Selecting Shotguns

Selecting Shotguns

You have your SGC, and naturally you want you own shotgun, but what type, make or model should you get?

Firstly, decide what you want and set a budget.

Shotguns range in price from next to nothing for an ancient single barrel job, to hundreds of thousands of pounds for the best handmade London guns.

You get what you pay for - in general the more you pay, the higher the quality.

Decide what you want to shoot - this section refers specifically to shooting as a Club discipline, which are the clay shooting variations:

  • Skeet
  • Trap/ Down the line/ Olympic Trap etc.
  • Sporting – English, FITASC etc.

If you only ever want to shoot skeet, get a skeet gun - likewise with trap and sporting. If you want to compete all round, you could get a skeet, trap and sporting gun. However if like most of us, you want to try all of the clay disciplines, but don’t want to buy multiple guns, get a Multi-choke Sporter.

So, what type of gun should you buy?

The Club recommends a double-barrelled 12 bore over-and-under (O/U) sporter, with single selective trigger and multi chokes.

Depending on your budget:

Money is no object:

Have a gun built  for you by one of the top London makers, or have one built to your requirements by the custom shop of Browning, Beretta, or other top European makers.

Still plenty to spend:

Order your gun and make it “fitted” to suit you.

Budget from £1000 to £5000:

Buy an 'off the peg' model from any of the recognised European makers. Names to look out for are:

  • Browning
  • Beretta
  • Miroku
  • Winchester
  • Kemen
  • Krieghoff
  • Fabarm

This is by no means an exhaustive list, do your research online, in shops and talk to members of the Club.

Budget up to £1000:

Look out for any of the above makers as a second-hand gun, or if you want to buy new look out for a Lamber - these Spanish-made guns are very well made and good value for money.


Semi-automatic shotguns:

These single-barelled guns are increasingly popular, and represent excellent value for money. Some people prefer then because they can create less recoil than a conventional O/U.

They do however have several drawbacks:

i) They only offer one choice of choke. With an O/U you can select the top or bottom barrel to give you a choice of choke most suitable to the clay you are about to shoot.

ii) They cannot be as well balanced, and thus do not handle as well as a 'conventional' gun.

iii) Being full of moving parts, they are more prone to malfunction than conventional guns.


Many people shoot very well with semi autos, although it may not be the best choice for a first gun.

All of the major makers manufacture at least one model. Most popular makers are Beretta and Remington.



The maximum calibre permitted for international competition is 12 gauge. Consequently this is the most popular calibre. Some people like to use 20 bore guns, but cartridges are more expensive. Most members of the Club use a 12 bore shotgun.


The importance of fit:

Because the shotgun has no sights, it must 'fit' you, if it is to put its shot pattern where you are looking. Don't just pick the first gun that takes your fancy off of the rack - get assistance from your dealer, and select the gun that fits you best. If money is no object, get one made to fit, or get the dealer to get the gun fitted to you.