Low Recoil Skeet Gun


Bruce, thanks for all the information in the past and a great web site.

My Question to you:

I have been shooting skeet maybe once a week at most for 50 shots each occasion for some time. Agreed, not much to get very good, but I shoot 22-24 each round. I’m getting close to retirement and possibly will shoot more.

I have been using an 1187 or a 682. I find the 1187 stock to small (and short) for me and the 682 so-so, heavy on the swing. I’m 6’4″ about 210. Recently I used a Browning Skeet 12ga. and did very well, got ’em all. I hate to just trade off my 1187 and/or 682 for the Browning Skeet. Years back I had a Browning GTI that beat me to death with recoil (and trigger problems). I went to a reduced load of 1oz. of shot and 16.5 grains of Red Dot. Better, but not resolved. I sold the GTI for the 682. The 1187 won’t handle the liter loads, the 682 is ok. I do have a neck/disk problem and want to stay with the liter loads.

Do you think the XS Browning Skeet and the old GTI have the same comb dimensions? I know you like the Beretta auto’s, but what’s your opinion, what would you recommend? I bet you’ll go with the Beretta because of the adjustable stock, weight. But will handle the liter loads?

What are the most popular skeet guns these days?

Bill

Dear Bill,

I’m assuming that you are a casual skeet shooter. If you were a manic skeet shooter and interested in advanced competition, you would have no real choice but to shoot a tubed O/U. Recoil wouldn’t be a problem because you would be doing most of your practicing with the 410 and 28. You would accept the grossly nose heavy balance of a tubed skeet gun because you have no other real choice. Barrel sets aren’t popular these days.

The most popular skeet gun these days? Probably either a tubed 682 or K80. For those who choose to use a gas gun in the 12 gauge event, it’s mostly Berettas now.

From what you say and the fact that you don’t mention subgauge, I must surmise that you are a more restrained skeet shooter who shoots 12 gauge for pleasure, not advanced competition. That means you are talking strictly 12 gauge skeet guns, no tube sets.

Have you have tried shooting your 11-87 “wet” with BreakFree CLP? Often they will shoot light loads when you slobber that stuff on the magazine tube and piston and leave it wet. Worth a try. It makes cleaning a breeze too.

The older 682s did tend to be nose-heavy, especially in the longer barrel lengths. I never liked them for that reason, but that’s the opinion of one. The skeet shooting community sure loves them, even (especially?) with the added weight of tubes. Once you get a good 682 set up right, they are very long lived. Obviusly, all your recoil problems would be solved if you tubed your 682 and shot the 28 gauge. Of course, that would redefine your comment “heavy on the swing”. With the extra weight of the tubes, it would be considerably heavier.

The new 682 Gold “E” model with the Optima Bore barrel is much lighter up front. Still, that doesn’t help with the gun you have. You might try adding a bit of weight inside the buttstock. That will not only reduce recoil a bit more, but it will also shift the balance rearward. Of course, too much added butt weight will make the gun balance like a broomstick with a brick on each end. An alternative would be to have Briley backbore the barrels of your 682 to reduce their weight. That would cost around $350 and, depending on how much you wanted pulled out, would alter your chokes. Chokes would have to be recalibrated. Backboring a screw choked gun is tricky and you can’t pull out too much.

You might also consider using a Soft Touch or G-Square hydraulic stock. I’ve used them and they work remarkably in the pre-mounted gun games. I honestly think that they reduce recoil down to the level of a gas auto once you get the stock adjusted correctly. They cost around $600 and will add some weight to the butt. They can be had with adjustable combs too so you could handle recoil and a customized stock at the same time.

At 6’4″ no factory stock is going to fit you. The average stock is made for someone around 5’10”. No matter what you get, you will have to have it lengthened and perhaps have some height work done. If you shoot a standard length stock, it won’t fit your shoulder tightly and will kick you more than it should. To reduce recoil to the fullest, the stock must be as LONG as you can comfortably handle. Twisting and cramping yourself to fit a short stock will tremendously increase recoil because the stock butt will never be fully seated against the shoulder. It will get a little running start before it whacks you. If you have an injury to protect, especially a spinal one, don’t mess with anything that isn’t perfect.

I would strongly advise getting a gun fitting from a professional who is well aware of your physical requirements. Pay the darn $150. You will quickly find that he will recommend a stock considerably longer than you can buy out of the box. Lengthening a stock, any stock, is child’s play and just involves a few extra spacers and a new pad. Adjusting the height and cast is also easy on an auto, but harder on an O/U. Any way you look at it, about $300 should get you a fitting and whatever stock work is required to “make it so”. At $1000 per day for hospitalization after neck surgery, that $300 looks pretty good.

Since you have disc problems and don’t like an O/U that is nose heavy, you ought to go with a gas gun. Gas operated semi-autos (Beretta, Remington, Browning but NOT the recoil-operated Benelli) have much less recoil than any “naked” 12 gauge O/U. Remington has given up on making the 11-87 work with light loads and now market only the 1100 for targets. Their 28″ sporting clays model is OK, but definitely not my first choice. It’s 1963 technology and a lot has happened to gas gun design in the past 37 years. The 2-3/4″ chambered Browning Gold sporter is also right on the edge with very light loads. Works for some people, not for others. The new Super X2 sporter admits that the standard 3″ Gold/SX2 action isn’t great with light loads and includes as special extra piston for light loads. I haven’t’ tested this new version of the gun yet. In my experience the Beretta 390 and 391 work flawlessly with the lightest loads. I’ve tested the 390 and 391 with my standard low velocity 7/8 oz loads and they worked fine. They do not work perfectly with the 26 gram Winchester sub-sonic Feathers, but no gas gun does.

For a guy your size, if you decide you want to stay only with 12 gauge, I’d go right out and get a 30″ Beretta 391 sporter and do what ever you have to do to the stock to make it fit. Properly lubricated with BreakFreeCLP it will work with normal 1150 fps 7/8 oz loads. Beretta autos are by far the most popular clay target autos right now and there is a reason for that. Just because everyone else likes them, doesn’t mean everyone else is wrong.

I don’t mean to push Beretta autos over the other brands. I have absolutely no brand loyalty one way or another. If someone made a better target auto than the Beretta, I’d endorse it in a heartbeat. It’s just that right now, this moment in time, I think that Beretta autos are the best for clay targets. They are durable, reliable and are infinitely customizable due to an aftermarket business as large as that which customized the VW beetle. I did like the handling qualities of the new Browning Fusion and also the stock and slim forend. Too bad they screwed it up with a Brooklyn Bridge rib. I also do think that the Remington and Browning gas autos have slightly less perceived recoil than the Beretta gas guns. It’s slight, but it’s there.

Bottom line: If you want to shoot low recoil 12 gauge for skeet so as to avoid the extreme muzzle heavy bias of a tubed O/U, I recommend a modern gas gun, specifically Beretta at this time. Get it fitted by a professional. At your height, consider the 30″ barrel over the 28″. Beretta’s are a bit lighter up front and can handle the extra barrel length.

Best regards,

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

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1 Response to Low Recoil Skeet Gun

  1. Gerald A Packard says:

    Bruce,
    You might think of adding the Beretta 400 excel to the list of recommendations. With a Cole’s performance trigger they are super dependable, take light loads, and a heck of a lot easier to clean than a 391.
    Have both. Just follow the recommended break in instructions (shoot heavier loads to begin) before trying the light 7/8 oz. Also with the available Kick-Off recoil reduction felt recoil should be reduced to a minimum.
    Jerry

    Like

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