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Article 6 – 2010

person aiming shotgun at target range

Question: I would like your thoughts to help settle a spirited discussion I have been having with a group of guys I hunt with. In your opinion if you were to buy only one shotgun to shoot every possible type of shotgun sport ranging from the Olympic Clay Target events such as Trap, Double Trap and International Skeet right through to the domestic events of DTL, American Skeet and Sporting Clays, BUT also having to use the same gun for hunting ducks, geese etc right through to quail, what shotgun configuration would you use? Please assume the shotgun would not have an adjustable stock or adjustable chokes and would not be custom modified in any way after you purchased the shotgun. Can you tell me what barrel lengths and weights, chokes, stock height etc that you would select. Also what ammunition would you pick assuming it was legal to use anything available?

Tony Marino, Ballarat VIC


Answer: It’s a good question Tony and the obvious first response is that one gun is certainly not perfect for all shotguns sports, but if I would have to pick just a solitary shotgun (and I am assuming no larger than a 12 gauge) that is not adjustable in any way then it would have to be a 30” barrel (75cm) trap gun choked improved modified in the bottom barrel and full in the top barrel. For barrel weights I would pick 1.55kg with a total gun weight of just under 4kg.The reason for this would be that I know the gun would be ideal for Olympic Trap and DTL and more than adequate for Double Trap. For Sporting Clays it may be slightly too high in the stock comb and for some ranges a little tightly choked, but there are enough world class Sporting Shooters shooting shotguns very similar to this anyway which would make me think that it won’t be a huge disadvantage. For duck and most other game shooting it certainly wouldn’t cause much of a problem even with the height of a trap stock. Shooting quail may be messy due to the tight chokes, but to overcome this you would let the bird fly a little bit further to gain the extra shot spread. American Skeet is slow enough that the tight chokes could be overcome with greater accuracy, but International Skeet would be the only event where the longer barrel, heavy gun, high stock and tight chokes would be a big disadvantage for the average shooter.

Ammunition is a debatable topic. If you are asking me to shoot at just one target in every clay target event and hunting code then I guess the theory of “more lead more dead” would come into play thus 36 grams of number 6 shot would be my choice. If you are suggesting 25 shots at each event to form a competition to settle a bet then I would certainly downsize to 32 grams of number 7 shot with a velocity of no more than 1300 feet per second to overcome the obvious recoil problems that the former 36 gram shot shell would produce.

Tony if you and your friends ever decide to make a competition of this then let me know the results as I am sure there will be thousands of differing opinions on this topic.

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