“Beware the man who only has one gun. He probably knows how to use it!”
– Clint Smith, President of Thunder Ranch
There are some shooters in the world of clay target sports, who prefer to concentrate on a single clay target discipline – be that American Trap, Olympic Skeet, Sporting and so on, and there are others, who love to shoot various shotgun games and for whom the act of pulling the trigger is fun regardless of the kind of target being thrown. The former group usually opts-in for more specialized shotgun models because some disciplines demand a particular configuration and features in order to achieve the ultimate success. The latter group however frequently favors so called “all-around” or “crossover” type of shotguns, most of which are purposed, or can be easily adopted, to nearly all games shooters choose to participate in.
But what is an “all-around” shotgun? Generally, these shotguns are over and unders, weighting between 8 and 9 pounds, with 30” or 32” barrels equipped with interchangeable choke tubes intended to optimize shot pattern to a given target distance and presentation. Stocks on such “crossover” guns are often of the Monte Carlo style with the adjustable comb designed to achieve the best fit and to alter the point of impact (POI) by raising or lowering shooter’s eye position in relation to the bore. Among other desirable features is the adjustable rib, usually raised – a compromise between a flat rib most popular in Sporting Clays and a high rib more prevalent in American Trap, which is designed to fine-tune the point of impact and the point of aim (POA) to achieve shooter preferred sight picture. Such raised rib also aimed to increase target visibility and to reduce strain on shooter’s neck and shoulders. Here are some great “all-around” shotgun options for every budget:
Browning SSC, Crossover, CX
Over the years, Browning has introduced a number of excellent and fairly inexpensive “all-around” shotguns, the most notable among which are the Citori Special Sporting Clays, Citori Crossover Target, and Citori CX. Despite on their limited production run, these models have become very popular and, shortly after their introduction, have established themselves as some of the best options for budget-conscious competition shooters. Originally produced in various barrel lengths – from 28” to 32”, with the overall weight right around 8 ½ pounds, they shared nearly identical action design and set of features, including slightly raised ramped rib intended to keep shooter’s head more upright. The latest iteration in the “crossover” shotgun evolution from Browning is the Citori CX. Its 30” barrel version, usually supplied with a set of three Midas™ grade Invector-Plus™ extended choke tubes, is well balanced and would probably be the most comfortable option for the majority of shooters. The trigger blade is adjustable, which adds to shotgun’s versatility. The Citori CX and its siblings are the great choices for someone who wants to participate in various clay target sports without breaking the bank and having to buy a separate discipline-specific gun for each. While none of these models are being produced anymore, there are many (new, old stock) that are still available on the market.
Fabarm Axis RS12 QRR
MSRP $4,280 *
Another excellent multi-purpose shotgun option is the Fabarm AXIS RS12 QRR, which stands for “Quick Release Rib”, featuring the proprietary to Fabarm interchangeable rib design that allows to re-configure this gun for various clay target disciplines by simply swapping one rib for another. This particular model comes with two 10mm ramped-style ribs: one for 50/50% point of impact, which can be used for such disciplines as English Sporting and FITASC, and another for a higher POI of 65/35% more applicable to American Trap and Skeet. With its contemporary design elements and a myriad of options, including the free-floating 30” or 32” barrels with the proprietary TRIBORE HP™ tapered bores and five EXIS HP™ extended hyperbolic choke tubes, the Micro Metric™ adjustable comb, adjustable trigger blade, and optional easy to install KINETIK™ recoil reducer, it is the real “all-around” package without compromise. For more information, visit the Fabarm website.
Caesar Guerini Summit Impact
MSRP $5,750 *
Perhaps the closest to a “crossover” in Caesar Guerini product line up is their Summit Impact Sporting model. The mid-height adjustable rib version of its base counterpart Summit Sporting, this 8 ⅜ pound competition gun allows the shooter to adopt to nearly all clay target disciplines by changing position of the adjustable comb in relation to the 17mm tapered adjustable rib. The barrels on this model, accompanied by 6 MAXIS competition choke tubes, are available as long as 34”, but 30” or 32” option might be the most optimal for an “all-around”. The parallel Monte Carlo DTS adjustable comb and the DTS trigger system, with two trigger pull weight options and length of pull adjustments, are additional competition-centric features intended to ensure precise fit to shooter’s individual requirements. All in all, the Caesar Guerini Summit Impact Sporting should satisfy even the most demanding competitors out there. For more information, visit the Caesar Guerini website.
Zoli Z-Sport HR
MSRP $6,950 *
The Z-Sport HR by Zoli is truly an “all-around” powerhouse, designed to outperform its competition at the highest levels of nearly all clay target sports. The HR model, which stands for “High Rib”, is based on Zoli’s proven Z-Gun platform, known for its reliability due to the Boss-style locking system as well as the detachable trigger group usually present on much more expensive models produced by big-name gun manufacturers. The adjustable 11mm tapered rib is designed to regulate the point of impact from 50/50% to 70/30% with just a few turns of easy to use adjustment wheel. The 30” and 32” barrel models, supplied with a set of titanium-coated flush or optional extended factory choke tubes, should fit the requirements of the majority of shooters. Optional adjustable roll-over comb on the Monte Carlo style stock and the innovative Zoli BHB barrel and stock balancing system, which adds the desired amount of weight to the barrels and the pistol grip unlike the usual rear-of-the-stock kind, are available for extra charge. For more information, visit the Zoli website.
Blaser F3 Vantage
MSRP $8,675 *
Based on the Blaser’s very successful F3 platform, the Vantage model is one of the latest among sporting shotguns, produced by the well-known German brand, that fits nicely into the “crossover” category. This gun boasts the same technical innovations, found in all F3 models, such as low profile action design, Blaser’s proprietary mechanical trigger with IBS® or Inertia Block System, which prevents the gun from fan firing or doubling, and EBS® or Ejection Ball System that cocks the ejectors only when the shot is fired. But, what make this particular model to stand out is the the hybrid nature of its raised non-adjustable rib, which delivers perfect combination of ideal target awareness and elevation for comfort. This unique rib design ensures the same consistent sight picture regardless of clay target discipline. The Vantage model comes with 30” or 32” barrels and can be ordered with straight or Monte Carlo stock with the adjustable comb. Also, the overall balance can be fine-tuned with Blaser’s stock and barrel balancing system, which is another competition-centric feature standard on all F3 models. For more information, visit Blaser website.
Beretta DT11 ACS
MSRP $9,750 *
The DT11 ACS, appropriately designated as “All Competition Shotgun”, is a top of the line clay target over-and-under by Beretta, envisioned to excel in all three major shotgun sports – trap, skeet, and sporting clays. Such versatility is made possible due to Beretta’s innovative B-Fast system that consists of adjustable comb, adjustable rib and adjustable point of balance – all come standard on this model, which allow the shooter to quickly change most critical parts of the shotgun to suit each discipline, personal shooting style and body build. The point of impact in particular can be easily adjusted from 50/50% to 80/20% by turning easy to use click-stop dial in the front of the 15mm tapered rib, locking it into place with a hex screw in the back. And, although the ASC is balanced right on the hinge pin out of the box, this point of balance can be further customized through a set of extra weights to achieve shooter preferred feel and swing dynamics. Top the above feature set with a vault-like cross-bolt locking action, high quality barrels, accompanied by a set of Optima HP choke tubes, and the detachable trigger mechanism with a fast crisp trigger pull, and you will end up with the world class “all around” shotgun that will hold its own in all clay target sports. For more information, visit Beretta website.
Perazzi High Tech 3
When it comes to clay target sports, the Perazzi name needs no introduction – it is the most well known and respected brand in the world. Since its debut in 1968, the gun maker’s MX8 model has won more Olympic medals and World titles than probably all other shotgun manufacturers combined and has established itself as the gold standard in the world of clay shooting. The most recent addition to the vast model nomenclature produced by the Brescia-based company is the Perazzi High Tech, which retains the same set of features as its predecessor the MX8, including the legendary boxlock action with Boss or Woodward style locking system, which is now 3mm wider and 40 grams heavier than on the original MX8, as well as the drop-out trigger group, which can be ordered with leaf or coil springs upon request. Among other updates is a somewhat unusual reversed tapered rib and the newly re-designed High Tech stock and forend. While the majority of Perazzi shotguns are made specifically for each shooting discipline (or are completely bespoke), the High Tech 3 in particular, with 3 notches adjustable rib, adjustable comb and optional interchangeable choke tubes, is as “all-around” Perazzi as you can get, especially if equipped with barrels between 30 ¾” and 31 ½”. For more information, visit Perazzi website.
Krieghoff K-80 Pro Sporter
Among the high grade offerings in “all-around” shotgun category is the K-80 Pro Sporter from Krieghoff. Built on the same proven K-80 action as all other shotgun models manufactured by the Ulm-based gun maker, it delivers all the versatility you will ever need to succeed in all major shotgun shooting disciplines. The 8 ¾ lbs K-80 Pro Sporter features a higher free-floating rib, suspended above the barrel, which, in combination with a higher stock, is designed to keep shooter’s head in more elevated position for a quicker target acquisition as well as to reduce neck fatigue and lessen perceived recoil. The default 50/50% point of impact on this model can be easily adjusted to a slightly higher 60/40% by loosening the set screw and changing the rib position with a specifically designed adjustment wheel fitted to the front of the rib. Even higher point of impact of 70/30% can be also obtained by shooting the “figure eight” sight picture. The Pro Sporter Monte Carlo stock with adjustable comb, single selective mechanical trigger, adjustable for finger length, and standard titanium choke tubes, supplied along with 30” or 32” barrels, add even more flexibility and allow the shooter to transition seamlessly between all clay target disciplines. For more information, visit Krieghoff website.
Beretta A400 Xcel Multitarget
MSRP $3,000 *
Alternatively to over and under shotguns, there are some excellent “all-around” choices in the world of semi-automatics, which may work especially well for the recoil-sensitive shooter. Among such choices is the competition-centric A400 Xcel Multitarget by Beretta, which is presented, and for a good reason, as “Today’s Most Versatile Competition Shotgun”. Built around the A400 action – one of the fastest semi-automatic actions on the market today, featuring Beretta’s proprietary Blink technology, it is designed to be equally effective in all clay target sports. This model is available with 30” or 32” barrels and 3 Beretta Optima HP extended choke tubes, and is fully adjustable and adoptable not only for various shotgun disciplines but also for changes in clothing thickness as well as weight gain or loss – thanks to the B-Fast adjustment system, identical to the one on the DT11 ACS, which consists of adjustable comb, adjustable rib and adjustable point of balance. That latter can be changed by installing balance caps of various weights – light, medium or heavy. In addition, a shim system makes the fit reversible from right- to left-handed use. The safety may be easily switched from left to right as well. Shooters can also choose between the kick-absorbing Micro Core recoil pad or Beretta’s innovative Kick-Off recoil reduction system, housed in the stock. The other user-friendly features, such as oversized bolt handle and bolt release button, complete this elegant, affordable and incredibly versatile package. For more information, visit Beretta website.
Fabarm XLR5 Velocity AR
MSRP $2,285 *
Another great choice among semi-automatic shotguns in the “crossover” category is the Fabarm XLR5 Velocity AR, which stands for “Adjustable Rib”. When it comes to its adaptability to various clay target disciplines, this 8 ½ pound shotgun is very similar to the Beretta A400 Xcel Multitarget above, featuring 30” and 32” barrel options, adjustable comb, adjustable rib, adjustable point of balance as well as a set of shims and changeable recoil pads provided to achieve the ultimate fit. The extended bolt handle and oversized bolt-release button are also present. The point of impact on this model can be changed from 50/50% to a whopping 90/10%, which would be well-suited for the American trap, by turning vertically-oriented adjustment wheel located in front of the tall ramp-styled rib. Also, the overall balance can be altered using the Velocity multi-weight balancing system by screwing three included weights into the magazine cap in 1½ ounce increments to achieve desired handling and swing. Unlike Beretta however, the XLR5 sports the adjustable trigger that can be moved back and forth to accommodate for various finger lengths as well as integrated recoil reducer. Also notable is lightning-fast gas operated action with highly polished internal parts, rarely present on a semi-automatic, that features proprietary Pulse Piston® system, available in both right- and left-hand eject variants. For more information, visit Fabarm website.
* All MSRP prices are as of 2017.