Need advice on clays gun...

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  • BlueHeeler

    Active Member
    Apr 28, 2010
    7,086
    Washington, DC
    I am shopping for a real trap and sporting clays gun. I do not want something super fancy, just a workhorse for busting birds. The more random internet reviews I read, the more confusing it gets. So I rented a couple this weekend and was not overly impressed with either. :shrug:

    Beretta White Onyx – I rate this 6.5/10
    The feel, weight and look of the gun were very good. The choke seemed to be too open and I was really struggling with farther shots. It looks like they use a standard removable choke, so I guess it could be somewhat tuned to my shooting. I could live with it, BUT for a $2K gun I should love it out of the box.

    Beretta A400 Xplor - 4/10
    The autoloading function made the most annoying noise in my ear every time it cycled. Something about the spring noise was nails on a chalkboard. That is not something I could live with. It felt kind of cheap for a $1.3K gun. The loading mechanism was not that great. Shot pretty well though.

    Remington 870 Express (what I have now) – 7/10
    I like this gun because it is customized with everything I want, unfortunately it is still a pump. I would rather use it for HD.

    Ideally here is what I would like:
    1. O/U or autoloading for doubles (O/U preferred)
    2. 12 gauge
    3. Used is preferred
    4. Changeable chokes
    5. Adjustable comb available so I can dial it up a tad for trap and drop it for sporting clays
    6. Price range is $1 to 2K

    Questions:
    1. Are these criteria realistic?
    2. Do all semi autos make a bad spring noise?
    3. Is anybody on the forum selling something similar?
    4. Suggestions, experience, and wisdom appreciated. There is too much money involved to learn about these by trial and error

    Any info on these, the reviews make them seem interesting?
    Model 1100 Competition Synthetic - This could work if the cycling is significantly better than the Beretta.

    Stoeger Condor Competition - It ticks all of the boxes and looks cool. However the low price make me suspicious. Too good to be true?

    Browning O/Us look impressive and available used on Gun Broker in the price range. However I do not want to buy one without handling or shooting a Browning.
     

    haoleboy

    1/2 Banned
    MDS Supporter
    Sep 17, 2005
    4,061
    Dentsville
    1. Trap guns and Sporting Clays guns are apples and oranges. Yes you can use 1 gun for both, but in the Clays world, they are 2 different animals.

    2. Price range will be a big help.
     

    alucard0822

    For great Justice
    Oct 29, 2007
    16,476
    PA
    If you are serious about clays and can find a Browning Citori sporting that fits you well, then a used model in good shape should fit all your criteria. It's pretty much the gold standard for O/U scatterguns. A lot of the money comes down to fit, lockup, and durability, once you get past a Citori, you get more aesthetics, less substance. A number of Clays ranges rent them, itself a testament to their durability, but also a easy way to try one out. We got the wife a Franchi 20ga 26" Rennaisance, and it has been a decent gun, but took a decent ammount of work to get a nice smooth lockup and trigger pull, along with fitting it to her, it cost about 1/2 of what a Citori does, and being a shooter of about 10-15 outings a season, and she being a newer clays shooter, we couldn't justify much more expense. It shoots well, and has held up to relatively light use, but isn't in the same league as the Citori. I am capable of the smithing and machine work I did to it, but plan on a couple hundred at a decent smith to get it running slick, and adjusted for a proper fit, worth every penny if you shoot a lot, and will help you get the most from the gun.

    For an Auto, the Beretta AL391 sporting, or Rem 1100 sporting are good, reliable, and hold up well. I shoot a Beretta AL391, and it has held up well for about 20 cases of shells, I bore snake it, and oil it every session(50-200 clays), but only dissasemble it for a thorough cleaning every season, or about every couple thousand rounds, never misses a beat. It makes an ARish spring noise out of the box, but some thick grease on the action spring keeps it quiet.

    At first you don't need to worry about chokes too much, but later on, you will recognise shots that a choke change can help you pick up a bird or two. You want a choke set that allows you to change them easily and quickly, extended chokes you can screw in and out without a wrench are very nice. With an O/U, you can optimise the chokes for each shot, most of the time not a big deal, but occasionally you get something like an incoming rabbit at close range, then a fast crosser further out, perhaps 5-10 yards for the first shot, and 40-50 on the second, for this a O/U has a distinct advantage over a semi. I normally use #8 shot with an IC choke, but can use #9 to open up a pattern a little, or #7.5 to tighten it up for longer ranges, and get a small ammount of pattern change from a single barrel, but an O/U can just use 2 different chokes. You need to pattern whatever gun you go with at several ranges with several chokes, and then perhaps with a couple different loads to get a feel for what does what. Every gun patterns a little different, and sometimes a simple brand change for ammo can increase your score, sometimes using a different choke or shot size, kinda like knowing what club to use in golf. Especially if you are relatively new with clays you shouldn't dwell on choke settings, most of the time you will still miss with a "perfect"choke, or still hit with the wrong choke, you need to get the technique down, and hit more birds than you miss, swapping chokes every shot slows you down, gets yu frustrated, and you tend to blame the choke instead of just going with it, and improving your technique and consistency, about 3/4 of presentations can be taken with an IC or LM choke alone, so don't worry too much about them till you have a few seasons under your belt. Trap is a different game, standard trap has the clays rising the same every time, so many trap guns have the vertical lead built in, just pop in a Modified for singles, or modified and full for doubles, wobble trap, 5 stand and clays have different ranges and different speeds involved, so different setups. Field guns tend to shoot low, and have narrower ribs, but they shoot clays better than trap, but neither exceptionally well, sporting guns shoot clays best, trap decent, trap guns shoot trap best, ut can be difficult with anything else. When I first started shooting trap about 12 years ago, I LOVED wobble trap, I used an 870, and my score didn't change much between standard and wobble, but the guys that were breaking 24s and 25s every time on the trap range with high dollar trap guns had trouble breaking 15 or 20 on the wobbler range, leveled the playing field quite a bit.
     

    xcavater

    Fed Up
    Oct 27, 2008
    1,099
    MD
    I shoot a Stoeger Condor and enjoy every shot.
    Lanber 2097 is a great gun also.
    You will be hearing from the B-B-B snobs within a couple of posts.



    Sent from my ADR6400L using Tapatalk
     

    lx1x

    Peanut Gallery
    Apr 19, 2009
    26,942
    Maryland
    this is what you need.
    Beretta SO 10

    :lol2:

    i've shot baretta o/u rented from pg trap and skeet.. they are nice guns but too much for my blood.

    i'd stick w/ my 870 for trap.. havent tried sporting clays yet.. i have xtrema2 w/ rifled barrel.. been meaning to get a regular barrel for it but $500+ price tag.. ill stick w/ the 870 for now.. lol
     

    MPS111

    Claybirder
    Feb 13, 2011
    87
    Bel Air
    Browning Golden Clays is my favorite. Light recoil, fast pointing, smooth action and no jambs. A Citori is my second choice.

    Had an 1100, a Stoeger and Franchi .........nice guns for the price but not Brownings.

    Changeable chokes are nice if you can get them,
     

    ColonelHurtz

    A pile of little arms.
    Nov 13, 2008
    1,105
    I have a Beretta Silver Pigeon for sporting clays and a Rem 1100 Trap.
    The 1100 is from the classifieds here and the Beretta was off of the AR15.com EE.
    Both are nearly new guns bought by people who decided the respective games were not their cup of tea.

    The deals are out there.
     

    Maverick0313

    Retired and loving it
    Jul 16, 2009
    9,182
    Bridgeville, DE
    If you are serious about clays and can find a Browning Citori sporting that fits you well, then a used model in good shape should fit all your criteria. It's pretty much the gold standard for O/U scatterguns. A lot of the money comes down to fit, lockup, and durability, once you get past a Citori, you get more aesthetics, less substance. A number of Clays ranges rent them, itself a testament to their durability, but also a easy way to try one out. We got the wife a Franchi 20ga 26" Rennaisance, and it has been a decent gun, but took a decent ammount of work to get a nice smooth lockup and trigger pull, along with fitting it to her, it cost about 1/2 of what a Citori does, and being a shooter of about 10-15 outings a season, and she being a newer clays shooter, we couldn't justify much more expense. It shoots well, and has held up to relatively light use, but isn't in the same league as the Citori. I am capable of the smithing and machine work I did to it, but plan on a couple hundred at a decent smith to get it running slick, and adjusted for a proper fit, worth every penny if you shoot a lot, and will help you get the most from the gun.

    For an Auto, the Beretta AL391 sporting, or Rem 1100 sporting are good, reliable, and hold up well. I shoot a Beretta AL391, and it has held up well for about 20 cases of shells, I bore snake it, and oil it every session(50-200 clays), but only dissasemble it for a thorough cleaning every season, or about every couple thousand rounds, never misses a beat. It makes an ARish spring noise out of the box, but some thick grease on the action spring keeps it quiet.

    At first you don't need to worry about chokes too much, but later on, you will recognise shots that a choke change can help you pick up a bird or two. You want a choke set that allows you to change them easily and quickly, extended chokes you can screw in and out without a wrench are very nice. With an O/U, you can optimise the chokes for each shot, most of the time not a big deal, but occasionally you get something like an incoming rabbit at close range, then a fast crosser further out, perhaps 5-10 yards for the first shot, and 40-50 on the second, for this a O/U has a distinct advantage over a semi. I normally use #8 shot with an IC choke, but can use #9 to open up a pattern a little, or #7.5 to tighten it up for longer ranges, and get a small ammount of pattern change from a single barrel, but an O/U can just use 2 different chokes. You need to pattern whatever gun you go with at several ranges with several chokes, and then perhaps with a couple different loads to get a feel for what does what. Every gun patterns a little different, and sometimes a simple brand change for ammo can increase your score, sometimes using a different choke or shot size, kinda like knowing what club to use in golf. Especially if you are relatively new with clays you shouldn't dwell on choke settings, most of the time you will still miss with a "perfect"choke, or still hit with the wrong choke, you need to get the technique down, and hit more birds than you miss, swapping chokes every shot slows you down, gets yu frustrated, and you tend to blame the choke instead of just going with it, and improving your technique and consistency, about 3/4 of presentations can be taken with an IC or LM choke alone, so don't worry too much about them till you have a few seasons under your belt. Trap is a different game, standard trap has the clays rising the same every time, so many trap guns have the vertical lead built in, just pop in a Modified for singles, or modified and full for doubles, wobble trap, 5 stand and clays have different ranges and different speeds involved, so different setups. Field guns tend to shoot low, and have narrower ribs, but they shoot clays better than trap, but neither exceptionally well, sporting guns shoot clays best, trap decent, trap guns shoot trap best, ut can be difficult with anything else. When I first started shooting trap about 12 years ago, I LOVED wobble trap, I used an 870, and my score didn't change much between standard and wobble, but the guys that were breaking 24s and 25s every time on the trap range with high dollar trap guns had trouble breaking 15 or 20 on the wobbler range, leveled the playing field quite a bit.

    I got this Beretta from 2A...love it. Good stuff here!!!
     

    BlueHeeler

    Active Member
    Apr 28, 2010
    7,086
    Washington, DC
    If you are serious about clays and can find a Browning Citori sporting that fits you well, then a used model in good shape should fit all your criteria. It's pretty much the gold standard for O/U scatterguns. A lot of the money comes down to fit, lockup, and durability, once you get past a Citori, you get more aesthetics, less substance. A number of Clays ranges rent them, itself a testament to their durability, but also a easy way to try one out. We got the wife a Franchi 20ga 26" Rennaisance, and it has been a decent gun, but took a decent ammount of work to get a nice smooth lockup and trigger pull, along with fitting it to her, it cost about 1/2 of what a Citori does, and being a shooter of about 10-15 outings a season, and she being a newer clays shooter, we couldn't justify much more expense. It shoots well, and has held up to relatively light use, but isn't in the same league as the Citori. I am capable of the smithing and machine work I did to it, but plan on a couple hundred at a decent smith to get it running slick, and adjusted for a proper fit, worth every penny if you shoot a lot, and will help you get the most from the gun.

    For an Auto, the Beretta AL391 sporting, or Rem 1100 sporting are good, reliable, and hold up well. I shoot a Beretta AL391, and it has held up well for about 20 cases of shells, I bore snake it, and oil it every session(50-200 clays), but only dissasemble it for a thorough cleaning every season, or about every couple thousand rounds, never misses a beat. It makes an ARish spring noise out of the box, but some thick grease on the action spring keeps it quiet.

    At first you don't need to worry about chokes too much, but later on, you will recognise shots that a choke change can help you pick up a bird or two. You want a choke set that allows you to change them easily and quickly, extended chokes you can screw in and out without a wrench are very nice. With an O/U, you can optimise the chokes for each shot, most of the time not a big deal, but occasionally you get something like an incoming rabbit at close range, then a fast crosser further out, perhaps 5-10 yards for the first shot, and 40-50 on the second, for this a O/U has a distinct advantage over a semi. I normally use #8 shot with an IC choke, but can use #9 to open up a pattern a little, or #7.5 to tighten it up for longer ranges, and get a small ammount of pattern change from a single barrel, but an O/U can just use 2 different chokes. You need to pattern whatever gun you go with at several ranges with several chokes, and then perhaps with a couple different loads to get a feel for what does what. Every gun patterns a little different, and sometimes a simple brand change for ammo can increase your score, sometimes using a different choke or shot size, kinda like knowing what club to use in golf. Especially if you are relatively new with clays you shouldn't dwell on choke settings, most of the time you will still miss with a "perfect"choke, or still hit with the wrong choke, you need to get the technique down, and hit more birds than you miss, swapping chokes every shot slows you down, gets yu frustrated, and you tend to blame the choke instead of just going with it, and improving your technique and consistency, about 3/4 of presentations can be taken with an IC or LM choke alone, so don't worry too much about them till you have a few seasons under your belt. Trap is a different game, standard trap has the clays rising the same every time, so many trap guns have the vertical lead built in, just pop in a Modified for singles, or modified and full for doubles, wobble trap, 5 stand and clays have different ranges and different speeds involved, so different setups. Field guns tend to shoot low, and have narrower ribs, but they shoot clays better than trap, but neither exceptionally well, sporting guns shoot clays best, trap decent, trap guns shoot trap best, ut can be difficult with anything else. When I first started shooting trap about 12 years ago, I LOVED wobble trap, I used an 870, and my score didn't change much between standard and wobble, but the guys that were breaking 24s and 25s every time on the trap range with high dollar trap guns had trouble breaking 15 or 20 on the wobbler range, leveled the playing field quite a bit.

    Thanks for the help guys especially alucard0822. :party29::thumbsup:

    Looks like Browning is the next flavor to try.

    I have been shooting clays for about a year and a half. The 870 shoots flat so I have gotten in the habit (maybe bad) of aiming high on trap and allowing the bird to rise into the pattern. Sporting clays I just aim at the bird. A sporting gun sounds like a better option for my shooting.

    Where do they rent Brownings? PG has a lot of Beretta, not sure if they have anything else.
     

    Bikebreath

    21st Century Hoplite
    MDS Supporter
    Jun 30, 2009
    14,240
    in the bowels of Baltimore
    I know Loch Raven Skeet & Trap rents guns, but nowhere on the site is it stated. You might give them a call and ask what guns they rent.

    Loch Raven Skeet & Trap Center
    12301 Dulaney Valley Road, Phoenix, MD 21131
    410-252-3851
     

    blackthorne

    Banned
    BANNED!!!
    Aug 31, 2010
    1,499
    Naptown
    First of all, you need to decide what you are going to shoot the most and then buy a gun for that game and it will make due for the other game. Most of the guns you noted are not target guns. The one that is a target gun (the 1100) is not seen much anymore on target fields. Stay away from those Stoegers and Lanbers and any Turkish trash.. They DO NOT hold up to targets, period. If they did, everyone would be shooting them. In shotguns, more than in most purchases, you do get what you pay for (No, I'm not a B snob, I'm a K snob - LOL).

    Shooting some rental guns is a good idea. At PG trap & Skeet, they rent Beretta guns designed for targets. Of more importance, hook up with someone who knows what they are doing, shoot with them and pick their brain. You will learn more that way than getting "net advice". Most experienced shooters will be more than happy to help. Ignore all of that snob talk... it's nonsense.

    Good luck. If I can be of any help, just ask.
     

    boule

    Active Member
    Oct 16, 2008
    1,903
    Galt's Gulch
    Stay away from those Stoegers and Lanbers and any Turkish trash.. They DO NOT hold up to targets, period.

    Hm, interestingly, Stoegers are holding up in the field, in informal claybird shooting and in other sports like CAS (where they are really beaten around). True, there is some really cheap trash guns around but most of the brand guns are really working fine. I have yet to see a Baikal or Stoeger that has been falling apart after a few hundred shots..... ok, they are not beauty queens but go bang every time you pull the trigger and they hit what you shoot for. Seen a few Huglus that were having trouble locking up, though.

    In shotguns, more than in most purchases, you do get what you pay for
    1927 GECO, made in Belgium, double barrel. Looks like a piece of excrement when sitting next to a $50k Krieghoff but he is still not breaking more birds than me.

    In summary, get a gun that fits you well. When length of pull and cheek weld fit, results will be quite independent as long as the gun is mechanically sound.
     

    teratos

    My hair is amazing
    MDS Supporter
    Jan 22, 2009
    51,666
    Bel Air
    I've got a Belgian Browning Lightning 30" F/IM for $1800. Gun is in great shape. If you are interested....:D
     

    RetNavyHD

    Member
    Dec 7, 2008
    610
    North East, MD
    First of all, you need to decide what you are going to shoot the most and then buy a gun for that game and it will make due for the other game. Most of the guns you noted are not target guns. The one that is a target gun (the 1100) is not seen much anymore on target fields. Stay away from those Stoegers and Lanbers and any Turkish trash.. They DO NOT hold up to targets, period. If they did, everyone would be shooting them. In shotguns, more than in most purchases, you do get what you pay for (No, I'm not a B snob, I'm a K snob - LOL).

    Shooting some rental guns is a good idea. At PG trap & Skeet, they rent Beretta guns designed for targets. Of more importance, hook up with someone who knows what they are doing, shoot with them and pick their brain. You will learn more that way than getting "net advice". Most experienced shooters will be more than happy to help. Ignore all of that snob talk... it's nonsense.

    Good luck. If I can be of any help, just ask.

    Good advice....can't say I see Stoegers/Lanbers on the sporting clays field! There must be a reason for this....they may be good when starting out and deciding if you really want to shoot clays, if your going to do any substantial shooting your going to need a gun that will hold up. get yourself a good quality gun but most importantly get the one that fits you! I have several guns you could try but I'm in cecil county which may be too much of a drive.

    Good luck in your search!
     

    blackthorne

    Banned
    BANNED!!!
    Aug 31, 2010
    1,499
    Naptown
    Hm, interestingly, Stoegers are holding up in the field, in informal claybird shooting and in other sports like CAS (where they are really beaten around). True, there is some really cheap trash guns around but most of the brand guns are really working fine. I have yet to see a Baikal or Stoeger that has been falling apart after a few hundred shots..... ok, they are not beauty queens but go bang every time you pull the trigger and they hit what you shoot for. Seen a few Huglus that were having trouble locking up, though.


    1927 GECO, made in Belgium, double barrel. Looks like a piece of excrement when sitting next to a $50k Krieghoff but he is still not breaking more birds than me.

    In summary, get a gun that fits you well. When length of pull and cheek weld fit, results will be quite independent as long as the gun is mechanically sound.

    Ah, so you are the guy with the old field gun that outshoots the K80 guys. I often hear about this, but have never seen it. Now, my K80 didn't cost $50,000, but I'm willing to take a chance on you beating me with that GECO guild gun. Let's get together and shoot a round of sporting and see what happens....at PG perhaps. If nothing else, it's a day afield. Can we post the scores afterwards?
     

    BlueHeeler

    Active Member
    Apr 28, 2010
    7,086
    Washington, DC
    First of all, you need to decide what you are going to shoot the most and then buy a gun for that game and it will make due for the other game. Most of the guns you noted are not target guns. The one that is a target gun (the 1100) is not seen much anymore on target fields. Stay away from those Stoegers and Lanbers and any Turkish trash.. They DO NOT hold up to targets, period. If they did, everyone would be shooting them. In shotguns, more than in most purchases, you do get what you pay for (No, I'm not a B snob, I'm a K snob - LOL).

    Shooting some rental guns is a good idea. At PG trap & Skeet, they rent Beretta guns designed for targets. Of more importance, hook up with someone who knows what they are doing, shoot with them and pick their brain. You will learn more that way than getting "net advice". Most experienced shooters will be more than happy to help. Ignore all of that snob talk... it's nonsense.

    Good luck. If I can be of any help, just ask.

    I rented the guns from PG.

    I do not have any dilutions about winning tournaments and needing an ultra high end specialized gun. For me it is easier to shoot a flat shooting gun at trap than a high shooting gun at sporting IYSWIM. So I would rather have a sporting gun.

    I have learned a lot from people shooting trap at the range. However those guys do not shoot sporting. The real fun/challenge is in sporting IMHO.

    I know fit is a big factor, but I am fairly average size so most guns feel comfortable to me. As long as I get a consistent cheek weld, I shoot fairly consistently. Not getting a consistent cheek weld is operator error.:innocent0

    What do you mean by target gun? Is a Browning Citori a target gun?
     

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