Some proven claybusters to be considering
The first thing to consider when buying a first clay gun
It’s crucial that you buy a gun which fits you. Otherwise your shooting will suffer and you might as well not be out on the clay ground.
If you’re buying your gun at a gunsmith’s they will check it for gun fit. The easiest way to check is to mount the shotgun to your dominant eye in front of a mirror. Close your other eye and see where your dominant eye is looking. If the gun doesn’t fit when mounted your dominant eye won’t be looking straight down the rib. (In addition, you can get injured if your gun doesn’t fit probably, with bruising under your cheek, jaw, shoulder and forearm.)
Options to think about
Here’s what our reviewers suggest for a first clay gun with prices that will suit a relatively modest wallet.
A well-made and reliable option for a first clay gun if you want to buy second-hand. Don’t go for very old guns from the early 1980s, because they are mechanically different to later models. Remember that with all second-hand guns condition is more important than age. You should be able to get a Lanber Sporter from around £450 and if you’re left-handed there are a few guns around with left-handed woodwork.
Overall this gun represents good value for money and it definitely will prove popular among those who are new to clayshooting or game shooters looking for an additional gun for some clay shooting. Second-hand you can expect to pay around £495.
Don’t let the word diamond put you off. The name might suggest a top price but this is very much an entry-level clayshooting gun. It’s good looking with some smart engraving. The weight is just about right for a Sporter, and it could be used for occasional game, pigeon and wildfowling trips. £825 from McAvoy Guns
A competition gun that offers excellent value. Use a light clay-busting load and it will absorb any recoil, making it a very comfortable gun to shoot. Our reviewer commented that “it was very suited to competitive shooting”. Turkish guns are becoming increasingly popular these days and with good reason. From £699 second-hand.
You can pick up a second-hand one of these from around £250. Go for a new version and you can expect to pay around £376. Rugged and reliable and good for a fun clay session.
Described as “a clay shooter’s dream” in terms of build quality, handling and price by Sporting Gun when the magazine reviewed it last year. At the time the RRP was £500. One of the best value for money models on the market, it stands out from the crowd.
A bit pricier – look out for these clay guns below on the second-hand market
Sporting Gun tested this gun in 2014 when the price was £1,900. The average on the second-hand market today is around £1,350 and it’s good value.
There are several grades available, and a Grade 1 is around £1000.
Want a clay-shooting gun that’s a bit out of the ordinary – then consider this one. Our reviewer said it was ‘well-made and finished’. The design and workmanship are sound and the gun is quite elegant.
Understand the jargon heard on the clay shooting ground with Mark Russell's tips for shooting beginners
What do our readers recommend as a first clay gun?
We asked our Facebook followers for some tips for a first clay gun and here is what they said:
George William Pursley “Something that fits you and that you like. Go to the club and try a few out.”