Which Clays Shotgun is Right For You?
Elite competitors in trap, skeet and sporting clays often select a gun designed, tuned and dedicated to their particular sport....
Elite competitors in trap, skeet and sporting clays often select a gun designed, tuned and dedicated to their particular sport. However, if you just want to have fun and get in some practice, you don’t need a different gun for each game.
There are some that can work well for all three and won’t break the bank. Here’s a look at effective clay target guns from the exotic to the blue-collar.
Beretta 686 Silver Pigeon 1 Sporting
The Beretta 686 Silver Pigeon 1 Sporting is an upper level over/under chambered for 12-gauge, and it frequently shows up in the winner’s circle at major international championship matches.
The gun is available in 28- or 30-inch barrels with inter-changeable choke tubes.
Benelli Sport II
The Benelli Sport II inertia-operated semi-auto is available in 12-gauge with 28- or 30-inch barrels and in 20-gauge with a 28-inch barrel.
It features quick-change extended choke tubes and works well for skeet and sporting clays.
Beretta A400 Xcel
The Beretta A400 Xcel semi-auto 12-gauge is the latest design in the Beretta semi-auto line, which has earned a sterling reputation in sporting clays.
Available with a 28- or 30-inch barrel, it features interchangeable chokes, softer recoil and faster cycling for quick pairs presentations.
The Browning BT-99 12-gauge break-top single barrel is the classic American trap gun. It is available with barrels from 28 to 34 inches and features adjustable chokes.
A number of different stock configurations are available to suit any shooter. This gun has spent a lot of time in the winner’s circle and will continue to do so.
Browning Citori 725 Trap
The Browning Citori 725 Trap over/under 12-gauge offers many of the dedicated trap features of the BT-99, including different stock options in different model versions.
The second barrel is a must for doubles trap or on the international “bunker trap” version shot in Olympic competition.
Browning Citori 725 Sporting
The Browning Citori 725 Sporting is a basic 725 over/under action is mated with a different stock, flatter rib, ported barrels, interchangeable choke tubes, and a fiber optic front bead to become an excellent choice for sporting clays or skeet.
Stock options include an adjustable comb in differing models.
CZ-USA 712 Target 12-30
The CZ-USA 712 Target 12-30 is a modestly priced, soft-shooting gas-operated 12-gauge features a 30-inch barrel with a 10mm stepped rib that is favored for rising trap targets.
It uses interchangeable choke tubes and is supplied with three that will handle all trap targets.
CZ-USA 712 Als 12-26
This is the same gas-operated 712 action as the Target 12-30, but the CZ-USA 712 Als 12-26 features a 26-inch choke tube–threaded barrel (three chokes provided) and an adjustable ATI stock that allows the length of pull to be adjusted from 12 to 14 inches for smaller shooters. It’s an excellent way to get young shooters into skeet and sporting clays.
The Italian-made Perazzi MX12 12-gauge over/under is a very upper-level competition gun. Designed for sporting clays and available with barrels from 29 ½ to 34 inches, it is also an excellent at skeet gun and works well for trap.
It features a second interchangeable barrel set that can be used for the sub-gauge insert tubes popular among serious skeet shooters.
Remington Model 1100 Competition Synthetic
The classic Remington Model 1100 gas-operated semiauto 12-gauge action gets paired with a fully adjustable synthetic target-style stock with adjustable comb height and cast, and includes a recoil reduction system.
A 30-inch barrel and interchangeable choke tubes makes the Remington Model 1100 Competition Synthetic suitable for any clay target game. It is also available in 26- and 28-inch versions.
Remington Model 1100 Sporting Series
Available in 12, 20, 28 and .410 (the only semiauto .410 available today) and equipped with interchangeable choke tubes, the Remington Model 1100 Sporting Series is very popular in 4-gauge skeet competition. The 12-gauge version also makes a fine sporting clays gun.
Ruger Red Label
The Ruger Red Label is an American-made 12-gauge over/under that features a stainless steel receiver, single trigger, interchangeable choke tubes, and is available in barrel lengths of 26, 28 and 30 inches.
The 30-inch model is effective at any clay target game.
Winchester Super X3 Sporting with Adjustable Comb
This gas-operated 12 gauge, the Winchester Super X3 Sporting with Adjustable Comb, is available in barrel lengths of 28, 30 and 32 inches. The ported barrels accept quick-change interchangeable choke tubes. An adjustable comb allows shooters to fit this gun to any clay target game.
Winchester Super X3 Field Compact
Available in 12 and 20 gauge, with barrel lengths of 24, 26 and 28 inches, the Winchester Super X3 Field Compact accepts interchangeable choke tubes. The stock is shortened to a 13-inch length of pull.
Although it’s billed as a field gun, the 28-inch version is very effective on clay targets and a good choice for youths and smaller females who can’t handle a standard length stock.