I suck at shotguns

I really, really do. My experience with Frankenshotgun taught me that a lifetime’s worth of pistol shooting has made me a terrible shotgunner.

Being a competitive guy, I’ve been seeking out help from whatever avenues possible, which is why I very much enjoyed this post on “hard focus” from the Gun Shots. I’m going to try that the next time I shoot clays, because anything that helps me break more targets is a good thing.

Next time, I’m going to get target loads with a full ounce of shot, which might help me break a few more targets. I also want to try my .410, because it actually fits me better and has a tighter choke than the Frankenshotgun. I think I’l go a shotgunning again sometime in the next couple of weeks.


  1. I would not recommend using your .410 if you want to break MORE targets, assuming you’re talking about clay pigeons (trap, skeet, sporting clays, etc). I’ve know some people that are very successful with that gauge – generally they started using it because shooting with 12s and 20s got boring for them.

    A good 12 or 20, I think, that fits you as well as your .410, would likely lead to a lot more success. I use a Remington 870 in 12ga which, much to my shotgun-buying dismay, fits me better than anything else I’ve ever shot. Years ago, when I was shooting regularly, I was routinely in the twenties shooting skeet.

    This is not to say a 870 will shoot as well for you ; it’s more to say that finding a good trap/skeet/sporting clay shotgun for you doesn’t mean extraordinary expense.

    Again, though, .410s are generally not good beginner shotguns for clay pigeons.

  2. Well, the .410 would be mostly for manually thrown clays using one of those hand throwing gizmos.

    I kind of feel like I need learn fundamentals without being whacked around by a 12, and even my 20 gauge can get kind of uncomfortable after about a box or so of shells.

  3. I find it surprising that you find the 20 uncomfortable, but then, at 6’3″ and … well, more poundage than I SHOULD be carrying, recoil has never been a big concern for me.

    Having said that, my wife (5’2″,

  4. It also might be the fact that the recoil “pad” on the 20 consists of a rock hard piece of plastic/rubber.

  5. A .410 doesn’t put enough shot in the air for a beginner to have a good probability of success. And you don’t want to go with a tighter choke. Open that choke up wide, especially for hand thrown targets which won’t fly that far. You might want to try patterning your gun at 10, 20, and 30 yards so you can get an idea of how your shot cloud looks. My ideal for starting a beginner would be 1 or 1+1/4 oz. #8 loads in a semi-auto 12 gauge with an improved cylinder or skeet choke.

  6. My 20 has a cylinder choke on it, which seemed to work pretty well when I aimed correctly; since the targets were thrown with one of those hand thrower gizmos (which wings ’em pretty far).

    My .410 (and the other .410 i’m looking at) have interchangeable choke tubes, so I could go roughly cylinder bore with it.

  7. Never have shot clays, but they look interesting. My experience has all been in hunting game birds with a 12 gauge. Just took one out and starting using it, rarely miss. Of course, I am not going after ducks or geese, either, just pheasants and grouse.

  8. I am only an adequate game shotgunner who shoots more in the field than on the range . However i have found that in shotgunning the instant that i start over thinking what i am doing i start missing . Be it a pheasant or a clay i find shotgunning unlike pistols or rifles . with them i can break down my shooting into steps , with a shotgun it is more fluid and not really to me able to be broken down into steps . I will say that when i am ” on ” with a shotgun i see the target and dont really notice the bead or sights. Try simply changing your grip on the forestock to point your index finger roughly inline with the bore , then use that hand to point at the target , slapping ( not pulling but clenching ) the trigger when you feel that you have pointed at the target . Trigger control on a shotgun is entirely different than on a handgun or rifle in the sense that it is about make it bang NOW , not keep sights aligned . Something to try anyway and i cant figure out how to say it better right now lol .

  9. Get a shoulder pad and a gas-operated 12-guage. When my wife found she was in love with clay shooting I insisted she go the 12-guage root. Larger pattern = less frustration on the firing line. She’s very recoil sensitive, but the gas-operated system on her Beretta Urika (hey look! An excuse to buy another beretta!) really soaks up a lot of the kick from the light target loads, a shoulder pad makes things a little more comfortable and minimizes the bruising that happens when you let the butt slide across you shoulder.

    I’ve never shot a long-recoil shotgun but I’ve heard the recoil of them is a bit disconcerting for beginners. Personally my friend and I both started shooting clays with pump-actions. My buddy shoots a LOT more than I do on the trap feild, and he’s got DAMN good with his Mossy 500.

    Just sayin’

Comments are closed.