Top 5 Shotguns for Beginners

So, you want to buy a shotgun but don’t know where to start? We’ve all been there. There are many things to consider when purchasing a new gun, especially for a beginner; from gauge to barrel length, it’s essential to know what to look for in your first shotgun. We’ve compiled a list of five of our favorite beginner shotguns that are reliable, durable and easy to use.

Beretta A400
The Beretta A400 is offered in different gauges and barrel lengths.  There are many variations in the line for hunting and sporting purposes. This semi-auto platform is the best value for a person new to clay target shooting because of ease of operation vs initial cost. We always have a number of these models in our rental fleet that one can “try before you buy.”

Browning Citori
Browning’s Citori is one of the oldest shotgun lines around with lots of history, value and reliability on offer. The simplicity of an over & under shotgun make it one of the first choices for hunters and sport shooters alike. Again, there are many sub-variants in the model line, some designed for hunting, some for sporting and some with lots of very attractive engraving.

Syren L4S
Syren is a shotgun brand whose focus is on women and the specific needs they have. The Syren L4S semi-automatic target shotgun offers very low recoil without the heavier weight of an over-under style gun. We made the forend shorter and trimmer to reduce weight and improve the overall balance making the L4S easy to handle and shoot. The L4S incorporates a reliable gas operating system that significantly softens the recoil of even heavy 12 gauge target loads.

Rizzini BR110
Rizzini is pleased to offer the budget-minded shooter the best value in an over/under shotgun today. This gun will exceed your expectations and provide reliability shot after shot. This over/under has classic good looks combined with quality construction.  Try one from our rental fleet and you will see what we mean.

Caesar Guerini Summit Sporting
The Summit Sporting is an efficient tool designed to accomplish only one task: breaking targets. Every feature is carefully conceived and executed. The receiver is designed to withstand a lifetime of competitive shooting. When you compare the thick receiver walls and large bearing surfaces with any other over and under, it becomes clear this gun is designed for durability. No matter how unlikely they are to wear out, the trunnions and locking lugs can be easily replaced. The stock includes palm swell, cast off, and toe rotation for either a right or, as an option, a left hand shooter.

When it comes down to it, the most important thing when shopping for a shotgun is to talk with our pro-shop personnel. They will be able to help you find the best gun for your build, skill level and overall needs. For more information on all of the brands we sell, where to find us, and what you should know before you go shooting, visit our website or call us at (503) 792-3431. Happy shooting!

Choosing The Right Style of Shotgun

So you’re looking to join the scattergun ranks but not quite sure where to begin… Well, don’t you worry, the team at Mid Valley Clays Shooting School has you covered. We’ll help you along your journey and ensure you pick just the shotgun you’re looking for! We’ll break down the different uses, variations, and finally, some specific characteristics which may lend one or another to better suit your needs.

What is your primary use for the gun?
Shotguns are highly versatile, some filling a particular niche, and some all-purpose shotguns can be quite useful across multiple use-cases from bird hunting to shooting clay targets and possibly home defense. But there are, of course, some variants that lend themselves better to specific uses, and it makes sense to choose a shotgun that can do most of the things you need it to do. For instance, home defense shotguns are not much good sporting clays. But you can find a gun to go hunting that will also provide a great deal of fun on the skeet or trap range.

Whats your budget?
Shopping for a shotgun is a fun experience, both from a research and comparison standpoint, as well as the excitement that builds knowing you will very soon be learning how to use your new firearm. But setting yourself a budget and perhaps a little wiggle room is essential, so you don’t feel self-conscious or worried you overspent. Shotguns at MVC range from $1,600 to tens of thousands of dollars, not to mention the accessories you can add to make the perfect kit. For a beginner or first-time shotgun owner, we recommend setting yourself a healthy budget of about $2,500.

Are you interested in a classic break-action or a semi-auto?
Break-action shotguns are your over-under (o/u) and your side-by-sides. They are very popular among clay target shooters and upland bird hunters. With double barrels and a separate hammer and firing pin for each, these guns can be more reliable than a semi-auto with fewer misfires from chambering issues. Break-action shotguns start at about $2,000 and go up depending on materials and engraving.

Semi-automatic shotguns are great options for clay-target sports and hunting. A semi-automatic automatically champers the next shell after each shell is fired. As a result, they tend to have a lighter recoil than break-action but take some additional effort when it comes to cleaning and caring for them. Semi-automatic shotguns for sporting clays generally start around $1,700.

What Gauge are you looking for?
The 12 gauge has the largest range of shot shells made for any purpose. It is also the easiest ammunition to find.

20 gauge is a capable performer, strong enough for ducks, procuring ammunition is easy, and it makes a great starter gun for youth and women.

The 28 gauge is by definition a magnum shell and consequently has great performance on the clay target range or in the field. The ammunition can be quite a bit more costly than other gauges, however.

The .410 has historically been seen as a starter gauge for younger children due to the weigh of the firearm and the lightest recoil. In actuality, the shells are expensive due to the lower popularity.

But for your first shotgun, we recommend you go with either the 12 or 20-gauge. They’ll do everything you need them to do, are easiest to find ammunition for and you can’t go wrong with either of them.

As you can see, a lot goes into selecting your first shotgun or your next shotgun. We highly recommend starting your journey with a professional like the people you will find at Mid Valley Clays and Shooting School. We know the questions to ask to help you find the perfect gun for your needs. And we have a ton of shotguns you can rent so you can truly experience the differences between barrel lengths and gauges. And once you’ve purchased that new firearm, we’ll help you master it!

Which Target Shooting Is Right for You?

Target Shooting

What’s the best way to learn to shoot and sharpen your skills? Clay shooting, of course! With a low-pressure environment, proper instruction, patience, and precision, you can become a crack shot with the right effort. But how do you decide where to start target shooting? Here at Mid-Valley Clays & Shooting School, we offer that comfortable environment you need and some of the best instructors in the Portland and Willamette Valley areas.
Additionally, we offer four types of target shooting: trap shooting, skeet shooting, sporting clays, and five-stand shooting. Each sport is designed to sharpen your skills, and each is enjoyable in its own way. First, let’s go over how they differ from one another.

Trap:
Trap shooting was the first method of clay shooting to be invented. In the 18th century, they would use live birds as targets but eventually switched to glass and clay targets. Little has changed in the way of trap shooting since its invention. Why mess with perfection? We offer singles and doubles here at Mid Valley Clays & Shooting School. Trap shooting is excellent for beginners hoping to get a taste of target shooting. Even if you’ve never held a gun, you can still succeed with some trap shooting training.

Skeet:
Invented in the early 20th century, skeet shooting is more about building your skill with crossing targets. The variety of angles is especially what sets skeet apart from trap shooting. Skeet shooting will help take you to the next level if you’re an intermediate shooter. If you want to get to that next level, contact one of our instructors. They can sharpen your hand-eye coordination in a measured way, step by step.

Sporting Clays:
Sporting clays is one of the most popular shooting games in the US, typically made up of 10-15 stations on a course. Sporting clays were meant to simulate game flushing in the wild. You will rely on the skills you have built on the skeet and trap ranges. This is the perfect environment for hunters to sharpen their eyes before or during bird season.

Five-Stand:
If you like each of the above practices but can’t choose one, five-stand might be for you. A spin-off of sporting clays, five-stand presents shooters with five targets at each of the five stations. It offers excitement, difficulty, and a variety different from any other shooting discipline. It is an excellent method for hunters to get back into the swing of things before their season begins. You’ll get the variety you need to refocus your skills before the real thing, from high fliers to ground grazers. Five-stand can be done by beginners but is especially helpful for advanced shooters and seasoned hunters.

Here at Mid Valley Clays & Shooting School, there’s something for everyone, no matter what type of shotgun shooting you’re interested in. Visit our pro shop for professional help choosing the right gear, then work with an instructor to succeed on the range. Whether skeet, trap, sporting clays, or 5-stand, Mid Valley Clays & Shooting School, Nestled in the Willamette Valley just south of Portland, Oregon, is the place to do it. Consider us for your next “claycation.”

Lefty Fun Fact

Evidence of right- or left-handed dominance first appeared in humans about 1.5 million years in tools found in Kenya. Before that, there is little or no evidence of hand preference. Click for more fun facts.