I have used a 28″ 3200 Skeet gun since about 1982 and like it. As Technoid noted it is heavy and as the English gent once said, “A light gun will lighten your load and your bag”. Seriously, as Tech noted, weight is a benefit in terms of a smooth swing and lower recoil and that is fine for duck hunting and dove shooting; even quail when much of the travel is by vehicle.
The forend cracking problem is solved by removing the entire ejector mechanism. I stumbled on this one because I don’t like ejectors – I reload my clay target ammo and it has always been bad form on my place and hunting on others’ places to leave empties laying around. Easier just to pluck em’ & pocket em’ . The large force of the ejector springs tends to bend the forend iron – a flatish stamping – up and down like a diving board. Also, overtighening the angled screw at the front of the forend iron can crack the wood.
I have Briley screw-in chokes in the top barrel (CYL, IC, IM). Usually set up SK, IC the gun shoots IC, MOD with steel (Estate #4, #2 1 1/4 oz 2.75 in. “Magnum”) and nearly that with best quality plated loads (handloads & nickel and copper pigeon and “Int’l” loads). I used the SK, IM set up for Columabaire (hand thrown) pigeons and I sometimes use this set up dove hunting over grain fields. SK, CYL is for Skeet.
I have always considered weight to be a matter of personal fit just like pull, drop & cast and at a reasonably healthy 6′-2″ & 200 lbs I don’t find the 3200 to be “clunky”, I’d describe it as “smooth”. Matt Dryke was smaller than I and Olympic Skeet is a fast, low-gun sport. I have a 1967 vintage Charles Daly (Mirouku) 20 ga. which is a Browning Superposed clone that is the opposite of the 3200 in terms of weight & balance; it is definitely a more difficult gun to hit with. It feels like a toy. And it is a perfect squirrel gun, light to carry through the woods and the targets are sitting still!
I think a 26″ 3200 would make a nice hunting gun and provide you with pride- of-ownership. I would suggest sending it to Briley in Houston to have at least one barrel screw-choked.
It is always enlightening to hear from a SR reader who has spent some time with a popular gun and is willing to share his experiences and fixes with us. Thanks for taking the time and trouble to share your experiences. I used to disconnect the ejectors on my B-25 Brownings, but never did on my 3200 (and yes, it cracked the forend).
Personally, I don’t screw choke just one barrel of an O/U. It obviously works for some, but you are not saving that much money and you are giving up a lot of options. Besides, if you screw choke both barrels, you get to carry twice as many chokes with you. Gear is good!
It is interesting to note that the famed English game guns are among the lightest in the world. A typical 30″ Holland or Purdey game gun chambered for the standard 2-1/2″ 1-1/16 oz English game load seldom weighs more than 7# and often a good bit less. My 12 gauge 28″ Webley and Scott weighs 6-1/4# exactly. While I very much appreciate the added weight and smooth tracking of my clay target guns, I prefer the speed of the light game guns in the field, especially in close cover. As a New England grouse hunter, I still think that the 3200s are a bit too heavy for me to lug around the woods all day, but that extra weight does absorb recoil when the dove swarm the sunflowers.
Shotgun Report’s Technoid
(Often in error, never in doubt.)
Remington 3200’s were a good idea that has some issues. While they shoot good, Gabby Hulgan won a world championship with one, they are not very reliable. Ask any skeet shoot, he will tell you about numerous repairs.
I had my gunsmith swop out much lighter springs in the ejectors but the gunsmith w 30 plus years of working w 3200’s told me it was the way people open and close their o/u’s that causes the infamous cracked forearm.
I swapped out the springs in the ejectors to a much lighter pair. Now it just pushed the fired hull out a couple of inches making it easy to take out and relieves all that pressure on the forearm.