Best out-of-box gun ever

Trap, Skeet, Sporting Clays; pistol/rifle target shooting, to plinking cans with a bb gun.

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Best out-of-box gun ever

Postby Fsbirdhouse » Wed Aug 01, 2012 9:41 am

Until this spring I hadn't bought a brand new shotgun since the '60s.
I had bought guns that had maybe a dozen boxes shot thru them, and always researched guns for the best opinions of others, but often was dissappointed in the result.
The SBEII was such a gun, and I'm not putting it down at all. Very high quality gun, but couldn't stand the recoil against an injured shoulder, and arthritic hands. Trigger guard always hit my "Bird" finger with the 3 1/2" loads, and I'd start flinching, and that's not good.
Well, I finally bit the bullet and plunked down the $1,550 for a brand new, off the rack Beretta A400 Xtreme, and by happy chance it turned out to be "The One" I'd been searching for, for forty years.
I had never shot sporting clays in my life, but first time out of the box, I came in 3rd out of thirty shooters at our state DU conference shoot.
I was truly astonished, but at a much more informal sporting clays 'Annie Oakley' shoot at a friends farm where our chapter committee gathered, I was running 3" and 3 1/2" steel loads, and was able to maintain a respectable position in the shoot as well.
I am afraid this gun will lead to an addiction of sporting clay shoots, and I'm just as convinced hearing it bark at ducks and honkers with the heavier loads with be as sweet as listening to a chorus of mythical Sirens.
Now I may need to practice skeet shooting as I'm told this is better practice for typical waterfowl shots.
Is this so?
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Re: Best out-of-box gun ever

Postby BenellisbeII » Wed Aug 01, 2012 9:44 am

Fsbirdhouse wrote:Now I may need to practice skeet shooting as I'm told this is better practice for typical waterfowl shots.
Is this so?


Sporting clays would be your best practice, the clays come from every direction then.
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Re: Best out-of-box gun ever

Postby CutEm214 » Wed Aug 01, 2012 9:46 am

BenellisbeII wrote:
Fsbirdhouse wrote:Now I may need to practice skeet shooting as I'm told this is better practice for typical waterfowl shots.
Is this so?


Sporting clays would be your best practice, the clays come from every direction then.


Agree with this to an extent, but will add that skeet helps a lot with your mechanics and fundamentals. Maybe start with skeet now and then move on to the sporting clays course a few weeks before the season starts...?
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Re: Best out-of-box gun ever

Postby Force Fetch » Wed Aug 01, 2012 10:33 am

Any time you spend with a new gun is good practice as long as you stick to the basics of proper gun mount and follow through. I always figured it took me 5000 rounds to become good with any gun change. Your scores will reflect in proper gun handling. Head down, Keep Swinging, and do it often.
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Re: Best out-of-box gun ever

Postby apexhunter » Wed Aug 01, 2012 12:31 pm

Force Fetch wrote:Any time you spend with a new gun is good practice as long as you stick to the basics of proper gun mount and follow through. I always figured it took me 5000 rounds to become good with any gun change. Your scores will reflect in proper gun handling. Head down, Keep Swinging, and do it often.


By no means am I doubting you and your guns but 5,000 rounds seems a bit excessive to get the feel of a new piece. Even back in the day when I shot competetively over 1,000 rounds per month it took me but a couple courses to get used to a new shotgun. These days it takes me less than a box of cartridges to get acclamated with a new gun...especially since I shoot several ones depending upon the game or the situation. That said you are correct in that any practice is good practice as long as proper fundamentals are followed.
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Re: Best out-of-box gun ever

Postby 3200 man » Thu Aug 02, 2012 10:41 am

Any gun that wouldn't perform for me with-in a flat of shells ,would be down the road .After I have spent time fitting the
gun to my likeing and patterning it to shoot where I was looking . I should be able to hit what I'm shooting at but ,I've never
had to get rid of a gun because ,I couldn't shoot it .If you take the time to adjust a gun to fit you and pattern it so it shoots
where you're looking , All guns are good with some being better than others .
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Re: Best out-of-box gun ever

Postby apexhunter » Fri Aug 03, 2012 8:25 am

I had one that simply had to go after some repair work. Bought a Citori in 99 for a ND pheasant hunting week and shot the hell out of it for a year. It was the smoothest swinging and best shooting O/U I'd ever put to my shoulder. One weekend at the club shooting 5-stand I felt something strange with the last round and looked to discover the stock had cracked at the tang. Called Browning and sent it to the repair department with explicit instructions to duplicate the dimensions and color. About 6 months later (an entirely different story there) I got it back and couldn't hit a barn from the inside because it just did not come naturally to point. So I went to my gun shop and put it on the measuring device to see what was up & low and behold the damned thing came back with 4-5mm of cast off...and I am right handed! Needless to say I left it there and it sold on consignment a month later.

I'm not bashing Browning by any means as I currently own 4 and have owned several more of their guns...this is just an isolated incident of things gone way wrong with an otherwise nice piece.
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Re: Best out-of-box gun ever

Postby 3200 man » Fri Aug 03, 2012 10:45 am

Apex , I agree with you on ,it just takes a little bit of miss-fit and your ready to condem the gun .If a fella will adjust the
stock ,so he's looking over the rib with his/her pupil just over the bead ,it should shoot where you're looking.Now ,there are
guns being imported with barrel problems,shooting to the left and there are after market choke companies that can't thread
a choke straight into a barrel but ,for the most part of the U.S. gun manufactures they are pretty Damn Good . With all the
adjustments the manufactures are giving us these days ,It takes a little education in knowing how to adjust a gun to fit ,so
if you don't know how ,seek the experience of a stock fitter , it will be money well spent .
That's is my thoughts ,what's yours ?
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Re: Best out-of-box gun ever

Postby Force Fetch » Fri Aug 03, 2012 11:27 am

guys I am talking about really feeling at one with the gun. Lots of them let me go straight pretty quick, I am talking the long run. I used to be a gun switcher, but the guns I have kept I can put down for a year and get right back to making dust. Just me.
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Re: Best out-of-box gun ever

Postby 3200 man » Fri Aug 03, 2012 2:09 pm

I can say ,you are a smart man .I have this problem of wanting just about every gun that looks good or feels great so ,when
I look at what I have accumulated over 55 years it hard to give each one that fussy-feeling .I do try though because ,I don't
have anything that I don't shoot ,some better than others but ,they all get thier turn . I even Kiss them good-night ,when I put
them to bed .
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Re: Best out-of-box gun ever

Postby jack lowe » Fri Aug 03, 2012 6:13 pm

if you get tired of skeet and would like sum exciment i have found that shooting black birds, doves, and crows will give you a better chance to practice duck hunting shots since they have a mind of ther own and will fly how they want to unlike a clay which will go to the same place evry time.
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Re: Best out-of-box gun ever

Postby 3200 man » Sat Aug 04, 2012 6:27 am

Around here we don't shoot Black Birds ,against the Law, but ,do shoot Starlings by the hundreds .I'ts a great sport and I
agree with you ,it takes staying on the bird to kill it . Apparently ,you haven't shot any competitive Sporting Clays targets ,
because if you had you would've noticed a great increase in you bird shooting ability .So all I can say is ,if you haven't tried
it ,you should ! It's Great Practice .
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Re: Best out-of-box gun ever

Postby apexhunter » Mon Aug 06, 2012 12:49 pm

It is a good thing of one knows their optimum stock dimensions so he/she can either look for a gun that is as close as possible or get a gun with adjustability in order to assure the best fit possible. As 3200 mentioned, many of the newer autos and/or pumps are adjustable via shims, recoil pads, etc to make them fit but doubles rarrely if ever have these due to the nature in which the stock is attached to the tang...and having one bent and fitted is not an inexpensive proposition.

I have a couple guns that perfectly fit me (I did mess with the shims on my old Benelli) and most of the others were hand picked for as close to a proper fit that I could get but I have had a couple of doubles (a Spanish SXS and the post repair Citori) that simply had to go due to either too much drop or the cast off problem.

As far as practice we shoot clays of either 5-stand, sporting clays and even hand thrown from varying distances and angles when we are not crow hunting. If you want something extremely sporting (no pun) get one of the plastic "C" shaped hand throwers and mount the handle on an old golf course pin shaft. It does make them difficult to throw but once mastered with the 7' length of whippy fiberglass you can literally throw a clay over 150 yards...one hell of a crosser at 25+ yards that is seemingly going mach 2. That will teach you to get way out in front of a bird.
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Re: Best out-of-box gun ever

Postby Force Fetch » Wed Aug 08, 2012 4:57 pm

apex, I shoot the same platform for trap,skeet,sporting clays, and upland/field trial shooting. A quick switch of the stock and chokes and it is a gun for all games, though a bit heavy for mountain grouse. It does not matter what discepline I shoot it in, after lots of rounds I just pick it up and shoot it. The same goes for the 28ga 1100 skeet gun I use for ruffs,franklins and blue grouse.
I like to shoot and shoot different guns but when there is money on the line or reputation I go with a proven smoke pole. Other times, I love the one I'm with.
Now waterfowl is a different story, 870 28'' 3" Hastings Wad Lock and Win Sup #1's makes em dead. Oh yeah, this gun has been fitted too.
I don't understand what the general shotgun/hunting shooting population has against having a gun fitted. Most of the time it consists of a lengthen/shorten/comb change and doesn't cost that much if you stay with wood that is servicable and not eye catching. My sporting/hunting stock is a plain as an apple crate, but it shoots.
So back to the origional question: out of the box gun: 870 that has been fitted to you. Just sayn!
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Re: Best out-of-box gun ever

Postby 3200 man » Sun Aug 12, 2012 6:19 am

You two last posters have some good advise with the hand-held throwers ,for I have the 4 footer that will humble most
shooters . I have one for learning to move ,mount and shoot it is a Ritz thrower and it is fun practice for eye ,hands movement
with a shotgun . This kind-of tells you of what ventage I am but , it works wonders for field shooters
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