I have always enjoyed spending time with my good friends on a sporting clay course followed by the obligatory lunch/drinks afterwards, with plenty of smack talk about the witnessed shooting abilities of the players on-hand. All in good fun, of course.
I used to shoot with a Benelli 121 SL80 (12ga semi auto, 26in unchoked barrel. Only mod: thicker recoil pad to increase the LOP, Hi-Viz front sight).
While I shot decent with this shotgun, i always felt I struggled with longer range targets and attribute this to the 26 inch unchoked barrel. I do understand that part of the receiver counts towards barrel length but not ever being able to fit chokes to this gun made me look at Over/Under shotguns. Quite eye-opening how expensive the "B" gun line-up is (Blaser, Beretta, Benelli, Browning), never mind the Krieghoff, Perazzi and Caesar Guerini offerings.
So the search for a good used "B" gun began, and while doing such research I stumbled upon a few threads discussing CZ-USA shotguns, all of which were very favorable. Then some internal rationalizing: "Am I going to shoot 5000 rounds a year? No! Do I need to spend 3-4k on a gun? No!". I can always go that route if later I felt the need to "upgrade".
After extensive research I decided to purchase a new CZ-USA Redhead Premier Target O/U with 30 inch barrels and 5 chokes. Ordered it online (sight unseen) and had it shipped to a local FFL. As things go, I tend to continue researching post-purchase and came across various threads discussing the quality of the wood furniture on CZ's being somewhat lackluster. Read forum entries on steps one can take to really bring out the wood grain hidden underneath the CZ finish, at the end of the day, I need it to shoot well, does not need to look pretty. I'm generally not a fan of shiny wood stocks anyway.
After what seemed like forever, I was finally contacted by my FFL and arranged to complete the transfer at their gun store. CZ ships their shotguns in a case, which I was not aware off (but very pleased with). Removing the gun and taking the stock and barrels out of their protective purple velvet sleeves revealed an absolutely beautiful shotgun. The wood looks fantastic with nice grain, the silver aluminum receiver features simple & clean engravings. The chokes are black, I would have preferred them to be silver as pictured on most online images. Whatever, not sweating that little detail. Put the gun together and mounted it for the first few times, feels very natural, like the raised comb and the palm swell built into the grip. Leaving the gun store 100% happy and excited to take it to the range.
Maryland winter being what it is, it took several weeks before my buddy and I finally made it to the range. In the meantime I purchased a Plano Tactical Waterpoof case which provides much better protection for transport, then the CZ case.
He incidentally also purchased a new O/U shotgun, Stoeger Condor Competition and we went to the range with our new guns for the very first time. And we both sucked. Still I am 100% happy, the weight feels good, the recoil is very manageable, guns function as they should (my buddy had one failed to fire). I guess I have to get used to mine, I also attempted to shoot with both eyes open, which is very difficult for me (but really need to do so). We went shooting the second time, and I still suck. Need to practice more and need to learn to shoot with both eyes open. Need to go by myself, practice and figure things out.