SxS for Clays

Hi Bruce, Henry N. sic’ed me on you for some advice on SxS’s.

I’m looking to buy a SxS for shooting clays games.  I have shot SxS’s quite a bit and find them no added challenge, and I really enjoy shooting them.  I can shoot my Citori or my Model 23 Winchester interchangably with no difference in my scores.  Which amazes me because they handle so completely different, yet I hit about the same with both.

Anyway, on to the crux of my problem, I want a SxS that’s built to take the kind of rounds a Citori is.  I don’t care about bling, I actually prefer nicely blued or color case hardened to a bunch of engraving, beautiful wood is nice but secondary.  I would like SST, pistol grip, screw in chokes, heavy enough to handle shooting all day with both myself and the gun being able to take it.  Price is always a factor, but I can shoot my Citori until I have the money to buy what I want.  Just would prefer the cash go into a solid action then bling.  If I have to spend big to get quality and reliability so be it.

Here are the options I’ve looked into, and what I’ve managed to glean from the internet, most of which I’m suspect of at best.

Model 21 Winchester but for this I would have to put in chokes, probably work on the stock, and I’ve heard of some trouble with forend lugs coming off, but otherwise they seem to be a tank.

BSS same as the 21, would have to put in chokes, find one thats an sst, and do some stock work.

CMSC RBL Sporting Clays This might work, but I’ve heard mixed reports on the CMSC stuff, and it’s $7k.

Poli SxS Sounds like Poli is making a few sxs’s aimed at the clays games, but I don’t know much about these.

Merkel 47E Would have to get chokes installed, and I think they might be a little light for a gun I want to shoot hundreds of rounds a day from.

Chapuis Seems to be only available in double triggers.

Any thoughts you have on this matter would be greatly appreciated.


Oscar L

Dear Oscar,

It certainly looks as though you have done your homework. I’m not sure what kind of advice I can give. But, naturally, that won’t stop me.

A few weeks ago I was up at the Southern SxS shoot at Deep River, NC. If there was a SxS suitable for clays, it was there. I saw just about everything being used.

The Model 21 was popular, but a decent used one is quite pricey these days. The RBL clays gun I handled was certainly of “target gun weight” and then some, but I don’t have any information on how well they hold up.

The problem is that a SxS used for clay shooting has to be 1) suitable for targets as to handling and, 2) durable enough to take the heavy usage. Most SxSs are meant for the field, so the choice is narrowed down.

The list you have is a good one. I had a Poli SxS 12 with 3″ chambers in target configuration and it was a marvelous gun for clays. Trouble was that I was looking for a field gun, so I passed it on. Quality was pretty good, but I didn’t keep it long enough to test its durability. But the prices on new Polis from Kevin’s are around $7,500. Gorgeous guns, but at a price.

If you could find a 28″ SKB, that might be a good choice. They are out of production, but SKB has plenty of parts. The Browning BSS is also a good choice, and probably the easiest one to find used. I saw a number of them at the Southern. You might look around for a used Bernadelli also.

I wouldn’t give a second thought as to whether or not the gun comes with screw chokes. If you insist, Briley can screw choke anything, but frankly, for most clays if you just had fixed IC/Mod or fixed Mod/Mod that’s all you need.

If you would consider a 20 instead of a 12, the choice is much easier. I would then take a long look at the Smith & Wesson Elite Gold 28″ single trigger pistol grip version. You still ought to be able to get one for around $1,500 new with a lifetime guarantee. Mine has digested well over 7K rounds with no hiccups of any kind. And I shoot it as well as my 12s.

But so much is up to personal preference. There really isn’t a right answer.

Best regards,
Bruce Buck
Shotgun Report’s Technoid

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6 Responses to SxS for Clays

  1. Mark Saseen says:

    Hello I have been shooting Sporting Clays now for about 7 years always with a sxs. Shot about 10 thousand rounds through the first gun before the barrels started to separate, the gun only misfired a couple of times, paid 240.00 for that gun and killed a few turkeys with it also. I think the 3in mags did the barrels in, that was a Baikal izh47 12 ga sxs . In need of a new gun and on a budget I handled many guns for the most important thing about picking one and came up with Marlin L.C. Smith 12 ga. The gun is well balanced and fits me well, paid about 1500.00 and has never misfired on me. I have put about 3 thousand rounds through it and have won several Vintage Sporting Clays tourneys with it. Looking for a 20ga now. My friends bring all the high end guns , they all seem to have a problem or two but feel nice and I would have one if I could. Down side is the L.C. has a heavy trigger and doesn’t have select barrels. I love it. SAS


  2. Phil Spalla says:

    Hi Bruce,

    I enjoyed shooting with you years ago. I was shooting a Krieghoff K-80 Crown Grade Pro Sporter but wanted a SxS for Sporting Clays and I talked to Kamil Mroczka, CT Shotgun. He had just what I needed.

    A RBL 12 Reserve, 12ga, 32” Barrel with a High Vent Rib, Adjustable comb, hidden Trulock choke tubes, Exhibition American black walnut metal capped pistol grip stock with a beavertail forend, oil finish, gold single selective trigger, automatic ejectors, rooster pheasant and ducks in flight surrounded by a full coverage scroll engraving all over a classic bone and charcoal case coloring.

    I have been to Dover five times with the SxS and it is fun to shoot.


  3. Mike Hewett says:

    What about the Beretta 471 Silver Hawk for a SxS sporting clays gun? Have you heard anything in regard to its durability? With the pistol grip configuration, choke tubes and a price tag of less than $4000 it seems like a good candidate for the for the job.

    Thanks for your thoughts on this.


    • Bruce Buck says:


      Beretta makes great guns. No argument. I’ve got a couple of friends with 471s and they seem happy. Some gunsmiths I’ve talked to have somewhat more restrained opinions, while others thought that they were OK. I have limited personal experience with them, but they were fine when I shot them. However, I never shot them very much. It’s simply another area where I don’t know as much as I’d like to.



      • Mike Hewett says:

        Thanks Bruce. I might be able to add to the data pool (hopefully) a couple of thousand rounds from now. So far so good, but less than a case through the gun at this point.


    • Bill Thompson says:

      I own a 12 gauge and a 20 gauge Beretta 626 Onyx SxS shotguns. These were made with Mobil choke tubes, VR barrels, Single Selective triggers, and ventilated rib barrels. After many rounds through them I can attest to their quality and durability. If found on the used shotgun market, their prices average around $1900 – far less than the 471s. If you can find one, buy it.



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