June 09, 2014
What's not to love about the puff of orange dust that hangs in the air as you powder a clay pigeon?
Your game might be skeet, trap, five-stand or sporting clays. You might just enjoy flinging clay pigeons by hand across your back 40. No matter what you prefer, you need a gun made just for busting those flying targets. Well, you don't necessarily need one, but you'll take any excuse to buy a new shotgun.
All you have to do is figure out what type of action is best for you. Many competitive clays shooters rely on over/unders, but auto-loaders are a pretty common sight on skeet and trap ranges everywhere.
Why not? These days, they are just as reliable as a stack-barrel and offer all the features a target shooter needs. Check out these great shotguns for busting clays.
Benelli Montefeltro Silver
Clay target shooters need a reliable gun that functions properly with every shot. Benelli's Montefeltro
is an inertia-driven semi-auto that lives up to that demand. Benelli's patented adjustment-free Inertia Driven system won't let you down when you say, 'pull. '
It comes with a Crio System cryogenically treated barrel and choke tubes for better pattern density, a removable trigger assembly and rotating bolt head. The one-piece engraved nickel-alloy receiver is complemented by a stunning AA-grade walnut stock, making this gun a head-turner in front of the clubhouse. The Montefeltro Silver also comes with three choke tubes, a hard case, a shim kit and a gold-plated trigger. It's available in 12- and 20-gauges.
It's no wonder the 692
is one of the most popular clay guns on ranges everywhere. Beretta designed the 692 specifically for the range. Two large locking lugs and replaceable barrel shoulders withstand shot after shot. The trigger is adjustable and so is the ejection/extraction. The balance is also adjustable through a system that includes weights inserted into the butt stock.
The Micro Core recoil takes the punch out of the last few rounds of the day and the 1.6-inch wide receiver helps you mount the gun and find the target faster. The 692 is available in 12-gauge and comes with 30-inch barrels. The 692 isn't just designed to shoot well. It's made to look good, too. It has a handsome silver receiver with black highlights along with a high-quality oil-finish stock.
Beretta A400 XPLOR Action 28-Gauge
Beretta over-and-unders are a common sight on skeet and sporting clays ranges everywhere, thanks largely to the company's reputation for producing a first-rate shotgun. Their auto-loaders, including the new 28-gauge A400 XPLOR Action
, are first-rate, as well. It's loaded with features and is the ideal gun for the competitive shooter looking for a small-bore shotgun.
The B-Link gas system cycles shells smoothly and reliably. You'll not only break more birds, you'll look good, too, thanks to a bronze-finish aluminum alloy receiver and an oil-finish Xtra-Grain Technology stock with high-quality checkering. The A400 XPLOR Action comes with three choke tubes, a Micro-Core recoil pad and a fiber-optic front sight.
Blaser F3 Luxus
If you really get what you pay for, then Blaser's F3 Luxus
will be the last competition gun you'll ever buy. It's loaded with features you won't find on less-expensive over-unders. The rib, for example, is adjustable to fit any shooter in any situation.
It comes with a mid bead and front bead for fast target acquisition and steady tracking, smooth-swinging 28- or 32-inch barrels and barrel balancer weights. The F3 Luxus also comes with a stock balancing kit and a Kick Eez recoil pad to help you shoot more rounds. It's available in 12 gauge and shoots shells up to 3 inches. The Grade 5 walnut stock is available in oil or gloss finish and the gun includes beautiful engraving on the nickel receiver.
Browning Citori 725 Sporting
have been fixtures on clay ranges for decades, but the 725
may be the last clays gun you'll ever need.
It's loaded with features designed just for target shooters. Both barrels are ported and come with five Invector DS choke tubes to help you bust every sporting clays target thrown at you. The 725 also features Browning's new FireLite trigger, an adjustable comb and Vector Pro lengthened forcing cones. It's as pretty as it is functional. The polished silver nitride receiver stands out in a crowd and the gloss oil finish Grade III/IV walnut stock looks as good as it feels. The adjustable comb model is available in 12-gauge with 28-, 30- or 32-inch barrels.
Stoeger Condor Competition
Inexpensive and functional? In a competition over-under? The Stoeger Condor Competition
offers everything you need without sacrificing your kid's college tuition. It comes with an adjustable comb than can be moved horizontally as well as vertically. Ported barrels reduce felt recoil, the selective safety lets you shoot the best choke for each target and the automatic ejectors save you time and trouble at each station.
The AA-grade walnut stock and blued barrel and receiver may not win any beauty contests, but you'll wow your friends with your shooting abilities just the same. The Condor Competition is available with a right or left-hand palm swell and is chambered for 2 ¾- and 3-inch shells in either 12- or 20-gauge. It also comes with six choke tubes.
was built for the most demanding sporting clays ranges, but it's also at home on the five-stand, skeet and trap ranges. It includes an adjustable comb, a chrome-lined barrel, a mid bead and fiber-optic front sight and six Kicks extended stainless steel competition choke tubes.
The barrels and receiver have a matte black chrome finish and the stock is made from No. 3 Circassian walnut imported from Turkey. It's chambered for 12-gauge, 3-inch shells and comes with 32-inch barrels.
Winchester 101 Pigeon Grade Trap Adjustable Comb
The 101 Pigeon Grade Trap
may be best-known as a great gun for the trap range, but it's also quite capable of busting clays everywhere they happen to fly. An adjustable comb and a list of other features make this shotgun an obvious choice for serious and not-so-serious clays shooters.
It includes an engraved low-profile nickel-plated receiver, an interchangeable TruGlo front fiber-optic sight, extended Invector Plus choke tubes and ported barrels. The 101 Pigeon Grade Trap also includes an adjustable trigger, chrome-plated chambers and bores and a Pachmayr Decelerator recoil pad. It's available in 12-gauge and comes with either 28- or 30-inch barrels.
Remington 1100 Competition Synthetic
It may not look much like Remington's classic 1100, but the 1100 Competition Synthetic
is everything we've come to expect from the venerable auto-loader, and more. Aside from the unusual but handsome carbon fiber stock, the Competition Synthetic sports a Nickel-Teflon finish on the receiver and moving parts.
The length-of-pull and cast are fully adjustable, too, and a Super-Cell recoil pad helps you stay on the range longer. It comes with a blued 30-inch barrel and shoots 2 ¾-inch shells. It also comes with five Briley Pro-Bore choke tubes to meet any challenge on the skeet, trap or clays range. Available in 12-gauge.
Ruger Red Label
Is there a single gun that's at home on the clays range and in the field? That question may be open to debate, but Ruger's Red Label
just might be the ideal all-purpose shotgun. The 100 percent American-made over/under is a no-frills double that is at home anywhere you take it.
Available in 12-gauge with 26-, 28- or 30-inch barrels, it shoots 2 ¾- and 3-inch shells and comes with a barrel selector safety, a single trigger and a super-strong locking system. The Red Label also comes with five Briley chokes, including two skeet tubes, a semi-soft case and the unmistakable stainless steel receiver that is a trademark of this handsome gun.