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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So this is my first post I've always read your post and took all the stuff you guys talk about and it has def helped my game! But now I'm think I'm ready to ask a question. So... I shoot once a week 4 rounds 100 shells a week. For about 3 months now, at my local gun club. I did just shoot when I could with friends at the dried up lake bed by my place.
Anyways sense I've need going to the club I prob average 19-21 hits a round. I shoot a Remington 870 express and I'm looking into buying a O/U
I'm asking you more experienced shooters if the gun will step up my game a little over the 870, or if I should focus on other things in my shooting?
 

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One of the things that will help you be more successful is a gun that is designed to shoot trap, if that is what you want to concentrate on. It depends on what your budget is, as to what a good choice of a gun will be. You can get better, shooting the gun you have now, but you will hit a plateau, and you won't see any of the top trap shooters shooting a 870 Express.
 

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Your best investment starting out is to buy a Jack West adjustable stock which is about $250.00. this will allow you to tune the gun you already have, nothing wrong with an Express other than the field stock dimemsions which can be corrected with addition of a Jack West stock.

Surfer
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
One of the things that will help you be more successful is a gun that is designed to shoot trap, if that is what you want to concentrate on. It depends on what your budget is, as to what a good choice of a gun will be. You can get better, shooting the gun you have now, but you will hit a plateau, and you won't see any of the top trap shooters shooting a 870 Express.
I'd like a gun I can to trap and skeet as well. I am mostly into shooting trap though and would really like to compete. I'd like to keep it around $1000-&1500
 

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In that price range, I would look for a used Browning or Beretta O/U, with screw in chokes, and at least 28" barrels.
 

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The most important thing in a gun is that it fits you well so you can mount the gun in the same way every single time you pull the trigger. This is especially true with shotguns because your eye is basically the rear sight...if it isn't in the same position every time, your point of impact will not be the same every time.

O/Us are great, but they kick more than gas operated autos like Remington 1100/1187s and Beretta 390/391/400s. At your budget, it's hard to find a good one that will fit you perfectly or can be made to fit you perfectly through adjustments, and if doesn't fit you perfectly when you buy it, you can spend a lot of money trying to make it fit. For example, Suppose you spend about $1500 for a Browning Citori 30" or 32" barrels. If you're lucky, it fits perfectly. If you're not, you could spend $200 adding an adjustable comb, $350 for adding a GraCoil, or several hundred dollars on a different factory stock. A used Precision Fit Stock (PFS) which has a ton of adjustability and recoil reduction (basically taking you back up to the equivalent of the 1100 Competition) would cost you about $850. A full custom wood stock would cost you $2000+. More likely than not, you're looking at at least $2000 for the gun and the cost to make it fit you.

With your budget, I'd look into a Remington 1100 Competition Synthetic. It comes with a Jack West with all the adjustability, the Ken Rucker Auto-Buster for reduced recoil (which will already be decreased over an 870 because it's a gas operated semiauto), and a full set of chokes. Plus it's nickel-plated so it's easier to keep clean. Brand new, they're about $1000.

Now if you're willing to spend closer to $2500, I think you could find a better O/U set up. But under $1500, the 1100 Competition Synthetic is hard to beat.

If you're okay with a Single Barrel Trap (SBT), you can find some good deals on Browning BT99s within your budget, but realize they're not very versatile guns...you can't shoot doubles with it, much less skeet or sporting clays.

If your budget doesn't stretch for a better O/U that fits you perfectly and you don't want to buy an 1100 Competition Synthetic, I'd keep the 870 and pay the$400 for a Jack West Pro-Combo stock set. This is the same one in the 1100 Competition Synthetic.
 

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Another vote for an 1100 Competition Synthetic. If the cost is too dear, I suggest looking for a used 1100 TB trap or an 870 TA/TB/TC Trap or 870 TC Trap. These are available in the $450 - $700 price range and will hold their value forever. Leo started with an 1100 and became one of the greatest trap shooters of all time. A dedicated trap gun will have a different stock dimension than your 870 Express with the top of the comb being parallel with the barrel instead of at a downward angle. Depending on the rib and height of the comb (adjustable comb), the gun will shoot flat (870 and 1100 unaltered trap guns) to high. Dedicated trap guns have less recoil due to a straighter stock and increased weight. They are also better balanced so as to swing more smoothly. An 870 Express is typically about 1 - 2 pounds lighter than a dedicated trap gun and IMO has a tendency to swing past the target. However, IMO, The 870 Express is deadly on quail!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The most important thing in a gun is that it fits you well so you can mount the gun in the same way every single time you pull the trigger. This is especially true with shotguns because your eye is basically the rear sight...if it isn't in the same position every time, your point of impact will not be the same every time.

O/Us are great, but they kick more than gas operated autos like Remington 1100/1187s and Beretta 390/391/400s. At your budget, it's hard to find a good one that will fit you perfectly or can be made to fit you perfectly through adjustments, and if doesn't fit you perfectly when you buy it, you can spend a lot of money trying to make it fit. For example, Suppose you spend about $1500 for a Browning Citori 30" or 32" barrels. If you're lucky, it fits perfectly. If you're not, you could spend $200 adding an adjustable comb, $350 for adding a GraCoil, or several hundred dollars on a different factory stock. A used Precision Fit Stock (PFS) which has a ton of adjustability and recoil reduction (basically taking you back up to the equivalent of the 1100 Competition) would cost you about $850. A full custom wood stock would cost you $2000+. More likely than not, you're looking at at least $2000 for the gun and the cost to make it fit you.

With your budget, I'd look into a Remington 1100 Competition Synthetic. It comes with a Jack West with all the adjustability, the Ken Rucker Auto-Buster for reduced recoil (which will already be decreased over an 870 because it's a gas operated semiauto), and a full set of chokes. Plus it's nickel-plated so it's easier to keep clean. Brand new, they're about $1000.

Now if you're willing to spend closer to $2500, I think you could find a better O/U set up. But under $1500, the 1100 Competition Synthetic is hard to beat.

If you're okay with a Single Barrel Trap (SBT), you can find some good deals on Browning BT99s within your budget, but realize they're not very versatile guns...you can't shoot doubles with it, much less skeet or sporting clays.

If your budget doesn't stretch for a better O/U that fits you perfectly and you don't want to buy an 1100 Competition Synthetic, I'd keep the 870 and pay the$400 for a Jack West Pro-Combo stock set. This is the same one in the 1100 Competition Synthetic.
I was actually looking into this gun. Because of exactly what you're talking about. How do you know if it fits you "right"?
 

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Gun fit depends on your stature, build & the way you mount the gun, etc.. Bigger people need longer lengths of pull, etc..
The average shooter has about a 14 1/2" LOP on their gun, though the more expensive guns more than likely are longer. As far as adjustability & customization goes, if you can get your hands on an 1100 competition synthetic I suggest picking it up. For what it is you won't go wrong. Weights around 8 pounds 14 0z.

If you prefer the feel & shoot better with a pump, pick up an 870 classic trap with a raised Monte Carlo stock. Weights around 8.25 pounds. These guns have light contour barrels & come with 3 trap chokes.

If you want to skeet shoot as well as trap, (in your budget) I recommend the 1100 comp. synthetic, it's a matter of lowering the comb & putting in a skeet choke.

I sold all my other guns & just shoot this one now, I figure I'd take some $$$ & fancy it up a bit, as well as my shooting equipment. The way I see it, you can only shoot one gun at a time, so in that case, invest in one quality gun & you'll have it a long time.

-ithaca
 

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Great question and here is my opinion. An 870 can make you a great shooter. Practice will make your scores go up. Make sure you pattern your gun so you know how it shoots. Generally my 870 was 50/50 modified choke. As you shoot more you will see your scores go up. Ask better shooters to watch your shooting technique. If you can shoot twice per week that will improve your scores. I shot an 870 for over two years and loved it. It was fun hitting 25 when the next guy with a $30,000 Kolar hit 19. I did upgrade to a Browning Citori Crossover Target since I started shooting doubles. Enjoy your shooting experience.
 

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I was actually looking into this gun. Because of exactly what you're talking about. How do you know if it fits you "right"?
Good fit will allow you to comfortably bring the gun up in the same position time after time. You should be able to mount the gun without it being canted from vertical (for many, this requires a slight bit of toe out). Your eye should be in line with the barrel/rib (for many, this requires cast on, or moving the adjustable comb to the right). You should be able to see through almost the center of your eye protection lens, rather than having to cram your neck down and looking through the top edge of the lens (for many, this requires effectively raising the whole gun which is often done by lowering the butt plate). Length of pull (LOP) is the distance from trigger to butt of gun and IMHO is a little subjective, but most folks like their dominant hand thumb to be within about an inch or two from their face on the stock (usually adjusted with an adjustable butt plate with adjustable LOP or with different thickness recoil pads. With the preceding in mind, you should be comfortable and easily repeatable. You should be able to shoot and have your Point of Impact (POI) be where you want it to be relative to your Point of Aim (POA). Most trap shooters intentionally set their POI to be higher relative to their POA to allow them to see the bird (a target shot while it is rising on its path away from you) when pulling the trigger. Remember, your eye is effectively the rear sight, so you would move the comb up and down to adjust your POI vertically, and left and right to adjust your POI horizontally.

Can you make a gun that doesn't fit you hit where you want it to and break a bunch of birds? Sure. Many folks have done very will with stock 1100s and 870s. However, doing so means you have to make tiny adjustments before each shot to compensate for a gun that doesn't fit well. In the beginning, this might not be too bad, but toward the end of a long event, it becomes easier and easier to slip up and perhaps not twist the stock ever so slightly back to vertical, or not push your cheek over a little bit harder so your eye is in the correct position, etc. Forgetting to do such things can often lead to a lost bird or two, which in trap (especially as you get better) can make a huge difference in where you place in tournaments. Ideally, having a gun that fits you well will eliminate the need for you to remember to make all these tiny adjustments, letting you focus on seeing the bird, establishing proper lead, and pulling the trigger.
 

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I think your budget is a little too low to get a decent O/U unless you raise it to at least $2k, maybe $2.5k. Like others have said 1100 competition synthetic. If not, at least get a jack west procombo stock. I think there were a couple in the for sale section.
 

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I'd like a gun I can to trap and skeet as well. I am mostly into shooting trap though and would really like to compete. I'd like to keep it around $1000-&1500
Well you have two options. The first is to shop for a good used O/U . There are some in that range You can pick up a used old style Citori for around a Grand. There are others like the Mirokus That will fit into your budget. You can go on sites like Jaquas and Guns International to check. There is the option as listed before. You can get a Jack west stock which is fully adjustable and shoot the 870 Express until you save enough for the gun you want . An 870 Express is a rugged gun and really just a NO FRILLS 870. Doing that would buy you time to get your dream gun.
 

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OK, So your ave. is around a 20--that is respectable and shows you have put in some time at the range. But now you have to fine tune your game to increase your ave. First place to start is a gun that fits you. I agree with the 1100 comp. syn. for your next gun. this gun already has the $500 worth of adj. butt plates, and adj. combs to get the gun to fit you better. So does the Jack West Stock if you just want to fine tune your 870. As said your eye is your rear sight and if your eye moves during your swing your gun will not shoot where you are looking anymore. There are books and mags to read if you want to learn more. I suggest you mount the gun in a mirror with a dot in the middle of it. Close your eyes and mount gun. Get it so that it feels comfortable on your shoulder and on your cheek and mentally point it at the dot in the mirror. Don"t forget to lean into the gun, bending slightly at the waist a bit and place 70% of your weight on your front foot. Once it feels good open your eyes and see how the beads line up on the rib and how your pointed at the dot. The beads on the rib should be making a figure 8. End bead on top of the mid bead with no space between the beads, but still seeing both beads completely. You need to then check to see if your eyes and your shoulders are level to the floor. The guns rib needs to be level as well. It should not be angled sideways, or canted left or right at all. Also important is not to bring your head down to the gun. Have the gun come up to your head so that it is not necessary to lower or tilt your head to the gun. After moving the butt plate, you may find that you need to re-adjust the comb again. It also time to invest in a quality recoil pad as well. Kick-ezz pads are the gold standard that most pads are measured from. Good Luck and break em all. Jeff
 
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