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Discussion Starter #1
I'm soon to purchase a my first shotgun and I'd appreciate it if you folks could clue me in to the type of shooting sports availible to shotgunners (or refer me into a few good URLS).
My shotgun is primarily serving for HD & will be a pump 12 guage...I understand that many of the competative sports are shot with increasingly specialized autoloaders, but my goals are simply to have fun, get my feet wet, expose myself to a variety of shooting and to improve my markmanship.
In considering my shotgun purchase a little feedback on general shotgun requirements for a variety of shooting would be helpful:

Clays.
What is the average shooting distance, barrel length and guage for this type of shotgunning?
Also, Trap and Skeet? What's the difference?

-3 Gun Competition.
Shooting range and barrel guage and length?

Thanks for any insight.
 

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What a doozy of a question. Here we go.



SKEET:

Skeet is a semi-circle with 8 positions around it. On the left side of the field is a "high house" which throws birds (pigeons) across the field. On the right side is a "low house" which throws birds also. The birds cross the middle at the same time when doubles (high and low houses are triggered at the same time) are thrown. Skeet involves a lot of gun moving and putting a lot of lead on the targets. It was designed to simulate hunting conditions for upland game. If you've ever swung a gun on dove...it's a lot like that.

Over the course, you end up shooting a whole box of shells (25)....every station is a high bird and a low bird, one at a time...you call out PULL and a high is thrown, then you call PULL and a low bird is thrown....on some stations (1,2,6,7) you get doubles also....so the order for those is PULL (high), PULL (low), PULL (doubles, in which you shoot the going away bird first). Skeet can be shot with any gauge (including .410, which is lots of fun) ;)

I think the longest shot is around 25 yards, and you usually use #9 shot with an improved cylinder or skeet choke. O/U are usually the high end guns and they're usually fairly specialized. In general, any autoloader is just about perfect for you as long as it fits your body type. Rem 11-87, Rem 1100, Beretta 390 and 391, Browning Gold etc are more than appropriate. Pumps are equally at home on the clay fields. Just don't forget to actually pump it! Rem 870's, Ithaca's, even Mossbergs are perfect for the beginner. Utilizing the right choke and load, and you should have no problem breaking targets.



TRAP:

Trap is only shot with 12 gauge. Trap is five positions in an arc formation 17 yards behind the house. The house is partially sunk into the ground so that you don't shoot it...there is a trap machine (also called a trap) inside the house that rotates inside it. You start on one of the five position behind the trap, and shoot five shells on each "stand." All the shooters take turns...as in, one shoots, then two, then three, then four, then five....then it starts over again for round two on that specific station...and you shoot that way until everyone has shot 25 birds. The trap is constantly moving left and right...when you call PULL is when it lets a bird go. You never know which direction the bird is going to go. Although there is a limited amount of travel for the machine, it's still a surprise where the bird comes out.

The lanes that you shoot in start at 17 yards, and they're handicapped all the way back to 27 yards behind the house. If you want to be humbled move back to the 27 and give it a shot.

Most single barrel break action guns for trap are specialized also. (Beretta, Browing BT-99) The auto or pump that you can use on skeet can also be used on trap...just change the choke to a modified or tighter, and up the shot size to 7 1/2 or 8 and you're ready to shoot.


The big difference between skeet and trap is that skeet is a crossing bird game where trap is going away from you most times. And by goes away quick....if you're not paying attention, the bird could easily get out to 40 yards before you know it. Couple that with a modified choke and 7 1/2 shot size and you better act quickly to get that bird.

Sporting clays is the newest game out there. It's basically a walk and shoot type course. Courses generally are 100 rounds...10 stations with five double targets thrown. Every station has different doubles thrown. Sometimes rabbits and standards, sometimes two standards, sometimes battues and standards....it all depends on the course design. Sporting clays is the most social and probably the most fun. It can really challenge your hunting and shooting technique.

As far as gun requirements....I would suggest a pump or auto in either Rem, Beretta, Browning, Ithaca or Mossberg with screw in chokes including imp cyl, mod and a full....possibly skeet if you really want to get into it. Eight shot will work in a pinch if you can't can't find any #9 shot.

Barrel length; to put it simply...the longer the barrel, the better the gun "swings." The smoother your swing, the more birds you'll break. Avg is usually around 28" to 30" for skeet although the trend lately is longer barrels. Trap is usually longer at 30" to 32" A good all-around bbl length is 30".....it's more than adequate for skeet/trap/sporting.

Three gun....I have no idea...never done it....

Hope this helps.

esheato...
 

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Discussion Starter #3
esheato,
Very well done, thanks a bunch for the explanation!
Much has been cleared up in my mind regarding the general structure of the shooting. They all look like a lot of fun.

Regarding Sporting Clays: is it structured more like an 'obstacle' course in with the shooter encounters the various targets?

"Sometimes rabbits and standards, sometimes two standards, sometimes battues and standards."
What are rabbits,standards, and battues ...all new terminology to me?
Thanks again for the outstanding intro and shotgun advice.
 

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As far as Sporting Clays, it is set up much as an obstacle course. One of the courses in my area, is set up along a small creek. Lots of natural cover and you cannot see any of the machines...Each stand is further down the creek, so you end up walking along the creek and stopping occasionally to shoot a bit.


The picture above shows the rabbit, battue, midi and mini. I don't have any standard birds or I would have included it. As you can see from the photo, the rabbit has a hole in it from a pellet going through it, yet it didn't break. That should tell you something!

There are many different types of birds:

Standard
Rabbit
Battue
Midi
Mini

The standard is your regular type of bird that you've probably thrown with a hand thrower. It appears domed and is usually orange, but they also come in green and black.

The Rabbit is flat and probably a half inch thick with a heavy duty rim. The rabbit is thrown...rather rolled across the ground either crossing or going away....the way it's thrown makes it bounch when it hits stuff on the ground (rocks, sticks, whatever!). Rabbits are very unpredictable and usually bounce up in the air right when you pull the trigger....once you see it you'll understand!

Battues are similar to rabbits, but a lot thinner. They're thrown up in the air in a large arc....As they're thrown, they immediately present themselves as large orange dots, and when they reach the peak of their arc, they fade sideways and are nearly impossible to break with a shotgun. Best advice for these is get on them quick...if you wait until they're falling, you're waiting to long. Again, you'll see them once and you'll understand.

Midi's are similar to the Standard target, but scaled down.

Mini's are similar to the Midi, but scaled down once again.

I think the standard bird is 110mm diameter. Rabbit is the same size, just different shape. The battue is 107mm. Midi is 90mm and mini is 60mm.

Just as an example....one stand at my local club is down on the creekbed....the targets present themselves going away from you....three targets to be exact....the left and right tgt are orange, while the one in the middle is black....the black tgt signifies a non-game bird (which means you can't shoot it) and the orange tgts are birds that you're supposed to shoot. Of course that calls for choke changing and knowing what your pattern will look like at that distance. It's always a trick to hit both orange tgts and not break the black one. And of course, the longer you wait, the further it gets and the more open your pattern becomes...:D See the fun here?

I usually take an assortment of ammo to Sporting Clays courses, because you never know what you're going to encounter. Some 9's, possibly 8's, and of course 7 1/2's for the tough to break rabbits.

CCI Clays

The link above will show the different clays and describe them for you.

esheato
 

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Three-gun is an offshoot of IPSC. The shotgun will be a 12 gauge pump or auto with some choke. Serious versions will have an extended magazine and a shell carrier bolted to the receiver or strapped to the stock, or both. You will want rifle sights or to have a very good idea of the bead(s) because part of the shooting will be with slugs. Distances will vary all over the map, from a plate to knock down with birdshot at 10 yards to a paper target for slugs at 75. Sometimes buckshot is required, and some folks are going to the smaller buck like 4 Buck instead of birdshot for knockdown targets.

Escheato has done a great job of describing Skeet, Trap, and Sporting Clays. Let me add that they are not interchangeable and while you can have fun plinking around at all of them, if you want to get good, pick one and stay with it until you are hitting pretty darned well before you do another. I recommend you start with Skeet. A 12 gauge auto and some No 9 loads and you are in business. A pump will do, but shucking it for doubles adds a good deal of challenge.

I think it is easier to go from Skeet to Trap than vice versa; I did it the other way, and am still not as good at Skeet as I am at Trap. Save Sporting Clays for when you can break good scores at both Skeet and Trap and know what all the leads look like. S.C. is different from stand to stand, range to range, and even day to day. You need to be very well up on your gun and shooting to do well and I think that is best learned at the standardized sports.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
esheato,
Stellar description of the clays! There's much more variety and nuance presented here and it completely outstrips my meager memory of hand tossing a few and having at 'em...it's all sounding very exciting! Now I just need to find a well equiped range within my budget and join in the shooting.

Jim,
Thanks for the insight. Do you think that ghost ring sites present liability for 3-gun shooting?

Cheers.
 

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You're very welcome. Always willing to help a new shotgun enthusiast. Do me a favor though....don't enjoy the clay sports alone...once you understand everything....take a new guy out with you and show him the ropes....who knows, he might even enjoy it. ;)

esheato...
 

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for 3-gun, all the good guys use a vent rib and double beads. ghost ring is too slow! i'm sure there'll be arguments about this, but not from the good shooters. you just gotta shoot enough to know where the beads are, then you just pretty much point. one of my friends just bought an 870 turkey gun, i think. the only thing you wanna add on is a mag tube extension. comes with a 21-22" barrel with vent rib and beads and screw-in chokes for pretty cheap. good set-up, alot cheaper than a 1100 practical. that one is set up ready to race just as is.
 

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for 3-gun, all the good guys use a vent rib and double beads. ghost ring is too slow
Guess you guys don't shoot IPSC targets with slugs at 100 yds or 12" plates at 60. Around here, most Standard division shotguns are using iron sights and the Open guys are using red dot sights. Rem 1100/1187s and Benelli autos are typical and pump guns are rare and down right brutal on high round count slug and buckshot stages.
 

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would a 870 wingmaster be too much to lug around for 3 gun?

... or would I have to go for a 870 HD type shotgun w/ the shorter barrel and mag ext.?

thanks
 

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all the guys i shoot with are getting into the "he-man 3-gun" thing, .308 or better, pump 12 gauge, and .45 single stack. couple of guys bought one of the 870 turkey guns(i don't know the model). about 22" barrel w/ rem-chokes, vent rib and double bead came with. nice gun! you just gotta get a mag extension, couple of kinds available. i gotta choate on my 1100, and it works great. i've been using a winchester 1300 defender, comes w/ extension, but no vent rib, open cylinder and no choke tubes, which are good with such a short barreled gun, though mine will take all the steel at about 18 yds, so it's worked pretty good so far. gonna send the barrel off to have it threaded for chokes sometime soon though. look around at pawn shops or gun shows, get a cheap pump 12 gauge and go out and play the game. then you'll figure out what kinda equipment to get. don't get all dorky over the equipment wars, you shoot, not the gun! seen some guys run pump guns at matches that are pretty scary..........
 
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