Best shotgun for clay pigeon shooting

Are you looking for the best shotgun for clay pigeon shooting? Then you have come to right place. Welcome to the thrilling world of clay pigeon shooting, a sport that combines skill, precision, and the great outdoors in a uniquely exhilarating way. Whether you’re a seasoned shooter or a curious newcomer, the choice of your shotgun can make all the difference between a good day out in the field and a truly remarkable one. 

Choosing the right shotgun is about balancing precision engineering with personal comfort, about finding that perfect synergy between shooter and tool. It’s a decision that can enhance your performance, boost your confidence, and elevate your enjoyment of the sport. 

Our goal? To arm you with the knowledge and insights needed to select a shotgun that feels like an extension of yourself, ensuring that each time you take aim at those soaring clays, you’re equipped with the best. 

Read more about how to shoot clay pigeons for beginners here.

Understanding shotguns: Your ideal companion for clay pigeon shooting

When it comes to clay pigeon shooting, selecting the right shotgun is as crucial as mastering your aim. The type of shotgun you choose can significantly influence your performance and enjoyment of the sport. Let’s dive into the world of shotguns, exploring the types best suited for clay pigeon shooting, their pros and cons, and the key features to look for.

Not only should you choose the right shotgun for your clay pigen shooting journey. You should also choose the right clay pigeons. Check out our biodegradable clay pigeons.

Best shotgun for clay pigeon shooting

Types of shotguns suitable for clay pigeon shooting

Over-and-Under shotguns

The Over-and-Under shotgun, characterized by two barrels stacked vertically, is a popular choice among clay shooters. Its balanced design makes it an excellent choice for beginners and seasoned shooters alike.


  • Superior balance and stability, aiding in accurate shooting.
  • Less muzzle rise, allowing for quicker follow-up shots.
  • Offers a choice of chokes for each barrel, optimizing performance.


  • Generally heavier, which may cause fatigue during prolonged use.
  • Tends to be more expensive than other types.

Semi-automatic shotguns

Semi-Automatic shotguns automatically reload after each shot, using the energy from the previous shot. They are preferred by shooters looking for speed and reduced recoil.


  • Faster follow-up shots due to automatic reloading.
  • Lighter recoil, making it more comfortable for extended use.
  • Usually lighter than Over-and-Unders, reducing shooter fatigue.


  • Can be less reliable, with potential for jamming.
  • Only one choke is used, limiting versatility.

Side-by-side shotguns

The traditional choice, Side-by-Side shotguns feature two barrels aligned horizontally. They are often chosen for their classic aesthetic and historical significance in shooting sports.


  • Offers a wide field of view, ideal for hunting scenarios.
  • Aesthetically pleasing with a traditional feel.
  • Dual choke options for varied shooting conditions.


  • The horizontal barrel alignment can be less intuitive for aiming.
  • Often heavier, affecting balance and maneuverability.

Key features to look for in a clay pigeon shooting shotgun

Barrel Length

Ideal length: Typically, a longer barrel (28-30 inches) is preferred for clay pigeon shooting. It offers better swing and accuracy.

Impact: A longer barrel helps maintain a smoother swing through the shot, which is crucial for hitting moving targets.


Importance: Chokes constrict the end of the barrel, influencing the spread of the shot. Different chokes are suitable for different distances and types of clay shooting.

Choice: Having interchangeable chokes adds versatility to your shotgun, allowing you to adapt to various shooting scenarios.

Weight and balance

Balance: A well-balanced shotgun feels comfortable and natural to hold, reducing fatigue.

Weight preference: While a heavier shotgun offers stability and reduced recoil, a lighter gun is easier to handle and maneuver.

Recoil System

Comfort: A good recoil system absorbs the shock from firing, making the shooting experience more comfortable, especially during long sessions.

Effectiveness: Some semi-automatic shotguns have excellent built-in recoil systems, making them a popular choice for those sensitive to recoil.

Understanding the nuances of different shotguns and their features is key to finding your perfect match for clay pigeon shooting. Whether it’s the balanced precision of an Over-and-Under, the rapid fire of a Semi-Automatic, or the traditional charm of a Side-by-Side, each shotgun offers a unique shooting experience. Factor in the key features like barrel length, chokes, weight, balance, and recoil system, and you’re well on your way to selecting a shotgun that not only complements your shooting style but also enhances your overall experience in this dynamic sport. Happy shooting!

Read more about skeet shooting here.

Top shotgun picks for clay pigeon shooting: Finding your perfect match

Clay pigeon shooting is not just about skill and practice; it’s also about having the right equipment. In this segment, we delve into some of the most popular shotguns in the world of clay pigeon shooting, analyzing their features, performance, and user feedback. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned shooter, this guide will help you make an informed decision about your next shotgun purchase.

Want to expand your shooting experience even more? The Nordic Clays Trapmaster, a portable and handheld clay pigeon thrower, stands out as a cutting-edge and intuitive tool in the world of clay pigeon shooting. Featuring a lightweight and easily transportable design, it offers versatility in firing speeds and angles, making it suitable for both beginners and seasoned shooters. Moreover, its eco-friendly design, which accommodates biodegradable clay pigeons, adds to its appeal.

Review of popular models

Beretta Silver Pigeon

  • Features: The Beretta Silver Pigeon is an over-and-under shotgun known for its impeccable balance and stunning aesthetics. It features a reliable action mechanism, superior steelium barrels, and an elegant engraving.
  • Performance: This model is renowned for its durability and precision, making it a favorite among competitive shooters.
  • User Feedback: Shooters often praise its smooth handling and longevity, though some note it’s on the higher end of the price spectrum.

Browning Citori

  • Features: The Browning Citori, another over-and-under shotgun, boasts robust construction and a variety of models catering to different shooting preferences. It comes with a back-bored barrel technology for improved patterns.
  • Performance: Known for its consistent performance and ease of use, the Citori is a go-to for both beginners and pros.
  • User feedback: Users appreciate its reliability and solid feel, although some find it a bit heavier than other models.

Remington 1100 Sporting

  • Features: This semi-automatic shotgun is designed with a focus on recoil reduction, featuring a gas-operated system that makes it exceptionally smooth to shoot.
  • Performance: It’s especially popular for its reduced recoil, making it a great choice for extended shooting sessions.
  • User Feedback: The 1100 Sporting is often highlighted for its comfort and ease of use, but some shooters may prefer the traditional double-barrel configuration for clay shooting.

Benelli SuperSport

  • Features: The Benelli SuperSport is a semi-automatic shotgun that stands out with its cutting-edge technology, including the Inertia Driven system, carbon fiber stock, and Crio barrel.
  • Performance: It’s incredibly fast and light, ideal for shooters who value speed and agility.
  • User feedback: Praised for its futuristic design and lightweight, though some purists might not prefer the modern aesthetic.

Detailed analysis

Each of these shotguns brings something unique to the table:

  • Beretta Silver Pigeon: Ideal for shooters who value tradition and reliability.
  • Browning Citori: A versatile choice that balances classic design with modern shooting needs.
  • Remington 1100 Sporting: Best for those who seek comfort and reduced recoil in a semi-automatic format.
  • Benelli SuperSport: Perfect for enthusiasts looking for a high-tech, fast, and lightweight option.

Comparison chart

The best shotgun for you depends on your individual preferences and shooting style. Whether you prioritize traditional craftsmanship, versatile performance, comfort, or technological innovation, there’s a shotgun on this list that’s sure to meet your needs. Remember, the perfect shotgun not only improves your performance but also enhances your overall experience in the thrilling sport of clay pigeon shooting.

Choosing the right shotgun for you

Selecting the right shotgun for clay pigeon shooting is a personal journey. It’s about finding a firearm that feels like an extension of your body and enhances your shooting experience. This guide is designed to help you navigate through the factors that influence your choice and ensure you end up with a shotgun that not only meets your needs but also complements your shooting style.

Factors to consider based on individual needs

Experience Level

Beginners: If you’re new to the sport, look for a shotgun that is user-friendly, reliable, and doesn’t overwhelm you with complex features. Durability and ease of maintenance should also be key considerations.

Intermediate to advanced shooters: More experienced shooters might look for shotguns with advanced features like adjustable triggers, refined recoil systems, and the flexibility of interchangeable chokes.


Entry-level budget: There are many quality shotguns available that won’t break the bank. While they may lack some of the advanced features of higher-end models, they can still provide a great shooting experience.

Higher budget: If you’re willing to invest more, you can explore premium options with superior craftsmanship, enhanced features, and better materials that can offer a more refined shooting experience.

Preferred shooting discipline

Trap: A single-barrel shotgun with a longer barrel is often preferred for trap shooting, as it provides better accuracy for the single, forward-moving target.

Skeet: Skeet shooting typically requires a shotgun that allows for quick target acquisition and maneuverability, making over-and-unders and semi-automatics popular choices.

Sporting clays: Sporting clays involve a wide variety of target presentations, so versatility is key. A shotgun that is adaptable to different situations, with the ability to change chokes, is ideal.

Man shooting his gun in forrest

Tips for testing and selecting a shotgun

Handle multiple models: Visit a gun shop or shooting range where you can handle various models. Pay attention to how each shotgun feels in your hands.

Test fire if possible: If you have the opportunity to test fire a shotgun, take it. This will give you the best sense of how the gun performs and fits you.

Seek expert advice: Don’t hesitate to ask for advice from more experienced shooters or the staff at your gun shop or shooting range. They can provide valuable insights based on your specific needs.

Read our tips on clay pigeon shooting here.

Importance of proper fitting

Comfort and performance: A shotgun that fits well will be more comfortable to shoot and can significantly improve your accuracy. Factors like the length of pull, drop at comb, and pitch all play a role in how well a shotgun fits.

Custom fitting: Consider having your shotgun fitted by a professional. Custom fitting ensures that your shotgun aligns perfectly with your shooting style and physique.

Adjustable features: Some shotguns come with adjustable stocks and combs, which can be a great asset in achieving the perfect fit.

Choosing the right shotgun for clay pigeon shooting is a blend of assessing your skill level, budget, and shooting discipline, combined with hands-on testing and ensuring a proper fit. Remember, the best shotgun for you is one that feels right in your hands, aligns with your shooting style, and brings you joy in the sport. Take your time, do your research, and when you find that perfect shotgun, you’ll know it’s the right one.

Conclusion: Find the best shotgun for clay pigeon shooting

In conclusion, choosing the perfect shotgun for clay pigeon shooting is a journey that blends personal preference with practical considerations. From understanding the different types of shotguns available to considering your experience level, budget, and preferred shooting discipline, each aspect plays a crucial role in your decision-making process. Remember, the right shotgun is not just about performance; it’s about how it enhances your overall experience in the sport.

Whether you’re drawn to the elegance and balance of an Over-and-Under, the rapid-fire capability of a Semi-Automatic, or the classic appeal of a Side-by-Side, there’s a shotgun out there that’s perfectly suited to your needs. By carefully reviewing popular models, assessing their features and performance, and considering user feedback, you can narrow down your choices. And don’t forget the importance of testing and properly fitting your shotgun – these steps are essential to ensure your chosen firearm feels like an extension of yourself.

Everything you need to know about choosing a shotgun for clay pigeon shooting

What are the main types of shotguns used in clay pigeon shooting?

The primary types are Over-and-Under, Semi-Automatic, and Side-by-Side shotguns. Each type offers different benefits for clay pigeon shooting, depending on your personal preference and shooting style.

How important is the barrel length in a shotgun for clay pigeon shooting?

Barrel length plays a significant role in the shotgun’s balance and swing. A longer barrel (28-30 inches) is often preferred for its smoother swing and better accuracy, especially in disciplines like trap shooting.

Can beginners use the same shotguns as advanced shooters?

While beginners can use any shotgun, they may find simpler, more user-friendly models more suitable. Advanced shooters might prefer shotguns with additional features like adjustable triggers or refined recoil systems.

Does the choice of shotgun differ based on the clay pigeon shooting discipline?

Yes, different disciplines like trap, skeet, and sporting clays might require different shotgun features. For instance, trap shooting often involves single-barrel shotguns for forward-moving targets, while skeet shooting might favor shotguns that allow for quick target acquisition.

What should I consider when setting a budget for a clay pigeon shooting shotgun?

Your budget should take into account not only the initial cost of the shotgun but also the potential costs for maintenance, accessories, and any necessary modifications or custom fittings.

How can I test if a shotgun is right for me?

It’s advisable to handle and, if possible, test fire multiple models to assess comfort, balance, and ease of use. Pay attention to how the shotgun feels in your hands and how it aligns with your shooting style.

Why is proper fitting important for a shotgun?

A properly fitted shotgun can significantly improve comfort and accuracy. Factors such as length of pull, drop at comb, and pitch affect how well the shotgun aligns with your body and shooting style.

Are there specific shotguns recommended for women or shooters with smaller frames?

Yes, there are shotguns designed with shorter stocks and lighter frames to accommodate women and shooters with smaller physiques. It’s important to choose a shotgun that offers a comfortable fit and manageable recoil.

How do I maintain my shotgun to ensure its longevity and performance?

Regular cleaning, proper storage, and timely maintenance are key. It’s also important to use the correct ammunition and handle the shotgun with care to prevent wear and tear.

Can I customize a shotgun to better fit my needs?

Absolutely. Many shotguns come with options for customization, such as adjustable stocks, interchangeable chokes, and different barrel lengths to tailor the firearm to your specific requirements.

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