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Woman New to the Sport

3822 Views 7 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  Rick618
I am glad I finally thought to look for a discussion forum for women shooters... I want to get (back) into shooting after an absence of about 10 years, and I could certainly use some advice! My past experience with shotguns was limited to occasional skeet shooting with my Dad in my teenage days, using an old 16 gauge European (Belgian, I think) side by side - I love the balance but the stock is too long for me. In any case, I'm a bit overwhelmed/confused by all of the options available, and need some help on finding a gun that is right for me.

In short, I no longer find a sore shoulder fun, and I am beginning research on purchasing a general purchase shot gun mainly for waterfowl and occasional upland game shooting. I am 5'6," and *really* want to get a gun that fits me properly, and that isn't too heavy. I need something that will provide reliable service when used in adverse conditions (rain, saltwater, mud, etc.). Any advice as to what I should go to the gun shop and ask to see would be greatly appreciated... I have tried asking for info from local retailers multiple times over the last few years, and I have felt they have been really condescending/nasty, so I am really sort of at a loss as to how to get information. I'm hoping that I'll have better luck if I have a more defined idea of what I need/want.

Additionally, what would you suggest as an appropriate (re)introduction to shooting? A few private lessons (how does one find an instructor)? Joining a gun club (shudder - the percieved anti woman attitude was the main reason I got out of the sport...). (How do you ladies handle the these situations/attitudes anyway?) At this point, I haven't got anyone who is experienced in the sport to serve as a mentor to take me to the local range, so any advice is appreciated!

I have wanted to start shooting again for a few years, and I am ready to take the plunge so to speak, and excited about the prospect! I look forward to your replies.
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Hi there HNS and welcome to the forum. You are taking a big plunge and that is a great thing! I would suggest checking into the Beretta 391 as a good all-around gun for what you want to do.

I would also suggest checking with the National Wild Turkey Federations Women in the Outdoors program, the ladies that I have talked to have a great time, learn alot, and make some lasting friendships:

Women in the Outdoors Events in Indiana

Women in the Outdoors is dedicated to providing new opportunities to women interested in a variety of outdoor activities. Make new friends or have a great time with old ones as you learn to fish, hunt, camp, hike, mountain bike, shoot and take part in many other exciting activities. Check here for an event near you.

If you would like to host Women in the Outdoors event in your area, please contact the Women's Regional Coordinator in your state by clicking back and choosing NWTF Field Staff.

Splinter Ridge

Event Date: 07/12/03
Location: Quail Ridge Sportsman's Club
Sunman, IN
Contact: Stacy Halbig
Phone: 812-537-1113

Dogwood Drummers

Event Date: 07/26/03
Location: Ceraland
Columbus, IN
Contact: Susie Gleyze-Thomas
Phone: 812-497-0133
Email: [email protected]

Muscatatuck River Longbeards / Ox Creek Longbeards

Event Date: 08/16/03
Location: Jackson-Washington State Forest
Brownstown, IN
Contact: Brenda Cooper
Phone: 812-524-1921

Cross Roads Gobblers

Event Date: 08/23/03
Location: Hawthorn Park
Terre Haute, IN
Contact: Phyllis Taylor
Phone: 812-466-5932
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Thanks for the response. I'll definately check out the groups/events links you sent me. I am a transplant to the midwest, so I would certainly learn a great deal about outdoor activities in general. I am hoping to visit to a local glub club (recommended by the guys at work) this weekend, and shedule a few lessons with one of their instructors. I think this should be a good way to get started again.

I am planning on doing some shopping this weekend for the new gun, which should be fun. I definately have the Beretta 391 on my list of must sees - several colleagues have recomended it as well. My Dad says no auto loader, and no 12 gauge though (a true fan of the double barrel models), and as he will be going along it should be interesting... But if he wants to pitch in for a nice over under or SxS, that's just fine with me :D

Actually, a number of people have suggested I get a pump to start with, "learn" to shoot, figure out what I really want to do, and upgrade in a year or so. I have plenty of experience with pump action rifles, and there seems to be some sense in this approach. Anyone have any input on this?

Whatever model I decide on though, it's going to be a versatile gun that feels right to me.

Anyway, I'll post the board with updates.

Thanks again for the recomendation.

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Welcome to the ladies forum! I say forget the pump, you want an autoloader then you get it (plus it will be easier on the shoulder). I am shorter at 5"5" and need my guns shortened my O/U has been cut to fit. I did find the Beretta ladies/youth stock to fit almost perfect. I think if they would have had the thinner gel-teck pad on it I would have one. Having the stock fit won't be too bad price wise unless you go and have just about every thing changed or get a new stock. For a hunting gun I would just get a standard stock (unless the Beretta fits you good) and cut it down then toss a nice recoil pad on it. So you would have the gun pluse a pad. Just look around and see what is all out there. (that is alot of fun, not as much as buying but still fun).
You might want to try a 391 parallel target RL. (RL stands for reduced length). I still had to get the stock cut, but then, I'm only 5'2 - it might be fine for someone who is taller. The parallel target has a higher comb, something that I also needed.

I also have an over/under for skeet, but only shoot it with sub-gauge tubes - I don't think I can deal with the 12ga recoil these days.

I also second looking into an Outdoor Women's clinic. The women who participated had a great time and some even came back for additional instruction.

Hi Ellen and welcome to the forum! Go ahead and register these gals need some more support to counter all us mens that are on here :).
Thanks for your advice Ellen, Rick and Golden Hunter.

I have looked at quite a few different models (lots of fun), and had the good fortune to try out a number a shotguns this last weekend. I think I may be a convert to the over and under crowd... My favorite two guns of the day were a Charles Daly 20 gauge Field Model Over and Under and a 12 gauge Ruger Red Label (which apparently has a terrible reputaion in the recoil department, but I didn't experience any problems in this area - and I even managed to break a good number of clays 8) ). I guess you never know what you will like until you get to shoot a few different models. Unfortunately, no one had a Beretta, and I've only had a chance to try one autoloader (a youth model 20 gauge Remington 1100 I think - way too short, but I was amazed at how little recoil there was). I like the way the 391 Urika and Benelli's Super Eagle feel (based on handeling at the store only), but I didn't like the Xtrema at all - it just felt wrong for me. So I guess I need to make the big decision - start with an auto or over under model, and that leads me back to taking a closer look at different manufacturers of guns of the later variety...

Just as an observation, I find it interesting that on this site there are many positive reviews/recomendations for both the autoloaders and various double barrel models, but every single person I have spoken with one on one who has been in the sport for a while really prefers over and under or SxS shotguns, and discourages me from getting an auto. Are the double barrel models just considered more classic/elegant, or is the performance really that much better? Just curious. (I hope I haven't brought up a volatile topic, and no criticism is implied).

Thanks for your input!

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Welcome back HNS....first which "sport" are you talking about? Sounds skeetish to me.

I like doubles and have a couple of both stack barrels and SxS's. I prefer shooting either over and unders or autos for hunting. Depending on the conditions I am apt to have either a Citori or a Benelli M90 in hand whilst chasing ducks. I shoot a double gun for trap but will likely have an auto setup strictly for trap shooting by next spring.

Now, I have already suggested a Beretta auto for several reasons, the biggest one being is the reduced recoil and it fits with your first request of "a general purchase (I think you meant purpose??) shotgun mainly for waterfowl and occasional upland game shooting". However, if you like a double gun you get whatever you want to shoot, that's the fun thing about shotguns, you can get as many as you want and the others don't get jealous. And ultimately it's all about your personal preference anyway.

The reason I said it sounded to me like you might be around skeet shooters is that tends to be the gun of choice, although they can do equally as well with an auto. Prestige or whatever you want to call it, there is a "need" in some to have the high dollars guns, the K guns that run in the 5-10K range and can sky rocket from there. These guns are well made and can go through thousands of rounds of ammo with nary a hitch, this is what one wants to rely on when you are breaking 100s straight and at a state tourney who knows how far from home. The fact that they are a pleasure to look at is a bonus.

In trap, atleast for singles a double or pump is not a hinderance and the fact that they can be heavier allows for reduced recoil and steadier swings. In sporting clays the autos are very well represented. There is a school of thought that allows for the double barrel being more versatile on those stations where the trapper has set a real close cyl shot coupled with a 35-45 yard crosser or springing teal. Plenty of top shooters have done well with the 391 even in those situations.

Another benefit to an o/u is that there are fewer moving parts to have the chance of breaking. Just consider the bolt, the ejector, the carrier, the springs, the pistons, etc on an auto. The likelihood is slim but still a possibility.
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