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Article 4 – 2018 (May)

person aiming shotgun at target range

Russell Mark

Australian Shooter Magazine, Question and Answers

Article 4 – 2018 (May)


Question: I visited some different clay shooting ranges last year with my friends and was really interested and keen to get more involved as I have been a rifle owner for many years, but I rarely ever get the chance to hunt anymore so shooting clays seems like the answer. I was told that you need a different gun for every different type of clay target event. My friends shoot trap, skeet, sporting and even hunt rabbits with the same shotgun and they hit more than they miss every time they shoot. If I want to join in and do the same would one shotgun be sufficient and if so what would you recommend? I guess I have a limited budget and cant afford a new gun for each event. Please accept my ignorance as an excuse in advance if this is a stupid question.

Peter Dunn, Ipswich QLD


Answer: It is certainly not an ignorant or stupid question Peter, in fact in different forms it is one of the most commonly asked questions I receive in this forum.

The great part about clay target shooting is that nearly any type of shotgun coupled with the right ammunition will break a clay target at any given time. You state that your shooting friends were hitting more than they missed in all the different clay target events that they participated in and they did this with the same shotgun which is great. It sounds like they were having fun and you have now got the clay target “bug” which is even better. I can assure you it is addictive and can be costly, but hey, what a great way to spend your money and even better if you can spend your wife or partner’s money also if they are silly enough to let you can get your hands on it.

As I mentioned basically any shotgun can hit any type of clay target and that is true. Is one shotgun ideal for all clay target events? Definitely not true. It really all comes down to what you are trying to achieve. If you are going to shoot in competitions in these disciplines and be competitive then it would be unrealistic a Skeet shotgun with open chokes and a flat shooting stock will be competitive on a trap range where tighter chokes and a higher patterning shotgun would be better. Fortunately these days there are many options available to purchase in the multi-discipline shotgun market. I would not hesitate recommending a 75 cm barrel, interchangeable chokes, adjustable stock Sporting shotgun to use as a multi purpose firearm to be more than adequate for the three clay target disciplines you mention as well as a very capable “rabbit” gun. Would it be perfect for all events? No, but it would certainly get you started and if you don’t like it there is always a strong second hand market for this type of firearm.

Good luck and welcome to our sport.


Question: I have been looking at bolt-action shotguns for some time and I have a friend in the United States that will “gift” me a 36-inch (91.5 cm) Marlin “Pipeline” shotgun. I was wondering if you knew anything about these shotguns.

Keith Livingston, Port Adelaide SA


Answer: I can’t say I have ever held one of these shotguns Keith as geese shooting was never really my thing, but I did ask an American friend of mine who would know this shotgun for you. He said they were made in the 1960’s and are really barrel heavy. I guess the name ‘pipeline” may give that much away. To be honest he didn’t have anything nice to say about the gun. Apparently it has a rear sight attached to the end of the barrel. I can’t think of anything worse to be looking at when trying to shoot at highflying geese or any other object in the sky. Unless you want it as an heirloom, other personal reasons or in fact want to go to all the time and expense to import the gun just to “re-gift” it to somebody you really hate then my advice would be to leave it over there with the Americans. They deserve it. There are plenty of decent bolt-action shotguns on the market right here in Australia. I know Marlin still make some great bolt and lever action rifles, but I am not sure if they are still in the bolt-action shotgun market. Remington purchased Marlin in 2007 and closed their New Haven, Connecticut manufacturing plant a few years later.

Questions to:

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