I have a Fabarm which I really like, but had a failure (plastic sleeve on piston broke) and shortened my day shooting and had to send it in, so it would be nice to have a second one just in case. I can't blame the Fabarm, I must have close to 10,000 rounds through it by now.
|Green grass and |
A 28" barrel in not optimal for trap but neither is using a bird gun for trap. You did not mention a price. I am a big fan on the Benelli Montefeltro for the $. It will do both. And it is by a premier manufacturer
"Practice like you want to play in the game"
I don't really have a budget as of yet...….I guess somewhere between $650-1950. Not really interested in an Remington 1100 or 1187, the old 1100's balanced beautifully until they went to the heavier (adj choke) barrel and screwed up the balance on them...….The V3 looks interesting though. Been using a 28" Barrel Fabarm bird gun and like it and was averaging 23/25 when I was going every weekend or every other weekend. Last couple of years I've only gone 2-3x a year and average 19-20...….. I've tried several quality over unders and 2 Parazzi single barrel dedicated trap gun…….A Beretta A400, Remington 1187/1100.......Prefer a semi-auto. Might go for a 30-32" barrel and adjustable comb. I need to go to Bass Pro and shoulder some, but trying to narrow down some of the choices ahead of time. I shot a Beretta A400 but at the time preferred my Fabarm. I might end up borrowing the A400 again from my buddy, if I want to go and mine isn't back yet.
Benelli M2 Field.
The fancier trim Benellis like the Montefeltro look pretty. But IMHO the comfortech stock of the Field is worth giving up the pretty wood stock and fancier finish of the pretty trim options.
I currently have 4 Beretta A400 shotguns. I have two xtreme 12g with kick-off, a 12g xplor for upland, and a 28g for quail. They have all been reliable with soft to heavy loads. I prefer them to Benelli because of the location of the safety forward the trigger as opposed to behind. My second xtreme was purchased for my son who needs a different shim setup than I do.
"You can't fix stupid" - Ron White
To me, no big 12 ga handles like a Benelli SBE (M2 and other variants would fall in this category too). Combine that with the inertia mechanism that is basically unstoppable in field conditions, and it's an easy choice for me as the best all-around.
"The frost on the ground probably envies the frost on the trees."
The first thing to consider is whether you want a dedicated trap gun, a dedicated bird hunting shotgun, or an in-between sorta-kinda-ish does both.
- Preferred setup is a long barrel, heavy overall weight, and high swing weight.
- The best dedicated trap guns have high combs, high ribs, and shoot high. Their patterns are commonly 70/30 or 80/20, meaning the center of the point of impact is higher than the point of aim. This is done because one is always shooting at rising clays in singles trap.
- The primary reason a trap gun has a long barrel is to increase swing weight, not increase muzzle velocity or improve pointing accuracy. I've seen professional shotgun competitors kick butt from the farther trap distances with 18" barrel shotguns with mid-level chokes. It's all about knowing how to point the shotgun and break the shot at the right moment.
- Preferred setup is a mid-length barrel, lighter overall weight, medium swing weight.
- Hunting guns generally have lower combs, lower ribs, and shoot flat -- meaning POI equals POA.
IMO no one shotgun performs excels at both trap and bird hunting. However, a skeet gun and especially a sporting clays gun can make excellent bird hunting shotguns.
OK, so you want a semi-auto for trap. Start with whether you prefer gas or inertia systems. IMO the best clays gas gun is the Beretta 391. The newer 400 and 300 are respectable shotguns, but Beretta made the 391 right.
Benelli's inertia system works very well, although with a new Benelli that isn't broken in or well lubed may not cycle light 2.75" loads very well. The inertia system requires less maintenance than a gas system. Note that Benelli no longer has exclusive rights to the inertia system, therefore it's now available from other brands -- I believe Browning is an option. Note that the inertia system produces a slightly harsher recoil than a gas system, although the inertia system tends to cycle a little faster. When I shot sporting clays a lot, I found that I could get back on the second clay a little faster with an inertia gun than with a gas gun. But still not as fast as I could with an over/under.
IMO all of Benelli's models work well -- it's mainly just finish and stock. If I were to buy a Benelli, it would be one of their performance shop enhanced shotguns. Expensive, but they shoot like a dream.
Consider whether you want a wood stock for a shotgun used for waterfowl hunting.
I would not take a high-comb high-rib shotgun to the field for waterfowl hunting.
If you're fine with shooting a "flat" gun -- like a hunting shotgun -- in trap, then just stick to it. Understand that unless you ride the clays until they're way out there and their flight path levels out, you must "cover" the clay with your barrel as you break the shot. I did this all the time with my Browning 525 over/unders, as they are flat shooting guns. Not the best for trap, but I lost count of the 25s I shot with them. My Brownings were much better set up for skeet, sporting clays, and FITASC.
The new Browning A5s are inertia guns, to fritz's point above.
"The frost on the ground probably envies the frost on the trees."
The Beretta will be very reliable AND softer shooting (being a Gas operated semi-auto).
You don’t need all the fancy kickoff system unless you really want it.
The Beretta A300 semiautomatic my first Trap/5 stand shotgun and it shot very soft. Great gun! I shot several thousand rounds thru my basic Beretta A300 on the trap range without any failures.
The comment about having to cover the clay on this flat shooting shotgun are accurate, but could be remedied quickly with a stick on Beretta stock pad to then allow you to keep the clay in your vision above the bead snd make the shot.
I believe the Benelli is Inertia operated. If you plan to actually shoot more trap rounds vs waterfowl rounds, I would recommend the Gas operated system (Beretta or Remington).
My only experience is with my boss' Beretta. Not sure the model, all synthetic & not overly heavy, but a soft shooter.
I thought it was a Silver Pigeon, but that brings up an O/U on Google.
The Enemy's gate is down.
A400 LITE with kickoff is fast, soft-recoiling and fast. Lots of variants if that one isn't your choice. Can be had for $1100-1300ish.
waterfowl needs a 3-3.5" so that limits your choices of course.
I snagged a 1301 Tac Marine and added an A400 barrel. The ghost ring will come off for clays of course. If I use it enough, I might get a dedicated gauge, again. Or just use my Silver Pigeons.
I don't do any hunting, this is strictly a trap gun. The one thing I didn't like about my friends Beretta is the comb height is a little low for me. I honestly only shot it once, even though he offered it to me on many occasions as he shoots a Beretta Silver Pigeon but always brings it just in case.
What I have been shooting is a Fabarm H368, 28" barrel, synthetic stock. The comb height on it too is a little low but I'm used to it I guess. It really is a great gun and it shoots flat too, so on clays that go straight out, you have to cover them with the barrel when you pull the trigger. It is a gas gun and cycles anything. That is what I am used to, so I'm good with that. It's also a light gun/light barrel and I kind of like the feel of the lighter barrel, versus my buddies 1100 I shot that seemed barrel heavy which is also I don't care for the feel of a O/U. I have handled a Franchi back when I bought my gun and liked the balance and feel of it, but I think I want more of a mainstream brand this time. Fabarm are known for making great shotguns in Italy, but there is no aftermarket anything for them here, however, you can get all of the parts from FABARM US if needed and they seem to have everything in stock.
I did see a 30" stainless barreled Beretta A400 with a bright blue (color not blued) receiver and for some reason on strictly a looks basis, it called my name, don't ask me why.
I'll go to Bass Pro and look at both the Benelli's and Beretta's and shoulder them and see what feels/fits right. They're the only gun store in my area that has a good shot gun selection. Seems like they're the most recommended and an even split 8 votes each.
But I'm thinking I need a 2nd shotgun. It really sucks driving 45 minutes, shooting a round, then on the 2nd clay of the 2nd round, getting all light primer strikes, and calling it a day and driving home, then sending the gun off for a month to be fixed. The plastic sleeve on the gas piston was disintegrating, and the gun has the Davidsons lifetime warranty and they usually go through the entire gun and check everything, so figured was best to pay $35 to ship it to them, versus buying the $40 piston from Fabarm.
Beretta includes angled shims to adjust comb height. They fit in between the stock and receiver though so keep in mind they only offer small tweaks.
Thread title -- "Which semi-auto 28" 12 gauge for Trap Shooting (or waterfowl)..."
You need to decide if you want to be a trap shooter or someone who uses bird guns in trap.
Since you don't hunt, I recommend eliminating flat-shooting, light-weight, mid-length-barrel bird guns from your list. Get a heavy shotgun, with a high rib, with a high comb, and get after those clays.
FWIW in sporting clays we saw semi-autos starting to show serious wear at 10k to 15k rounds. Gas systems begin malfunctioning regularly, parts show wear, bolts show wear and sometimes break. Most of the sporting clays competitors I knew brought two identical gas guns to any competition. Very few O/U competitors brought a second shotgun to tournaments, with the exception of multi-state or national competitions.
I recommend looking at an over/under if you are serious about pounding tens of thousands of rounds at the trap field. At least get a true trap gun -- high rib and high comb.
|Dean of Law|
I prefer Beretta.
H. Dean Phillips
$99 Gun Trusts
I will check out a dedicated trap gun with high rib and high cone. I have shot them, but didn't do as well with them. A couple of Parazzi's, etc. etc. I'm accustomed to shooting a light barreled bird gun......that's what I'm used to.
BUT, if I averaged 23 or 24 out of 25 clays, week after week, year after year, when I was shooting on a regular basis, what's wrong with using a bird gun? The people with Parazzi's look over at my black synthetic stock bird gun and try to figure out what it is......LOL Besides trap shooting, was shooting real birds......and practice for bird hunting.....Americans brought clays to the party to replace real birds.
I will take a look at the High rib, high cone guns if I can get my hands on them. Both have 30" barrels. Not sure outdoor world has either of these 2 models in stock.
Beretta A400xcel multitarget
Benelli performance shop super sport
The Benelli vinci has a black comfortech stock, but has adjustable comb inserts, so I might take a look at this, too but it has a 28" barrel.
Don't fool yourself into thinking that Perazzi shotgun owners don't know what a synthetic stock field shotgun is. By the time most people own a Perazzi -- or Krieghoff or Beretta SO or Kolar -- they've owned, shot, and sold a fleet of other shotgun brands and types. They may even have a safe dedicated just to their shotguns. People own these high end over/unders for many reasons, but quality and longevity are likely at the top of the list. These are shotguns capable of lasting 500k rounds. Or if you're Kim Rhode and win the shotgun lottery, one of her Perazzis has more than 1 million rounds down the tubes.
By comparison, a good standard-line Beretta O/U might last 200k to 250k rounds -- after some part replacements, of course. My Browning O/Us might be 150k to 200k round shotguns, at which point they would be pretty loose and beat up. Beretta 391 semi-autos might last 50k to 100k rounds, after replacing the gas system and bolt -- maybe more than once. The better Benelli semi-autos could be in this league, too. I doubt Beretta 400 series guns will last this long. I haven't seen many Fabarms in the field, and they didn't have all that many rounds on them. I doubt a Fabarm has life near that of a Beretta 391.
As for shooting trap well with a flat-shooting shotgun, it can be done. I know, because I did pretty well with my 12, 20, and 28 gauge Browing 525s -- lots of 25s from the 16 yard line. But my sporting clays guns aren't optimal for trap by any means. I was actually more competitive at the 19-23 yard lines, where the high-POI trap guns didn't hold as much advantage. And where everyone started missing birds here and there. However, I struggled to keep up with the specialist guns at the 25-27 yard lines, where my 8-pound shotgun was at a pointing disadvantage to 10-11 pound shotguns with heavy loads.
My sporting clays, 5-stand, and FITASC experience was an advantage in days when strong winds tossed the birds around, and when the trap machines weren't throwing clays at the standard angle. I saw a number of trap competitors who wouldn't shoot if that day's conditions weren't optimal -- they wanted to protect their average scores, rather than compete with those who showed up that the day.
If you prefer to shoot trap with a bird-type gun, then just stick with it. The flat shooting gun will be boat loads better than a trap-specific gun if you decide to transition to skeet, sporting clays, or hunting. But if you expect to only ever shoot trap, a trap-specific shotgun will help you to shoot better.
And don't get too hung up on barrel length, per se. A few inches longer barrel won't change your sight picture -- well, unless you're shooting a really, really high rib shotgun with a really, really high comb.
A few inches longer barrel won't change your patterns -- chokes do that.
A few inches longer barrel won't allow your pointing accuracy to be any better. Shotguns throw patterns, and trap isn't high-power rifle with uber precise iron sights.
A longer barrel will slightly increase the swing weight of the shotgun -- which serves to stabilize our swing motion, leading to smoother and more consistent gun movement. This may be counter-intuitive, but 10-11 pound shotguns work really well in skeet -- where there's a boat load of swing & clays lead at stations 3 through 5.
I have a H&K Fabarm Classic Lion SXS 12 gauge that has been faithful for many years. I like it and it had threaded barrels for multiple chokes years ago. But most everyone I know has moved on regarding side by sides unless they are old school birders... These days if I see a side by side it's usually Berettas (including the new Parallelo).
If I take the Classic Lion to a range it's usually all semi-autos around me.
Though I have reservations about anything Remington makes these days, I want to say... any of them. Go see which one points better, fits you better and go with that as your guide.
Sliced bread, the greatest thing since the 1911.
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