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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been shooting clays for a few years now with my Winchester 1300, which I love, but i'm generally not real experienced with shotguns. I have been considering buying an semi-auto as of recently. Im looking for something affordable (less than $800) that I can get deeper into the clay sports with, but I dont want garbage. What are your thoughts, advice, or recommendations?
 

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If your going to get serious about shooting clays, you need to reload your ammo (at least until your good enough for Win/Fed/Rem to give you your ammo for free).
You never need more than 2 shots, except for standard trap which is a single shell game.
Self loaders like to spew hulls all over the place. Yes, you can fit a shell catcher, but that also turns your auto-loader into a single shot.
Most clubs don't allow you to pick up your hulls (IE: once they hit the ground, they belong to the club).
Some games almost require a different choke for each shot (sporting clays, doubles trap, 5-stand), with some (SC) often requiring a choke change between stations.
Bottom line, there's a reason the majority of comp clays shooters use a break open action. Single barrel on std trap, stack barrels on all the rest.
Less expensive guns don't (usually) hold up to the usage level of a clay shooter (a entry level clay shooter puts more rounds through his gun in a week, than a hunter does in a lifetime). My wife was a hobby clay shooter (skeet only) and she averaged 8 boxes of 12ga a week for over 5 years (10,000+ rounds/year) while a serious shooter will go through about 250 rounds (1 case) per DAY on the practice field, more during a competition (or about 100,000 rounds/year).

Bottom line, spend a little more up front and start with a new/used mid grade O/U from Browning, Peratizi, Beretta, etc and save yourself a ton of cash in the long run.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you Tailgunner for your quick response, and valued insight. I origonally looked at over unders, but im my reading have heard they're subject to varying P.O.I. because of compensation for the offset barrels. Do you know anything of this? Also what is it about the over under that makes it a better option from my pump action? I know semi's have some issues too (jams, ect.), I just want to have my facts strait before I make my decision. Thanks again - Ryan
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
P.s. I'm not looking to go into competitions or anything of that nature, Im more so looking to go monthly vs. once or twice a year. I want to spend some more time shooting clays's to see if I keep interest, then maybe consider competitive shooting down the road.
 

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Doubles have fewer moving parts, and those that do move don't move as far. IOW less wear. The main wear point on a double is at the pivot pin, and a gunsmith can replace a worn pin with a oversized one (and you will only rarely see one that needs replacing).

You might get some variance in pattern center placement, but do you honestly think that a 1" difference will make a real world difference in a 36" diameter pattern? Fire a few rounds from each barrel at a pattern board, you'll see if there is any pattern shift.
My wife's Citori would group slugs from both barrels into the same 6" group at 100yd (for deer she used buckshot in the bottom, and a slug in the top barrel).

Now, considering your last post about your anticipated volume, Rem 1100/1187 have a following, as do the self loaders from the manufactures I mentioned above.

The most important thing (no matter what you buy/use) is fit. If you pick out a "target" (spot on the wall), close your eyes, throw the gun to your shoulder and than open your eyes, are you looking down the rib and is it pointing at the spot? If so it's fitting you correctly.
Second, clays is a reaction game, stopping to think about what your doing will cause you to miss. Or, as my shooting partner used to say, "a mind is a terrible thing to waste on a shotgunner" (most often heard when I missed a easy clay)
 

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Okay,

O/Us are real nice and I owne a couple but your question was what was a good semi auto for the price:

I have a 11-87 with a light contour barrel that is essentially the same as my senior father's 11-87 Sporting Clays gun. These guns are good SC guns for guys like you and I who shoot for the fun of it. An 1100 is also a good piece of iron. Before everyone had to have O/Us and single barreled trap guns the 870, 1100 and Winchester Model 12s where dusting clay birds in both trap and skeet. Two of the greatest skeet shooters that I have every known personally used Model 12s and tied at the Wayside club championship with 300 birds straight. That was a long time ago before scientifically designed wads and shot, etc etc. A big saying at our trap range is "It's not the arrow. It's the Indian."

A good semi is no handicap and if $800 is what you can and want to spend any decent used 1100 or 11-87 will do just fine and if something does break, they are cheap and easy to fix. And you probably will have money left over.

My 2 cents.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you, NJCOP, for your input. Im not opposed to a O/U, I would actually love to aquire one. I just feel I could get more use out of the semi auto. I don't honestly have a reason to get a new shotgun at all. I shoot my pump as well as most the guys with their $2000 o/u's, but I have an addiction to fine firearms. Maybe I'll once again consider an O/U..
 

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Nicely made and reasonably priced O/Us:

Skbs(Weatherby Orion - older model) Can still find these new/used stock.
Browning Citoris
Sig Aurouras
Mirukos (Citori/CharlesDaly,etc)

Own the SKBs and an Sig. SKB may or may not still be in business but parts and service are still available.

One note: I shoot a 1970s 870Trap for trap and maintain a high 20s average. The gun fits. I shoot it well. Have shot an O/U and a BT99 thinking I'd do better with them. I didn't. Found a 70's era 10X shooting vest and an old set of RayBan shooting glasses. Personally, I enjoy the whole throw back approach. What ever you buy, once it becomes your third arm stick with it and don't keep changing setups. We all fall prey to this addiction of fiddling with something that works.

Also, in Sporting Clays, find one choke tube that patterns the way you want it to and can hit with and leave it alone. If its on the tighter side it'll sharpen your shooting in the beginning and benefit you in the long run and in the field where the shooting actually does count for the average guy.

Again, my 2 cents.
 
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A little known fact !

You should be able to buy a new 1187 Remington for less than $800 ,it's nothing but an improved 1100 , which has won more tropheys than any over/under ever will ! :eek:

I shoot and own these autoloaders !;)
 

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Hey, a quick interesting story. Last month my boss took me skeet and trap shooting. I stupidly took my 18" pump security 12 ga. We went to the Olympic range (198?) in Chino, Ca. 30 minutes away.

I read later that these are very loud for other shooters, but the gentlemen there never said a word. They were all very ,very helpful. It did poorly on shots straight-away (skeet?), but was excellent from 2 directions (trap?). My best was 11 straight away and 18 side to side. i think it was easy to "swing" and scattered perfect at those close ranges.
 

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Tom T
Single launcher, shooters in a arc behind the launcher = Trap
2 launchers, one high one low, shooters move in a arc between the launchers = Skeet
There are other games played (sporting clays, 5 stand) but they don't have "standardized" layouts.
The real problem with a short barrel is the lack of forward weight. Very easy to get swinging, BUT it also stops just as easy. Stopping your swing causes you to shoot behind the bird.
 

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Remington 1100's and 11-87's have been the most popular semi-autos for clays for 40 years that I know off. They are a little heavy which is great for target shooting, because it dampens both swing and recoil, rugged, and point pretty well. Also they are gas operated which most think is softer recoiling. Second would be Beretta but they fit differently. Benelli 's also have a following, they are recoil operated and lighter. I like the Super Black Eagle. Slight difference in fit can make a difference in how the gun points for you try a few and see what you like.
 

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As NJCP has said, don't keep changing set ups. I have been guilty of that and it has hurt my shooting. I tend to agree that a good quality old gun in good shape is better than a cheap new gun.
 

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I used to teach shooting. You have to train yourself to follow through your shoots. A longer heavier barrel helps, but really it is poor form, not following through properly. Also a longer barrel helps with sighting. But again it is a sign of poor technique as properly fitted and trained you eyes should be n the target not the gun. But most people never get good training at the beginning and do need long barrels to compensate. It is hard to relearn shooting habits.that's why I preferred beginners over experienced shooters as students. But there were people that did it all wrong and were still decent shots.
 
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