Browning Superposed Sporter

Dear Technoid,

I’ve long thought that a Browning Superposed with 32″ barrels…. an older one in perhaps lightning configuration, would make a great clays gun; choked M/M or even the M/IM that so many of the current crop of fixed choke guns carry.

I’ve run across a ’38 version with acceptable stock dimensions which is in excellent, solid condition.

Is an older superposed in such condition viable in today’s world of clays shooting, or has it had it’s day and should be relegated to the gun rack to be seen, but not “heard”?


Dear Lonnie,

An old Superposed for sporting? If you like the balance and fit of the gun, it’s an excellent choice. I’d wipe it out to Mod and Mod (.020″/.020″) and never look back. I’ve had Briley put Thinwalls in a few of my Supers and they have always done a perfect job. Still, there’s something about the freedom of fixed chokes. No worry. No fuss. No messing with selectors and calculating. Just jam in the bullets in and yank the string.

A weak point on the Superposed is that some of the ribs (just about all on the early guns) were soft soldered and can shoot loose over time. This is true with lots of other brands of guns too. Any decent gunsmith can reattach them. I’ve had several done without the need for rebluing. Art’s Gun Shop and Midwest Gun Works  are THE places to get old Brownings repaired. They are absolutely the best and can repair anything on an old Super. The wider the rib, the less likely it seems to come loose. I’ve never shot a Broadway rib loose.

Locking lugs normally aren’t replaced, but just TIGged back up to size. Again, a simple and common operation. Though things vary on a gun to gun basis, I’ve generally seen the Belgian guns go about twice as long between rebuilds as the Citoris. I’ve never seen a hinge pin replaced on any of my Supers either.

If you don’t end up getting this particular gun, you might also consider a 32″ Miroku from the British market. They had fixed choke barrels and were much better balanced than the overweight 32″ screw choke Citoris I’ve shot. I still prefer the Super, but as a second choice, they are a possibility.

Still, if it were me, I’d jump at a 32″ Superposed that handled the way I wanted it to. There’s nothing on the gun that can’t be repaired or replaced forever. Your gun will only go up in value. I currently use a 30″ FN Superposed from the ’70s for sporting and a second one for bunker trap. The guns are as close to bullet- proof as you can get. I’ve also got a couple of field Superlights in the cabinet with a lot of miles on them and no failures.

Over the years I’ve probably owned two dozen Supers. One or two had problems, but certainly less than the Perazzis I’ve had. Do make sure to check any new gun you get for barrel convergence. I don’t care who made the gun, you want to make sure that both barrels shoot to the same spot.

Other than that, there really isn’t anything special to check out on a ’30s Super. Salt wood isn’t an issue until the late ’60s. The early Super ejectors were the best and didn’t get the cracks the later ’70s ones did. It’s really more a question of mileage than age. And, as I said above, even if you have to repair a few parts, it’s no big deal. Most of my guns have been ’60s and ’70s Supers, so I’m not exactly sure whether the old guns use more out of date parts. Art’s and Midwest will be able to handle that. Brownell’s carries a fairly complete line of Superposed parts too.

Bottom line: 32″ Super for sporting? You lucky dog.

Best regards,
Bruce Buck
Shotgun Report’s Technoid

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Rebuilding An O/U

Dear Technoid,

I recently purchased a Browning 325 European model. I am very happy with the gun even though it has seen quite a bit of use over the last seven years. My question is in regard to the way the gun falls open when released to eject and reload.

Newer over-unders seem to be a great deal more difficult to open and close. As there has been other custom work done, could it be that a procedure was done to assist in the opening (something like what is done as an option to SxS doubles) or is this just a good deal of usage.

If from excessive wear can you point me to someone who can tighten up or rebuild a Euro Browning 325?

Thank you for improving my shotgunning.



Dear F.B.,

The Miroku designed Browning 325, as well as virtually every other standard type of O/U with which I am familiar, are strictly manual openers. There may be exceptions to this, but they do not come readily to mind. Most SxS guns are also manual openers, with some notable exceptions based on the early Beesley assist open design and other fully self opening designs. Some of the London side lock makers incorporated the action leaf springs to assist opening or added a separate set of springs in the forend area. While possible in the O/U, the basic trigger plate action of the O/U does not readily lend itself to this.

Your gun probably just has a little age on it. When makers are setting up the specifications for mass produced guns, they want them to start off just a little bit tight and “sticky” so that they will break in. Like a favorite pair of jeans (the old kind that actually started out dark blue, not “pre worn”), a gun goes through stages of life. Mass produced guns ideally should start a bit tight, spend most of the time “just right” and end up loose before a trip back to the gunsmith.

The fact that your 325 opens easily does not necessarily mean that it is loose enough to merit a trip back to the gunsmith. There is good looseness and bad looseness. A good way to test for inappropriate looseness is to close the (empty) gun and then take the forend off. Now hold the gun with both hands by the stock and wiggle it. If you can feel the barrel move against the receiver the gun may be “off the face” a bit and have excess headspace (barrels not closing tightly against the standing breech). I once had a Perazzi I shot until it would close on a business card, but that was carrying it too far.

If the monobloc/standing breech joint is a bit loose, it is probably time for a new locking tongue and/or to get the hinge pin rolled or replaced. This is pretty standard stuff and just about any gun shop should be able to do it for you. Art’s Gun Shop (314-944-3630) in Missouri specializes in Brownings and has an excellent track record. I highly recommend them. It is not an overly expensive operation and they will give you a quote once they have looked at the gun.

One thing to watch for in the older Citoris is a weak opening lever spring. As the spring weakens (and it started life a little too weak in those guns) the gun may develop the tendency to open when you fire it. This will definitely get your attention the first time it happens. A new $5 spring solves it. I strongly recommend that this spring be replaced as a matter of course during any maintenance on a heavily used Citori.

As a matter of fact, when I send a gun back for a little tightening session, I usually have them also replace the firing pins and related action springs. I leave the ejector springs alone as I like “soft” ejectors, especially on Belgian B-25s which tend to eat them. The Japanese guns are more reliable in this area, less so in others.

Your Citori/325 is a well designed gun and should have many rebuilds in it. Sporting clays champion Andy Duffy shot a 325 for quite a few years and had his gun rebuilt three or four times. Each time it came back from the shop good as new. There is just about nothing in there that you cannot fix or replace forever.

Best regards,
Bruce Buck
Shotgun Report’s Technoid
(Often in error, but never in doubt.)

An alert reader read the above and mentioned that he thought that the Ruger O/U design incorporated an assist opening via the ejector springs in the forend. This weekend I borrowed one and, although the owner was not anxious for me to disassemble his gun right there on the FITASC course, the gun certainly did seem to have an assisted opening.
Score: Readers 1, Technoid 0.
See, you shouldn’t believe everything you read. – BCB

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Starting A Youngster Shooting

Dear Technoid,

What do you think is the best way to start youngsters into the sport. What guns/gauges do you prefer? Would I be better of with a single shot 28 ga. or a youth model 870? I shoot mostly skeet and would probably be starting with easy targets like station 7.



Dear Mark:

I feel that the best way to start youngsters out is with a 20 gauge semi- automatic. Remington’s 1100 comes in a youth model with a short stock and a 21″ barrel. I would prefer starting them with the 1100 LT-20 field model with a 26″ barrel if they are a bit bigger. You have to match the gun to the size and strength of the shooter.

Beretta also makes a line of 20 gauge autos. The 12 gauge Beretta autos are flat out better guns than the current 12 gauge Remington autos.

I would pick a 20 gauge auto over a 20 gauge pump due to recoil. A light 20 can really kick after a few shells. The LAST thing that you want to do to your kid is have the gun beat him up. You want him to love the sport, not dread it. Stick with the autos.

I like 20 better than 28 because patterns are a bit bigger and shells and gun selection is greater. In an auto, the extra recoil of the 20 is not a concern.

If you are concerned (as you should be) with the problem of a hidden or forgotten shell in the magazine, simply put a wooden dowel into the ENTIRE length of the magazine in place of the magazine plug. This makes the gun into a single shot and the dowel is easy to remove later.

Stock length: always a problem with youngster’s guns. Many parents don’t want to cut a stock for fear that the gun will “loose resale value”. If the gun does not fit the kid, he is not going to hit much with it, will not like the sport and you will then be selling the gun for sure.

Go ahead and cut the stock to get it to fit. Save the piece you cut off so that it can be glued back on later as the child grows. OR, gas gun parts are pretty cheap- buy two stocks, save one and cut the other. Jeffs Outfitters, Cape Girdeaux, MO often sells inexpensive semi-auto stocks.

One thing to be aware of when cutting the stock of a semi-auto: On both the Beretta and the Remington, the action spring housing extends within a couple of inches of the butt plate. This will limit just how short you can make the stock. You may want to pull the recoil pad and take a look at this before you buy a particular gun.

Women and youngsters need higher combs than the average adult man because they have smaller faces and smaller cheekbone to eye distances. Be prepared to shim the stock up slightly when you are fitting it to the young shooter. You can build up the top of the stock with tape if they need more than just a little. The Berettas come with adjustment shims, Remington does not.

Now that you have the gun, just how do you start? As you suggest, the skeet field and easy targets are the right way. The most important thing about teaching a new shooter (young or old) is to instill confidence. You do this by making sure that they hit their first bunch of targets. You do not do it by forcing them to shoot an entire round of skeet from all stations just to show them how hard the game is and how good you are. I am always surprised to see people do this. As a good coach you should take pride in your student’s success and do everything possible to achieve it.

For some new shooters Low 7 can be a little tricky because it requires a dead gun and does not give the student very much time. I prefer Low 1 for a learning target. The student has plenty of time to view the target and gets to swing on it a bit, which actually helps.

I do not start the complete novice shooter out with shells right away. I have them do a lot of dry firing. Here is the sequence I have found quite useful. The very first thing that you do is to do an eye check for cross dominance. Make sure to start the student off shouldering the gun on the same side as his strong eye. This will save untold misery later. Then I show the student how to stand on the station- right handers face their belt buckles to the front right corner of the pad. They are told to do this at all stations. It is simple to remember and very close to correct almost everywhere. Fine tuning comes much later.

Once they are taught how to stand, I show them how to hold the gun. Usually beginners will hold their head too erect. You want them to keep their heads up a little, but push their faces forward on the stock. Some do it naturally, some really struggle here. Spend however much time it takes to get this right before going any further.

Once they know how to stand and hold the gun, take the gun out of their hands. The gun is heavy to a new shooter. Take it from their hands at every opportunity. You will not notice the weight, but I guarantee that they will. Now throw a couple of Low 1s for the student to just look at. Get them used to calling “Pull”. Do not let them use any other word. Teach them to call pull loudly. Mumbled calls or odd call words will cause them to suffer a life time of late pulls if they ever really get into clay shooting. Start them right.

Now that they know what the bird looks like and now to call for it, pull a few targets and have them point at the bird with their forend hand. Do not use the trigger hand. Check and see that they are pointing right at the bird as it comes across- this will confirm your cross dominance test and get them used to swinging with the bird and taking its line.

If they do everything right so far, give them the EMPTY gun. No shells You are keeping all the shells in YOUR pocket. The student never touches a shell. The new shooter is never permitted to load the gun himself. Show the student how to check that the gun really is empty and then show him how to close the gun on the empty chamber. Now have him dry fire the trigger and recock the action a couple of times to get used to it. You can use snap caps if you want to, but the autos do not need them and I really feel that the student is less confused with a totally empty gun than one with snap caps flopping out on the ground when he opens the action.

This done, have the student dry fire at some Low 1s. Dry firing (actually pulling the trigger on snap cap or an empty chamber) at a moving target is absolutely the best possible training aid. Let him dry fire at three targets and take the gun out of his hands while you critique him. This is where you start to become the shooting coach. An experienced coach will be able to easily tell if the new shooter would have hit the targets he dry fired at. Have him dry fire in groups of three, handing the gun to you and resting in between, until you are absolutely, positively certain that he is on the bird and will hit it. Make sure that he is getting his lead right and is, most importantly, following through. You want to make sure he hits the bird the first time he uses a shell. This is important.

Keep dry firing until you are absolutely, positively certain that he is on the target. Then, and only then, give him ONE shell. If he hits with it (and he should- you were CERTAIN he was accurately dry firing), then give him another- up to three in a row. As soon as he misses, you go back to dry firing a bit. Do not let him get into the “Gee, I missed. Give me another.” syndrome. Misses happen, but when they do it is immediately back to the basics of dry firing. The student has to EARN the right to put a shell in the gun. This constant dry firing all sounds pretty heartless and Teutonic (the technique is popular in Germany), but it will make the student understand just how important each shot is and how hard he must concentrate on it.

The first day I would just do Low 1 and not any other stations if the student is young. If things go smoothly you might add in High 7 after that, but I would not give them too much in one day. Afterwards I would teach them the incomers first, then the outgoers and finally the doubles.

Make sure that they learn each bird well before going on to the next. At the beginning of each practice session, make sure to shoot a few of each of the birds that the student has already learned. When they miss have them dry fire. All during the learning process you should be doing at least three dry fires for each live round used. Do not look at dry firing as wasting targets, look at it as saving shells. You will be amazed how quickly a student can learn sight picture and follow through when he is not being kicked by a gun. Did you know that everyone, even the most experienced shooter, blinks when the gun goes off?

Finally, make sure that the student keeps a log book or shooting diary. The diary should include what the student learned that day and what they are going to concentrate on learning at the next lesson. A diary is important, so make sure that they keep one and read it just before they go out to shoot so that they know what their goal for the day will be.

Sorry that this has been so long, but getting youngsters started is vital to our sport and it is important that it be done correctly. I have coached International Skeet at every level, from beginner to Olympic team members. In every case, even with the very best, one tries to instill confidence in the student- the certain knowledge that if they do everything right that they will break the target. When they do not break a bird, they have to know that if they immediately return to their bedrock basics that they can break the rest of them. I strongly believe that dry firing in practice builds confidence and technique better than just blowing off endless rounds of ammo. Dry firing is a major component of almost every major championship training program. It works as well for the beginner as it does for the elite shooting athlete.

Best regards,
Bruce Buck
Shotgun Report’s Technoid

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Hunting Turkey On Public Land

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The Best Barrel Length

Dear Sir,

What would be the best shotgun barrel length for duck and dove hunting? Is it 24,26,28 or 30 inches? What is the advantage of the different barrel length?


Dear Edward,

First let’s get the ballistics considerations out of the way. There aren’t any. With modern fast burning powders, the difference in velocity from a 24″ barrel and from a 30″ one is insignificant. You get more of a velocity difference when you change from a Cylinder Bore choke to a Full choke.

Barrel length basically affects two things: sighting plane and weight/balance.

For long, precise shots (where you are actually doing a bit of aiming), a longer barrel is a bit of an advantage because it will let you aim more precisely. Every good sporting clays shooter knows this and it’s a pretty good rationale for the success of the 32″ and 34″ O/Us we are seeing now. Trap shooters have always known it. The downside is that longer barrels also have a tendency to make you aim a bit too. Let’s face it, most duck and dove are shot within 30 yards. This is a distance at which speed and follow-through count for more than precision. These are hardly high precision shots. If you specialized in 40+ yard shots, then a longer barrel would be an advantage. For most practical duck and dove shooting, the longer sighting plane really doesn’t matter. At least in my experience, every time I start to “aim” at a really distant dove, it jiggles, swoops, dives or barrel rolls on me. I have my best luck on them when I get the shot over with pretty quickly. For my duck shooting, it’s follow-through that puts the bird in the oven. If the bird is so far up that I have to measure my lead, I will usually let it go. Some people can regularly pull off shots like that, but I’m not good enough.

What does matter a whole lot is weight and balance. Generally (but not always), longer barrels are heavier and move weight forward. A couple of gun companies actually decrease the wall thickness, and thus weight, of the barrels when they make longer versions so as to keep the weights the same and the balances approximately the same. Blaser’s F3 does this. But few others do. For most of the makers, longer is heavier, often somewhere around one ounce per inch. That may not seem like a lot, but an ounce or two right at the muzzle is really noticeable and will alter the way the gun handles.

If it were me, I’d pick a barrel length based on the way it makes the gun balance. By balance I don’t mean just it’s “teetering” point. I mean the way it swings. This is really more of a Moment of Inertia deal than a balance deal, but balance is the term everyone uses. You want a gun that has just the right combination of facile movement and steadiness to satisfy your own personal wants. There really isn’t any absolute measurement here and everyone might want something different. A gun which I would think handles like a dead possum on a rake, you might think is steady and assuring. Something that I found to be a magic wand, you might consider whippy. Also be aware that a certain barrel length won’t always confer a certain balance. Some 28″ barreled guns are heavy up front. Some aren’t. This is even true within brands. Example: When Beretta changed their 391 autos from the original Mobil Chokes to the Optimabore, the barrels actually increased in weight slightly for a given length. But in Beretta O/Us, when the same change was made, the barrels generally lost weight. Go figure. It all had to do with Beretta altering the wall thickness of the tube walls even as they increased bore diameters.

This is also a good place to mention that you must be aware of the difference between barrel lengths of an O/U/SxS and those of an auto/pump. The auto/pump has about 3.5″ more receiver length, so a 28″ barrel on an auto/pump is equivalent in length to that of about a 31.5″ O/U/SxS. Something to consider when you are thinking of sighting plane length.

Still, to me, the bottom line is balance. Balance in a shotgun is everything. All else is secondary. Get the barrel length that makes the gun balance and handle the way you want it to. Accept whatever barrel length goes along with that.

Best regards,
Bruce Buck
Shotgun Report’s Technoid

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Store Guns Muzzle Down


I just read your response concerning dry firing and while I agree with your position on that topic, I am a bit confused as to the final comment you made about storing guns with the muzzle down. Will you please elaborate (as if I needed to ask!) on this topic? I have heard this comment several times in the very recent past and want to know more about this method of storage.

Also, will you identify how you modified the interior of your safe to accommodate this method of storage? My safe is a Fort Knox Protector 500 with an 11-gun easy (yeah right) access interior.

Thanks in advance for your input on this topic.


Dear T,

Well, of course I will elaborate! See if you can stop me. Elaboration is mother’s milk to the Technoid. So is needless, heedless obfuscation- for my own protection, naturally.

I use a Browning safe with, I believe, just about the same “Semi- careful now! – easy out” feature as your Fort Knox. The carpeted barrel notches are arranged in the shape of a “U” along the sides and the back. In theory, it sacrifices space for convenience, but it is still hard to keep from putting dings in things.

To store you guns upside down you just, well, store them upside down. You put the muzzle on the (carpeted, I hope) bottom of the safe and rest the comb (top) of the stock in the carpeted notch where most people put the barrel. The trigger guards sort of stick out towards the center of the safe. That’s it. No modifications of any kind are required. You can recase that chain saw. If our safes were the “Not at all easy out” style, where the barrels are supposed to stick through little holes, carpentry would be in order.

Upside down shotgun storage keeps any errant oils from soaking into the head of the stock and also takes pressure off of the stock wrist so that it will not take an unwelcome set or remove the welcome set that you had bent in. This is particularly true with thin wristed English guns.

There it is. More than you ever wanted to know from your gushing font of knowledge.

Bruce Buck
Shotgun Report’s Technoid

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Steel/Lead Target Load Comparison

Our club has switched to “non-toxic”, i.e. steel. Club selling only 6’s and
7’s. What do you recommend for 16-yard trap and for skeet? Either of these
sizes or something else?

Your help appreciated as always.


Dear Dave,

The normal rule of thumb in the lead to steel transition is to increase the size of the pellet by two sizes for waterfowl loads. I’m not as sure that it holds true in target sized shot quite as much.

I’ll list lead target loads at a muzzle velocity of 1200 fps, while the steel target loads are normally made with a muzzle velocity of 1300 fps. I’ll use 32 yards as the distance as that is a pretty average breaking point for 16 yard ATA-style trap.

  • Lead #7-12 1200, energy at 32 yards 1.33 ft/lb, one ounce pellet count 350
  • Lead #8 1200 fps, energy at 32 yards 1.08 ft/lb, one ounce pellet count 410
  • Lead #8-1/2 1200 fps, energy at 32 yards, 0.86 ft/lb, one ounce pellet count 497
  • Steel #6 1300 fps, energy at 32 yards 1.33 ft/lb, one ounce pellet count 314
  • Steel #7 1300 fps, energy at 32 yards 0.90 ft/lb, one ounce pellet count 399

A one ounce load of #7 steel started at 1300 fps is equivalent to a 13/16 oz 1200 ft/lb load of lead #8-1/2s in pellet count and individual pellet energy. A one ounce 1300 fps load of steel #6s equals a 7/8 ounce 1200 fps load of lead #7-1/2s in both pellet count and pellet energy.

#7-1/2 lead is more than you need for 16 yard ATA trap or skeet, so I’d probably go with the one ounce steel #7s which are the 13/16 oz #8-1/2 lead equivalent. #8-1/2 lead has been proven to work fine on 16 yard ATA trap and certainly is OK for skeet. You’ll be down on pellet count, but you can’t have everything when you shoot steel.

Also, don’t forget to do some patterning and be prepared to open your chokes a but when going from lead to steel.

Best regards,

Bruce Buck
The Technoid writing for Shotgun Report, LLC
(Often in error. Never in doubt.)

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