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Catch-22! I'm stuck with the Novice's Dilemma...

2495 Views 7 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Anonymous
Hello all,

Well, here's my dilemma...

I'm really interested in trying my hand at skeet and trap and there's a great club nearby that offers beginner's classes for just $50 including shells and targets.

The problem is that the only shotgun I have is my Mossberg 590A1 which, at 18", does not meet the minimum barrel length requirement. Even if it did, I think I'd look a bit ridiculous shooting skeet with it.

So now I'm stuck in that catch-22: I need to buy a sporting shotgun in order to get into the sport. But I need to learn about the sport in order to buy the RIGHT shotgun.

I suppose I could buy a solid quality shotgun right off the bat and just hope that eventually I can get it to fit me correctly. Or I could just buy the cheapest thing out there just to get started and trade up when I'm ready.

The cheapest solution I can think of is to simply get a longer barrel for my Mossy and then I'll at least be able to practice with it. But I wouldn't mind investing in a medium-priced competition autoloader, either.

Any advice?

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One of many places to get you a new barrel is If you are used to shooting this gun that would be the least expensive and least amount of change. Get a barrel with screw in chokes, with atleast cylinder or skeet and imp mod or full. You can jump right in. Then if you decide (its like getting snake bit, you dont really have a choice) that you like clay shooting, check the local shops or the clubs for sale board. Try some of the locals guns if they will let you and you can see for yourself if Browing, or Beretta or even a K-gun is what suits you.

Glad to see another shooter start a long (and expensive) journey. :lol:
Thanks for the link! Looks like they have exactly what I need - a 21" in MarineCote. No adjustable choke on those, but at least I can take the class and hopefully make some friends who will let me shoot their guns.

Yes, you're right about another Long and Expensive Journey! :p But I guess it's worth it if you have fun along the way.

If you plan on shooting clays, you may want a longer barrel. It has to do with sight plane, speed of the swing, and perceived lead. Go ahead and ask the instructor what barrel length they suggest and if you can try shouldering some guns with 26-30 barrels, try shooting them to see if you can you can feel/see the difference. A 21" barrel will work it just may not be the best choice.
Actually, I guess I can get a longer barrel and not worry about matching the finish :p

Looks like they have a 28" with a modified choke that might work.
You really want to get a barrel with screw-in choke tubes so that you can change them out. It makes it easy to adjust your pattern to the way that you shoot. --- AFG
I started with a Moss500 with 18" bbl, which I replaced with a 28" ported bbl I got at Cabelas. I used that gun for 6 months, then got the chance to borrow a buddys Citori Lightning O/U. From then, I got a Citori Lightning Sporting Clays O/U with 30" ported bbls, and have shot that ever since.

Note that I've tried pump, semi, and O/U, so I was able to judge what was best for me. Does your club rent out guns? If so, then theres your chance; rent one of each and get a feel for what feels most "fun" to you. Shoot the same ammo in each type of gun.

Everyone has their preferences. You need to try some guns so you can decide what is yours.

Like I tell people; decide what TYPE of gun you want to shoot, then decide on a brand. When you start getting consecutive 100's, then its time to move into a nicer gun, a smaller gage, or BOTH!

Have fun!
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What advice do you have if the club does not happen to rent guns? (The one I'm planning to shoot at doesn't, unfortunately.)

When I bought my first handgun, I rented everything they had on the shelf and so I know how helpful it is to get your hands on lots of different brands and models when you're a novice.

I'm taking a beginner's class this weekend, but I'm worried that this may be the only exposure I get to any sporting shotguns before I'm forced to start shopping around. I'll certainly take the time to shoulder as many different guns as I can at the gun stores I visit, but I have a bad feeling I won't really get to fire very many at the range.
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