Sean: The 5 stand that I have shot is in my opinion; is a "lazy mans" sporting clays game. i.e. it is very similar to sporting clays without the walking. As in sporting clays the presentations vary. I feel that most shooters can get by with an improved cylinder choke. A 1 oz. load of #8 is all you probably will need. Good Luck. Ed
You will need an o/u or auto loader. Chokes can very, but light mod will do you fine. Usually 5 or 6 traps. Most of the time single and report pairs, but have shot some with true pairs. 7 1/2's about 1300 fps. The angles make it fun. Shoot and enjoy yourself. Just like sporting clays , but all within a small area instead of acres.
An over under that shoots 60/40 or flatter is ideal, otherwise you will more than likely have to float the bird over your barrel if your gun's POI is high. I've shot up to an IM choke in major competitions, but usually a skeet IC combo will do. If you are not a quick shot, try IC Light mod.
7 1/2 shot, either in 1 1/8 OZ or 1 OZ will break everything and it'll keep you from thinking about the proper load. Lead will depend on speed of target and distance.
Shoot the O/U with SK/IC chokes and you'll be perfectly fine. Don't worry too much about shot size or weight. A miss is still a miss and a good shot will break with any shell. I'd grab #8 1oz and enjoy it.
PS - Don't go crazy changing chokes or shells. People go nuts adjusting for the different stations when it's really not necessary. Just gives them a reason to complain when they miss.
Any of the choke and load suggestions are good. I usually taylor my load to the target presentation, I usually have two different loads, light and handicap. I have been shooting a WS1 Skeet choke out of an old M12 and if I do my part not target can out run a Win Heavy Handicap 71/2's.
The biggest advantage you can give yourself is deciding which target to take first in some of the true pair situations, not always is the first target,usually the closest is the one you take first. Watch a few rounds if you can before you have to shoot and you will definitely have some advantage.
Head Down and Keep Swinging
Here is how I've played it; others might have it different. At each station, you first shoot at a single target and are allowed two shots at it. Then two targets, presented twice. Note that you will need extra shells beyond the 25 if you shoot twice at the first target at any station. Carry at least five extra for every round. Visualize where you are going to break the targets, shoot the first and don't wait to admire the break because the second one is getting away.
As in sporting clays, the ease or difficulty of breaking targets depends on how sadistic the target setter is.
IC chokes and #8 will handle most courses. Since you're new at it don't concentrate too much on the targets just ahead of you because your targets will be a different pair. Read your sign for which pair you will get and plan your shots accordingly.
If you can, try to watch a squad or two before it's your squad is up. Watch every pair closely and pick out the one or two pairs that are "tricky". Every 5-stand has at least one pair that you think should be shot one way but it is in fact the complete opposite. This also depends on how fast you shoot. I've seen All-Americans not take a shot at the second target because it was already on the ground or in trees. Having a plan will help prevent this. Good luck.
Another thing about 5-Stand is that no choke changing is allowed during the round. You have to choke up for the longest shot you will encounter & go for it. Normally you will be allowed to preview a target from each trap beforehand & given a few minutes to select a choke. John