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Guns

Although virtually any type of gun up to 12 gauge is capable of being used to shoot clay pigeons, the wide variety of types and models on the market can be bewildering to the newcomer to the sport. Prices can also vary enormously from a couple of hundred to many thousands of pounds, although price alone is no indication of the suitability of the gun for clay pigeon shooting.

Most gun shops and registered firearms dealers will be pleased to advise prospective buyers as to the most suitable weapon for their needs. Also most gun clubs and shooting schools and existing CPSA members will be more than happy to advise and even let newcomers have a go with one or more of their guns, under close supervision, so that they can judge for themselves whether they would enjoy it or would like to look further into the sport.

There are three main types of shotgun that are suitable for clay shooting.

 

Over - Under

By far the most popular gun used by regular participants of the sport. As it's name indicates this gun has  two barrels superimposed on each other and it has usually just a single trigger which can be selected to fire either barrel first. Within this type there are three sub-groups of specification i.e. trap, skeet and sporting. Trap guns are generally heavier and longer barrelled (normally 30" or 32") with tight choking and designed to shoot slightly above the point of aim. Skeet guns are usually lighter and faster handling with barrel length from 26" to 28" and with fairly open chokes. Sporting models most often come with an interchangeable choke facility and barrel lengths of 28", 30" and 32" according to preference. 
 

Semi - Auto

This is a single barrelled gun that reloads from a magazine using recoil pressure, but which requires the shooter to press the trigger for each shot. The current UK shotgun law requires these guns to be limited to a maximum capacity of 3 cartridges, but CPSA rules only permit a maximum of two to be loaded at any time for safety reasons. Due to light barrel weight and low recoil this gun is popular with youngsters, ladies and those who suffer from the effects of recoil. Consequently, though not as popular as the over-under, they are a fairly common sight at clay target shooting events and shooting grounds.

 

Side-by-Side

The original and traditional game shooting gun, with it's barrels placed alongside each other in a horizontal plane, is generally a lighter gun with double triggers. Few side-by-sides are used for clay pigeon, as their lightness proves a disadvantage compared to the shooting stability and pointability of the over-under.

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