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my first shotgun

Discussion in 'Uncategorized Threads' started by neophyte, Jan 1, 2008.

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  1. neophyte

    neophyte TS Member

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    Sixty-five may seem a bit long in the tooth to begin trap shooting, but I just had my first outing (using a buddy's black powder 12-gauge s/s) and found it a very enjoyable experience. My shooting heretofore has been .22 rifles (competitively in high school) and now several handguns.

    I realize I may be asking the unanswerable question, but I would appreciate guidance on my purchase of my first shotgun. I think these are the relevant priorities for me:

    1. No hunting; just trap (and, I suppose, home defense)
    2. Reliability
    3. Nice ergonomics and esthetics (modest recoil, easy to shoot)
    4. Price (limited resources but don't want to be penny-wise and pound-foolish)

    I think I might like a semi-auto but I'm open to suggestions. And I have no idea whether I should stick with 12-gauge or consider a 16 or 20.

    I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

    John Dallas Bowers
    Villanova, PA
     
  2. chuck-d

    chuck-d TS Member

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    John, 65 is noway too old for you to buy a shotgun I am soon to be 73 and shoot all the time at least once a week.
    as for the gun if you can afford it the advise MIA gave you is very good.
    Chuck-D
     
  3. Recoil Sissy

    Recoil Sissy Well-Known Member

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    neophyte:

    While it is possible and to a limited extent legal to shoot trap with a 20 gauge, there is no advantage and many disadvantages in doing so. As a practical matter, trap is strictly a 12 gauge game.

    There are many good possible choices for your first trap gun. MIA mentioned two but I would include any Beretta semi-auto trap model. My best suggestion is to try various brands and models including semi-autos, single barrels like BT-99s, and over/unders before you buy. <br>

    Ask other shooters to try their guns. When you explain that you are considering buying a new gun and unsure of what you want, most shooters are very generous and more than happy to lend you their's for a round or two.

    Two points regarding courtesy:

    Always ask before you pick up or otherwise handle someone's gun.<br> Shoot factory shells when shooting a borrowed gun.<br>



    sissy

    PS: Avoid new 'bargain priced' economy model guns like the plague. They are, without exception, 'pound foolish' for any real volume of target shooting.
     
  4. esoxhunter

    esoxhunter Well-Known Member

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    John: I too would recommend the Beretta semi-autos. Reliable and need less maintenance than the Remington 1100. Ed
     
  5. neophyte

    neophyte TS Member

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    Thanks for the encouragement and guidance. As you can tell by the time of my original post, I found myself wide awake in the middle of the night thinking about shotguns, and was fortunate enough to happen upon this website as a place to take a constructive first step toward my dream/goal.

    I was interested in Sissy's comment about the 20-gauge vs. 12-gauge. In my ignorance, I assumed that as trap shooters got more proficient, they would opt for the more refined (my description) weaponry, much like an experienced fly fisherman using very thin leaders to even the odds with the trout.

    I don't know how many of my fellow members of the Delaware County Field & Stream Association will be shooting over the winter, but I will try to find ways to test-fire various guns, as suggested. I just hope my "I want it NOW" level of desire doesn't interfere with a wise acquisition process.

    So does anyone go with side-by-side anymore? It seems that o/u or semi-autos are preferred by trap shooters these days. I confess a liking for the look of the traditional double-barrel. It resonates with my age and conservatism, I think.

    Warmest new year wishes to all...

    John Dallas Bowers (Villanova, PA)
     
  6. esoxhunter

    esoxhunter Well-Known Member

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    John: I also like the looks of a good side by side. They just do not have a following; due to a lot of reasons. Most shooters feel the 2 barrels side by side are not conducive to a good sight plane and do not swing as smoothly as an over/under or single barrel type gun. Also, trying to find a trap grade sxs is almost an impossibility. They are usually seen more in the field for hunting than in the clay sports. (However, I sure wish I could afford a nice Winchester 21)!! :) As stated a Beretta semi-auto will not "break the bank", will give years of service and hold much of its value. If you were just thinking of using one gun, (which is a good idea), I would go with the semi-auto or the over/under. (However a decent over/under is a bit more pricey and will have more recoil). With a BT99, (a single shot), you will not be able to sample all the clay sports if you choose to do so. Ed
     
  7. LMac

    LMac TS Member

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    John, you are fortunate to find this forum first, before buying a gun to shoot trap. I started about a year ago, bought a Beretta 391 gold tekny trap, and then found this site. These guys are a wealth of info about trap shooting and are always willing to share their knowledge and advice. What is nice about the site is you can search by topic and find a lot of info on guns you might be interested in, or helpful hints about any question you might have about trap shooting. Try hard to curb your urg to buy a gun until you know everything you want to know about it. Good luck and welcome to trapshooting.
     
  8. Tripod

    Tripod Well-Known Member

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    Iowa man!!
    you can buy a good older 1100 at a gun show for $400 or so. It will last you lifetime
     
  9. lumper

    lumper TS Member

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    Trap shooters will never drop down in gauge ... it would be to difficult for them.

    If you have the want it now desire to get a gun just go ahead and get yourself either a Beretta 391 or a Remington 1100 if your serious about the semi-auto. You cant go wrong with either weapon.

    If you go with the Remington 1100 be sure to get the trap model with the 30" barrel and if you get the Beretta 391 get either a trap, parallel comb or sporting clay model with the 30" barrel.

    The above of course is all dependent on you actually be serious about a semi-auto and this brings up a actual solid question for you sir ... why do you feel that you might want a semi-auto instead of an O/U or a single shot like a BT-99?
     
  10. smokerz

    smokerz TS Member

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    I'll bet everyone here has gone through the "if I only had a different gun" phase. It usually involves stepping up to a more expensive gun, sometimes several guns. Sometimes they shoot better with the new high dollar gun, sometimes not.

    You can pick up a nice used 1100 under $500, or a single shot BT-99 under $800. They are popular guns, for good reason. Either of them is capable of breaking every target, and both will last for a very long time. I'd suggest you start with one of those. As you shoot and make aquaintences and friends on the field, you'll find most of them will let you borrow their guns for a round or two, and you can try other guns as you go along.

    Learn to shoot first. You won't know which gun you *really* want for a long time.
     
  11. neophyte

    neophyte TS Member

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    What an engaging bunch you are. It's fun to share my zeal (and questions) with folks patient enough to indulge both.

    As to lumper's excellent inquiry about my seeming preference for a semi-auto vs. an o/u or single shot: it is entirely tentative at this point and open to guidance. The single shot option does appeal to me but from what little I've read the semi seems to hold out these advantages: 1) softer recoil on my slightly arthritic shoulder; and 2) multi-shot flexibility for trap and (heaven forbid) home defense.

    My hope was to find a decent piece in the $500-$800 range, so smokerz's comments were encouraging. I guess I figured, however, that I would go with new. I'm not sure how well equipped I am to make a wise purchase of a used shotgun at a show, since I know so little about what to look for (beyond the obvious signs of abuse). It seems like it could be a risky place for a neophyte to shop, given the "here today and gone tomorrow" reality. Are my concerns unfounded?

    And before we leave the matter of gauge, I'd like to hear a bit more about why I should rule out (for example) a 16 or 20. Since I haven't shot more than a couple dozen rounds with my buddy's black powder 12-ga, would the adjustment be radical? Or would the increased challenge of the lower load simply be setting myself up (as a new shooter) for discouragement and frustration? Are 16s and 20s just field guns?

    Finally, you might be amused to know that over Xmas I had written to Mike Adams, a columnist on Townhall.com who loves guns of all sorts, and I just now got his reply: "Man, why not get a Remington 870 with a 18-inch barrel [for home defense] and a 28 for skeet/duck?" Any thoughts on that?

    I appreciate your willingness to walk with me on this. If I eventually acquire any wisdom worth passing along to others, I will be inspired to do so by your kind example.

    Warm regards,

    John
     
  12. lumper

    lumper TS Member

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    John ... first go visit some local clubs and find one you like, join that club and then get to know your future "live" shooting friends. Ask them and talk with them on what your looking for and they will help you out with more advice than you will really be wanting to know.

    Now part of that advice you should be asking for is where is a good local dealer that can help you get your new gun and then stay away from the gun shows. Any dealer will be able to spot your neophyte ways instantly and chances are you will more likely get screwed than get a deal of any sort.

    Now go back to that club after purchasing your new gun and show your friends your purchase and before you know it you will have more shooting lessons in one day than you will really want to have.

    Now stop thinking of anything other than a 12ga. If all your ever planning on shooting is trap, skeet and/or sporting clays and never actually competing in skeet you will want a 12ga and nothing else.

    Now the suggestion of getting a 18" 870 with an extra 28" barrel is a joke of a response. If you think your going to be a recoil sensitive shooter you do not want an O/U, single shot or a pump like an 870. Also the 28" barrel is a little short for shooting trap with when you begin to step back in yardage and to make that suggestion a home defense gun you will have to change barrels each time you leave the house and come home from the range, kind of a waste if you ask me since it sounds like you already have a pistol or 2 around the house.

    Now as another suggestion ... your thinking to damn much and your only going to confuse yourself. Drive over to York or Harrisburg and go into Gander Mountain and speak with either the gunsmith or a knowledgeable shooter about what your looking for. You could also drive over to Hamburg and visit Cabela's as well. All those places are about 70 or so miles from you or ... you could find a local gun store that caters to clay target shooters closer and ask them as well.

    Overall ... the suggestions your being given in regards to a Remington 1100 or a Beretta 391 is spot on for what you want. Anything else and you will not be happy. You should be able to get a Remington 1100 Classic Trap for $800 or so and a Beretta AL391 Urika Parallel for a couple hundred more. If it was my choice and even though I love the Remington line of semi-auto guns I would get the Beretta AL391.

    If it were me I would spend the money and get a Beretta AL391 Urika-2 Parallel model and be done with it.
     
  13. smokerz

    smokerz TS Member

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    Mostly stop thinking. As anyone can tell you, thinking is the worst thing you can do. Find a gun, shoot it, then shoot it some more, and don't worry about the future. You'll soon have more ideas and suggestions than you can sort out.
     
  14. neophyte

    neophyte TS Member

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    I get it: stop thinking (and by extension, asking more questions <G>)!

    I'm awaiting a call-back from Cabela's and Dick's Sporting Goods about lumper's choice -- the Beretta AL391 Urika 2 Parallel Target SL Optima with the 30" barrel. Neither had the piece in stock, and Dick's wasn't even familiar with the "2" version.

    Unfortunately, the Beretta site is remarkably free of product details, and makes it near impossible to talk live with a specialist. I guess they have all the business they can handle.

    Thanks, all.

    jdb
     
  15. lumper

    lumper TS Member

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    Call Joel Etchen Guns on the other side of your state ... http://www.joeletchenguns.com or (724)238-0332 ... anyone there should be able to help you and they are the largest independent Beretta dealer in the country.
     
  16. lumper

    lumper TS Member

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    BTW ... if you deal with Dicks on the gun your going to be sorry you should have called Gander Mountain instead.
     
  17. Chango2

    Chango2 Active Member

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    Consider a model 12 that is "fresh" and tight; they run forever and won't lose much if any value. Get one in a trap configuration that fits you. The BT-99 is a fine gun too; a bit "whippy" for me, just add some weight to the barrel to suit your style. 870's are known to have a lot of felt recoil; but the special TD single shot version does not...if you can find one.

    The Beretta trap in any auto version is fine too; lends itself well to easy conversion to release trigger if that's your need. I do believe that many of the "pure" single barrel trap guns might be too difficult to master at first due to ultra fast locktime; less foregiving. I might be thumped for that opinion, however.

    With any single barrel break open trap gun, try to get the 34 inch barrel version; same or more similiar sight picture from 16 to the back fence.
     
  18. neophyte

    neophyte TS Member

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    Rest easy, lumper. I have no intention of buying it from Dick's. I was simply reaching out locally to see if they had something in stock I could take a look at -- without requiring the 70 mile drive.

    I will follow your advice regarding Joel -- and then looking up Gander.

    I did speak with a nice guy at the Beretta store in Dallas TX who said if I could find a series one Ureka, to grab it. Apparently it would give me the better looking (non extra grain) stock, a slightly lower price, with very little difference in the technology. He owns one.

    jdb
     
  19. Recoil Sissy

    Recoil Sissy Well-Known Member

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    JDB:

    "... before we leave the matter of gauge, I'd like to hear... why I should rule out... a 16 or 20"

    My response to your question is predicated on a couple of assumptions. For example, when you say you're interested in trap shooting, I understand that to mean shooting real trap targets on a real trap field. Those trap targets could be for giggles only or for serious competition. Serious competition could be informal or formal. Formal would be defined as registered A.T.A. targets. <br>



    Trap guns are purpose built. The attributes that make them good for breaking trap targets make them less than desirable for other shotgun pursuits. The following analogy should help:

    Consider Indy type race cars. They're purpose built for Indy type tracks and Indy type races. As good as they are for Indy racing, they aren't worth darn for commuting to work or hauling groceries. So it is with trap guns.

    And... gun makers only make trap guns in 12 gauge. There's no such thing as a 16 or 20 gauge trap gun. So while it is possible to shoot at trap targets with any kind of shotgun of any gauge, actual trap shooting is all but exclusively a 12 gauge activity. In other words, you can hit a golf ball off of a tee with a baseball bat and use a Coke bottle for a putter but that aint golf.

    sissy
     
  20. emm2

    emm2 Member

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    John, welcome to the site and the world of trapshooting, it will grab a hold of you and not let go. I agree with the many posts, an 1100 is a great gun and so is the 391. If you start with one of these and chose later on to try something else you wouldn't lose much money. Good luck in your search. Shane
     
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