How to Choose and Buy a Sporting Gun

How to Choose and Buy a Sporting Gun

How to Choose and Buy a Sporting Gun: During the development of a shotgun for clay pigeon shooting, any decision of the designers strongly depends on the conditions in which the shotgun will be used or, in other words, on the technical features of the chosen sports discipline of plate shooting.

Sporting differs from all other sports and hunting shooting exercises in the absolute variety of target trajectories. Shooting from sporting weapons is carried out offhand, both at the shortest and the most extended distances, bordering on the gun’s functionality (60-65 m).

The sporting shotgun is the epitome of versatility. His typical portrait looks like this.

This is a vertical barreled shotgun with a length of 710 to 860 mm, and, as a rule, with replaceable muzzle restrictions.

How to Choose and Buy a Sporting Gun

The trigger mechanism has one trigger and a selector for changing the sequence of the shot from the upper or lower barrel. These technical features help to optimize the shot.

Due to the wide shot scree, the cylindrical muzzle narrowing ensures reliable hitting of the target at close distances, and the maximum narrowing gives the necessary density of the screen at the maximum firing distances.

Climb shotguns are usually equipped with a full set of restrictions for each barrel, from cylindrical to full choke (1 mm) in 0.2 or 0.25 mm increments. In addition to these standard sizes, some companies offer a 1.25 mm reinforced choke as an additional option for the maximum long-range shot.

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Features of the Geometry of the Stand Gun

Modern weapons companies pay serious attention to the ergonomics of clay pigeon shooting weapons. The main goal is to achieve maximum correspondence of the gun’s geometry to the specifics of shooting exercises and the anthropometric characteristics of the shooter.

The most important element of this compliance is the butt. It becomes an adapter between a gun and a person, and at the same time, the main criterion for comfort.

All clay trap guns can be divided into two groups-

  • The first is a weapon designed for offhand shooting. It is used in exercises: “sporting”, ” compact sporting “, “skit”, “north ladder”, “universal ladder”, “propellers” and some others.
  • The second group – weapons for exercises “Olympic ladder” and “American ladder.” In these exercises, the gun is put into the shoulder while ready to fire.

These seemingly insignificant factors make significant adjustments to the geometry of the guns. The fundamental difference lies in such a parameter as the lost stock (butt).

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Killed Butt

It is customary to call the tilt of the box relative to the axis of the aiming bar.

It can be determined by the distance from the axis of the aiming strip to the line of the butt ridge at the rear and front points.

The goodness of a gun is an individual and even rather a subjective concept. A perfectly tailored gun to a particular athlete for shooting a ladder (trench) will not suit him at all for sporting, and vice versa. And this is determined primarily by the death of the butt.

Features of the Drop of the Butt of a Gun for a Trench Stand

To defeat the saucer, the shooter must take the necessary lead. The plate on the trench stand flies from the bottom up, and, accordingly, the athlete has to shoot over it. Thus, it turns out that when a shot occurs, the target will be under the barrels and out of the shooter’s field of view. To prevent this from happening, the weapon for the trench stand is made with a low drop of the butt (high ridge). The height of the ridge of the stock in the front point is 25-35 mm, in the back – 36-49 mm.

With such a loss, it is possible to achieve that the athlete looks at the upper part of the aiming bar, and the shot will occur with the necessary anticipation with accurate control of the saucer.

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Features of the Drop of the Buttstock of Sporting Rifles

The deaths of boxes on a  sporting gun are significantly higher than for a trench stand.

It is determined by the need to match the visual axis with the axis of the aiming bar. These lines must be aligned when the shot is completed. Moreover, the comb of the box should only touch the cheek and not press into it.

The height of the butt ridge at the front point is 38-45 mm, at the rear – 55-65 mm. The range of sizes is associated with the peculiarities of the anthropometric data of a person.

As a rule, manufacturers of sporting weapons offer several standard sizes of butts, from which you can choose the most suitable option.

Stock Retraction

The amount of retraction of the butt to the right (for right-handers) and the left (for left-handers) is not related to the peculiarities of shooting exercises. It depends only on the shooter’s constitution.

The defining parameters of the retraction are the width of the chest and the distance from the vertical axis of the eye to the size of the front of the cheek or cheekbone. The larger these values are, the more retraction the stock should have.

The amount of retraction in the heel of the butt varies on average in the range of 5–8 mm, and in the toe – 8–12 mm. That is, the vertical axis of the butt plate has a slight slope. It matches the shape of the subclavian cavity, where the butt is inserted in preparation for the shot.

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The pitch is the angle between the axis of the aiming bar and the plane of the butt plate.

The pitch provides the complete conjugation of the butt plate plane with the surface of the subclavian cavity after the shot or inserts of the gun. It is an angular quantity, but it is also measured linearly. For this, the gun is placed on a horizontal surface with a shock absorber. The amount of deflection of the aiming bar at the muzzle from the vertical axis is the pitch. It is measured in centimeters and can be “negative” if the bar axis is tilted towards the butt end, neutral or zero if the aiming bar coincides with the vertical axis, and “positive” if the bar axis is inversely tilted.

The value of the pitch depends primarily on the peculiarities of the shooting exercise or, more correctly, on the angle of inclination of the shooter’s body when ready to fire.

So, for example, a shooter on a trench stand tilts the body much more than in exercises where shooting is carried out offhand. In this case, the pitch on the gun is made “zero,” with possible small deviations (1-2 cm) in the negative or positive zone. In sporting and other offhand shooting exercises, the pitch is always negative. Its size is usually 5–10 cm and depends on the individual characteristics of the shooter.

Butt Length

This parameter of a shotgun for trap shooting depends solely on the individual characteristics of the shooter, and above all, on his height and arm length.

The length of the butt is measured from the trigger to the middle of the butt pad. The average size is 36.5–37 cm and corresponds to the average height of an adult.

Most gun companies involved in the production of shotguns for shotguns complete them with shock absorbers of various thicknesses. This allows you to change the length of the stock at your discretion.

In addition, the companies provide the opportunity to order shotguns with custom-made stocks.

It must be remembered that a too-long stock makes it difficult to lift and makes the gun poorly controllable. Conversely, the short one lends considerable “laxity” to the manipulation of the weapon.


There are long barrels of sporting shotguns. A length of 750 or 760 mm was believed to be long enough. A significant trend towards cartridge strengthening has been observed in recent years. Almost all arms companies offer, among others, shotguns with barrels of 810, 860 mm, and sometimes even more. This, in turn, entailed a significant change in the balance of the gun. To compensate for it, a balancer was used, which is inserted into the back of the butt. The balancer has a variable mass and can adjust the gun’s balance over a very wide range.

Which Trap Gun to Buy?

The conscious and correct choice for clay pigeon shooting can only be made by an experienced shooter. Therefore, we do not recommend that novice shooter go to extremes and buy a costly gun right away.

The practice has shown that even if an experienced shooter chooses a gun for you, it will suit you only by  70–80%. In the first year of sport, therefore, you will have to repeatedly compensate for the discrepancy with a planer, file, saw, and other carpentry tools.

In this case, the aesthetic side of the butt will suffer significant damage. And this quality is important for an expensive gun.

The other extreme is buying cheap domestic guns. This will become an even bigger problem. The ergonomics and resources of these guns are at an extremely low level, and they will not allow you to form shooting skills during the training process effectively.

The most appropriate choice for the first sporting gun would be a weapon in the price range from 2 to 4 thousand euros. Many models of well-known European firms fall here: “Antonio Zoli.” Beretta, Bettinsoli, Browning, Fabarm, Caesar Guerini, and many others.

These stand shotguns have a very long service life and good ergonomics. They will allow you to realize your sporting potential just as much as very expensive shotguns. This is confirmed by practice.

Many of the world’s strongest sportsmen shoot at the arms of the brands listed above.

Nearly all of these companies produce weapons with higher quality and a higher price. It should be noted. It is necessary to pay attention to them after a specific training and competitive period to realize and formulate your requirements for this instrument independently.

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Hunting Rifles and Sporting

Sporting is an actual hunting sport. Therefore, it is ridiculous to argue that a simple hunting rifle is not suitable for sports.

Particularly if you want to do more shooting and not to win a prize at major competitions, in this case, any smoothbore gun with which you go hunting is suitable for training.

Recently, small competitions have become very popular, in which participants are divided into groups according to the type of weapon. A separate test is held among owners of horizontal, vertical, and single-barreled guns.

Shooting from semi-automatic rifles takes a special place among non-standard exercises. Such competitions sometimes gather more participants than official sporting competitions.

With the hunting season approaching, even if you regularly train on a bench with a good sporting rifle, it is advisable to do a few training sessions with your hunting rifle to adapt. This will make hunting shooting as effective as possible.

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