20 Gauge Skeet Autoloaders


Dear Mr. Buck,

What are your thoughts on 20 gauge autoloaders for recreational skeet shooting? Are there any that you would recommend? Do you think the Beretta A400 Xplor is too light? The Beretta website lists it at 5.0 pounds without kickoff. Thanks for your experience and expertise.

Jeff Muskopf

Jeff,

I don’t know if that Beretta 400 20 really is 5 lbs. Gun companies are notorious about understating the weight of their guns.

That said, I’d be reluctant to shoot clay targets with a gun that light. Skeet, even recreational, is a premounted come-up-in-front sustained lead game where heavier guns are commonly used. Beretta gas autos are marvelous guns, whether it is the cherished 303, the 390, the currently dominant 391 or the new 400. They are all good. But an awful lot of skeet targets have also been broken with Remington 1100s.

And do remember that with most of the autos, you can add weight via weight kits from Briley and the like. They usually fit in the stock and replace the forend nut. That way you can bulk up a lightweight field gun and then pull the weights off when you want to take it afield.

A 20 gauge is perfect for recreational skeet. In fact, many skeet pros use a tubed set and use the 20 in the 12 and 20 gauge matches so that they can keep the gun weight the same. And they win.

Bottom line: Personally, I’d not be anxious to shoot any 5 lb. gun at clay targets. I’d probably draw the line at 6 lbs., though I’m sure that many readers can handle lighter guns. But I can’t. Proper target weight would probably be over 7 lbs. and many skeet shooters go to 8 lbs. However, it is personal and it is ultimately what you feel most comfortable with.

Bruce Buck
Shotgun Report’s Technoid

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