Small gun, big bag

Sporting Shooter - - Ask The Experts -

QI have a .410 shot­gun that I re­ally en­joy shoot­ing. I’m only a teenager and not very big and find a 12-bore a bit heavy and tir­ing to shoot when I have bor­rowed my dad’s for clay shoot­ing. I love pi­geon shoot­ing and am wor­ried that I am un­der-gunned. Am I bet­ter off swap­ping my lit­tle over-and-un­der for a big­ger au­to­matic?

AANDY CROW replies: If you shoot your gun well, there is no rea­son not to use it. You can get 19g No.6 shot car­tridges quite read­ily and these will be more than up to the job of killing pigeons cleanly at sen­si­ble ranges if you do your part.

If you trade up to a big heavy gun, you may find it has a neg­a­tive im­pact on your shoot­ing, so what’s the point? As you get a bit older and stronger, you might want to look at a 20-bore semi-au­to­matic. These are light, soft on the shoul­der and ca­pa­ble of match­ing a 12 in pretty much ev­ery cir­cum­stance apart from throw­ing large pay­loads of steel when wild­fowl­ing. Most of the pop­u­lar brands of­fer 20-bore ver­sions of their best sell­ers and al­though car­tridges are more ex­pen­sive than 12-bore stuff, it is not pro­hib­i­tive un­less you shoot lots of clays and pigeons.

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