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Input on over/under shotguns for clays?

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Hi There,

I was VERY recently in your shoes. I am/was primarily a handgun and rifle shooter, but got exposed to 3 gun about 2 years ago and got "hooked". I picked up a Winchester Ranger pump shotgun and it did the trick for 3-gun competitions.

But then I started trying sporting clays, skeet and trap and figured out pretty quickly that the gun a) did not fit me well enough for those disciplines and b) I was not NEARLY fast enough with the pump for simultaneous birds (trues) in SC or skeet. So I tried a bunch of different shotguns from members at my club.

Pumps were out 100%. I tried semiautos and O/U (no Side by sides). As others have stated, a gun that "fits" you is most important, and longer barrels "swing" better than shorter ones which makes it easier for SC, trap etc.

I also didn't want to break the bank with a "nice" shotgun and was originally in your price range. I tried some really expensive guns, just to see what they were like (I didn't shoot any better with them, I am an "intermediate" shooter at best so maybe I was unable to benefit from them) and eventually narrowed down to a semiauto and an O/U (Remington Versa Max and a Browning Citori), both could be had for your price range in very nice used condition.

I was leaning towards the Browning for three reasons a) availability of parts and people to work on them, b) resale value and c) ease of use and cleaning. The Remington had several feed problems on multiple occasions. You can't have a feed problem with an O/U.

So I was on the hunt for a Citori and found several on the gunsites that were between $1000-1200. Then a Citori 725 with hardcase showed up and I ended up spending way over my budget ($1800). My rationalization was that if I were to sell it, I would get most if not all of my money back. No question it shoots better than I do. and it was PURDY :) There was no logical reason I needed to spend that much other than I did. I don't regret it or the extra $600-800. Do I shoot better with it? No (at least not compared to the Citori CX I used for several weeks). I just liked it enough to spend the extra money (purely emotional). If I shot it worse than the Citori CX, I would have been upset :)

The other thing you may want to look into (I am 6'1") is that I also needed not just a longer LOP, I also had a hard time mounting the gun consistently because of taller frame and longer neck. I had to crane my head down to get a good cheek weld and that affected my ability to shoot accurately. What I found in shooting everyone else's shotguns is that many had a Jones or Graco adapter, and I shot those much better when the adapter was set to lower the buttplate. It made it MUCH easier for me to comfortably mount the gun.

So my recommendation would be:
1. Find a gun that fits you, and realize that a stock gun may not fit you perfectly and you may need to pay extra to get it to fit you
2. Find a length you like and are comfortable shooting. I actually preferred a 30" over a 32" or 34". I will in all likelihood NEVER go hunting with my Citori so wasn't considering a 26" or 28' gun
3. Decide what the gun will be used for. If you are going to shoot a lot of SC or skeet an O/U with adjustable chokes is nice to have. A semiauto can only have one choke so you have less flexibility to adjust for near/far shots. I also didn't care for the extra maintenance a semiauto would require (at least with my experience with the Versa Max over several weeks of use)
4. Figure out how much you are going to shoot. If you are going to shoot a lot, stay away from less expensive guns as they won't hold up over time (I heard this from every SC shooter at my club). Big diff only going hunting or shooting a couple of boxes of clays a year vs shooting a case a month. I looked at what all the other guys in my club were shooting and they were all shooting shotguns that cost at least $1000 MSRP because they were shooting thousands of rounds a year.

Hope this helps
 
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Tourproto you hit the nail on the head. Very well stated. The 725 is a hard gun to beat. You pay more, but you also get more. IF you don't like it, you can probably get most of your money back, and a lot easier than selling a cheap gun.
 
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Tourproto you hit the nail on the head. Very well stated. The 725 is a hard gun to beat. You pay more, but you also get more. IF you don't like it, you can probably get most of your money back, and a lot easier than selling a cheap gun.
Thank you :)

TBH, I am not sure I can fully appreciate many of the difference between a Citori CX and a 725.

I can see and appreciate the wood and high visibility front sight differences

I don't think I am anywhere near good enough/consistent enough to appreciate the mechanical trigger on the 725 or the lower receiver height vs the Citori CX.
 
OP
Lesliet

Lesliet

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Those SKB's are lovely. Liking the way the tristars look, too, but $$$ and need to look at reviews. The Brownings... well, not seeing any on gunbroker for under 2 grand, maybe an occasional one at 1800 or so. Probably need to just keep saving up my piggy bank for a while, bide my time and wait for a good deal to come along. And continue to do research... maybe read some reviews on a forum dedicated to competitive trap.
 
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Inexpensive Citoris do show up on gunbroker, you just have to be patient. When I was looking just a few months ago I could have bought a brand new one for $1800 and there were plenty of used ones selling in your price range.
 

cowboykid8

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Those SKB's are lovely. Liking the way the tristars look, too, but $$$ and need to look at reviews. The Brownings... well, not seeing any on gunbroker for under 2 grand, maybe an occasional one at 1800 or so. Probably need to just keep saving up my piggy bank for a while, bide my time and wait for a good deal to come along. And continue to do research... maybe read some reviews on a forum dedicated to competitive trap.
You are close to a couple trap, skeet, and sporting clays clubs. Give them a call and see if they have any used inventory or anyone has posted something for sale on their bulletin boards.

Sometimes the people selling guns aren’t as familiar, or don’t care to sell guns online.
 

bbbass

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You are close to a couple trap, skeet, and sporting clays clubs. Give them a call and see if they have any used inventory or anyone has posted something for sale on their bulletin boards.

Sometimes the people selling guns aren’t as familiar, or don’t care to sell guns online.
You're right... I bought and sold several shotguns at trap ranges!!!
 

USMC1911

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You seem pretty green to the sport so first thing I would do is find a good low cost shotgun in the action you like. Then go shoot! Shotguns are very specifically tailored once you find what type of shooting you wish to do and what level of competition you wish to compete. IMO you don't know what type of shooting your into yet so figure that out first.

I understand your desire for an over under but if trap is the only thing your going to shoot it could be easier and more cost effective to find a really nice single barrel trap gun for your price. A good used Browning BT99 is a good bit less then an over under.
 
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"Your budget will be the biggest factor, but a used Browning can be found for around $1000."

Somehow, I picked up a lightly used 20-gauge Browning Citori O/U off GunBroker.com for approximately $600. Due to its diminutive size and weight (compared to the 12-gauge Citori), it's been my "go-to" sporting clays, skeet, and even trap gun ever since. And it only has 26-inch barrels.
 

Legs

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Funny thing is Brownings are made by Miroku in Japan. You have to be careful with the guns made around 1964. The wood in the stocks came from logs that were sunk in salt water to preserve the wood. What was happening is as the wood cures the salt would come out and cause corrosion and then rust around the action. (The Japanese sunk the logs for cheap storage, and then pulled them up when they needed them) Also the ribs on the shotguns would break the soldering, so then you have to have them repaired which is not cheap. Look at the rib if it is white in color where it meets the barrel your weld is breaking. There is a lady who shoots a Remington 1100 at a local shoot and she is a great shot. The thing is get a shotgun that is comfortable and fits you right. O/U, semi-auto, or pump. There is a difference in the long run between a field gun and a trap gun.
With all due respect the salt wood Brownings you reference were the FN Belguim made Superpose models. I believe Miroku didn't start making Browning shotguns until the Citori, about 1974. I am unaware of rib problems on the Browning guns, however, the vented ribs of the Superpose models were soldered, not welded. As a Superpose owner I have researched the guns extensively and wholeheartedly recommend John Browning's final design .
 
OP
Lesliet

Lesliet

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You seem pretty green to the sport so first thing I would do is find a good low cost shotgun in the action you like. Then go shoot! Shotguns are very specifically tailored once you find what type of shooting you wish to do and what level of competition you wish to compete. IMO you don't know what type of shooting your into yet so figure that out first.
Y'know, this isn't bad advice, either. When I first started shooting speed steel, and rimfire challenge, I bought a $260 GSG 1911-22 because I was familiar with the 1911 controls, and wanted to be able to practice a lot, without breaking the bank on ammo, or the gun. Yes, it broke. Then I fixed it, lather, rinse, repeat. I learned a lot about working on 1911's, and I still have that gun, it's the one in my profile pic, and runs as open class. I've since shifted focus more to centerfire guns, and am having a lot of fun with that. What I've learned, though, is it can be fine to run a cheap gun, as long as you know it's going to need work, and repairs, and upgrades. With that in mind, I would want to research any cheap gun I was considering, and make sure there is parts support for it, and from other places besides the gun manufacturer. It's REALLY nice if there are a few aftermarket outfits that sell upgrade parts, since I don't have a lathe or a mill. ( YET!)

I suppose a single barrel could work, but I really like the aesthetics of the o/u. I've been keeping an eye on the classifieds at ARPC, but haven't seen what I'm looking for, yet.
 

MarshalChillN

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Dont discount Winchester 101's as they are pretty nice guns for the money. I just bought a field grade 101 off Gunbroker for $550.00. It been well used but a nice gun.
Also Mossberg has their Silver Reserve O/U that would serve you well as a starter gun. I bought one about 5 years ago for $350 and have scattered a lot of clay with it.
Just be sure to get interchangeable choke tubes as added diversity in shooting choices. I got bored with trap and went to skeet... more challenging... LOL And then there's Sporting Clays ! :D
 

bbbass

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"Your budget will be the biggest factor, but a used Browning can be found for around $1000."

Somehow, I picked up a lightly used 20-gauge Browning Citori O/U off GunBroker.com for approximately $600. Due to its diminutive size and weight (compared to the 12-gauge Citori), it's been my "go-to" sporting clays, skeet, and even trap gun ever since. And it only has 26-inch barrels.
But if one is going to use 20ga, with less shot, one has to be a better shot. I had a 20ga SKB O/U and an SKB 20ga double/SxS, That O/U was my very favorite upland bird gun because of it's fast swing and being light to carry. But I couldn't shoot the SxS for crap for some reason.

I shot trap with my oldest brother in N. Las Vegas at the Clark County facility. Nice place. We stayed for several days in our RV visiting my bro while on our way to Quartzsite. Their sporting clays range looked kind of dry, with no trees.
 
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I frequent the Clark County Shooting Complex, as I live only a couple of miles away from it. I've run through the Sporting Clay courses (there are 3 courses totaling 15 individual shooting stations) and the 24 individual Trap courses, on numerous occasions. All of the Sporting Clay stations have shade structures, a variety of seating options, and cold water dispensers with paper cups.

Ironically, I also have a 20ga SKB, but mine is a side-by-side that was originally sold as an Ithaca. It's another one of my "go-to" guns (for target shooting) for the same reasons my 20-gauge Citori is.

Despite the fact that 20-gauges shoot lighter loads (7/8 oz. vs 1 to 1-1/4 oz. for 12-gauge), it seems like I'm a much better shot with 20-gauges. A conclusion I recently came too after 35-plus years of shooting nothing but 12-gauges. Who would've thunk?

I recently picked-up (from AuctionArms.com) an older Browning Sweet Sixteen (16-ga.) that I'm really looking forward to trying out at both Trap and Sporting Clays. All I have to do is locate some reasonably priced 16-gauge rounds in 7-1/2 or 8-shot. Thus far, I've only been able to find some 6-shot in 16-gauge.

My comparison of how I personally shoot the three different gauges (12, 20 & 16) ought to be interesting, nonetheless.
 

DeanMk

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Despite the fact that 20-gauges shoot lighter loads (7/8 oz. vs 1 to 1-1/4 oz. for 12-gauge), it seems like I'm a much better shot with 20-gauges. A conclusion I recently came too after 35-plus years of shooting nothing but 12-gauges. Who would've thunk?
I bet you shoot the 20 better because you're subconsciously anticipating a harder recoil from the 12 gauge, than from the 20 gauge.
Whether that increased recoil actually exists or not, is neither here nor there. It's more likely linked to your subconcious mental impression of the two gauges.
Don't think of it, so much, as "Flinching", but rather, just anticipating....know what I mean?

...of course, it could be I'm full of Doo-Doo on that one, too. Anyway, JMHO.
Happy shooting. =)


Dean
P.S. My local Wally World carries a selection of 16 ga. Mostly Federal, but if you haven't tried them yet, might worth checking into.
 
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I bet you shoot the 20 better because you're subconsciously anticipating a harder recoil from the 12 gauge, than from the 20 gauge.
Whether that increased recoil actually exists or not, is neither here nor there. It's more likely linked to your subconcious mental impression of the two gauges.
Don't think of it, so much, as "Flinching", but rather, just anticipating....know what I mean?

...of course, it could be I'm full of Doo-Doo on that one, too. Anyway, JMHO.
Happy shooting. =)


Dean
P.S. My local Wally World carries a selection of 16 ga. Mostly Federal, but if you haven't tried them yet, might worth checking into.


I've thought the exact same thing about the "perceived recoil." And, although my 20-gauge Citori (with only a rock hard plastic buttstock) actually kicks about the same or more than most of my 12-gauges, (which all have varying types/ thickness of modern recoil pads), I'm still leaning towards its smaller size (thinner width) and especially the lighter swing weight that helps the most. Plus, it doesn't hurt that I simply love that little shotgun!

Looking back, I initially switched gauges because I needed a shoulder replacement (and still do). And, as old and physically pathetic as I've gotten over the past few years, the lighter swing weight really makes a difference, especially on the heavy shooting days. I confess that I've been wearing one of those girly-boy under your shooting vest recoil pads that's really increased my physical ability to keep on shooting.

And, for the moment that's what I care about the most - ust being able to keep shooting while genuinely enjoying the friendships, camaraderie, etc. that naturally come along for the ride.

Last time I checked, my local Wally World didn't have any 16-gauge shells in stock. But I'll be sure to keep checking.
 

DeanMk

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I understand "body pain" very well.
My little 20 ga. single beat the crap out of my shoulder. I'd hate to think about all of my guns having that effect on me.
I eventually put one of those Limbsaver pads on it.
Now shooting that gun is no problem.
I wonder if your under vest pad isn't the same kind of gel-like material.
Sorry you're still having a hard time finding the 16 ga. loads.
Good luck.

Dean
 

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