Question: When buying a new sporting clays O/U shotgun, what are the most important factors to cover before buying?
As a dealer, importer and gunfitter, I often get asked “What gun should I buy?”. I usually respond with “it depends”. Below are the five criteria that I normally review with my clients. I don’t use these variables as a checklist necessarily, but I ask my cleints questions around these five areas in order to determine the best solution for their individual needs and wants. As you consider a new gun, you might want to have these answers ready when you come face-to-face with a dealer.
Utility – What do you plan on shooting with this new gun? Are you going to shoot clays or bird? If you are going to shoot mostly bird, what species of bird, where and under what conditions.
Budget – I usually try to understand the general budget range of the client. My advice, buy the best quality gun you can afford.
Fit – Spending a lot of money on the purchase of a gun, only to find out afterwards that the gun does not fit, can be a heartbreaking experience. In many cases, the sales person selling a shotgun is not a gun fitter and, therefor, has no idea if the gun fits you or not.
“Pointability” – How does the gun feel? How does it move for you? Handle many guns before making a buying decision. If possible, shoot as many as possible. If you ask nicely, most shooters at a sporting clays course are more than happy to let you shoot their gun at a few targets.
Aesthetics – Some gun buyers care more about functionality (that’s me). While to many shooters, the look of the gun is just as important.
Good luck in purchasing your new gun!