Which shotgun for clay pigeon shooting?
My friend went clay target shooting with a guy and really enjoyed it. He kept talking about it to his wife and so she wants to surprise him with a shotgun for his birthday (pretty cool, huh?). His wife knows I'm a "gun guy;" so she wants me to tell her which shotgun to buy. I can build an AK; but I have virtually no knowledge of shotguns.
What caliber, make, model, barrel length, etc. would make for a good clay pigeon shooting shotgun?
She would like to keep it under $400 ($300 is preferable though). Also, buying a used shotgun is an option for her.
I shoot trap pretty regularly and I use a Winchester Model 50 semi auto that I picked up in like new condition from a coworker with money problems for $150.00. Any 12 guage shotgun with a barrel length of 26" - 30" and a modified choke will work for informal clay bird shooting. Go to a well stocked gunshop that carries used guns and have him try all types to see which "fit" him the best. By "fit"I mean stock length, stock drop, etc. On a shotgun stock fit is the most important variable in being an average wing shot or a good wing shot. And last but not least, - ammo. In an average trap season here in Wisconsin, May to Sept., I usualy go through 10 - 15 " cases of reloads. Thats 2500 - 3800 rounds in a season. And I'm not a registered ATA shooter. This is why most clay bird shooters reload their own shells. HTH> Gary
Do you know which clay target game they were shooting? Trap, Skeet, Sporting Clays...or just informal fun with clays pigeons thrown on the range?
(In case the fellow was out with some serious target shooters knowing what he wants to get into will help us move in the right direction)
I can tell you this....unless the guys has his heart set on becoming a dedicated Skeet or Sporting Clay shooter its hard to go wrong with a Remington 870 in 12 gauge ,28" barrel with screw in chokes or a fixed Modified choke. This will fit her budget and last him a lifetime.
In that price range you will be pretty much limited to a pump shotgun. Anything you find in semi-auto or over & under will be junk quality. With this in mind, I would recommend a Remington 870, 28" ribbed barrel, modified choke in 12 ga. It is a perfect weapon to shoot informally with, won't break the bank and can be had for around $300, cheaper if you find a nice used one. It can do double duty as a hunting shotgun and you can easily and cheaply change out the barrel to a slug barrel and use if for deer and such also. Makes a nice home defense gun also.
I just scored a used Winchester SX2 semi-auto for $450. You should also be able to find a used Remington 1100 in that price range. Deals are out there, you just have to look for them. As with any used gun, it might be perfect, or it might need some refurbishing (worn finish, weak springs, etc.).
The problem with a pump is that it can be difficult for a novice to hit doubles using a pump since working the action can bring them off lead and/or they might cycle too slow. But for a beginner, a pump is fine as they probably won't be working on doubles so soon. Walk before you run and all that.
The Remington SPR310 O/U seems to have a decent reputation
At CDNN, they have the CZ Canvasback for $499 on page 30, and on page 31, the Remington SPR310 for $359.
You might want to research the Mossberg Silver Reserve too.
Realistically, your buddy is gonna have to increase his/ her budget. For $300 or less, you are really limited to a pump, which is ok for informal clay shooting, but will leave you wanting something else quickly. Especially on multiple targets. Shooting, racking the slide, re-acquiring the second target and shooting again sucks.
I've had no luck what-so-ever (and I've tried a few) with cheap over and unders. I have never found one that fit me worth a shit or patterned consistently. Getting both barrels to pattern well and shoot to point of aim costs money.
Remington 1100's are a good choice. You should be able to find a nice used one for $400 - $500. Get the stock fit to you, and some decent chokes (Briley's) and you are well on your way to doing some good on the clay course.
Unfortunately, clay shooting is not a poor man's sport.
If $300 or less is firm, then get an 870 express with rem choke and have at it, but you'll be wanting more fast.
You can occasionally score a nice over-under for the target price, slightly used, sometimes new: the Bailal, also sold as the Remington SPR310, as mentioned before.
Chokes are "Tru-Choke" system type, which while rare in the retail market are fully supported by Carlson's, and the system is also used on a bunch of Savage guns.
They're heavy, built like tanks, have chrome lined barrels, and with a nickel plated receiver about as durable as you can get with a shotgun. I have had one for years, and use it for all clay pigeon games, as well as upland bird hunting.
What NOT to buy: a Stoeger over/under. While Brazilian guns generally aren't bad, there are a lot of reports of metallurgical problems - the metals wear quick, they get sloppy, and the firing pins are too soft, which means they're a risky buy if you plan on shooting a couple of rounds of clays every month with it.
870 pump with 26 or 28" barrel or lots more money.
All modern bird guns come with screw in choke tubes.
Once pump skills are developed, an automatic gives little or no advantage.
If an 870 Express (3", not the 3 1/2 supermagnum) isn't enough gun, the next stop is a Beretta 391 or Remington 11-87 at $600-900.
Baikal doubles are fairly good value, but they're clubs.
Go to your local pawnshop. You should be able to get a really nice used Remington 1100 for $300-400. It is an excellent clays gun.
Used Remington 1100
Save up for a Browning Gold