Just like any other situation in life… you need the right tool for the job, if you dont own a shotgun do your research on what types of guns are used for shooting different clay games before you buy. Just because the gun you want looks like it could take out a herd of zombies does not mean that it will help you pluck a clay pigeon out of the sky. Action styles, barrel lengths and stock types all come into play when shooting different clay sports. Shotguns can be broken down into the following options:

Action Types

  • Semi Auto
  • Pump
  • Break Away
  • Lever
  • Bolt

Model Types

  • Field/Hunting
  • Sporting
  • Skeet
  • Trap

Barrel Types

  • Over Under
  • Side By Side
  • Single Barrel
  • Combos


Action Types:

Semi Auto – Is an automatic firearm that fires shotgun shells and uses some of the energy of each shot to automatically cycle the action and load a new round. It will fire repeatedly with each trigger pull until the loaded ammunition runs out.

Pump – Also called “slide action repeating shotguns” or “slide action shotguns” are a class of shotguns that are distinguished in the way in which spent shells are extracted and fresh ones are chambered. New shells are chambered by pulling a pump handle (often called the fore-end) attached to the tube magazine toward the user, then pushing it back into place to chamber the cartridge (in a few cases this action is reversed).

Break Away – Is a firearm whose barrels are hinged, and rotate perpendicular to the bore axis to expose the breech and allow loading and unloading of ammunition. A separate operation may be required for the cocking of a hammer to fire the new round. They are also known as break-open, break-barrel, break top, or (on old revolvers) top-break actions.

Lever – Is a type of firearm action which uses a lever located around the trigger guard area (often including the trigger guard itself) to load freshcartridges into the chamber of the barrel when the lever is worked.

Bolt – Is a type of firearm action in which the weapon’s bolt is operated manually by the opening and closing of the breech (barrel) with a small handle, most commonly placed on the right-hand side of the weapon (for right-handed users). As the handle is operated, the bolt is unlocked, the breech is opened, the spent cartridge case is withdrawn and ejected, the firing pin is cocked (this occurs either on the opening or closing of the bolt, depending on design), and finally a new round/cartridge (if available) is placed into the breech and the bolt closed.


Model Types:

Field/Hunting – Field guns tend to be lighter as they are designed to be carried around for long periods of time. They also normally feature 24″ – 28″ barrels and are used for hunting and sporting clays.

Skeet – Skeet guns shoot flat as do most field guns and most commonly have 28″ or 30″ barrels to help smooth out your swing. Skeet guns feature an open choke design allowing for a wider spread of shot at closer ranges.

Sporting – Sporting guns are similar to skeet and field guns as they are flat shooters. Barrel lengths are usually around 28″ – 32″and are usually equipped with external chokes which allow for easy change when walking from station to station.

Trap – Designed to shoot high, because you are shooting at rising targets. The barrels are normally 30″ – 34″ inches and feature a higher rib. They tend to have a tighter choked barrel. (usually modified or full)


Barrel Types:

Over Under – Features one barrel on top of the other. Found mostly on break action guns.

Side By Side – Two barrels positioned side by side usually as a break action or lever action gun.

Single Barrel – Most common to Semi Auto and Pump shotguns but can be found on all types of actions.

Combos – Mostly found on break action shotguns the combo means you can swap out barrels either for single vs. over under set ups as well as barrel of different gauges.

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