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Old 02-09-2013, 00:00   #1
4095fanatic
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18" Shotgun for skeet shooting

Question: I'm completely new to shotguns. I've fired tens of thousands of rounds through my pistols and rifles over the past decade, ranging from .22LR to 7.62x54R, but have never touched a shotgun. I've always wanted to get in to it, especially for the home defense side of things, but lately I've had another reason: a good friend of mine, who never was much into shooting, has gotten obsessed with skeet shooting. I'm going out next week to try it with him (wish me luck, it can't be that much harder than a rifle... right?). My question is, if I like it, do I need a dedicated shotgun for skeet shooting, or will a Mossberg 590A1 with an 18" barrel be OK for skeet? From my research online most skeet shooters use barrels of at least 26" if not more. I figure longer barrel = more FPS, but is the drop off in performance between a 18" and a 26" significant enough that it would be worthwhile to buy a longer barreled shotgun just for skeet shooting? Thanks for the help (hopefully this isn't a completely stupid question).

...and if the answer is "yes, it does matter", any good recommendations? I was thinking a Remington 800 or 1100 series.
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Old 02-09-2013, 05:27   #2
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Originally Posted by 4095fanatic View Post
Question: I'm completely new to shotguns. I've fired tens of thousands of rounds through my pistols and rifles over the past decade, ranging from .22LR to 7.62x54R, but have never touched a shotgun. I've always wanted to get in to it, especially for the home defense side of things, but lately I've had another reason: a good friend of mine, who never was much into shooting, has gotten obsessed with skeet shooting. I'm going out next week to try it with him (wish me luck, it can't be that much harder than a rifle... right?). My question is, if I like it, do I need a dedicated shotgun for skeet shooting, or will a Mossberg 590A1 with an 18" barrel be OK for skeet? From my research online most skeet shooters use barrels of at least 26" if not more. I figure longer barrel = more FPS, but is the drop off in performance between a 18" and a 26" significant enough that it would be worthwhile to buy a longer barreled shotgun just for skeet shooting? Thanks for the help (hopefully this isn't a completely stupid question).

...and if the answer is "yes, it does matter", any good recommendations? I was thinking a Remington 800 or 1100 series.
You could also just get another barrel for your Mossberg, very easy to change out
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Old 02-09-2013, 05:54   #3
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Skeet shooting with a pump shotgun is a hard way to start out. You're going to have to try to hit doubles at four stations. Your defensive shotgun isn't meant to be used for skeet.
Get in the same squad as your friend and borrow his shotgun (bet he's got a semi-auto or double barrel).

If you get hooked on skeet shooting, get a decent semi-auto w/26-28" barrel. It's a great sport and very addicting.
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Old 02-09-2013, 07:54   #4
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You can shoot skeet with a pump fine.

You can shoot skeet with an 18" but if you're new to it, won't hit much.

Shoot with your friend's shotgun for a while, if you like skeet, get a 28" spare barrel for your Mossberg. I've never had a problem hitting doubles with a pump.

In some cases, it's cheaper to get a spare shotgun, 28" barreled used Mossberg 500s are inexpensive and common used. I picked one up for under $200 with tax before. Needed some cleanup work, but it's a good gun.
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Old 02-09-2013, 08:42   #5
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Based on your OQ. Yes if you get into it you will want something different to shoot on a regular basis. Yes you can start off with your 18" barrel..it will be a challenge for a couple of reasons. The short barrel will swing very fast. The sight radius is 6"-10" shorter than most accepted field or sporting type shotguns. The open choke (cylinder bore ?) on that short barrel will be letting the shot disperse in a very open pattern at a shorter distance thus creating some fairly large holes on the longer shots. If you have a Skeet or Improved Cylinder choke tube use those....do not forget to change back before you shoot Slugs or Buckshot. No...longer does not mean more FPS. In general..12ga 2/34 makes max pressure in 14". Much less friction in a shotgun barrel compared to Rifle and different burn rates on the powder. Besides most Skeet or Sporting Clay ranges restrict your ammo to target loads only. So you will be stuck with what ever their max is. Good luck.
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Old 02-09-2013, 08:51   #6
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For just goofing around your HD shotgun will be fine but a little out of place.

Its always good to shoot your shotgun as much as you can and this is just another opportunity.

A longer barrel on a target or hunting gun helps for 2 reasons. Longer sighting plane. While you don't really use the sights on a shotgun for most applications the front bead does serve as a reference point and gives you some idea how much you are leading a target.

The longer barrel also puts weight out front and with a target shotgun more weight out front equates to a smoother more consistent swing, less recoil and several other positive benefits that you don't necessarily want in a combat or hunting shotgun.

Just go have fun and if you decide you like it you can buy a longer barrel for your gun or eventually just go buy a dedicated target gun.
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Old 02-09-2013, 09:10   #7
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I've shot Skeet with my Mossberg 500 w/ 18" barrel. It's possible but not advisable. Don't get me wrong. It's fun and good practice with your HD weapon but you won't score well.

For comparison. I have a Remington 1100 with a 26" skeet barrel. Thousands of rounds thru it. I generally shoot in the 22-23 range with it and have shot a 25 with it many times when I shot skeet a lot. I shot 8 rounds of skeet with my Mossberg 500. Never broke 15. Doubles were hard and the long stations difficult. Plus 30Y shots on the second double with birdshot is challenging from an 18" barrel on a tiny bird. Fun but not easy. Good lesson in humility
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Old 02-09-2013, 09:47   #8
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A buddy of mine had a 20 inch home defense in his car and was scared to bring it sporting clay shooting. Looking back on it no one cares, it's for fun. Bring what you got and also try your buddies gun too. That way you can tell us and other your experience with the two guns.
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Old 02-09-2013, 09:52   #9
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Thanks for all the advise! Apparently his friend who got him in to it is coming, and he's bringing about five shotguns, so ill be able to try a few out.


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Old 02-09-2013, 11:40   #10
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I would grab a mossberg 500, its a do all kinda shotty and wont break your bank

At my range, they won't even allow a short barrel for trap ---- now i've never looked for this in writing, but i've heard from people...

You can have the 28" bird barrel with different chokes, and also the 18.5" HD barrel (special purpose is what its called).... 10 seconds to swap out between the two... exactly what i do with my 500

Its quite possible to even find a retail combo of the 28" and 18.5" barrel ... otherwise buying separate, even possibly used would be quite easy
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Old 02-11-2013, 23:43   #11
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My first duty shotgun was a Mossberg 500 with an 18" barrel. I used it on duty, shooting skeet and as a brush hunting gun. If you want to get good with your shotgun shoot it at moving objects. I see people at the gun range with their tactical shotgun that don't even know how to stand let alone run their gun. At the skeet range there are people who will be happy to assist you in learning the proper way to shoot a shotgun. If you want to mainly shoot skeet invest in a dedicated skeet gun. Yes doubles will be harder but wing-shooters do it all the time. Years ago shorter barrels were popular for skeet.
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Old 02-12-2013, 10:13   #12
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If you've never shot a pump shotgun, skeet shooting will be a very good opportunity to get familiar with it. Don't expect perfect scores, but it's like dove hunting a good field, a lot of shooting. Definitely get a longer barrel for skeet.

If you grow to really like shooting skeet, get an over\under.
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Old 02-12-2013, 11:23   #13
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My first duty shotgun was a Mossberg 500 with an 18" barrel. I used it on duty, shooting skeet and as a brush hunting gun. If you want to get good with your shotgun shoot it at moving objects. I see people at the gun range with their tactical shotgun that don't even know how to stand let alone run their gun. At the skeet range there are people who will be happy to assist you in learning the proper way to shoot a shotgun. If you want to mainly shoot skeet invest in a dedicated skeet gun. Yes doubles will be harder but wing-shooters do it all the time. Years ago shorter barrels were popular for skeet.
That's good advice. You get good shooting at moving targets and the Skeet Shooters are pretty helpful if you ask.
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Old 02-12-2013, 12:32   #14
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I used to shoot skeet with an 18" bolt action 12 gauge when I first started! lol Grandpa gave it to me and it was all I had.
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Old 02-12-2013, 12:43   #15
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You can shoot skeet with an 18" but if you're new to it, won't hit much.
My experience. Tried it with my 590A1. Complete fail. but I also never did it before & don't typically shoot a shotgun well anyway. It was only fun shooting with a POS little launcher the range had. Nothing serious.
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Old 02-19-2013, 10:43   #16
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I learned to shoot skeet on and older Remington 870. It had a 28" barrel though. You can do just fine with a pump, but I use a Browning Citori now.
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Old 02-19-2013, 21:08   #17
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I learned to shoot skeet on and older Remington 870. It had a 28" barrel though. You can do just fine with a pump, but I use a Browning Citori now.
MAn - I showed up to the range, with a Mossberg 535, all camo for the woods. I was cold and smoked some dude with an antique Browning and clothes that cost more than my gun.

It's the shooter, not the iron.

Get the cheapest 870/500 you can find. A pump will be fine for trap. I'd recommend an auto for Skeet. No fun with a pump. It CAN be done - but it takes a LOT of skills. Not for beginners. Not even some experts.
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Old 02-19-2013, 21:10   #18
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It is not the barrel length that matters that much in shotguns but the choke. Remington started bringing out 21" barrel shotguns back in the 1970's. If you ever loaded shotshells you will find that you use medium to slow pistol powder and a 18" barrel handgun would be considered long. I thing your barrel on your 590 is 20".

The problem with finding a 28" sporter for your Mossberg 590 is the magazine tube is longer than standard 5 shot model. You could change out the tube but finding a tube and going through all that is probably not worth the effort. I have seen such a barrel but don't if it is still available

Again it is the choke. Your 590 is straight cylinder bore. No choke at all so you would have a very open pattern that clay bird could survive not being hit.

BTW, I sent my 590 and my 500 18" rifle sighted barrels out and had them threaded for screw in chokes. I never got around to taking them out to pattern to see what the results are but should.

At our five station sporting clay I have used a 20 gauge with 20" barrel. I just stayed away from the long teal shot. I use modified choke in it.
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Old 02-20-2013, 09:09   #19
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Shot skeet for many years in the Military with a Mossy 500 pump. 26" is the prefered lenght. A pump is not the best for skeet almost all the really good shooters used O/U or semi-auto's . An 18" barrel is just another disadvantage- shorter site radius. You could do it maybe even become good at it, it will be just more of a challenge. If your thinking a fixed cylinder bore forget it! You must have atleast a mod choke- skeet choke preferable! Now all I have are semi-auto's an O/U's for shotguns -wish I would have had them back then for skeet!
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Old 02-20-2013, 15:45   #20
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I know a lot here hate on me for saying this but here a goes.


OP, the 18.5 inch for skeet is fine, as long as you do your part. I notice little difference between my 500 on the 18 vs the 28. Also, testing the reach theory out with birdshot vs a 28 inch barrel with a modified choke, we tested on self pull, and saw how far I could connect with clays...... It turned out to be about just as far as the other shooter that had a modified choke in his gun.

Does the 28 inch barrel give you an advantage in shooting skeet? Perhaps, but I'd like to up my proficiency with my HD gun on tiny 4 inch clay discs flying through the air, so if god forbid I ever have to use it in an HD situation, that big torso going a fraction of the speed of the disc will seem a little easier to hit (in theory).

To each their own, you'd be surprised at what scores you can make with an 18 inch, and you may be amused by the people you'll upset when you do outshoot their 1-2k gamer shotguns in a friendly match.
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