James Marchington lists his personal favourite guns for Sporting clay shooting
This month I thought I would give you my personal take on the guns that have given me the most enjoyment shooting clays. Inevitably that means I have hit a few with them too – there’s little enjoyment in missing everything!
Bear in mind that I am no top level shot – you won’t find my name in the CPSA averages, and the most I’ve ever achieved at clay shooting is a handful of corporate and charity shoot wins. If there are a few obvious names missing, remember I have shot quite a variety of guns over the years, but I haven’t tried everything.
These are my favourites among the guns that I have used. I’m sure I would absolutely love shooting a Krieghoff, or a Perazzi, or a Blaser F16, but so far I haven’t had the opportunity, so they’re not on the list. Maybe next year!
Browning B525 SL
You might say I’m biased as this is my current gun, but then, I bought it because I liked it, rather than the other way around. Browning’s 525 action has always just felt ‘right’ to me; there are slimmer and lighter guns around, but I find a bit of heft keeps me steady and soaks up the recoil.
The laminate model has an even more solid feel, which I assume must be due to the stock being not just wood but a significant amount of resin used to bond the layers.
The adjustable comb has allowed me to get the fit just how I like it, and it shoots like a dream with what to me feels like very little recoil. And the looks? Well, you love it or loathe it. Personally I think it looks rather smart, and the plain polished action sets off the grey laminate very nicely to my eye.
This is the entry level version of Browning’s lower profile 725 action, and an excellent choice as a second gun for anyone starting to take their clay shooting seriously.
It incorporates some of Browning’s most useful performance-enhancing features, such as back-bored Vector Pro barrels, their extended chokes and an Inflex butt pad, without going overboard on embellishments.
It’s a no-nonsense clay breaking machine and a joy to shoot straight out of the box.
ATA Silver Line
Every time I shoot an ATA, I can’t help wondering just how they do it for the money.
This Silver Line model not only shoots well, it looks fantastic for a sub-£1,000 gun, with eye-catching scroll engraving on the action, and remarkably nice, well finished woodwork.
It even comes with a selection of multichokes in the box – amazing value and well worth a look.
Ah, the old faithful Miroku has to have a place in this list. This is another no-frills gun that offers fantastic value. It comes at an entry-level price, but shoots well and has a superb reputation for reliability – you could buy one today and still be happily shooting it for years to come.
Personally, I really like the MK38’s looks too – it’s nothing too fancy, looking just like a gun should, with decent wood and subtle but attractive engraving on the action.
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