James Marchington is back as he lists more of his personal favourite guns for Sporting clay shooting
BERETTA SILVER PIGEON SPORTER
Another classic, and one that’s in daily use at shooting schools up and down the country. The Silver Pigeon is solid and reliable, seems to last forever, and is one of those guns that I can pick up and shoot without a second thought – it just feels right.
It also shoots where I’m looking, even though in theory the stock measurements aren’t what ought to work for me. I own a 20-bore Silver Pigeon which is a delight to carry on rough days, but is also fun to use on clays now and again.
I was lucky enough to get the chance to try the F3 soon after it arrived in the UK, and was immediately smitten. I liked the clean lines and solid-looking design, and the stock dimensions seemed to have been created especially for me; it came to the shoulder a treat, with just the right balance between steadiness and manoeuvrability.
If I’d had the money, I’d have bought one on the spot, but unfortunately I had to give it back. Maybe one day!
Price from around £5,600
I’ll admit this gun surprised me. David Florent at the Oxford Gun Co was singing its praises and I can’t have looked convinced because he handed it over saying “Go on, you have a go”.
He proceeded to play a tune on the buttons, throwing targets every which way as fast as I could reload. It was only when I’d emptied my pockets that I stopped to think about the gun.
It handled smoothly, shot to the point of aim, and had surprisingly little recoil – and I’d hit most of the targets too!
BROWNING ULTRA XS PRO
I think of the Ultra XS Pro as the grown-up big brother to my B525 SL. It’s a serious competition gun based on the same 525 action, but with a few refinements such as the adjustable weights that allow you to fine tune the balance to your personal preference.
I rather like the Trap-style straight fore-end. It looks the part, and I love how it shoots. If I was getting into competition clay shooting, this one would be top of my shortlist.