I'm looking into an O/U for clay shooting. I'll end up spending some cash, but I figure I'm worth it. Unfortunately, I am not worth a Perazzi or Krieghoff. The main uses will be Trap, Sporting, 5-Stand, Skeet ... basically in that order. I'm considering a few guns and would be curious to hear of experiences with them. I'm considering a Browning 525 Sporting (although the palm swell feels huge to me), a Beretta 682 Gold E Sporting (which fits great), a Beretta 686 E (which has the same fit as the 682) and an SKB (likely the 85TSS, although I have not held one). I'll check the fit very carefully before I purchase anything, but I'd like to hear from those who own the guns. Whatever I end up with, it will be new. Any pros or cons to any I have mentioned? Would you recommend the adjustable stock/comb, considering it will be used for multiple shooting sports disciplines? My current school of thought is to get accustomed to one gun, and shoot it, rather than a bunch of different guns, so the adjustable stock would likely get set and left alone.
I'm currently shooting a 12ga. 28" Benelli Legacy and loving it, so I have no plans to stop using it. I just want to get an O/U to play with as well.
So far here is what I know (or have been told or read):
1) The Berettas have the "sealed" trigger group, so it stays clean.
2) The SKB can be had as a 12 and 20 ga set for the same retail as the Beretta 682 Gold E in 12 ga.
3) The Browning has a huge palm swell, but mounts and swing nice. I also love the wood.
4) The 682 can be rebuilt easily. The 686 can not be, well, as easily anyways.
5) I don't really NEED one, but I WANT one.
I own a Browing XS Skeet (citori) which all Browing O/U are. I love the wood also and the palm swell for me feels great. A friend of mine liked the gun so much, that he bought one, and he's a lefty, which puts the palm swell on the wrong side, but he shoots the gun well anyway. I started seeing the 525 last year, and talked to the guy, and he said he loves it. It also is a sharp looking gun! As for the Beretta's the 682 Gold E, (I owned the previous 682 model) nice gun, but it didn't fit me well. Stock too thick, the wood was o.k. but not as nice as the Browning's, and length of pull was too long for me, could I shoot it,? yes. consistantly, no. sorry, Don't worry about rebuilding of the barrel shoulders on the Berettas either, unless your going to shoot about 10,000 rounds a year for 10 years. I can't comment on the SKB, not real popular in this area, I don't know why. Gun fit is the key! You can probably get a good gunsmith to make almost any gun fit you, but boy are you gonna pay, that's your call. Good luck! like to hear how you make out. just my 2cents!
SKB is kinda the small fish in your list. I have never met an owner of one who had a negative comment.
Brownings and Beretta's usually fit people quite differently. Most are in one camp or the other because of fit. You may want to handle each of them again. That may remove one of them real quick. Pretty won't break birds, but a good fitting gun will.
Adjusting the comb for different target games is a very bad idea in my opinion. Set the butt plate and comb and let it ALONE. If you find after 5k rounds you are missing consistently in a particular manner adjust it. But don't fall into the trap of adjusting your stock everytime you miss a few birds.
I own a Winchester Supreme. But if I were to buy a new shotgun today, I would look first at the SKB and pray it fit me. Then the Beretta and pray it fit me. Then the Browning.
The reason for that order is customer service. All the listed guns are good. Browning and Beretta both stink in the customer service. I know a few people in Md. that would help with Beretta work or I would send it off to www.Coleguns.com. Browning I know nobody there and I am screwed. SKB has had very few complaints from my ears.
I just ordered the SKB this morning. Once I get it in, I'll post an update as to whether or not I made a smart choice. It just seems like a lot of gun for the money, and I love the look and feel of it.
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