Thursday, August 13, 2015

Shooting trap with my Beretta A400 Xcel Sporting Shotgun

Shot my A400 in trap for the first time.

Four rounds of practice, modified choke.  Two boxes of 1oz. Fiocchi's, a box of Rio's, and a box of Noble Sport.  In the neighborhood of 1200 fps loads and no failures to feed or fire.

This was the test to see if I was going to need too install an adjustable comb.

Other then shooting over several targets seems to be right on the money. Adjustable comb not needed. A lighter gun then the 1100 I've been shooting and going to get some getting use to, but so far a happy camper.

No sore shoulder nor bruised face. 

I was very satisfied with the hits I was getting with the Beretta Modified choke

The T&S Shell Catcher worked like a charm.  Unlike the shell catcher for the 1100 , the one made for the Beretta doesn't slide during the round.  A nipple on the shell catcher and a small indent on the A400 makes it so. Just line them up, slap in place and your ready to go.   Covered in a plastic material so no marring the surface.

If you change out the A400 bolt handle for the larger Briley one the shell catcher won't fit.  You will have to change the bolt handle back to the original when you want to use the catcher.

Cleaning the Beretta is something else.  A simple wipe down and a touch of oil and your set to go (some areas your not to oil). 

Your suppose to be able to go 2000 rounds between cleanings. Google "cleaning a Beretta A400", as several excellent YouTube videos posted. 

Back from the club and my wife's 1100 is broken down and covered in Breakfree.  I usually let it sit for a few hours and then a wipe down and reassemble.   Nice to not have to go through that with the Beretta.

My wife took a two shots with the A400. She was able to comfortable look down the barrel and broke the two targets she shot at.  She commented it was lighter then her 1100.  The stock was a little long. Don't know if a thinner pad would do the trick or wood would have to be removed.  Something you need to think about if you get the Beretta KO recoil reducer, as wood cannot be removed.  Aftermarket would be the way to go if you need a reducer and a shorter stock.

I wasn't planning on shooting registered trap with it until I put a few cases of shells through it, but a shoot this Sunday and that will be the gun I'm shooting.

Monday, August 10, 2015

August Trap Shoot @ Kayaderosseras

It's been a few years since last attending a shoot at the Kayaderosseras Fish & Game Club, Ballston Spa, New York.  The club is ten minutes from the Saratoga horse track, near the county airport.  We came down to shoot the singles.  They were also offering handicap and doubles.

A two field club that hold several target only shoots each year.  They charged $22 for 100 registered targets.  Had to ask twice on the cost, as not used to shooting at such a low price for registered targets.

No messing around on shoot start time. They can never be sure on how many will be in attendance and as the trains in Germany, when they say 9am, they mean 9am.  Can't find a shooter, start without!

Shoot 50 on one field and the second 50 on the other. 

The background seemed in better shape then I remember, but maybe just that time of year.

I almost ended up doing dishes for a week, but a 25 in the last round allowed me to beat the wife by one target.


As at almost all the clubs we visit a friendly bunch running the shoot. Seasoned vets keeping score and if anything out of the ordinary happens on the field, they most likely been there, done that!


No problems with voice release or the machines/targets!

Saturday, August 08, 2015

Saturday Sporting Clays @ NEK (Vermont)

On Saturday shooters got together to shoot the targets thrown at the Vermont State Sporting Clays Championships at Northeast Kingdom Skeet & Sporting Clays, Burke, Vermont the previous weekend.

It was nice to get the opportunity to shoot the target presentations thrown at the state shoot as I was unable to attend as at a wedding in Maine.

Five of us drove over from New York.


The club has retired it's hand traps. All trap machines are battery operated.

Targets were hittable with IC, but having a LM choke in your shoot bag is advisable, as the safe choice on several targets.

All in all a good day!

Shooting the Beretta A400 XCEL

Long story short. I'd purchased a new Remington 1100, but a big disappointment (do own several), sent it back and purchased my first Beretta!

I picked up a Beretta A400 XCEL on Friday and on Saturday broke it in at NEK Sporting Clays (Vermont). 

The gun seemed to fit right out of the box and was anxious to shoot it.

30" inch barrel without the Beretta Kick-Off recoil reducing system.

I shied away from the kick-off system, as the only way to shorten the stock is by purchasing a thinner pad (no cutting down the stock). I was told you also couldn't install an adjustable comb with the Beretta kick-off system installed.   Both options doable with third party installations.

The owners manual recommends first shots be fired with 1 1/8 ounce shells. 

I shot a box of Challenger shells and then finished the outing with 1oz Fiocchi loads.

Recoil with both brands of shells was mild and not anymore noticeable then the 1100's I've been shooting.  No sore shoulder, nor a sore cheek and no need for a recoil reduction system and it seems a gun fitting.

Didn't have any failures to feed or fire.

The gun comes with three chokes.  IC, Mod, and Improved Modified.  I've ordered two additional chokes, Light Mod and Full and should receive them this week.  I shot the course with IC choke but at times wishing I had my Light Mod choke, as some of the longer hits were a little on the thin side.  Yes, could of thrown in the Mod, but didn't.

The gun felt good in my hands and well balanced.  A different swing then the 1100 (to be expected) and will take getting use to. 

Shell loading is different then the 1100, but after several false starts never gave it a second thought by the end of the outing.

I also plan on shooting the gun in trap, but have to wait until the T&S shell catcher I ordered arrives.

I shoot trap with a flat shooting gun and as with my 1100, plan on shooting skeet, trap, and sporting clays with it.

I may opt to have an adjustable comb installed but will have to see how it handles on the trap range.

See you at the range!

Thursday, August 06, 2015

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Remington let me down. Hello, Beretta!

We've had Remington 1100's kicking around the house going back to the early 70's.  A couple of 1100's are getting to the point where there pretty much shot out and time for a replacement.

I purchased a new Model 1100™ Sporting Series shotgun with the 28 inch Lt. Contour Vent Rib barrel.

Out of the box I see a noticeable spot on the forearm. I call Remington and they said they would send me a replacement forearm at no cost.

I receive the second forearm and it has the same spot.

I call Remington and eventually I'm told that's just the way it is.  It turns out that's where a metal pin is placed in the forearm, but in the finish process their not hiding the wood fill. As far as Remington support was concerned this was acceptable. How, having a noticeable spot on the forearm fresh out of the factory is acceptable is beyond me.

Second problem.  The shotgun with a regular Remington 1100 trap barrel installed would not fire.  A second Remington barrel would also not fire.  I purchased the shotgun to use for sporting clays, but I wanted to be able to shoot trap with it.  A huge disappointment!

 * With the sporting model you have to replace the forearm to fit a non-contour barrel.

I pulled this off the Remington website: All Model 1100 barrels are interchangeable within gauge with the exception of 20 gauge guns built prior to 1977.

Guess not!

Remington support could not tell me why barrels weren't interchangeable.  They suggested I purchase a 30 inch Lt. Contour Trap barrel.  Even if I wanted to go that route, none to be had and no time line when Remington would have any available.

To make a long story short, the Remington 1100 is no more.

I see a Beretta A400 Xcel in my future. 

I confirmed the T&S Industries Shell Catcher for the Excel works as advertised.  It will allow for use in trap.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Future Democrat Voters Rejected by Manhattan Judge

Chimps are not people after all, a Manhattan judge has decided.

Thursday’s decision means that a pair of 8-year-old chimpanzees living in a research lab at Stony Brook University are not being unlawfully detained, as argued by the Nonhuman Rights Project, the now-losing side of the bizarre case.

The Nonhuman Rights Project’s leader, Steven Wise, had argued that denying Hercules and Leon basic legal rights was to deploy the same prejudices that categorized slaves and Native Americans classified as less than human.

The chimps may be suffering a fate “even worse than imprisoning human beings” because they are autonomous and self-conscious, but “don’t even know why they’re there” in cages, Wise argued in May.

In her decision, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Barbara Jaffee noted that Wise had raised “important questions.”

But at least legally, chimps are “things,” she wrote. And by law, “Persons have rights, duties, and obligations; things do not.”

“Animals, including chimpanzees and other highly intelligent mammals, are considered as property under the law. They are accorded no legal rights beyond being guaranteed the right to be free from physical abuse and other mistreatment,” Jaffee wrote.

HELP Darryl Montague Gunshot Victim

HELP Darryl Montague Gunshot Victim

gofundme - Donate!

The latest on Darryl Montague in case you haven’t heard........................
“Hello everyone.

I'm honored to have such wonderful support from you. I struggle with the reality and gravity of Darryl's situation. As it is our nature to always focus on the positive, the reality is not so rosy.

Darryl has been bed bound and sedate for a month now, the only the smallest of voluntary movements. Every muscle in his body has atrophied - a fancy term for deterioration from non-use. He has lost 1/3 - 1/2 of his muscle mass. This has left him with no control ov
er his muscles and he will have to relearn everything. Even reflexive movement, such as breathing requires time to rebuild his strength to breathe without the machines. In other words, he is as weak and helpless as a newborn. He needs complete assistance to raise his arm up, to lift his head off the pillow or even roll over to his side. Just as a newborn needs time to grow,
Darryl will need time to regenerate his lost muscle mass and regain his independence. With his level of illness, we are hopeful to believe he will be walking independently by springtime. For now, I give him daily messages to stimulate blood flow through his muscles and move his joints so they don't stiffen and freeze up. Hospital Physical Therapy can not begin (per insurance) until he is awake and completely interactive for three continuous for now, I do it as often as possible.

Our first be alert and able to sit upright in bed before the first kick-off of the Patriots...go Pats!!”

Monday, July 20, 2015

Club Huntingdon Trap Shoot. Yes, a good time!

Hot, muggy, humid..... Did I say humid!

Rolling thunderstorms, heavy rains, and power outages before the start of the shoot.  At 8am the club was thinking they may have to cancel.

Attending a shoot in Florida?  No, a fun trap shoot at Club de Tir Huntingdon just east of Sainte-Barbe, Quebec.  Thirty minutes from the New York border.

A 10am start time and by 9am the power outages had ceased, as well as the rains.  By 10am the grounds were dry and the only sign of the heavy rains was on the access road to the club.

A nice turnout in spite of the early morning rains with eight squads of shooters in attendance.  A member only shoot.  Last year the club honored me with a membership and my wife Heide and I were able to attend.

A four field trap club with a single lane rifle range that wouldn't be in existence if it not for the hard work of a number of people that turned around the club starting in 2013, as the club was on it's last legs and most thought it would be closed.

I'm told taxes had not been paid for two years and the club house, as well as it's machines and the surrounding property were in sad shape.

A group got together and decided to bring the club back from the dead!

The Valleyfield club just down the road had a similar experience approximately 15 years ago, and as the Valleyfield club,  people reached into their own pockets, equipment was borrowed, materials and many hours of  labor donated.

Membership needed to be increased to help pay taxes, as well as insurance. A one lane rifle range was installed. 

File Photo
I'm told this unique rifle range squeezed onto a property that had no room for a rifle range has at a minimum resulted in 100 memberships.  I was told last year when I visited they had to limit memberships because of it's popularity.
In 2014 the club purchased a used PAT trap and this year they purchased a new PAT trap.  Targets thrown has doubled in one year.  The club also has one set of voice release for field two and plan to purchase a second set for the other PAT trap.
Last year, the first fun shoot was held.
The club used two fields for the shoot (50 targets each field) for this 100 target shoot.  Shoot 50 on one field and finish up on the second.  Between 50's (we  had some time) we sat in the vehicle and ran the air conditioner because of the humidity. 
A number of volunteers helped at the shoot and the ladies of the club made sure we all got fed and lent a hand at the desk. 
They opened a third field (Winchester Basket Trap) so a dad could teach his 11 year old child how to shoot trap. I didn't see any problems with the machine or the targets and the young man had a good time.
By the time shoot-offs rolled around the sky's looked threating and sure enough I was caught in a down pour during my shoot-off round.  At one point the gun was slipping in my hands and could barely see the target coming out of the house.  15 minutes later the sun was shining and my clothes were dry within 30 minutes.
Shooters and their spouses were more then friendly and everyone looked to be having a good time, more a social outing then a trap shoot.  But. that's small club shooting at it's best!
The club is having it's first registered trap shoot in more then 25 years on August 16, 2015.  I tried to pin down the last time a registered shoot was held, but the old timers had a hard time putting a year on it.
No traffic to speak of at the border crossing(s) and did have are firearms physically looked at upon entering and departing.  Not a big deal as long as you have your paperwork in order. 
On the way home we stopped at an ice cream shop in Huntingdon.  We both think the soft ice cream in Quebec taste better then what we see in the states.  I think a higher fat content.
I plan on attending the August 16th shoot with both gun and cameras in hand....

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Semi-retired from registered skeet

A number of years back we stopped attending 4-gun skeet shoots.  

Shoot expenses were getting out of hand. Two shooters in the family and costing up to $1000 per shoot (travel, motel, food, & ammunition).  I usually shot the doubles on Friday.

Also, down time at shoots was getting to be a little long in the tooth.  And, the final nail in the coffin was a long time buddy stopped shooting registered and just not the same with him not being at the shoots.

We decided to attend regional two-gun skeet shoots.  Had a number in the region that we could shoot and we always ran into some of the nicest people.  Every once in a while we would drop in on a 4-gun shoot, but only shoot on Saturday if they had openings.

Forward 2015. 

Living in the northern part of New York and no club offering one day skeet shoots unless we want to drive three plus hours. 

Only two skeet shoots were scheduled in the region. One is the Quebec Provincial and the other the Vermont State Championships.  The club in Quebec was offering targets only for several months, but no formal one day shoots in either Vermont or Quebec. Kind of hard to get excited to shoot registered skeet if no shoots are scheduled.

The other day I was asked if I wanted to attend a fun trap shoot this Sunday that was put together on short notice.  I wished it was a skeet shoot, but it seems like little interest in the skeet community to put on shoots (fun or registered).

Maybe 2016 will see a resurgence in registered skeet in the region, but other shoots (sporting clays, trap, and fun shoots) now have a place on the calendar and it will be a hard choice to drop a shoot to attend a skeet shoot, but it might be fun!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Skeet Olympic (International Skeet) Provincials @ L'Acadie

The weather cooperated for the International Skeet shoot held at Club L'Acaide. 

Low gun shooting with up to a three second target delay.  The delay makes for interesting shooting, especially at station 8, but they made it look easy.

The shoot moved along quickly.  I think the addition of more doubles in a round of 25 and less singles that was  implemented a few years back has been a big improvement.  What I did observe is if you didn't get a good jump on the first target on doubles you had a good chance of missing the second target, especially in the middle stations.  The delay can really screw up your timing!

A video from the shoot.

The club is located southeast of Montreal.

Friday, June 26, 2015

5 Stand under construction @ La Roue du Roy

La Roue du Roy, Hemmingford, Quebec

Photos showing  the two story 5-stand being constructed to replace a structure know as the "podium" that was open to the elements and only saw fair weather use.

The club is 15 minutes from the US I-87 border crossing.

Sunday, June 07, 2015

Ilion Sporting Clays Political Victory Fund Fundraiser Shoot

Saturday I attended the 2nd Annual Sporting Clays NYSRPA Political Victory Fund fundraiser at the Ilion Fish & Game Club, Ilion, New York.

Monies raised to help fund the NYSPRA court case against the New York SAFE ACT (gun control in the name of safety).

A long time from my last visit, maybe 20 - 25 years ago to shoot registered skeet doubles.

A good number of donated prizes were up for grab.  The club did it's part by only charging what it cost to purchase the targets.  All shoot monies outside of targets was for the benefit of the Political Victory Fund. In the video those who donated are credited during the awards presentation!

The club is located on the top of a hill.  Skeet and trap fields long have been in place, but with the event of sporting clays, shoot stations have populated the hilltop fields.  An additional warm weather course is sited at the base of the hill in a wooded area that allows for a full 100 target course when needed.

The club has a truck that is used to move people from the clubhouse to the bottom course, and the reverse.

A cool start but the sun finally make it's prescience known and warmed up nicely.

A mix of hand traps and modern machines.

Always tough too shoot video when shooting, as you can't be everywhere, but I think you'll get a good overview of the shoot.  The awards presentations part of the video is limited to class champions and HOA.

If just interested in the video.

YouTube Shoot Video

For Photos and Video:

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

UPDATE: Remington 1100 broke for the last time

After thinking my Remington 1100 receiver was scrap metal I found out differently.

While attending a sporting clays shoot at Vernon National I ran into a person who works at the Remington Gun factory in Ilion, NY.

He told me what had broke was the receiver barrel support and it was repairable.

I contacted Remington and they told me to send it to a designated Remington service center (they provided a shipping label and order # via email) to see if it could be repaired, and if so, I would receive an estimate.

Received an email from the service center stating it would cost $80.  Unfortunately, I had only sent in the receiver and they wanted the complete shotgun, as they were required to test fire the shotgun before they could return it.   A little upset on that turn of events, but just the way it is!

The rest of the firearm sent out this AM.

I expect at the end of the day to be selling the firearm, but to whomever I sell it to, understanding it's like purchasing a used vehicle with 150,000 miles on the speedometer.

Meanwhile, I picked up a newly purchased Remington 1100 from my FFL on Saturday.  Seemed to fit right out of the box.

I found what looks like a manufacturing defect on the forearm finish  :  (

A call to Remington and they will be sending a new forearm.

This 1100 may end up being used by the wife, so a trip to a gun fitter at some point, as she usually needs 1/2  inch or so cut off the stock.