Article 6 – 2021 (July)
Australian Shooter Magazine
Question and Answers
Article 6 – 2021 (July)
Question: I am seeing more and more conversation about “all round” shotguns at every range or gun shop I attend. Do you really believe that one shotgun can successfully combat all the clay target shooting sports?
Gino DeMaria, St Ives NSW
Answer: By an “all round” shotgun I assume you are meaning a solitary shotgun that can be used competitively at all common clay target disciplines. The emphasis here has to be on the word “competitively” as there is no reason why any form of shotgun configuration could not be used to compete with provided it meets the minimum legal barrel length.
Let me us this as an argument as to why you can use one shotgun for everything. Arguably at the moment the world’s greatest “all round” shotgun competitor is a gentleman from Kansas in the United States by the name of Derek Mein. The reason why I suggest Derek holds this title is by the resume he compiled in 2020. Let me run you through his accomplishments of last year.
He started the year in March by winning his way into the US Olympic Trap Team to compete at the Tokyo 2020 games, now held in 2021, (he won by 12 targets), he then went to the US Sporting Clay Championships and won it. This event is about as competitive as any World Sporting Championship. After that he fronted up at the Grand American Trap shoot and finished third overall (this event has well over one thousand competitors ). Derek then went to the World Skeet Championships held at San Antonio in Texas where he lost a sudden-death shoot off for the World 28-gauge Skeet Championship (an event he qualified for with a perfect 100/100). The last event of the year proved to be a dilemma for Derek. The World FITASC Championship was held in Mississippi, but sadly this clashed with the big money US “Flyer” Championship. Now Derek is already a World Sporting Champion (2019) and he was also the beneficiary of the world largest ever clay target shooting pay cheque of US $200,000 when he won the “Nad Al Sheba” Sporting Clays Championship in 2015 so you would assume Derek would have competed in Mississippi, but you would be wrong. He fronted up at the Flyer Championship, won it, and reputably took home over $50,000. Not a bad year. And all with the same gun. All with the same stock and same barrel length. For the record he uses a 81-centimetre barrel Kolar shotgun. The only thing Derek changes is his chokes.
So, by that you could assume the argument is over. Derek proves that the one shotgun can be used successfully in ALL shotgun disciplines. Well despite of all of that I wouldn’t recommend it for the “average Joe”. Not many people have Derek Mein’s ability and to master a discipline like American Trap that is best suited to shotguns that have a point of aim approaching one hundred per cent high and then with the exact same shotgun to be world-class in Sporting Clay events where lower patterns of sixty percent high are quite common. Derek clearly adjusts the pressure he places his face on the stock to alter this point of aim percentage relative to the discipline or even the type of target he is shooting at. I would strongly suggest you don’t try this as consistency in your gun mount should be one of the basic fundamentals you need to master first. If your discipline is solely going to be Trap then buy a Trap shotgun with a high trap stock, if it is Sporting Clays then do the same. If you want something that you can participate in all disciplines then buy something that has a lower enough stock that has an adjustable comb that can be raised when needed and make sure the shotgun has interchangeable chokes. My barrel of choice for an all-purpose shotgun would be seventy-five centimetres.
There is certainly a market and increasing demand for versatile multiple discipline shotguns, but as a general rule the absolute elite competitors use firearms that are made specifically for one discipline. In saying that if Derek Mein goes on to win this year’s Olympics, I wonder how many people may change their opinions on this topic. You would be a brave person to bet that he isn’t capable of taking home the gold.