Clay Shooting

I’m in the market for a new shotgun, and have been for way too long.  One of my favorite pastimes is shooting, and I want a gun that meets my needs.  Now, I’m not a big hunter, but it is a large part of our culture here in the South.  I’m good with that, but even though I’ve lived below the line my entire life, I’ve never had the urge to be in a deer stand or duck blind.  Walking a field with dogs, though – I’m all in.  My problem is that I’m tired of borrowing my buddies’ guns.

There are two shotguns I’d like – a 12 gauge semi-automatic, and a 20 gauge over/under.  I’m going to start with a 12, and then get the 20 later on.  I wanted to shoot, so a couple buddies and I headed to a sporting clays club in North Georgia to hone our craft.  I hadn’t shot in nearly three years, but I’ve wanted to pull the trigger for quite some time.  I was really excited – and anxious – to shoot.

After getting the supplies (shells, ear plugs, etc.), we prepped our gear and loaded up the cart.  The club has two 14-station courses, each with two clay throwers that simulate various bird flights.   We chose the South course and headed out.  We couldn’t have picked a better day – the weather was perfect, and there was low wind.

Most of the stations were 3- or 4-report pairs, but a few were ‘true pairs’ – which sends two clays at the same time; much more challenging – but also more fun.  We all took turns at each station – shooting, working the clays, and keeping score.

I became more comfortable with each gun as we got deeper into the course.  My two buddies are much more experienced than I am with a shotgun, which is fine, because I prefer going out with better shooters.  I learn a lot more from them than they learn from me.

What a day – we all had a great time, and hit quite a few clays.  I scored a ‘Herschel’ (34 out of 100), which I was very pleased with considering I hadn’t shot in such a long time.  While I wasn’t the best, I confirmed my shotgun plan:  I see a 12 gauge in my (very) near future.  A 20 is soon to follow.

After shooting, we rewarded ourselves with a lunch at a local BBQ place.  The perfect ending to a day with good friends and gunpowder.

Thanks to Filson for running this post on their Life Blog…it’s nice to be associated with such great company.

Greg - April 13, 2012 - 9:50 AM

The new Browning A5 looks AMAZING.

Kevin at The Trot Line - April 13, 2012 - 9:55 AM

Trip’s beard is awesome. I hope he never shaves that badge of masculinity off his face.

Also, definitely invest in a 12 gauge first. Most are pretty versatile. I got tired of borrowing my friends guns when we went shooting, and occasionally dove hunting, and ended up becoming a hunter myself after buying a few of my own. With so much going on during the work week, getting out into the woods for the weekend stuck in a deer stand is one of the most therapeutic things in life. Two seasons ago, I saw deer out the wazoo but never even took one shot. I was pretty disappointed that I let so many walk, especially when the freezer was empty, but I wouldn’t trade those quiet hours in the woods for anything.

Great post Jay!

cooper - April 13, 2012 - 10:17 AM

Great post. I agree with Kevin on Tripp’s beard: it’s definitely awesome.

cooper - April 13, 2012 - 10:19 AM

Also, sorry I threw the extra “p” in there, Trip. I didn’t proofread.

dchassell - April 13, 2012 - 1:10 PM

Great post sir! Looks like it was tons of fun!

As an avid shooter and sportsman I have several guns and my advice to you is find the gun that fits your set up best.

Joseph - April 13, 2012 - 1:15 PM

What make and model is the over/under in the photos?

trip - April 13, 2012 - 3:33 PM

Kevin- Thanks you. Unfortunately the beard does not grant me magical shooting abilities as I had the lowest score that day.

Cooper- I appreciate you correcting the spelling as that is my pet peeve.

Joseph- The over/under is my gun and it is a Yildiz SPZ ME20. Yildiz is a line of Turkish guns sold exclusively at Academy Sports. I’ve had it for about 3.5 years and have been pleased with it. You can read more about it here http://atripdownsouth.blogspot.com/2008/11/new-shotgun-yildiz-overunder.html

Michael - April 13, 2012 - 4:00 PM

I grew up going shooting with my dad. I’ve hunted MAYBE 5 times in my life, all for birds. Quail and pheasant are the ticket if you hunt, but there’s nothing better than going to the skeet or trap field, or a sporting clays course.

If I were you, I’d invest in the prettiest over/under (or if you want to look even more bad-a, a side by side) that your wallet will allow. I’ve got lots of friends that say worship the ground that Benellis and Berettas walk on, and for good reason. They’re nice guns. But for the money, the best gun you can get is a good grade Browning Citori. Some of the best looking, most dependable guns out there are Brownings. When I go to the range, I routinely get looks for my high grade Browning that my dad gave me. If you want to blow some money, go get a CZ or a Kreighoff. But let’s be honest, they aren’t going to shoot any better than anything else. If you want a semi auto later, I’d get the Remington 870 composite for about $400. It can be your beat around / take into the woods / drag through the rain / shoot the lights out gun. Invest your money in a nice over-under )or SBS) and then save all the money from the other B’s and buy shells. And by all means, have fun!

Steve NeSmith - April 13, 2012 - 11:02 PM

Great post. My advice: Dont blow too much cash on a gun that will not shoot any straighter than some of the time-tested Browning or Remingtons. Sounds like Michael was speaking from a lot of experince, and i would second his comments. Speaking of 12 guages and birds I will let this pic, taken last weekend here in Nashville, be my contribution –> http://bit.ly/HEyYXR

Josh Kilby - April 16, 2012 - 6:47 PM

Who makes you’re vest?

Whitney - April 17, 2012 - 11:07 AM

Great post! As I mentioned in your previous gun post, I’m just the opposite. I have a 20ga semi-auto and a 12ga o/u. I have this configuration as I prefer the semi for hunting and I like the lighter gun for trekking through the fields. I absolutely love my 12ga Silver Pigeon III and highly recommend it. I shot in another sporting clays tourney Friday afternoon, my first with the SP, and had my best showing yet.

When Michael said “if you want to blow some money, go get a CZ or a Kreighoff” I think he was mistaken about the CZ. They are one of the cheapest guns out there. Perhaps he meant Ceasar Guerini. Guerinis are really nice, as are Perazzis and Zolis. There are also great Spanish guns made by Grulla and Aya.

My husband and I are off to the Southern Side by Side next weekend at Deep River in NC. We can’t wait! Even with all my instruction (Elizabeth Lanier is my AWESOME teacher), I just can’t get the hang of the sight picture of the double barrel so I’ll leave the comps up to my talented hubby and his 100+ year old Ithaca. If you get a chance, you should go to the fall event in Georgetown, SC at Back Woods Quail Club. The past couple of years they’ve opened up the weekend with a tower shoot before the shooting tourney and it’s tons of fun. Lots of vendors, great food, fellowship with other shooters and an all-around fantastic time.

Brian Roberts - April 21, 2012 - 9:03 AM

Etowah Valley – great place to spend a day. Been there many times since discovering it during a charity tournament hosted there. Sometimes you have to let the Silver Pigeon fly

Michael - May 7, 2012 - 1:47 PM

Whitney, you’re absolutely right. i meant Cesar Guerini. Oops…

David Meeks - December 25, 2012 - 11:19 PM

Great blog, just discovered RCS. Which Filson bag do I see here?

Thanks

David - March 28, 2013 - 10:54 AM

I’d agree with Michael on the “take it through the woods drag it through . . . ” but I’m not doing that with my Citori, on the other hand my CZ Redhead is just that gun.

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