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Thread: O/U Shotguns.

  1. #1
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    O/U Shotguns.

    I have decided to retake up clay pigeon shooting again and now that I am back in Blighty I intend to start looking for a reasonably good O/U shotgun.

    I have a Miroku 7000sp tucked away in the cabinet and it has actually fired less than a thousand cartridges but I fancy something a bit better. In my old shooting days, the Browning B25 was one of the holy grails and were hand made to order in Belgium. The quality and finish of the B25 is right up at the top. Everything is hand finished and silky smooth, a bit like the old Leica M series cameras.

    However most of them are 28" barrels with fixed chokes and are thus considered a bit dated compared to modern shotguns that have longer barrels with multi chokes and stocks with adjustable Combes etc.

    So the choice is do I go for what could be akin to a vintage Rolex or for a more modern version of lesser build quality but more in line with modern trends.

    My gut reaction is to go for the B25 but am willing to hear experienced shooters pass any comments on what they think of them.

  2. #2
    Master Sinnlover's Avatar
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    I am a firm believer in finding one that fits, has the right length of pull, is the right weight and barrel length for you. Regardless of name / maker / cost.

    Itís like a suit. A cheaper better fitting suit is more suitable and will look better then spending a fortune on a badly fitting but more expensive equivalent with a fancy name on it. Get one that feels right and fits over the name and prestige. The adjustable bits help but they are tweaking the fundamentals, if you donít have the basics the fancy bits wonít help. Spending a fortune on the latest most modern gun is pointless if you canít hit with it.

    If I were looking for a replacement gun a Miroku would be top of my list. (Itís a Japanese Browning) they are the perfect blend of quality and cost. So try that for a bit and see how you get on.

    I have been fortunate to use some very expensive guns in my time but I shoot no better than when I use my trusty old gun that I have had for years.

    Adjustable chokes are handy for swapping between types of shooting and loads but realistically I have never changed mine.

    Get out and about and try some would be my suggestion.

  3. #3
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    Belgium Browning, roach belly stock is a thing of beauty, Beretta equivalent would be the SO5 but most are 30in max.You dont say what you want to spend but the most important thing of course is get the gun you can shoot the best.I am in the German camp.

  4. #4
    Master Harry Smith's Avatar
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    I'm a Benelli fan as I've got a M2 Section 1 semi auto.
    My friend has asked me to go do a bit of clay shooting but as the M2 is unsuitable for clays due to it's long mag tube I have removed the tube and fitted a short spring and end cap to make it 3 shot when required.
    Anyway, If I was to go back to regular clay shooting I would be looking at the Benelli 828U O/U as it just looks amazing, especially the Silver and Sport models.

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the replies but what I really would like to know is your opinion (if any) on buying a B25 for shooting sporting clays.

  6. #6
    Grand Master oldoakknives's Avatar
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    B25s are obviously a well tried and tested design. They have their fans as well as those who arenít so keen on them. If you want one then get one, or youíll always regret it.
    Any shotgun will shoot clays, and a B25 will perform well in the right hands.
    Remember George Digweeed could probably shoot better with a Baikal than most people could with a Perazzi.
    Best thing is to go look at one and see how it feels when you pick it up.
    Started out with nothing. Still have most of it left.

  7. #7
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    I've had loads of O/U shotguns over they years from pretty high end German guns to the more common Italian and American stuff. I had a bit of an epiphany a few years ago where I bought a Miroku Mk38 Sporter as a base gun and had a stock made by Manuel Ricardo in Portugal. I did it remotely as it was during Covid with lots of videos and measurements and some of Manuel's witchcraft and a few weeks later a custom stock arrived in the post. I now have the perfect clay tool that looks really nice, fits me perfectly, is reliable and serviceable and is personal to me for the cost of a mid-range Beretta sporter. I wouldn't never go back to an off the shelf gun again.

  8. #8
    Back in the 80s when I was claying I had an old English side by side with which I won a few comps, light and lovely.

  9. #9
    Grand Master jwg663's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt M View Post
    ...and had a stock made by Manuel Ricardo in Portugal...
    I've absolutely no interest in shotguns/shooting but https://manuelricardo.pt/ is a lovely way to spend a few minutes.
    ______

    ​Jim.

  10. #10
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    Depending on what your preferences are I would look for a b25 trap gun and have the stock modified.


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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by aa388 View Post
    Depending on what your preferences are I would look for a b25 trap gun and have the stock modified.


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    The B25s are made perfectly for balance etc so would a local stock repairer damage the overall quality?

  12. #12
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    Not if you get a good one that knows what they are doing. Being a B25 you will probably be able to get a sporting stock from browning at the same quality of wood as the original and just swap them over, itís just a bolt through the centre of the stock.


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  13. #13
    It all depends on what your aspirations are, combined with your budget.

    Are you shooting sporting clays? Skeet? Trap? Game? FITASC?

    Personally (and I am associated with the brand) I would consider some of the Rizzini range of shotguns. I personally use a Rizzini S2000, with a custom stock from Italy. Predominantly shoot sporting clays and game, with some FITASC and an odd dabble in skeet/trap.





    Whatever you get, don't settle for the off the shelf measurements. Get a proper gunfit done, and possibly a custom stock. I've seen MR remote fitting stocks and they're really very good.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by aa388 View Post
    Not if you get a good one that knows what they are doing. Being a B25 you will probably be able to get a sporting stock from browning at the same quality of wood as the original and just swap them over, itís just a bolt through the centre of the stock.


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    Thanks, I did not know that.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug86 View Post
    It all depends on what your aspirations are, combined with your budget.

    Are you shooting sporting clays? Skeet? Trap? Game? FITASC?

    Personally (and I am associated with the brand) I would consider some of the Rizzini range of shotguns. I personally use a Rizzini S2000, with a custom stock from Italy. Predominantly shoot sporting clays and game, with some FITASC and an odd dabble in skeet/trap.





    Whatever you get, don't settle for the off the shelf measurements. Get a proper gunfit done, and possibly a custom stock. I've seen MR remote fitting stocks and they're really very good.

    The average price for a new bespoke B25 B2G sporting is around £21k with a 21 month wait. I am 73, well almost 74, so waiting for two years does not appeal. Changing the stock could well be the answer.

    My fantasy is for the other guns to see this old man hobble up and blast away and hit 100% with a gun from the 1970s and then walk away and say nothing. So the gun has got to fit spot on.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mick P View Post
    The average price for a new bespoke B25 B2G sporting is around £21k with a 21 month wait. I am 73, well almost 74, so waiting for two years does not appeal. Changing the stock could well be the answer.

    My fantasy is for the other guns to see this old man hobble up and blast away and hit 100% with a gun from the 1970s and then walk away and say nothing. So the gun has got to fit spot on.
    The fit is the key, whatever the brand or config.

    As a teenager, all I could afford was a Baikal, but purely by accident it fitted me well, and I used to Ďwiní our clay shoot most weekends.

    Perhaps it was youth involved as well, but I had more expensive guns in later life and they (or I) sucked as they didnít fit me.

    I did use to admire the Browningís and Berettaís others had at the shoot though, lovely things!

  17. #17
    Grand Master Andyg's Avatar
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    I had the good fortune to try many guns over the years including Holland and Holland and Purdey, and the best I found (well the one that suited me best was a old Winchester 101.

    Not as fancy as others, didnít have the gold bits a pieces, etc, but was by far the best.

    Buy the one that suits you best and forget about the bling.

    Whoever does not know how to hit the nail on the head should be asked not to hit it at all.
    Friedrich Nietzsche


  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andyg View Post
    I had the good fortune to try many guns over the years including Holland and Holland and Purdey, and the best I found (well the one that suited me best was a old Winchester 101.

    Not as fancy as others, didnít have the gold bits a pieces, etc, but was by far the best.

    Buy the one that suits you best and forget about the bling.
    To be fair, the B25s can hardly be described as bling, by todays standards they are very nondescript.

  19. #19
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    Was out in Portugal in june for the Manuel Ricardo experience, a brilliant thing.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by MCFastybloke View Post
    Was out in Portugal in june for the Manuel Ricardo experience, a brilliant thing.
    How does the new stock match the fore piece?

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mick P View Post
    How does the new stock match the fore piece?
    I had that custom made to better suit my hand size and they matched the timber from stock.



  22. #22
    I had a B25 - an A1 custom side plate, 30Ē barrels multi choke; three piece fore end Ö best gun Iíve ever owned, stupidly sold it when I thought I was giving up. Perfectly suited to clays (assuming by clays you mean English sporting).

    Now have a Blaser F3 - well worth considering as an alternative if you canít find a suitable B25.

    One consideration on the B25 may be whether it is proofed for steel shot? Mine dated from 1977 but cannot recall whether it was or not.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by tertius View Post
    I had a B25 - an A1 custom side plate, 30Ē barrels multi choke; three piece fore end Ö best gun Iíve ever owned, stupidly sold it when I thought I was giving up. Perfectly suited to clays (assuming by clays you mean English sporting).

    Now have a Blaser F3 - well worth considering as an alternative if you canít find a suitable B25.

    One consideration on the B25 may be whether it is proofed for steel shot? Mine dated from 1977 but cannot recall whether it was or not.
    They will take standard steel shot if they hold nitro proof and are choked at half or less.

  24. #24
    Grand Master oldoakknives's Avatar
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    Was looking for something else and saw this. Nice looking package.
    https://www.southamsauction.co.uk/au...pp=96&pn=9&g=1

    or

    https://www.southamsauction.co.uk/au...pp=96&pn=9&g=1
    Last edited by oldoakknives; 28th November 2022 at 00:13.
    Started out with nothing. Still have most of it left.

  25. #25
    Journeyman Longwool's Avatar
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    Have a look at the Browning B15 collection. Hand finished in Belgium. I just picked up a nice Grade C B15, a thing of real beauty and it shoots well too

    https://johnmbrowningcollection.com/...om-hf-b15.html


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  26. #26
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    Personally, I am not keen on Browning. They always feel a bit too wide.

    I am a game shooter that also enjoys clays and struggle with gun decisions a lot.
    Currently, I shoot everything with my game gun, which is a side by side. It's a Beretta Parallelo (486). It's short by modern clay standards, just 28", but is light and swings quickly. I won my class in a comp on Sunday, so I do not think the gun really holds me back for most sporting setups. My point being, you dont perhaps need to go longer, just because it's trendy.

    I do have other guns, including a Silver Pigeon, but just always grab this as it feels great.
    For Christmas, I am treating myself to a Beretta 694. Which is a full on Sporter. I am going to get the 31", but its offered in 30,31 & 32 and hope it works ok for me. I was going to go for the 30, so that I wasn't jumping too long. But at 6ft tall and quite large, the advice seems to be to go bigger. Guessing it will take a bit of getting used to after a small light gun.

    My plan is to keep the side by side for game days and use the 694 for clays. https://www.beretta.com/en-gb/product/694-P0040



  27. #27
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    I went into a gun shop yesterday and after a bit of sales patter I was told that my Miroku was a very good gun, it was made in the 1980s which meant the barrels are chopper lump, it is multi choked and the fit is also good.

    Therefore after all that, I shall now hold on to the Miroku.

  28. #28
    Master Sinnlover's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mick P View Post
    I went into a gun shop yesterday and after a bit of sales patter I was told that my Miroku was a very good gun, it was made in the 1980s which meant the barrels are chopper lump, it is multi choked and the fit is also good.

    Therefore after all that, I shall now hold on to the Miroku.
    This is the sensible decision, I would do the same.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sinnlover View Post
    This is the sensible decision, I would do the same.
    Yes I am very boring and even more sensible and I usually do the right thing.

    Therefore I continue to be a Miroku man.

  30. #30
    Master
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    As a slight aside, if anyone is looking their wood refinished, this guy is excellent (no affiliation)

    https://www.facebook.com/SlipperyDicksGunWax

  31. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by Mick P View Post
    Yes I am very boring and even more sensible and I usually do the right thing.

    Therefore I continue to be a Miroku man.
    But, but you could have been getting yourself a new (to you) B25 Ö seems like you arenít thinking this through Ö 😇

    A very quick look on gun trader suggests there are plenty of used B25s with 30Ē barrels available. Many of those m/c as well.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by tertius View Post
    But, but you could have been getting yourself a new (to you) B25 Ö seems like you arenít thinking this through Ö 

    A very quick look on gun trader suggests there are plenty of used B25s with 30Ē barrels available. Many of those m/c as well.
    There are dozens upon dozens of them up for sale but that was not the issue. What I did not know (and still really don't) is are they up to scratch in the modern world. The dealer who talked me out of it suggested it was like comparing an old revered MK11 Jag which was brilliant in it's day will a modern car.

    When he told me that my Miroku was the better gun, that was it, problem solved.

  33. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by Mick P View Post
    There are dozens upon dozens of them up for sale but that was not the issue. What I did not know (and still really don't) is are they up to scratch in the modern world. The dealer who talked me out of it suggested it was like comparing an old revered MK11 Jag which was brilliant in it's day will a modern car.

    When he told me that my Miroku was the better gun, that was it, problem solved.
    Hmm canít really agree with that - it may be the better gun for you but that is a different question. Having owned and shot a B25 for several years (and incidentally also owned a Miroku) there is no way I would take a Miroku over a B25.

    A shotgun is a pretty simple machine - if it fits and has the features you want (e.g. barrel length, chokes, steel proofed, etc.) then itís not going to be any better or worse in a properly objective way.

    Iíd certainly gladly buy my B25 back if I could find it!

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by tertius View Post
    Hmm canít really agree with that - it may be the better gun for you but that is a different question. Having owned and shot a B25 for several years (and incidentally also owned a Miroku) there is no way I would take a Miroku over a B25.

    A shotgun is a pretty simple machine - if it fits and has the features you want (e.g. barrel length, chokes, steel proofed, etc.) then itís not going to be any better or worse in a properly objective way.

    Iíd certainly gladly buy my B25 back if I could find it!
    In my early days the B25 was the grail gun to own, it was a simple but brilliant gun hand made to the highest standards and that is why I considered getting one.

    The question I asked was "why should I not buy a B25" and to be honest no one really answered it until I spoke to the gun dealer yesterday.

    I will start shooting again with the Miroku but I still may well buy a B25 just for the sheer hell of it. However at coming up to 74 I am aware that I should be disposing of assets rather than buying them.

    I already own 5 shotguns and that's probably why I haven't dived in this time.

  35. #35
    What about a Longthorne?

    I think if I were in the market for a handmade gun, I'd rather spend my money in the UK.

    https://www.longthorneguns.com/

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mick P View Post
    There are dozens upon dozens of them up for sale but that was not the issue. What I did not know (and still really don't) is are they up to scratch in the modern world. The dealer who talked me out of it suggested it was like comparing an old revered MK11 Jag which was brilliant in it's day will a modern car.

    When he told me that my Miroku was the better gun, that was it, problem solved.

    As has been said a shotgun is just a basic tube with a bit of constriction at the end and that will never change, fashion over the years has dictated barrel length.

    Going back to B25, they are like the SO series from Beretta hand made but do wear out so if you get one eventually like all guns will get slack. I look at the B25 as default, the 525 series guns as machine made and also good, then Miroku in that order.

    Hand made usually give better action and trigger pull, Browning have a mechanical linkage that swaps barrels after you fire the first shot where beretta has a system thatís reliant on recoil to flip over the mechanism to fire the second barrel.

    If you want to be different get a 20 bore and learn how to upset people when you hit things they cant.


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  37. #37

    Red face

    Guys, I live in South Bucks and am planning to take up clay shooting and maybe other disciplines too. Iíll find a local shooting school of course, but at what stage can I apply for a shotgun license so I can buy my own gun? What is the usual process?

    Many thanks

  38. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by The Hack View Post
    Guys, I live in South Bucks and am planning to take up clay shooting and maybe other disciplines too. Iíll find a local shooting school of course, but at what stage can I apply for a shotgun license so I can buy my own gun? What is the usual process?

    Many thanks
    You can apply whenever you want, but it probably makes sense to wait until youíve been a few times to be sure you want to keep it up. If you go to a school/ground for a lesson they will supply a gun and youíll be accompanied by an instructor - you donít need your own certificate as long as you are with a SGC holder.

    Be aware most forces are taking a long time to issue new certs at the moment.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by tertius View Post
    What about a Longthorne?

    I think if I were in the market for a handmade gun, I'd rather spend my money in the UK.

    https://www.longthorneguns.com/
    These guns are made of titanium and should last a hundred years. They also cost a small fortune and at 73 years of age, it all seems a waste of money.

  40. #40
    Quote Originally Posted by Mick P View Post
    These guns are made of titanium and should last a hundred years. They also cost a small fortune and at 73 years of age, it all seems a waste of money.
    Well they will certainly last a long time but to be fair that is true of pretty much any shotgun.

    As for price I got their price list a while back and they certainly start at comfortably less than the figures you were quoting for a new B25 B2G.

    Like most of these things the sky is the limit of course.

  41. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by Mick P View Post
    The question I asked was "why should I not buy a B25" and to be honest no one really answered it until I spoke to the gun dealer yesterday.
    It's personal taste really but I can think of a few reasons why I would be reluctant to buy a B25. First, there are a zillion variants at every price point from £500 to £50k, which B25 are we talking about? Some might suit you, some probably won't. Second, they're handmade which might have some value if that kind of thing is important to you but handmade guns usually require handmade repairs, which makes them difficult and expensive if they need work done. Thirdly, I can't think of a price point at which a B25 is the best thing I could buy for the money. At a grand, your Miroku will probably be a better gun. At 3 grand, a Baretta 694 would probably be top of my list. At 6 grand, I'd be looking at a Blaser F3 or Beretta DT11. Above that, it's no longer about the tool and more about the intangible worth of history/artistry/whatever. But if a B25 happens to float your boat, it will certainly be capable of holding its own on any shoot.

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Groundrush View Post
    It's personal taste really but I can think of a few reasons why I would be reluctant to buy a B25. First, there are a zillion variants at every price point from £500 to £50k, which B25 are we talking about? Some might suit you, some probably won't. Second, they're handmade which might have some value if that kind of thing is important to you but handmade guns usually require handmade repairs, which makes them difficult and expensive if they need work done. Thirdly, I can't think of a price point at which a B25 is the best thing I could buy for the money. At a grand, your Miroku will probably be a better gun. At 3 grand, a Baretta 694 would probably be top of my list. At 6 grand, I'd be looking at a Blaser F3 or Beretta DT11. Above that, it's no longer about the tool and more about the intangible worth of history/artistry/whatever. But if a B25 happens to float your boat, it will certainly be capable of holding its own on any shoot.
    The facts are simple, buying a new gun, be it a B25, Longhorn, Beretta or whatever, will take a minimum for 12 months and cost top dollar. At 73 I don't wan't to wait too long.

    Buying a second hand gun is instant and less costly.

    In my case I have been advised that the gun I already have is more than good enough.

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