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Old September 22, 2016, 10:45 AM   #1
Blade37db
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Help - starter shotgun for skeet/trap

My situation is I'm hosting a skeet/trap shooting birthday outing and while most of those attending have shot rifles and pistols, most haven't shot skeet/trap, and those that have don't own shotguns geared for it.

One guest has and will hopefully bring their 20g o/u for others to try (especially the ladies) but I'm thinking I may buy a second one so everyone can enjoy the day. If I do, I may just gift it or trade it after the day. No rentals at this particular club. I've been in the market for a home defense shotgun for awhile, but know little about skeet/trap guns.

Trying to keep the cost under $800. Looking for recommendations on a 12g semi or O/U with as short a barrel as possible (I know 18" HD barrels aren't a good option) that might be worth getting. The shorter the LOP the better.

Any and all suggestions are welcome.

Last edited by Blade37db; September 22, 2016 at 10:53 AM.
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Old September 22, 2016, 11:12 AM   #2
Idaho 45 Vaquero
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If you are at all interested on the really budget end there is the Stevens(Savage) 320 pump. There is a combo option for about $200 with quick interchangeable barrels: 18'' cylinder bore barrel or 28" barrel with removable screw in choke. It only take about 30 seconds to change from a homedefense shotgun to a raised rib hunting/novice trap gun.

The Bad: Made in China, and its ugly and plain.

The Good:
I bought it for duck hunting with steel shot but I use mine at the trap club sometimes. It has been completely reliable. It is based off the Winchester 1200 design. Previous issues with the hand-guards breaking off have now been fixed with the new models.

For your $800 budget for just and outing you could outfit quite a few people.
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Old September 22, 2016, 11:56 AM   #3
T. O'Heir
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Suggest you forget the short barrel idea for a skeet/trap day. The "shorter the LOP the better" thing isn't a good idea either. A short LOP with a short barrel will scare off some of the FNG's. Loud bangs and muzzle blast does that just about every time.
Find a used pump or semi-auto with changeable chokes with an industry standard LOP. No pistol grips or riot configurations. A semi is likely best for introducing new shotgun shooters. Factory LOP's are designed to fit the average person. Short stature doesn't equate short LOP either.
Idaho 45 Vaquero's Stevens 320 will do cost wise. MSRP is only $238. Their S1200 semi-auto's MSRP is $571. Start talking O/U's and you're looking at a bit less than 3 times that. Stevens 555 O/U is pretty though.
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Old September 22, 2016, 12:07 PM   #4
Blade37db
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Thanks guys. I hadn't considered pumps as an option.

What are your thoughts on the Mossberg 500 or 930 combos assuming the longer barrels would be best for skeet/trap?

http://www.mossberg.com/product/930-...ecurity-85325/
http://www.mossberg.com/product/500-...ecurity-54169/

Appears longer barrels accept chokes. Is that a must for skeet/trap?
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Old September 22, 2016, 12:12 PM   #5
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Pull!

Is it skeet or trap?

Is this a formal shoot or merely a friendly shoot with some one's thrower?

Don't assume the ladies would be more comfortable with a 20ga.

An ounce of shot moving at 1200 f/s from a 12ga will have less felt recoil than a similar shotgun in 20ga. All things being equal.

BTW, consider a semi-auto gas recoil shotgun if you're looking for less felt recoil.
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Old September 22, 2016, 12:14 PM   #6
BigJimP
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O/U's ...under $1,000 are mostly junk ...in my view / I'd suggest you stay away from them. On used market ...you might find an older Browning Citori or Beretta O/U at $ 800 - $ 900 especially if its scratched up a little - but still in sound mechanical shape ...( especially if its a fixed choke gun vs today's changeable chokes). If you find a used gun fixed choke in IC or Mod that might be ok for what you are doing...( Mod choke for Trap / Skeet or IC choke for Skeet )...

In general - Browning and Beretta will give you the most gun for your money.

Shop the used gun stores / or shops in your area that might have a now discontinued model Browning Gold ( they quit making it in 12ga about 4 or 5 years ago ) ...or a Winchester semi-auto ..or a Browning Silver series semi-auto ...Winchester is now part of Browning/FN and they are a little less expensive than Brownings offerings../ Silver series has a number of options new..but not at $ 800...unless you find a deal ( and in the Fall, there are a lot of guns on sale ).

Browning Silver Hunter might be a good option for you ...new they around $1,000 now ...but you might find old inventory around...and they are made in 12ga and 20ga with a 26" barrel option if that's what you want.

In used market ...there are also a lot of Beretta semi-autos around 390 / 391 series...etc...

Common Barrel lengths these days for Field guns ( upland birds, etc ) are 28" / common barrel lengths for Trap are 32" / common barrel lengths for Skeet and Sporting clays are 30" .... ----- in a semi-auto the reciever is longer than an O/U so a 28" semi auto is the same overall length as an O/U with 30" barrels.
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Old September 22, 2016, 12:17 PM   #7
Blade37db
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Probably trying both skeet and trap. Very informal and friendly. It's a bday outing. Club has throwers we'll be using.

While I know not to assume 20g recoil will automatically be less, I'm assuming that if it's a heavier O/U, it should mitigate it. Will it be less than a gas/semi 12g. That I don't know.
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Old September 22, 2016, 12:21 PM   #8
T. O'Heir
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Skeet and trap have their own chokes. They're more open than even an Improved Cylinder. However, IC will do. It's about getting as much shot spread out in the air as possible.
The longer barrel is about the swing inertia, but also about keeping the muzzle blast and noise away from a new shooter's face.
A semi will have less felt recoil, even with trap loads, than a pump or O/U. However, a pump will cost you a whole lot less than any O/U as well. Mossberg kit is good kit for the money. Not the vast amount of aftermarket stuff around as for an 870(an M500 is very similar to an 870), if that matters, but they make reliable kit.
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Old September 22, 2016, 12:34 PM   #9
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As others have said, there's a difference in shotguns intended for skeet or trap.
But it won't matter to an inexperienced shooter.
They probably will mostly miss anyway.
You might want to try another form of shooting altogether, especially if you want your guests to have fun.
Shotguns are not fun for most people and neither is missing the targets.
Just a thought.
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Old September 22, 2016, 09:19 PM   #10
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"Club has throwers" - does that mean actual trap and skeet machines and will be shot on regulation fields?
A 12 gauge semi shooting light 7/8oz loads would be worth looking at. If most folks do not shoot, most will be trying to aim like they do with their rifles and the results won't be great. Hopefully, that won't discourage them at all. Standard LOPs are generally too long for most women, and if they feel the need to lean back, the recoil will hammer them. A gun that comes with both a regular and a youth/ladies stock might work well.
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Old September 23, 2016, 01:24 PM   #11
BigJimP
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I 2nd the idea of picking up boxes of 12ga ( in 7/8 oz, 1150 fps, light recoil loads )...so everyone can have more fun ( and less recoil ). 7/8oz of 8's or 9's will work fine for Skeet...or Trap singles at 16 yd line.

Its basically shooting a traditional 20ga load in a heavier 12ga gun ..( less recoil ).
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