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What do I need? And need to know?


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Thinking about getting started. I’m close to a nice public range. Shot skeet once 30 or so years ago and it was fun. Used someone else’s gun. And I haven’t shot another shotgun since then. 

 

What type of shotgun is recommended? Is there a decent starter gun, or just go ahead and get something that I will eventually end up with anyway? Equipment needed - pouch?

 

What would I really be getting into as far as time and expense? Already shooting USPSA. Talk me into it or out of it.

 

 

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Clay shooting is very addictive. Pretty much all I shoot anymore is clays. Are you just going to shoot skeet? Do you have a budget? My guess is you will venture over into other clay games as well. I have 4 shotguns, one for skeet, one for trap, one for sporting clays and one that I use for pasture clay's. You don't need all of those I just wanted them, a good over/under sporting or a good semi auto could be used in all of these games.  For good all around starter gun I would and did go with a Beretta A-400 Sporting. It is adjustable for fit with the provided shims, gas operated for low felt recoil. Then the addiction sets in and you end up with a safe full of them. 

 

A good suggestion would be to go out to the range and rent a couple different guns and try them before you buy. If they don't rent them I am sure most anyone out there would let you try theirs. 

 

Most of all have fun with it. Good luck. 

Edited by sandrooney
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Feb. - May is a down time for me with USPSA. I have weekend commitments that won't allow me to shoot pistol during that time. However, the public range is near my workplace and I can go over and practice pistol or clays maybe once per week. 

 

Shotgun shells seem plentiful while 9mm is not. 

 

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Stafford 

 

As noted, try before you buy. Most guys at any decent club will be more than happy to lend you a gun and shells to try out. They’ll spend the next hour telling you the virtues of their choice and why you would be foolish to use another brand or model. 
 

I got bit by the clays bug about 30 years ago and spent a lot of money chasing the perfect gun set up. Now I know better. 
 

Skeet guns are different than trap guns. You can use a skeet gun for trap but not the other way around. Trap guns shoot high. 
 

First decide what action you want. I have successfully used pump, semi auto,

and over under. I sold off the semi auto because I hate picking up hulls from the mud or snow. If that doesn’t bother you, then an auto shoots very soft. I liked the Beretta A300, except for the whole hull shucking bit. It’s a good shotgun. The Benelli Super Black Eagle is also very popular around here with skeet and 5 stand shooters. 
 

my pump gun is a plain Jane 870 express. It breaks everything if I do my part and I don’t mind using it in the field. Good all around gun. So is the Browning BPS. 
 

To get started all you really need is a generic shell pouch, and empty hull pouch, a gun, and hearing protection. Plugs work better for me than muffs. Nylon bags hold up better than leather. Most club pro shops will have entry level accessories for sale. 
 

if you think you’ll stay with it, then an over-under is probably where you will end up because that allows you to use sub gauge tubes to shoot the same gun in all 4 gauges  at registered matches. 410 surely separates the men from the boys. 20 gauge tubes are fun too. I like to shoot 3/4 ounce 20 gauge loads for practice though my 12 gauge Citori. 
 

the Citori is a good entry level gun and that’s the one I kept. Had a Beretta for a while but traded it off. Just didn’t shoot it as well as the Browning. Try lots of guns before you spend your money. Krieghoff, etc are beyond my means but they sure are nice guns. 
 

stay away from the rebranded budget Turkish guns, like the CZ, Mossberg, ATI, etc. The metallurgy in those guns isn’t up to the demands of competition shooting. I know from hard experience that you will wear one out quickly. 
 

hope this helps

 

-John 

 


 

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Time and expense are relative,

like action pistol. 
 

When I first started I would shoot 2-3 rounds once or twice a week. Not terribly expensive for time, targets, or shells. 
 

When I got serious about skeet I would practice 3x weekly and shoot weekend tourneys or with a coach. Much more expensive. 
 

the best investment I made in shotgunning was paying for lessons and coaching. It really speeds the learning process along. 
 

that should probably talk you out of it, unless you like hanging around with shooters and enjoying the friendly ribbing you’ll inevitably be involved with.  

Edited by practical_man
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OK, lots of good info here. Seems like the 870 Express could be my starter? I really don’t want to spend $8-900 on an entry level auto when I’ll end up dropping a lot more on a quality O/U later on.  Other folks I’ve spoken to have mentioned that they do shoot clays with their 870. 

 

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870 is a great starter. I used my duck gun to start out (an 11-87).  Bought a couple choke tubes and some neoprene foam to raise the comb a bit. Worked just fine. That 11-87 has been passed on to a younger brother to shoot ducks and trap. He’s getting good service out of it. Now I just use my 870 express for hunting and the monthly shuck and chuck pump gun fun shoot. 
 

For chokes you don’t need a bunch. The 870 comes with modified. I would get a Skeet choke for skeet and light mod or IC for other clays games. You really don’t need full choke very often on the clay fields. I rarely use anything except skeet or light mod. 
 

I like Carlsons extended chokes. They pattern well and hold up just fine. Extended chokes are just easier to change and make sure they’re seated snugly. A little grease on the threads now and then makes life easier. 
 

you might want a seperate range bag for the shotgun. Something that will hold 4-ish boxes of shells, a couple chokes, a bore snake and your shell bag. Doesn’t have to be fancy at all. A lot of guys (including me) just use one of those 2-1/2 gallon buckets from the home improvement stores. The plastic kitty litter buckets are about perfect if you know someone who keeps a cat. You’ll see all manner of things on the fields, from Gucci to the Dollar store. 

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the single most important thing you need (besides safety gear) for any of the shotgun sports, is a gun that fits. so much easier to be consistent if your gun fits you, and you are not fighting it. if you get into more than once in a while clays shooting, cheap gun, expensive gun doesnt matter, durable gun matters as clay shooting will wear out guns that would survive a lifetime of hunting.

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On 12/17/2020 at 8:36 PM, Stafford said:

Seems like the 870 Express could be my starter?

 

Do you enjoy shooting USPSA with a 6 shot revolver?  That's about as much fun as shooting skeet and sporting clays with a pump shotgun.

 

Buy a used semi auto instead.

 

Just so you know where I'm coming from, I have an 870, I have shot it in all the shotgun sports just to try it out, and it ended up being left in the closet.  I shot sporting clays recreationally for years using several semi autos.  In 2015 I Decided to get competitive with a Beretta 686 Onyx Sporting, went from E to A class in three seasons shooting about 30K rounds a year, and got burned the F out.

Edited by SGT_Schultz
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Ha! I was at a match last weekend and a guy in my squad was shooting with a 6 shot revolver. It seemed to be no fun at all, but he was a big talker and seemed to enjoy telling match stories more than shooting. He had a blast. 

 

Clay shooting and a shotgun purchase are on hold for now. I had some available cash to spend and instead of a shotgun for clays, I’m spending it in this order:

 

1. Red dot for my carry pistol 

 

2. Steve Anderson’s first book on dry firing

 

3. Pocket Pro II shot timer

 

4. Lyman Digital trigger gauge

 

5. Optics slide milling for my Shadow 2

 

 

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2 hours ago, Stafford said:

Clay shooting and a shotgun purchase are on hold for now. I had some available cash to spend and instead of a shotgun for clays, I’m spending it in this order:

 

1. Red dot for my carry pistol 

 

2. Steve Anderson’s first book on dry firing

 

3. Pocket Pro II shot timer

 

4. Lyman Digital trigger gauge

 

5. Optics slide milling for my Shadow 2

 

 

 

Good choices

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