Skip to comments.What Shotgun to buy for Sporting Clays?
Posted on 04/08/2011 7:11:05 AM PDT by Thane_Banquo
My wife and I have been shooting pistols for about two years now. We really love shooting, and we want to branch out into shotgun sports, specifically sporting clays.
We are looking for a shotgun to share for this purpose, preferably an auto-loader. Mrs. Thane_Banquo is 5'3'' and 112 lbs, but she is physically fit and can handle her 1911 .45 without any problems. So she isn't afraid of a little recoil. However, a 12 ga. would probably be a bit too much for her, so probably a 16 ga. or a 20 ga. We're probably looking for something in the $300-$600 range, plus or minus.
Remmington 870 just racking it makes the clays come apart in the box
Haha! But I don’t think we’re looking for a pump.
No plans, however, for skeet or trap, so we've just left the short 'home defense' barrel installed.
A 12ga auto-loader doesn’t have as much recoil as a O/U has. That said, a 20ga will work. You can’t go wrong with a Browning.
If your local clay range has the option of renting a gun for a round or two - do so. Try out different gauges and makes. You mentioned your wife’s size, but not your own. A gun that fits her well may not fit you and visa-versa
If you don’t want a 12 gauge go to the 20 gauge.
The 16 gauge isn’t worth the trouble and most gun supply places don’t carry the 16 gauge.
I know someone will call me a liar about them not having 16 gauge ammunition, but where I live it’s 12 0r 20 ,16 gauge ammunition can hardly be found.
Don’t know if that is as important as a good cookbook. Ya gotta know just how to prepare them or they taste like, well...dirt.
Closest thing to a Benelli I could find at reasonable price.
In your price range I’d look for a used Remington 1100 in 20 gauge with screw in chokes. You can either cut down the stock or get a youth stock for it. I keep one of these for a loaner - “new shooter” gun.
A gently used Beretta semi is also a possibility.
Forget the 16 gauge (yes, I love them and have a bunch) the ammo is pricier and sometimes difficult to find.
In your price range an O/U is a risky proposition, they really don’t get durable enough until you can go for a used Citori or Beretta in the $1200 or so range. (although an occasional one shows up for under $1000)
As a great lover of the 16 gauge I agree with you. The ammo is more difficult to find, and the selection limited.
If you plan to shoot it alot, you really need to roll your own.
I’d recommend either a Remington 870 or a Mossberg 500 in 12 gauge. The guns themselves aren’t expensive - about $300-$400 depending on the model. The utility of a 12 gauge is so much greater than that of a 20 gauge that I would recommend a 12 gauge with a recoil-reducing stock.
I do a fair amount of trap shooting myself, and I can tell you the Blackhawk stock makes a world of difference. Using a recoil suppression system like that makes 8-10 rounds (200-250 shots) no trouble at all, and the recoil is much less than even a standard 20 gauge. If you don’t mind the look of the stock, it’s a great option and makes shooting a 12 gauge quite comfortable.
If you shoot Clays like I do I recommend the AA-12 fully auto shotgun. Chances are you may get a hit before the clay hits the ground
..... just kidding people dont freak out on me....
I thought that pump-actions weren’t ideal for clays. Is that not true?
28 guage is the gun for lady skeet shooting, and it will knock down Qual and Doves also.
Pump guns can be used for the clay shooting sports. I shoot skeet competitively and there are several shooters who use pump guns (870 Wingmaster, Browning BPS, and Winchester M12 for the geezers).
The key is that they shoot them exclusively, and have shot them for a long time and have plenty of practice. Manipulating the slide has to be second nature.
Also, being a fixed breech gun, as opposed to a gas operated semi, they will have more recoil.
The 28 is a sweet gauge, but unless you reload.... $10 a box for AA’s gets old fast.
I wish! But if I got an AA-12, I’d never get to use it. Mrs. Thane_Banquo would never let it out of her hands!
The Beretta Extrema2. It can take out 12 sporting clays in less than two seconds.
I’ve hunted extensively with 20, 16 and 12 guage. There is not as much recoil as one might think. A semi auto will have even less recoil. I’ve got a Remington 870 w/Knoxx recoil absorbing stock that makes me feel like I’m cheating when I shoot it. That’s how mild the recoil is.
I'd go with the 12-gauge, though - more ammo variety. With low-brass shells, there's very little recoil difference between the 12 and the 20 anyway (due to the 12-gauge gun being a bit heavier).
Remington 1100, 20 ga.
I have a 20 ga. Smith & Wesson pump-action... I love it for clay shooting.
I have a 20 ga. Smith & Wesson pump-action... I love it for clay shooting.
I’m just a little taller than your wife and I shoot a Browning Citori superlight 20 gauge. It weighs about 6 pounds, has very little recoil, and has stood me well in a few sporting clay events. My husband has bought me several 20 gauge Barettas and Benellis, but the Citori will always be my favorite.
I have the Beretta AL390 in 12 gauge, and it shoots really soft. The 20 gauge is a peach. Mine version was replaced by the AL391 and I believe that is still the latest version.
It will be on the high end of your price range, or above, but they hold their value, so just consider it like holding onto your cash in the form of a gun... :)
Trust me. Get a 20 gauge Beretta AL391. You can probably rent one at a sporting clays course somewhere near you to try out.
And it can be bought at Wallyworld too. Nice gun, kiddo bought one for clays and loves it.
I shoot sporting clays and skeet w/ a Beretta AL391 Urika 2. I searched fora long time before I settled on it. I selected for fit and balance and since I shoot at the National Shooting Complex, I noticed most of the competitors that shoot autos were using Berettas mostly the AL391 TEKNYS (about $2k). www.berettausa.com
Most serious shooters use O/Us which are usually more expensive than autos.
Cost for a reliable auto that will run 5k shells a year w/o jamming start at about 1k. I have run about 10k shells through mine in two years and hasn’t jammed yet. Plus I find it a VERY soft shooter.
The AL 391 can be had from Dick’s for $899 when on sale. If you want an O/U, Stoeger makes a Condor Competition (Dick’s sell them also) for about the price range your looking for complete w/ chokes and adjustable comb in 12 and 20ga. Some folks are shooting them and I haven’t seen/heard any bad press on them.
Good luck w/ your search.
A pump can be a bit slow on sporting clays. OK for skeet & trap. I shoot clays and hunt with a Beretta Silver Pigeon in 20 ga. My wife shoots the Franchi Renaissance in 20 ga. Both guns are O/U
Is the clay shooting going to be more for trap or for skeet? My experience is that with skeet, I go through way more shells and skeet action is lots faster than trap. A semi-auto is capable of the fast action of skeet so no hindrance on getting the shot in the air quickly enough. For a semiauto shotgun in whatever gauge you choose, I sure like my Browning (in 16 guage). I've also used borrowed Beneli over/under shotguns a number of times but my level of ability is not fine tuned enough to appreciate the difference between my Browning and the very fine Beneli.
Regarding the recoil, I don't perceive that much difference between my 12ga Winchester pump and 16ga Browning semi-auto. 20ga though has a noticeably lower kick and I wouldnt't be surprised if that is where you end up with on shotgun gauge.
Any shotgun you are comfortable shooting with (and accurate with) is ideal for clays. The only reason a pump would be a drawback in trap is if you’re shooting doubles, which would require a very quick pump to get the second bird. I’ve seen people do it, though I’ve never tried myself. Still, nearly all of my shooting is one bird at a time, so I don’t worry about that.
While it is true that most people shooting clays will be using over/unders, that doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with them. People have won competitions with pump shotguns. The only real concern is to make sure you have the appropriate barrel and choke.
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