30″ Sporter For Skeet


Dear Technoid,

I recently purchased a 687EL 12Ga. 30″ Sporter for sporting clays and really like the swing of the gun. I’ve been told that lots of folks are starting to shoot skeet with 30″ Barrels. I am considering using it for skeet and having it tubed for the smaller gauges.

This leads to several questions:

Do I want to install the lightest tubes to compensate for the longer barrel length? One of my other concerns is the drop at the heel of the Sporter is 2.36″ which 1/2″ lower than the EELL Skeet stock. When compared to the 682 skeet stock it is only 1/4″ lower. What gives……why the difference….or I am I missing something?

Should I add an adjustable stock, when I get it tubed, to shoot skeet to adapt the gun?

or

Should I just buy another 12Ga. 28″ EELL Skeet gun and tube it instead of messing around with the sporter 30″ ? But that seems so costly.

Bill

Dear Bill,

I can’t really tell you what to do because what you are talking about is more a matter of individual preference then any technical fact. The extra two inches of barrel will amount to about 2 ounces of weight IF (big “if”) the rest of the barrels are cut to the same wall thicknesses (seldom the case with Beretta). It all depends on how you like your skeet guns. Personally, I very much prefer 30″ for skeet.

As to tube sets, I would recommend getting the lightest set they sell and make sure to get “matched weight” where all three gauge sets weigh the same thing. You will pay more for this, but it is really important. The last thing that you want is a weigh difference every time you stick in another set of tubes.

As to how you handle the 12 gauge, that’s up to you. Some people just shoot the 20 gauge tube set in the 12. Some use a separate gas gun. Some use the regular O/U with the tubes removed. Few of the best shooters take this last approach. I think that the general current opinion is to use a 12 gauge Beretta auto in 12 gauge and a tube set in the little three.

When you get tubes, remember that they are going to add about 10-11 ounces to the front of your gun. They will completely alter the way the gun feels and swings. It will not bear any relationship to the way it felt before. That’s just the nature of tubes. If you use the same gun for sporting and then add tubes to it for skeet, be prepared for a completely different swing. Perhaps you can get away with it since most sporting is gun down and skeet is strictly pre-mounted (if you want to win).

As to stock height variances with Beretta, what do you expect. Beretta has never made two identical gunstocks in their life. I think that they actually hire someone to twist some little dial on the pantograph to make sure that no two guns are ever exactly alike.

You have two choices when setting up an O/U stock.

1) Install an adjustable comb. This lets you tinker and fool around until you get things the way you want them. The adjustable mechanisms usually add a few ounces to the rear, which you may or may not want. With tubes in the front and a bunch of metal adjusters hanging off the back, your gun may end up balancing like a broom stick with a brick on each end. Still, shooting a pre-mounted gun isn’t very demanding as to balance, so you can probably get away with it. Many very good skeet shooters do. The gun would be less attractive for sporting where proper balance does matter. It all depends on what you like. Also, adjustable stocks can come out of adjustment at the absolute worst time. If you go the adjustable route, make sure that you get a setup that locks securely. Grub screws never hold over time.

2) The other approach to setting up a O/U’s stock is to figure out what you want and then get it bent. This has the advantage of not adding any weight, not having anything to come out of adjustment and not ruining the looks of the gun. On the downside, you have to know what you want the first time and once you do it, you can’t tinker further without getting it rebent.

There is also the third way of building UP a stock by adding little stick on pads and the like. I’ve use a lot of this stuff, but view it more as a temporary fitting item, rather than something permanent.

Bottom line: gun fit and gun balance are personal choices. There isn’t a right or wrong answer. Skeet and sporting clays are different games, though not as different as trap. If you get REALLY serious about skeet or sporting you will want a dedicated gun. If you are slightly more flexible, one 30″ O/U will do fine for both skeet and sporting.

Best regards,

Bruce Buck
Shotgun Report’s Technoid
(Often in error. Never in doubt.)

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