Shotgun for Sporting Clays

The local range is getting set up for sporting clays and I want to get in on the fun. Problem is that I know squat about shotguns and don’t have thousands of dollars to spend on a fancy Over/Under. Second issue is I’m also interested in possibly getting into 3 gun in the future and in an ideal world I wouldn’t have to buy two new guns.

Are there any reliable semi autos that would be good for clays and could be converted with a barrel swap and mag tube extension for 3gun? Assuming that isn’t an option are there any inexpensive Over/Unders I should try to get my hands on?


I know little of 3gun but the VR80 is mag fed where you can have 5rd, 9rd, and 19rd mags.

Bet that would generate some interesting comments at the skeet range:) Have seen a lot of these AR style shotguns advertised lately. Any word on if they are any good?

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It just keeps on going, check out all the YouTube videos on the VR80.

Benelli M1 is an excellent choice. Home defense, waterfowling, upland game, and clays.

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I believe those are inertia driven? Would the recoil be annoying with a long day of clays? Hear a lot of complaints about 12 gauge recoil. I’ve only ever shot a 20 gauge gas driven semi auto with bird shot a couple times and 308 hunting rifles so have not been exposed to heavy recoil.

Double barrel guns can turn into an expensive rabbit hole… I would look for a used semi auto, or even a pump gun. If you really like Clays, you can upgrade later on, if you don’t, you still have a nice 3 gun, or HD shotgun.

If I am not mistaken, you can only load 2 rounds anyway, so I don’t think a pump would slow you down too much. Limbsaver recoil pad for the recoil. :grinning:

I noticed they have a 5 stand clay setup at the parish gun range. I plan on giving that a try one day soon.

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My interest aside from the fun factor is I think it will be good practice for tracking moving targets.

A used semi auto may be the way to go. Aside from the Benelli, which seems like a good but pricey option, are their other brands I should be keeping an eye out for? Inexpensive and reliable would be my prime consideration since I’m not sure how into clays or 3 gun I will eventually get.

Remington 1100 might be a good choice.


I suggest a Mossberg 930 JM tactical. 9+1, stock can be adjusted and can be used in 3 gun and/or sporting clays and others. The weapon uses chocks to give the best pattern for a given load. In light of today’s market very good pricing and a soild product. Extra barrels allow the use of slugs and shot to further expand the usefullness of the weapon.



The game simulates hunting shots, so any decent field shotgun with a stock that fits you, will get you there.
Pump, semi auto or double makes little difference if you do your part. Choke tubes will give you needed flexibility to connect on a variety of shots.

Does the stock fit?
With your fore arm at 90 degrees, rest the butt plate in the crook of your arm. Can your finger reach the trigger comfortably?
If not, you can adjust the length of pull by adding or removing the recoil pad/spacers.
If so, mount the gun and point it at a stationary target. Dismount the gun, close your eyes and quickly mount the gun again. Open your eyes and if the gun is pointed straight at the target, you’re close enough for government work.


Take an empty unloaded shotgun into a dimly lighted room. Rubber band a Mini Maglight to the barrel focused with a narrow beam. Have someone with a laser pointer trace a slow gentle arcs on the opposing wall.
The laser is your target, the beam is your shot swarm
Start with your shotgun at low ready. When the laser is observed, mount your gun and track the laser/target with your beam/shot swarm, say “bang” when you get the target in your shot swarm and very important follow the laser with your beam until the arc comes to completion.

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The 930 caught my eye as a 3 gun option but I’ve read mixed reviews on reliability. Saw there is a 940 out now and not sure if that has resolved any potential problems. Also the 24” would be a little short for clays I would think. But as you pointed out I could likely swap them for different uses.

@John292 Thanks for the fitting advice! That was going to be one of my next questions. That at home practice is good advice as well. I have a video of a random dot moving around my TV screen that I use to practice tracking with a handgun. Your method gives a much better range of motion.

Yes, they’re inertia driven. How big are you?
I have shot geese all day with 3 1/2 12 guage. I don’t think the clays rounds will be that bad.
I personally prefer an O/U for clays.
Ruger Red Label.

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I’m 5’9” with a dozen or so pounds of extra survival calories stored in a go bag above my my belt;)

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I shoot with a lot of guys your size who shoot all day with no problems. While @Fred_G is right–these can become an addiction unto themselves–there is a beauty to the machining of a O/U shotgun.

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Thanks for all the ideas everyone. I’m leaning towards an inexpensive pump action as my gateway into what I am sure will be a very addicting and expensive sport. I can upgrade from there once I gain some experience and see more of the other options in action.

How much did target shells cost before all this ammo madness? They seem to be hard to find at the moment.

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For a single case of light target loads from Fiocchi, Winchester AA, etc.? Today, you will pay about $70-90 and a couple years ago I was paying half that.

I’m gonna have to check out the local stores. The best I’m seeing online is $130+ for 250 and that is for brands I’ve never heard of.

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