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First time over-under buyer with questions

1298 Views 9 Replies 1 Participant Last post by  ShotgunPro
New to over-under shotguns, and am looking for a 20 or 12 gauge to do a little bit of clay shooting. I've shot my friend's Beretta 390 semi-auto, and while it was nice and could double as a bird gun, I'm pretty realistic and know I'd do just clay (live on property with access to a bajillion pheasant, quail and dove yet have no desire to hunt....but my friends sure like it!) hence the interest in an over-under. Plus the "safety" factor of being able to tell my nephews and new shooters in the family "okay, you have two shells, and when it's open it cannot fire" is a plus. Yes, I know the finger is the best safety along with proper training but for this specific clay gun this is a good feature.

Anyway, in terms of brands what's a good solid company that won't break the bank but won't leave me high and dry with poor quality and horrific customer service? I know often times you get what you pay for but are there any hidden gems?
Avoid Stoeger or TriStar? Cabelas and the like have them on sale all the time for around $350 brand new, who knows what Wal-Mart has them at.

Just pony up for a good semi auto and be realistic about the care and safety of owning such a firearm?

My friends say it's a matter of time until I own several shotguns just like how the handgun addiction took hold of me. I know, I know, but for the first-time clay buy, what do you say? Thank you in advance.
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Good stack barrels aren't cheap. I would belly up and go with a Browning. Not cheap but you can get your money back out of it.
The cheapest O/U I would ever buy would be an older CZ or Huglu. I have a CZ Canvasback from about 4 years ago that is a beautiful Turkish gun. The current Canvasbacks aren't nearly as nice - dull wood and dull finish. Mine has really nice walnut and deep rich bluing.

Off the rack, I'll echo what ST said. A baseline Benelli Citori will roun right around a grand, and will be a solid gun that looks and shoots well.

You can buy a Mossberg Silver Reserve, or Stoeger Condor for $500 or less, but they're really not even half the gun a $1000 Benelli is. You're ALWAYS going to have the econo gun in your group, and if you get serious about clays you're going to want to upgrade pretty quick. And if you're not planning on shooting a lot of clays, then you probably don't need an O/U to begin with.

You may want to spend $600 on a semi-auto and be done with it. No offense to anyone who went to WalMart and bought a Mossberg SR. My opinion is worth the price you paid to read it.
Depending upon your budget you can find a good, used Browning (not Benelli) Citori or 525 clays for under a grand. Or something along the lines of a Ruger or entrance grade Beretta would be in that same ballpark.

Another brand to consider would be something like an SKB as they run equal to or lower than a comparable Browning or Beretta and are very well made guns that will last a lifetime or more. You might even fine an Ithica O/U, which was made by SKB and get a little fancier engraving and wood for less money.
Thanks for all the info. In the past few days or week I've read and spoken to many people locally, and everything is echoed from the few replies here.

CDNN has a few good deals on Turkish-made CZ/Huglu for around $500-$750 and a few Brownings and Berettas around $1099 and up. I've swung a few of the same models in local stores, but I have yet to buy. Why?

New thread coming up...
Depending upon your budget you can find a good, used Browning (not Benelli) Citori .
See, Apex has my back. Browning, not Benelli. Duh. A buddy just bought an SBE2 so I had Benelli on the brain I guess.
A little over a year ago when I started wingshooting I needed a "do-everything" gun for skeet, clays, and trap. (Little did I know how addictive pheasant/chukkar hunting would be... you're friends are right).

After considering some of the budget guns, I broke down and bought a 28" 12ga Browning Citori Lightning Classic from CDNN for $1399 (they have the same gun on sale now for $1299). It has slightly upgraded wood and a silver-colored engraved receiver. They are a really attractive gun and have a top-notch reputation for quality and durability.

I quickly learned that the fit of the shotgun is really important when wingshooting. You shoot where you look and really don't "aim" the gun like you would a handgun or rifle. If the gun doesn't fit you, you won't shoot well. Before you buy, see if some of your friends will let you try some different guns. At my club, I was able to try a bunch of different brands and found that I shot the Browning Citori Lightning (field) and Ruger Red Label the best. It made my decision much easier.

Now that I've been shooting a little and have a some familiarity with wingshooting I can shoulder a gun and have a general idea if it fits well enough to shoot.
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Another CZ/Huglu supporter. I bought my first O/U a few years ago after years of upland hunting with a Mossy pump. I also wanted the highest quality I could get without breaking the bank, but knew nothing about O/U shotguns. A local FFL that I know and trust pointed me toward the CZ line. Then one day I stumbled on a lightly used Huglu (what is now imported as the CZ Mallard). For $400, I got a great field gun that I use for hunting and clays. My buddy owns a Beretta 686, and even he likes my CZ.
Stoeger is now made by or owned by Benelli, in face I'm getting one tomorrow. It's the 599.99 or mid price range one. Going to use it for trap and if I'm lucky pheasant.
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