The easiest way to complete a job successfully is to be sure you use the right tool. There are literally thousands of different tools out there in the world, but you certainly don’t want to try and hammer in a nail with a pair of pliers. Although, in an act of desperation, I have at times done exactly this instead of just taking a moment to find the actual hammer. It can be done but it ain’t pretty or even particularly functional. The exact same thing can be said about guns and whether you need more than one shotgun.
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When I have new students come to me for a lesson, they are excited and ready to head straight to their favorite sporting goods stores to make purchases. There has been more than one slightly frantic phone call within a day or two of a lesson begging for help or even a blessing on a particular selection. Normally, I spend the next few minutes talking them down and telling them to back out of the stores immediately and get back in their cars.
This isn’t because I don’t want them to experience the full satisfaction of gun ownership and being able to go to the course or the field when they want with their own shotgun. It’s because they just aren’t ready yet. They need to decide on the way in which they will use their shotguns and if it will be used for multiple disciplines. Unfortunately, I have had several students excitedly come to me with their new purchases and not realize that a tactical gun is just not the right fit for the clay course. It’s actually only really good for its intended purpose: Defense.
Let’s dive in a little deeper to the differences and applications of some of the more popular models. The two main classes are sporting guns and field guns. Sporting guns are designed more for the clay disciplines. They tend to be heavier, have more visible rib and longer barrels. Is it possible to utilize your sporter in the hunt field? Sure. My Syren Tempio Sporting 20ga is my go-to gun for just about anything on the clay field and sometimes in the hunt field. The Tempio Sporting is designed to be a bit heavier and that’s totally by design.
On the clay course, we are shooting at least 50 rounds, but more than likely a full 100+ rounds. That’s a lot of repetitive recoil going to your shoulder, even though the Tempio is softer than most sporters. The best way to mitigate recoil in a “cracking” or break-action gun is to make the gun physically a little heavier. The recoil will be absorbed through the sheer mass of the gun itself and save on the shoulder.
I mentioned that I take this gun into the hunt field, sometimes. If I am on an upland hunt for the usual preserve mix – quail, chukar and a few pheasants – then, I am absolutely taking it. Allow me to reveal that at almost six feet tall and 200 pounds, I am quite capable of handling the weight of this gun as I spend walking for hours on a hunt. I will also grab it in an instant for a driven English-simulated pheasant shoot! No big deal walking from peg to peg through the rotations.
Now, would I ever take this shotgun to the duck blind? Absolutely not! This is where you need a semi-automatic capable of handling those 3” shells with #4 shot or bigger. You also don’t want to take a fine shotgun with beautiful engraving and gorgeous Turkish walnut into a spot where it may need to double as a boat paddle. The third shell and fast reloading will also come quite handy when the ducks or geese start coming in hot and heavy. The action in a semi-automatic is either inertia or gas driven. I am not a big fan of the inertia systems as they require heavier shells and the shooter can usually feel the “second thump” from the gun cycling. The Syren XLR5 Waterfowler is fabulous as it comes barely over seven pounds and has a phenomenal gas operating system. The XLR5 Pulse Piston system bleeds off the pressure while the gun cycles minimizing recoil.
While we are on semi-automatics, the Syren L4S is a great gun for those that see themselves mostly crushing clay pigeons. The soft shooting action and lighter weight (just under seven pounds) make it fabulous for running a full 100 rounds without feeling beat up at the end of the day. It can also masterfully serve the shooter in the dove field! This is one of my favorite go-to guns for just this application. Dove only need the lightest of target loads. The L4S is engineered to allow the shooter to run lighter shells, meaning even less recoil!
For those times that I can slip away into the woods and go after woodcock, the Syren Tempio Light is just perfect. The Tempio Light is a true field gun coming in at only five pounds, 10 ounces. It offers a quick mount, and since it’s super lightweight ,it is easy to pull along with me through the thick brush and heavy drudging in woodcock and grouse habitat for an entire day. Now, have I used the Tempio Light on the clay course? Certainly. I just make certain that I shoot a light shell, such as a ¾-ounce, 20gauge, which is basically a 28-gauge load in a 20-gauge body.
So, does this mean that you need to buy one of each? Not exactly. Although, if you can, totally do it and never look back! But that’s not realistic for the majority of women out there trying to fill the gap in the gun safe. There are factors that you should consider.
All of these questions should be taken into consideration, along with what it will take to make your gun work well for you. There is truly no greater feeling than the perfect marriage of shoulder, cheek and shotgun to give you that amazing sight picture beyond the barrel. Also, be sure to check a previous post regarding the importance of a proper gun fit.
For those that love to shoot clays and find themselves in the hunt field a fair number of times throughout the year – be it for dove, duck, goose, rabbit, upland, or woodland – the Syren Elos D2 is a wonderful hybrid. There is a reason that this gun is incredibly popular with women across all different disciplines. The Elos D2 offers a great mid-weight, making it easy to carry in the hunt field but heavy enough to competently crush a full round at the clay course.
There are a number of variables that go into selecting a shotgun that will fit the bill, so to speak. Take time to think about how you will use your gun. Then get out to a demo day or find a rep that can offer the opportunity to “try before you buy” and you will easily have your answer. At the end of the day, you need to shoot what feels good to you and will serve you the absolute best depending upon your application of the gun. Regardless of what you decide to go with right now, remember there will always be room in the safe for one more fantastic firearm.
Visit Syren for more information about its fine line of shotguns designed for women.
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