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Good Allround Starter 12 Bore Shotgun

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Hi there im new to shooting ive just recieved my shotgun licence lastweek!and gonna start going clay shooting and a bit of game shooting with my dad,im 26 and done a little bit of clay when I was a lot younger!im gonna get a couple of lessons first so I know what im doing!Id just love to get some advice on what sort of gun to look for I know the way it feels and fits is important but what should I look for ie makes,models,lenth of barrel any info would be great!looking at around 300-1000 to spend on a nice decent gun.

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Really depends mate, everyone will have there preferred makes/ models etc but you will find a good second hand shotgun around £500-£1000. From experience, buy a gun you will keep potentially for life as buying cheap here and there eventually adds up anyway.


I have owned a few over and unders ranging from £150 upwards but I was lucky enough to find a Beretta silver pigeon for £600 few years ago and personally I find it better than others I have owned.


If you intend on using it for clay shooting, I would recommend a multi-choke barrel but not essential. I prefer a 28 or 30' barrel but again it depends on what feels right to the shooter and there swing.


You can spend ridiculous money on a shotgun but if it doesn't fit you well, then you will struggle from the outset so the best advice is to go to your local gunshop and try different makes/models and barrel lengths and find what suits you best.


Ultimately a good shooter will learn to shoot with any well fitted gun, wether it cost £150 or £5000. Just like cars, they all go A to B, just some look nicer getting from A to B.


As for makes, I have had a Lanber, Baikal, Miroku and a Beretta and found all adequate. The beretta and Miroku were superior in quality but all shot perfectly fine.

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Its been a while since I found mine and that was chance of speaking to a chap shooting a stand in front of me at a clay ground. Commented on his silver pigeon to which he said he wanted to sell it to get a Beretta 682 so I offered him a price there and then :laugh:


Best bet is to look on guntrader or gunstar for second hand but you may have to travel quite a way to find a bargain. I have owned mine for around 5 years and it has never let me down.


I wouldn't recommend everyone spend such an amount on a first shotgun as you may end up not that interested in the sport later down the line, but if your going to stick with it, I would recommend one every day of the week.

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For £800 to £1,000 you can take your pick from a load of second hand 'standard' brandname OU's, i.e. Berretta, Browning, Miroku, Winchester etc and to be honest there's

not much to pick between any of them, sometimes an older fixed choke 28" gun in top condition can be had cheaply because it's not the 'latest' format, and that would

probably be your best bet for first gun, good well made gun, and easy to trade-in if that's were your going.

Just don't be tempted by a 'specialised' gun, typically a trap gun e.g. with a weird rib or adjustable comb, these are fine for what there intended for, but that's not the rough shooting you sound like your going in for.

As said check out 'Guntrader UK' refine your search to OU 12g and the list is set up in ascending cost (usually 700+ guns), you can even select a make or group of makes, very good website!

You may not want to travel 100's of miles to buy a gun, but it will give you a good feel for the current 'going rate' of what you fancy.

Best of luck.


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I got a silver pigeon 1 when they first came out 2 or 3 years ago from Avalon guns brand spanking new 28" game for (I think!) £1195? They cost a bit more now but it was £65 a month for 2 years or somat and I got a very nice gun I wouldn't have been able to afford in a one off and once I get my FAC I will probably do the same again! I've had cheaper guns before and there was nothing wrong with them but I really do like my berreta and (most days) I shoot really well with it wether it's game, clays, pigeons or bolting bunnies

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Once you get your FAC you will indeed need to look at finance options :laugh: many many shiny shiny things to be had!!


Completely agree, I have shot many sporting clays with some good results and the poster above advising not to start with a skeet variant is right also. I use my silver pigeon for skeet and down the line and achieve respectable scores.


Another piece of advice is not to mess about with chokes too much whilst learning. You can get caught up with chopping and changing for different stands and scenarios when its best just to stick with the same pair and learn your trade. You can make the sport very complicated but sticking with the same setup will give you a consistency to learn from when you make a mistake or make a hit.

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Like fishing tackle is design to catch fishermen not fish fancy guns don't help with your shooting either.


My first cost me over two grand and my second 200 quid and I use the latter more now. Best bet is to be honest with yourself about the kind of shooting you want to do, I wanted to get in to rough and walked up yet ended up with a gun with wood on it that made me prance about like fairy when climbing over barbed wire.


If the gun fits that is all that matters with it, posh wood and whatnot wont make an ounce of difference :)

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Thanks for the info guys!im thinking about the beretta silver pigeon 1 delux in a 28 barrel,gonna obviously try one first to see how it fits but would it do the job for a bit of clay and pigeon and game shooting?whats the differemce in the sporting and field specification?any infoss great

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Sporters tend to be heavier and often come with variable chokes. Game guns are a little lighter and many of them have fix chokes.


If you just doing driven days, clays and pigeon decoying then the weight isn't a massive deal regarding lugging it around and the extra weight soaks up more recoil.


If you are walking all day with it then weight starts to play a big part, the shooting I prefer is walked up and rough so I ended up buying a cheap side by side which is light and I don't care if it gets bashed about a bit.


Also lighter and shorter guns are quicker to mount for snap shots.

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Mate, I've got the Silver Pigeon 12g 30" Sporter and it's no bother to carry around. I'll quite happily do 8 miles walked up with it. And the weight should have the benfit of taking recoil a bit better if you are shooting heavy loads or high intensity.


Game/field models, like Nick said, are lighter. The weight is taken from the stock so they are 'barrel heavy' and not balanced like a sporter. You might find they encourage 'swing through' better because of this. I think they tend to be a bit cheaper than sporter models too....?

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i prefer the game guns to the sporters and find sporters are the barrel heavy option! in fact just the heavy option! unless your planning on shooting a slab of cartridges at a time on clays then why bother? i do 2 rounds of 50 without any bother from recoil what so ever? and so does my mates 13 year old who uses my gun as it fits him better than his dads? i just like to have a gun thats nice and easy to carry about, quik to shoulder and shoots where i point it. you wont go far wrong with the pigeon 1 mate. also both the game and sporter are multi choke but i wouldnt bother to much about it, i use 1/2 and 3/4 for everything

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