It’s been my great fortune to have shot Sporting Clays with many different shotguns, since my first opportunity, back in the early 1990s. I’ve used pump guns, semi-autos, side-by-sides and over/unders. Often, just for fun, I’ll haul several different shotguns in my Gator; choosing the best gun for each station. Once I shot 5-stand with five shotguns – a different gun at each station. Seriously, shooting Sporting Clays is one of my favorite hobbies – as well as collecting nice shotguns. In all my shooting, there have only been two 50 straights.
Regularly I’ll shoot multiple gauges on the same course, being very careful not to get the 12 and 20 gauge ammo mixed up. We set up the original Midway Farms course, back in 1991, using my Browning Superposed 410 over/under; every target had to be close enough to break with a 410 – which for me is under 30 yards. But for serious shooting, nothing competes with the 12 gauge, it simply breaks more targets. The 12 gauge bore provides the best patterns and 12 gauge guns are usually a little heavier – allowing for a steadier swing.
For reliability, modern semi-autos are the best they have ever been – though still not
perfect; however, my preference is an over/under design – for improved reliability, better trigger pull and a balance point more to my liking. Balance, on a Sporting Clays gun, is more important than most people realize. Unlike skeet, where the target angle and speed are always the same, Sporting Clays targets are not nearly as predictable — and they often look different from the “batter’s box” than the “on-deck circle.” Some birds require me to use a “pull ahead” lead; this is much easier if the balance point of the gun is a little closer to the trigger, making the barrels a little livelier – but not whippy.
So, my favorite shotgun for Sporting Clays is this Fabbri 12 gauge over/under with 29" barrels, and here are some of the other specifications:
1. Weight – 7#, 11 oz
2. Balance Point – 5-1/4" in front of trigger
3. Trigger Pull – 3#, 8 oz
The stock dimensions allow the gun to shoot right where I'm looking, and of course the gun has interchangeable choke tubes. All of these specifications make it my favorite shotgun for sporting clays; but there is one thing I would change – wish it had double triggers, rather than the single, non-selective type.