Best Sporting Clays Gun:

Discussion in 'General Shotgun Discussion' started by Gonzilla, Aug 19, 2013.

  1. Gonzilla

    Gonzilla New Member

    2,056
    0
    0
    This is a platform that must be able to excel on skeet, trap or sporting clays fields. I have been using a Baretta 391 gas gun w 28" barrel and Rhino ported choke. 2"

    I was at the range and several shooters had decked out Baretta 391 Tekmeys w weights in stock and cap - very soft shooting but they chose to use their O/U Blazers or 682 Baretta's. When I asked why, they said O/U swing smoother. The gas guns were too snappy even w mag extensions filled w springs or mercury. My longer tube is an attempt to duplicate that smooth swing.

    So I decided to start a thread and get some more opinions on the subject.

    Note: In the 1950s - ideal barrel for skeet was 26" and now it's 28 to 32" for more all around work n smoother swings.
     
  2. indy36

    indy36 New Member

    1,106
    0
    0
    Personally, I shoot skeet with a Browning Citori. It's the best gun for the money (my opinion). Most of the serious old guys at my skeet club shoot Kolar O/U guns.
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2013

  3. indy36

    indy36 New Member

    1,106
    0
    0
    In an effort to bestow better advice, here are some guns from the August 2013 issue of "Sporting Clays" magazine. Let's see what people are shooting in that game, right now...

    * Blaser F3 Super Sport
    * Fabarm Velocity LR
    * Browning 725 Sporting Citori
    * Beretta DT11
    * Beretta A400 Sporting
    * Benelli SuperSport
    * Caesar Guerini Elipse EVO Sporter
    * Winchester Super X 3 Sporting
    * Krieghoff K-80 Paracours
    * Krieghoff K-80 Pro Sporter

    That's a mix of gas guns and over/unders.

    Let's examine trap guns...

    Here's are quotes from "The Gun Digest Book of Skeet & Trap Shooting"...

    "Today's trap shooters need a gun that will place the shot charge above the actual point of hold, to compensate for the sharp climb of the target. If the gun shoots flat, as we would want for a skeet, sporting clays, or hunting gun, then the shooter must actually cover the target with the muzzle of the gun, swinging right up through the target and blocking it out. Since that causes the shooter to lose sight of the target at the critical moment he triggers the shot, it becomes a factor that will decrease a shooter's score."

    "Trap favors tighter chokes than those pursuing skeet and sporting clays"

    "A trap shooter won't move the gun more than about two feet from his starting position. That movement must be quick and forceful, and must drive right through the target. That driving motion has proven to be best accomplished with a longer, heavier gun that tends to stay moving once started. The most effective trap guns are those with barrels in excess of 30 inches and with a weight of 8 1/2 to 9 1/2 pounds."

    "The ardent trap shooter ends up with a gun that has a very limited application for any other shooting game. Long, heavy, and tightly choked, the trap gun is a specialized tool for a specialized game. If you want to win this game, you will need one."

    Let's examine skeet guns...

    "The longest shot you'll see on a skeet field is 27 yards. The closest will be less than 4 yards, and most will range from 4 to 20 yards. Given the nature and range of targets, a light, fast-handling smoothbore with a wide open choke was a distinct asset. A 12 gauge with a skeet choke will place the entire shot charge within a 30-inch circle at 25 yards. Today, skeet is shot from a pre-mounted gun, which removes the requirement for serious gun handling ability, and the radiused buttpads commonly found on sporting clay guns. The practice has also encouraged the use of longer barrels, with more muzzle weight, that will promote a smother swing. The shift to longer barrels from 26 inches to 28 inches and now 30 to 32 inches is the direct result of knowledge gained on the sporting clays fields."

    So, when shooting from a 'low gun' position stopped in skeet and everything became pre-mounted, the 26 inch 'fast handling' guns fell out of favor. Also, a skeet gun has a lot more in common with a sporting clays gun than it does trap.

    Now let's look at sporting clays guns...

    "First concern is to get the gun mounted quickly to your shoulder, since all sporting clays shots begin with the gun butt clearly visible below the armpit. That means a recoil pad with no sharp edges or deep serrations dragging on your clothing. A radiused butt pad is a must and a properly fitted buttstock to your individual build is key. Most sporting clays shooters want a flat shooting gun with its pattern impacting equally above and below the bead. Stack-barrel shooters opt for barrels in the 28 to 32 inch range. Those that favor semi-autos or pumps find the 28-inch barrel more effective than 26-inches. Today's crop of sporting clays guns have lengthened forcing cones, back-bored barrels, and long extended chokes, given the need for frequent choke changes without a wrench."

    Here are some older sporting clays guns featured in the book, which might be good buys now since the book was put out years ago:

    * Ruger Sporting Clays model
    * Weatherby Orion Grade II Sporting
    * Perrazi MX7
    * Perrazi Sporting Classic
    * Perrazi MX8
    * Winchester 1001 Sporting Clays
    * Winchester Model 1400
    * Browning 325 Sporting Clays
    * Browning Gold Semi-Auto
    * Browning Gran Lightning Citori
    * Beretta 686 Silver Perdiz Sporting
    * Beretta A390 Super Sporting
    * Remington Peerless
    * Remington Model 11-87 Premiere Sporting
    * Kreighoff K-80 Sporting Clays
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2013
  4. Gonzilla

    Gonzilla New Member

    2,056
    0
    0
    I have shot a Browning Citori hunting model before and the recoil n cheek slap were bit much for skeet shooting. Today, I got to shoot a Citori XS skeet gun in 12 ga and it was a completely different gun. (recoil wise) The Recoil was significantly less than the field variety and this was a stock gun. ( no weight fore or aft had been added)

    I wonder how much back boring, and lengthened forcing cones help reduce recoil and promote better patterns ?
     
  5. Virginian

    Virginian Active Member

    1,081
    0
    36
    It is all purely personal opinion. I hate O/Us, but I freely admit they are more fashionable these days. And everybody gets influenced by what this or that "expert" shoots, and says. I know of one excellent Sporting shooter who uses a Wingmaster pump, but that doesn't mean i want to.
    Lengthened forcing cones do have an effect on the recoil pulse curve, although with target load I would think it would be slight. That and overboring and the right choke can produce tighter ultimate long range patterns, but for targets I think you can get whatever effect you are seeking just changing chokes.
    I must be strange. I am perfectly happy with my guns. I know when I miss it was me, and not the gun, and I am not in pursuit of any guns or gadgets thinking they will make me a better shot.
     
  6. Gonzilla

    Gonzilla New Member

    2,056
    0
    0
    You are not "strange," you are simply ahead of the power curve. If I could bottle that contentment, it would be worth millions - perhaps billions cause it would put a lot of marketing depts out of business.

    Getting a gun to "fit" is part art, part science. How does one quantify gun "feel" or the smoothness of the swing ?

    I have to admit to a bit of O/U envy. If for no other reason than I'm tired of picking up shells. ;). I'm on the hunt for a bargain but unfortunately, these competition grade guns seem to hold their value.

    My father shoots an 11-87 20 ga. It doesn't fit well. Should I get a Morgan recoil pad or have a adj comb installed ?
     
  7. Virginian

    Virginian Active Member

    1,081
    0
    36
    What do you mean by "doesn't fit well" ?
     
  8. John_Deer

    John_Deer New Member

    6,624
    1
    0
    Visiting a gunsmith and shooting a target with a trial gun will be a start to finding what fits you. Most guns fit me as far as mounting the gun. I want a gun to be on target with very little adjustment. You have a very nice gun now. I wouldn't listen to what other people say is the best gun. In their opinion the best gun is the one in their hand. They bought it because the thought it was the best gun. Don't be afraid to ask people to shoot a round of skeet with their gun. Most people that want you around will let you try their gun.
     
  9. indy36

    indy36 New Member

    1,106
    0
    0
    More from the book, semi-autos vs. O/Us:


    "Balance and Handling: This is one area where over/unders have a perceived advantage. The twin barrels poking out past the forend give more forward weight than the single barrel on a gas gun, promoting a smoother swing, and one that is more difficult to stop once started. As a result, the targets are hit more often."

    "The Case Against Pumps: To excel in sporting clays a shooter needs a gun that will reliably fire two shots while allowing total concentration on the target. Pumps require the shooter to manually chamber the second round. Even the best scattergunners will find they score a couple of targets less per round with a pump."

    "The One Choke Syndrome: If you shoot a gas gun you only have one choke available. If you shoot an O/U you have the choice of 2. This is often touted as a major advantage of the stack barrel. There is some truth in that but not as much as many might suppose. Sporting clays is a game where the ability to use different chokes is often cited as a reason for the twin barreled gun's popularity in that game, but it is rare to find a station where the shots vary more than 10 yards in range difference. Once you know the range you can generally find one choke that will do. How does a shooter make one choke do the work of two? Easy. By changing shells. No need to change chokes when you can vary the pattern performance of your gun by simply changing your shells. The usefulness of spreader loads is the reason I feel a gas gun shooter is not at a disadvantage because the gun offers only one choke."

    "Reliability: The over/under wins here. Period. No argument. Because of the large number of moving parts and mechanical operations required, a gas gun will never be as reliable as a fixed breech O/U. That is the biggest single reason why top competitors show a marked preference for the stack barrel guns."

    "Ease of Maintenance: Cleaning an over/under is simplicity in itself. Gas guns are more tedious."

    "Ease of Repair: Gas guns win this one. When O/U need repair they are more complex and I find it best to send them back to the factory. On the plus side, O/Us seldom require minor repairs."

    "Use of Reloads: The stack barrel wins this one, hands down. If you can stuff the shell in the O/U and close the action, the primer will be struck when the trigger is pulled. If the shell is any good it'll go off. Not so with gas guns. They can be working perfectly and still screw up. The gas gun requires near-perfect ammunition. The power level of the shell must be sufficient to operate the action, yet not so powerful that it generates too much gas energy. That can cycle the action too fast and result in a failure to feed a second shell. If you reload, you must make certain that every shell is as perfect as a factory load. A hull that is worn, slightly out of round, or has a poor crimp may fail to feed and fire. Yet, it will run just fine in an O/U. Since most serious competitive shooters are reloaders, this has become one of the strong points in the O/U's favor. Also, the O/U doesn't toss empties all over the ground. You just pluck them from the chamber and put them in your pocket. This can be especially important if you are shooting on a range where the policy is that if a shell hits the ground it becomes the property of the range."

    "Cost: O/U guns cost more. This is the biggest reason shooters choose a gas gun. In order to find an O/U with the quality needed you're looking at a price of $1,100 to $1,500. Ignore budget over/unders. If you are going to be serious the total difference in price of $400 to $600 may not be worth the increased inconvenience of the gas gun. Over/unders hold their value much better. If you decide you want to change guns you'll get a larger percentage of your original purchase price back if the gun you are selling is a well made O/U."

    "Forcing Cones, Back Boring, and Barrel Porting: All these are subtle modifications said by their proponents to reduce shot distortion, reduce felt recoil, and decrease barrel jump when the first shot is fired. Whether these really make a perceptible difference is questionable. They certainly are profitable for the manufacturers and aftermarket gunsmiths. Porting makes the gun harder to clean and much noisier. I suspect that much of the perceived advantage of such features is the owner believing he or she has the best that money can buy. Every magazine includes multiple ads for a wide variety of recoil reducers. Like barrel porting, I question their usefulness. Published data indicates that the effects of recoil reducers are little different from the effects of adding weight to the gun in some way."
     
  10. Gonzilla

    Gonzilla New Member

    2,056
    0
    0
    Indy : Good information. What I find interesting is the gentlemen I was shooting with could afford any shotgun they wanted. They had shot quite a variety of guns, gauges & actions. Yet, they both chose an O/U as their primary gun. (both had full tube sets)

    Not sure but I think both of them might have had gas guns in their inventories as well. They advised me to shoot as many different guns as possible before buying anything. Good advice.:D

    Note: My Baretta 391 actually hmmmed between shots. I sent it back to Baretta; they couldn't stop it. Harmonic resonance caused by the hardening of the barrels. I told them I bought a shotgun and not a musical instrument to no avail.

    I sent the gun to Rhino of Florida, a Baretta specialist to lengthen forcing cone, port barrel and stop the music. No luck but they did sell me a long tube that went under the barrel to help me swing through tgts.

    Went back to Baretta for my millionth call and finally got someone knowledgeable who also had the same problem. He told me the solution was to send it to Mr. Jack West and have a soft comb installed. The noise went away and has never returned.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2013
  11. indy36

    indy36 New Member

    1,106
    0
    0
    I'd be mad by all that leg work and shipping and problems to deal with. That kind of things ruins a manufacturer for me.

    I bought my first shotgun last year. It was an old 12 gauge Remington 870 Wingmaster pump. I bought it because it got good reviews, was in good shape, and was inexpensive. I shot one round of skeet with it and immediately sold it to a buddy. I then bought a Beretta A390 ST gas-gun. It was okay. Kind of a pain to clean but okay. I traded it off for an SKB 1300 20 gauge gas gun. I loved that gun. I also bought a Stoeger Condor 12 gauge over/under. The Stoeger didn't open smoothly and seemed cheap and generic. I traded the Stoeger off. I then saw an SKB over/under on gunbroker for a fair price and bought it. It was the 12 gauge 5600. I thought it was great, then the forearm cracked. You can't get new wood and a stock expert in Texas said this was a design flaw in SKBs and they all end up that way. I felt sad and pissed. I then saw a Browning Citori 20 gauge for a good price that was like brand new. I traded off my SKB gas-gun (that I loved) and got the Browning. The Browning was my first shotgun over $1000. Man was it nice, yet, it had a high rib and I couldn't hit anything with it. I shoot flat and don't float the skeet. I couldn't retrain myself so it had to go. I traded the 20 gauge Citori in and got what I paid ($1300) and threw in the SKB 5600 with cracked forearm and they gave me a brand new Browning Citori Lightning 12 gauge worth $1700. I threw Briley extended skeet chokes in it, walked outside, and broke 24 of 25 skeet with it and did a dance of joy. Browning makes a nice over/under for the money. Mine has 26-inch barrels. Kinda wish they were 28 to 30 but I can live with 26. It's a nice firearm, perfect for skeet, which is all I do. Is a Kolar, Fabarm, Perazzi, Blaser, Guerini, or Krieghoff better? Would I break more with one? I doubt I would...but I'd like to have one!
     
  12. Gonzilla

    Gonzilla New Member

    2,056
    0
    0
    Glad to hear your happy w your gun. Browning citori XS skeet comes w high and low rib so you are not alone. I recently shot one and was very impressed.

    I saw a Baretta 682 w Gracoil recoil reducer for $1,592 and 9 chokes. Am going nutz if I should buy or not but I don't have the budget to roll the dice nor the knowledge base to spot a problem. (if one exist)

    Quality O/Us don't have many minor problems, so if something is wrong it's probably expensive. Plus, I have no idea if it fits. Yet the price looks right ? Yet, wouldn't be the first time I was "Wrong."

    Note: after changing valve spring to tune the gas gun for the cheap, light 1oz loads I have - gun has been perfect. Special thanks to Cole of Maine for Spring and Seamus for writing the Baretta 391 survival guide.
     
  13. TimL2952

    TimL2952 New Member

    1,354
    0
    0
    Most people agree that the best starter gun for clays is a used Browning or Beretta O/U.

    If you are looking for one, I am selling my 12ga Browning 425 30" ported barrels with leather hard case and factory chokes for $1,300. It's in the classifieds if ya wanna check it out.

    But THE best gun to shoot clays with, period, is the gun that fits you best. Differences between make and model are just weight distribution, feel, and other minor things like mechanical vs. inertia triggers.

    IMO the simpler the better.

    Here is my Zoli Kronos that I shoot Sporting Clays with. 12ga, 30", inertia trigger. Comes in at just under 7lbs. and it has a nice balancing point, FOR ME.
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Aug 23, 2013
  14. Gonzilla

    Gonzilla New Member

    2,056
    0
    0
    Damn, someone just bought it.. Don't know if I'm just unlucky or I dodged a bullet. One day, I hope I'm lucky enough or rich enough to get an O/U.

    Until then, I'll try to shoot the best I can w my gas gun. Probably easier on my shoulder in the long run. ;)

    Think the best route is to have both in your inventory. I have an 870 for my rainy day gun but it takes some practice to be able to shoot skeet w it. Even in 20 ga, the recoil is worse than my 12.

    Amazing how fast your skills are perishable.

    Congrats on 24 ! Great score & saved the integrity go your hat. :D
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2013
  15. MO4GUNS

    MO4GUNS New Member

    1
    0
    0
    I own 10 shotguns and my favorites for trap are my Weatherby Orion1 trap model 12g O/U and a Beretta A-390ST (Supra Tutto) model. Both guns have thousands of rounds shot and never had problems. If either models can be found, I recommend buying. Still pricy on used markets, but you will be pleased with the performance for either of these 20 yr. old guns.
     
  16. hq357

    hq357 New Member

    714
    0
    0
    I use a mossberg 500 and i hit almost all the clay ;)
     
  17. "Almost" is the key word. I have an FN SLP. It's been used with an 18-inch barrel and full choke for a round of trap just to see what would happen. 24 out of 25 - would I use it as my main trap gun based on that result? Don't think so.
     
  18. trip286

    trip286 New Member

    18,658
    1
    0
    Subscribed to thread.

    Skeet and trap is a sport I'd love to get into, but money and time keep me from it.

    My gun is a side by side that even my granddaddy would call old. Most of this talk of shot guns is going over my head. I simply don't have the experience to keep up.

    Maybe I'll subscribe to one of those magazines.
     
  19. Gonzilla

    Gonzilla New Member

    2,056
    0
    0
    Bobski is having a FTF shootout & BBQ at his private range. All you have to do is bring 10 boxes of ammo & pay for tgts. Just an idea. He even has spots for campers.

    If you don't have travel $$, try to find out if any of the local gun clubs have trap or skeet ranges. Many clubs, while private, may have days when they are open to the public. While each club has its own personality, I have found the shooters to be very friendly and generous w newcomers even letting them borrow a gun for a round.

    Better yet, join a league !

    IMHO: sporting clays is more fun. The tgts come from a almost every angle to include - right at you...:D. They even have some that bounce on the ground like a rabbit. Hard to find ranges though.
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2013
  20. trip286

    trip286 New Member

    18,658
    1
    0
    Don't know about these other guys, but I'm actually already signed up for bobski's shoot and hoot. October 5 weekend I believe, unless it's changed.