quality,,,pay once cry once and something to pass on to my grand sons

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Old March 30, 2018, 11:50 AM   #4
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My favorite upland gun is an old Winchester model 59, a semi auto. It has been reliable and has let me shoot straights in ATA trap.
Second to that is a Parker SXS....substantially heavier than the 59 but points like a wand.
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Old March 30, 2018, 11:58 AM   #5
T. O'Heir
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The Clay target games were originally intended to be more realistic practice for hunting with a shotgun. So any shotgun will do nicely.
Upland birds are best hunted with a shorter barrel than 26" though. Even a 20" with a cylinder or IC choke is better for most birds hunted in bush.
$1k to $1.5K is a really serious budget. Question is which type of shooting will you be doing more? Hunting or Clays? Same shotgun anyway, but no 26" barrel for upland birds. A 26" barrel with changeable chokes for Clays. And it'd be a semi-auto(that might be a Berretta on your budget) to ease the recoil on your shoulder.
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Old March 30, 2018, 12:28 PM   #6
Don Fischer
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So difference between an upland game gun and clay gun. A skeet gun is fine for upland game, well what I'd call a skeet gun. Open choke and 26" maybe less barrel. Oh, I also prefer SxS's. A trap gun I suspect needs to follow the target better. Longer barrel and tighter choke. As for auto loaders, the only one I ever shot much was a Browning Double Auto, it's also the only one I would ever own again. Mine had a 26" skeet barrel on it and it was the the most most deadly gun's I even used on game birds.

Guns for upland game over pointing dog's need to handle fast and point well, same as the skeet gun. For water fowl and trap a longer barrel and tighter choke is an advantage. Longer barrel help's you track better and fighter choke giv's you a bit more usable range with a tighter pattern.

Actually on action type, that really is a personnel thing. I strongly Prefer SxS's as I noted. Only auto loader I'd own is the Browning double auto, just handles great! My second choice in gun's is pump's. I actually learned on them and get along alright with them. For someone else auto loader may be the only way to go or O/U's. That's just a preference. Might mention that with SxS's and O/U's the shorter action will give another couple inch's of barrel without changing handling. You won't see many people shooting over pointing dog's with long tight choked barrels and you won't find many people shooting over flushing dog's with open choke's and shorter barrels.
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Old March 30, 2018, 01:02 PM   #7
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O/U, but you might need to stretch the budget to get the quality of the $1500 semi.
Major pros - no feed jams, ability to utilize two different chokes for hunting/clays as the presentations warrant. Less moving parts as far as wear and replacement.

I shoot and use both. That said FIT is the crucial element and one where the typical semi has a slight edge as most of today's decent guns like Berettas come with shims so you can adjust cast on or off and drop to get as close to a great fit as possible.

IF you happen to be one of those "average" sized guys that the off-the-shelf O/U stock fits perfectly, then that advantage of the semi disappears.

If I was to start all over again with my guns, I would have one O/U in 12 specifically for serious clay games and one O/U or SxS in 28 specifically for upland birds weighing about 2# less than the 12. In both cases, I would have the stocks made to measure.
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Old March 30, 2018, 02:28 PM   #8
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It makes me happy to see O/U lovers prefer a 26" barrel. One reason I don't like shotguns is I can't stand the long barrels. My Superposed is a 30" and I tolerate it but would really prefer 26".
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Old March 30, 2018, 03:14 PM   #9
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All depends on the swing dynamics of the barrels - some, like Brownings, are like pigs on shovels - hard to get moving, heavy up front and hard to stop (a good thing for clay shooting)

Clay shooters prefer 30, 32 and even 34" barrels for smooth swings on the targets following a known line. Bird hunters, however, never know which way the bird is going to go and need to move fast. However, barrels that too light also tend to be very "whippy" - very fast to start and equally as fast to stop, resulting in missing behind. That is why I would prefer a smaller bore size like a 28 with longer barrels - lightweight for all day carry, longer barrels for smooth movement, but not heavy like a clay target gun.

My Browning O/U has ~ 250,000 or so through it and my Beretta gas gun has about 30,000 over the last 4 years. The Browning wears a set of 32" barrels and the Beretta gas gun a 30" barrel.
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Old March 30, 2018, 04:30 PM   #10
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O/U

I like the O/U for the quick choice of two chokes.

Not too many double trigger O/U guns out there. Not a big deal a selector is fine. Not at the time of actually shooting of course, just being able to preset it according to the conditions in the field.

An O/U with choke tubes allows a lot of flexibility.

The biggest issue is the stock and the weight of the gun. I like 9 lbs. plus for trap, I don't rest my muzzle on my toe when hunting tho...

My point is.....one shotgun does not truly "fit" for both clays and hunting. It's really about which one you do more.
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Old March 30, 2018, 07:07 PM   #11
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Bought a used Browning Citori a few years back and it's a hair out of fit but I still average 24-32 pheasants a year. It seems a lot more ready to go for two shots but if I had to do a third for ducks/geese I would probably go S/A.

On the other hand if they had cheap O/U stocks in plastic for duck hunting I would probably use one out on the marsh but instead I use my Mossberg 500 which isn't afraid of falling in the water.
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Old March 30, 2018, 08:10 PM   #12
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whats your lop and height?
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Old March 31, 2018, 12:09 PM   #13
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I have two citori upland special browning o/u,s, a 24" in 12ga and a 26" in 20ga that I use for bird-rabbit hunting and a bt-100 in 12ga for singles trap and a citori sporting clays limited o/u for doubles trap-sporting clays and xs skeet in 20ga o/u for skeet and sporting clays-trap from time to time. and I will use a 12ga 11-87 trap model on all clays games for s*its and giggles.
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Old March 31, 2018, 05:05 PM   #14
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all a moot point until we know how big this guys is.
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Old March 31, 2018, 07:20 PM   #15
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I prefer the SA for birds(dove & quail), the o/u for skeet/sporting. BBl length these days 30-32 for the o/u gun. 26 or 28 on the SA but you see some 30s now days.
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Old April 1, 2018, 12:10 AM   #16
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FITASC says..." Browning O/U's swing like pigs on a shovel "./.shame on you FITASC !!... ... ..... ( not all of us like those wimpy & whippy little 7 lb O/U's...like you do....)

I prefer an O/U with 30" barrels ..for Skeet, Upland birds and Sporting clays...and to me, Browning O/U's ( like the XS Skeet model...are the perfect gun, balanced and swing perfectly at around 8 lbs...). 26" barrels / or lighter O/U's are way to "whippy" and I think shooters tend to "slap" at targets vs making a smooth swing, with a smooth follow thru.

I favor an O/U because I can select 2 different chokes ( and changeable chokes make a more versatile gun). Like FITASC, a number of my Browning O/U's have over 250,000 shells and still going strong. You have to understand "Fit" ...and what stock dimensions you need. Beretta & Browning O/U's is where you will get the most gun for your money..and a gun with long term value ....but $1,500 isn't going to get it done...

Beretta O/U's are typically lighter, have narrow throat or grip ares / Brownings a little heavier & thicker grip areas.../ I like Brownings ...and for me, Fit means I need a parallel comb gun ( no angled combs )...with an adj comb.

The other reason to go O/U is no cycling issues...and they'll handle very light loads to heavy loads.

If your budget is maxed out at $1,500 ...look at the Beretta gas guns...or some of the Browning offerings. I also like Benelli semi's like the Super Sport ...but again a little out of your budget.

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Old April 1, 2018, 07:52 AM   #17
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all this great info and you dont know if hes a midget or a ncaa center.
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Old April 1, 2018, 09:24 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stuckinthe60s View Post
all a moot point until we know how big this guys is.
Irrelevant. I asked what people with a lot of rounds would choose and why. If you don't want to answer my question, fine. But please don't make it something it is not.

Thanks to those of you who answered so far.
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Old April 1, 2018, 09:54 AM   #19
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The universal gun is a huge compromise.
At the extremes, I would not care to shoot my 6.4 lb SxS for a day's skeet, or hump my Broadway or 1100 TA in the woods.

If I had to pick, I would look at the top of the line Beretta auto. Maybe gas operation, recoil pad, and hydraulic butt would let me get through a few rounds with light target loads.
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Old April 1, 2018, 11:27 AM   #20
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It is partly true that the gun that suits me ( I'm 6'5" and around 290 lbs../ and 67 yrs old )....may not be what suits a smaller person as well as it suits me.

My skeet buddy is about 6' but only 175 lbs..and a little older in early 70's....and to him as an all around gun, he goes more for a 7 1/2 lb gun O/U with 28" barrels. The extra 1/2 - 1 lb that I like and the extra 2" in length to him, does feel too heavy even though the balance is fine. Not that he can't shoot a heavier gun...he does for Trap...but as a general gun for sporting clays, skeet, 5 stand...he likes a little lighter gun and a little shorter gun than I do.

At the same time, he finds that a parallel comb gun fits him the best as well.

His hands are also smaller than mine...so he likes the thinner neck or grip area on a gun ...like in the Beretta / although he shoots a Krieghoff.

So we share some things in a gun ..and we disagree a little.

If I go to a lighter gun ( or shorter )...I would go with a heavier gun...maybe 9 lbs or even a little more...so the weight will help me smooth out the swing and give me a smoother follow thru...but at some point, maybe 10 lbs, its too heavy to carry in the field comfortably ( but I'm too old, with bad knees and bad feet, to be chasing chukars anymore either.../ and weight is not really a big deal if we are hunting pheasant in South Dakota or Quail down south over good dogs ).
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Old April 1, 2018, 12:56 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkCO View Post
Irrelevant. I asked what people with a lot of rounds would choose and why.
Few more notes on my O/U experience.

I started in 2005 with a new Ruger Red Label All Weather in 12 ga. After 2 years I started having mechanical issues of light strikes. I put up with it for awhile then spent money on a gunsmith. After another year the issues came back again. Another trip to the smith and it only lasted another year. Not a good record for maybe 4k of shooting with a gun that cost $1300. I sold it and bought a used Browning Superposed from 1956.

I paid $900 for the Browning which has seen at least 4k of shooting since I've owned it plus another 200k of the owner before me and it's still going strong. I would have no hesitation in buying a used Browning or Beretta, they are solid performers.

Looking back to when I first wanted an O/U, I was told stick with Browning or Beretta and you can't go wrong. The Ruger Red Label was a lesson of what not to buy, and I still have the bad taste of that mistake.
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Old April 1, 2018, 02:21 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Watson View Post
The universal gun is a huge compromise.
At the extremes, I would not care to shoot my 6.4 lb SxS for a day's skeet, or hump my Broadway or 1100 TA in the woods.
Agree Jim. I own a literal flock of shotguns, SAs, Pumps, SxS, and while I have three I prefer (a Browning, an M2 and a P12), I would not want to have just one. Thanks for your thoughts. I have long felt that "fit" is a dominant feature of any shotgun on any budget.
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Old April 1, 2018, 02:34 PM   #23
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Well, for a "gentleman's gun" on top of all that, I would want something on the light and handy side, to be used more for upland game and a comfortable amount of clay pigeons for practice.
Once upon a time, that would have been a SxS but a friend's Benelli Ultra Light leans me towards a modern auto. She says the guys make fun of her girlie gun at the start of the day in the cornfield, but are "willing to give it a try" after a while. It is kind of a kicker, which would incline me to the Beretta gas op instead of the Benelli "inertial" action.
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Old April 1, 2018, 02:54 PM   #24
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One of my Berettas is the 3.5" green Xplor Unico. My wife uses it as her sporting gun since it only weighs 7# and with the Kick Off system it is a soft shooter. Sporting a 28" barrel, and with shims to adjust fit for LH and RH shooters, I would consider it to be a decent one gun for all situation if it came down to one for both hunting and clays.
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Old April 1, 2018, 05:58 PM   #25
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When i was younger i had a Savage 242 o/u 410/410.
Loved that gun.
A little heavy, but deadly on rabbits and pheasants.
One i regret greatly in letting go.

Ok, off to Gunbroker to find a replacement...
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