All-Around Shotguns for Clay Target Sports

“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 […]

Top 5 Upper Mid Range Sporting Shotguns

For nearly all of us involved in clay sports, shooting those fast flying targets is a lifetime passion. We are moving through the ranks; some with more success, some with less, but always with an undying enthusiasm and persistence, which push us to strive for that flawless technique and that consistent mental performance. As we advance in skill our knowledge of what it takes to deliver grows to be more and more nuanced, and the equipment we use becomes one of the more important components of our success. Experimenting with various brands, models and the myriad of features they offer, often lead us to a good understanding of what works best for our style of shooting. Fit, weight, balance, swing dynamics, trigger pull weight and quality, rib design and sight picture, the amount of felt recoil – those are among many aspects that now come into play. Finding the right combination of the above might be the major contributing factor […]

Top 5 Mid Range Sporting Shotguns

The first shotgun you buy will be unlikely your last. Most of us shooters have come to this realization on our fascinating journey into clay target sports. As we progress, our shooting style and taste in equipment usually change as well, and such change often demands an upgrade. Whether you have been shooting clays for a while or simply have the means to buy into a higher tier of sporting shotguns, the following list of top choices in the mid range pricing category may help you find the right one: Blaser F16 Sporting MSRP $4,195 * Blaser, one of the leading gun manufacturers in Europe well-known for their phenomenal F3 platform, needs no introduction. In 2016, continuing with the model denomination that corresponds to year of release, Blaser has unveiled the F16 – its newest line of game and sporting over-and-under shotguns. Despite its lower price tag, this gun has inherited many engineering innovations from their flagship F3 model, among […]

Top 5 Entry Level Sporting Shotguns

So, after a few trips to a sporting clays course, you realized that you are hopelessly addicted to this great sport and ready to take it to the next level. You also realized that shooting borrowed or rented guns is starting to feel counterproductive and you are all set to get a sporting shotgun of your own. But, which one? With so many brands and options out there, and with all the endless advice from fellow shooters, club members, and numerous internet sites, finding the right one for you can become quite a daunting task. To help narrow down your choices, here are the top 5 entry level sporting shotguns available today: Beretta 686 Silver Pigeon I MSRP $2,100 * It’s hard to overstate the popularity of Beretta Silver Pigeon I and the 686 series. Introduced over 30 years ago, it is one of the most well-known and respected over-and-under shotguns out there, with a proven design and a long […]

Fine-Tuning The Perazzi

Author (left) is shown with Daniele Perazzi and Ennio Mattarelli at Perazzi factory in Italy. Behind them is photo of Mattarelli’s 1964 Tokyo Olympics gold medal win. “Italy’s best shotgun” caught my eye in a magazine article I read while I was working in Los Angeles in 1968. Roger Barlow described a high-quality, competition gun, designed purely for ISU Olympic Trap (bunker). I handled one at Pachmayr’s and it felt like a magical shotgun capable of breaking targets all by itself! By coincidence, a few days later, I flew to Milan to shoot a second series of sporting TV commercials for Fiuggi mineral water… and I was on the way to my first Perazzi. Daniele Perazzi, a lithe, smiling, energetic 35-year-old, met me at Brescia station and we were off to tour his kingdom. That was where I watched chunks of wood and metal being transformed into my dream shotgun. I described Daniele then as a “shirt-sleeve dynamo, who appears […]

Think Safe

While it may be easy to make mistakes such as the one being illustrated here, think of shotgun safety as common etiquette; consider others as you would have them think of you. Accident-free gun handling is the responsibility of every shooter, but here are some gentle reminders! There’s really nothing new to safety, but there are always new shooters and youngsters who don’t know the rules and a few others who don’t practice them. So, a little repetition can do no harm and hopefully, some good – especially at a time when there is the specter of further gun controls. Sadly, there are always plenty of stories about hunters shooting people they thought were animals. No one, worthy of the name hunter, ever just thinks before taking the responsibility of releasing a lethal load into the countryside. He makes damn sure first and if there’s the slightest shadow of doubt, for any reason whatever, he doesn’t shoot. So you lose a bird […]

A Rifleman’s Conversion Kit To Shotgunning

Rifleman (left) holds thumb alongside stock, squeezes trigger with first joint of finger. Shotgunner (right) wraps thumb around grip, finger “pulls” trigger. “Where the hell do you think you’re going?” An angry, but almost more amused voice brought me to my senses and I stopped rapidly: on the 26 yard line at a state trap championship. Now you might reasonably conclude that there’s nothing particularly unusual in that, in fact, there was only one slight irregularity – I was still in my car! I had been completely mesmerized by the confirmation of what my first glance had transmitted to the unbelieving recognition center of my think box: a man was shooting 16 yard clays with a telescopic sight mounted on his pump gun! With true British aplomb, sangfroid and all that sort of thing, in an embarrassing situation, I proceeded to back cooly off the firing line – and almost mowed down the astounded squad of trapshooters – I’d been […]

Perazzi… Ferrari of Shotguns

Hand-engraving of Perazzi guns is carried out in a special top-floor atelier under full daylight illumination. After 20 years of of shotgun shooting and amateur gun smithing, coaching and general involvement with firearms, quite a number of guns have passed through my hands. As most of those years were spent in England and Europe, many of them bore the names of the elite of the shotgun world: Purdey, Boss, Franchi, Beretta, Merkel and Sodia, as well as Parker and Ithaca from this side of the pond. When I first read about the Perazzi, my senses, including that monitor of them all, the sixth one, told me I was being introduced into something more than a little out of the ordinary. The author’s enthusiasm for the gun shone through and between the lines. Events moved rapidly. The next day I went to see if all the rhetoric was justified. I had only to take the Perazzi over-and-under trap models in my […]

Release Triggers

An Allen Timney release trigger for the Remington 1100. It works like a charm and is cleverly “uncocked” by just pushing a button he installs. Release triggers are enjoying a constantly growing popularity, so we’ll examine the reasons for their use and present some expert views on their technical requirements. The release trigger was originally designed in America to overcome a tendency among some trapshooters to flinch when pulling the trigger. Flinching seems to be virtually unknown among bunker shooters in the rest of the world, so it seems flinching is in some way peculiar to American trapshooting. Release trigger specialist Allen Timney of Cerritos, California, defines the reasons for flinching as, “…the combination of recoil, noise of the gun and perhaps the gun not fitting properly and kicking the shooter in the face.” While I don’t totally disagree, it must be pointed out International trapshooters used to shoot far heavier 3-3/4-drams, 1-1/4 oz. loads and still frequently fire two […]

Up-Tight Overchoking

Most shooters, especially clay busters and live pigeon shooters, are aware of the standard method of assessing choke, but to recapitulate briefly, choke is the degree of constriction between the diameter of the barrel, just beyond the chambers and forcing cones, and the diameter at the muzzle. The resultant patterns produced are graded in terms of the percentage of pellets from the original shot charge, which find their tortuous way on to a sheet of paper forty yards away and into a thirty-inch circle circumscribed upon it. Full choke has 70 percent, improved modified 65, modified 60, improved cylinder 50 percent and cylinder 40 percent. It often is stated erroneously that cylinder indicates a complete lack of constriction. English barrel-chokers found that a barrel totally devoid of choke produces uncontrolled and widely varying patterns. Therefore, almost surreptitiously, they put .003 to .005-inch constriction into the guns of customers, who specified true cylinder. For new scatter gunners, the simplest analogy to […]