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I suck at trap-help appreciated

spurgemasturspurgemastur Member Posts: 5,655
edited November 2006 in General Discussion
About five years ago, I bought my first shotgun (Rem 870 Express, 20 Ga) and went shooting trap. I broke 18 of 25 clays my first time out, and felt pretty good about it.

Since then, I've been grouse-hunting twice (totally skunked; didn't even mount the gun), and have shot trap from those cheap Walmart clay-throwers several times. I do pretty good with the small, Walmart clay-throwers.

Last weekend, I went to a proper trap range and....well, it wasn't good. I shot four rounds and although I wasn't counting, I doubt I hit over 45 of 100 targets thrown.

There are some skills that I can refine: I know I tend to shoot under the target, and I know I have a flinch that shows up from time to time, but I'm wondering: should I get another gun? (Yes, of course I should, but will it fix my problem?)

Specifically, should I get a 12-gauge?

I'm not wealthy. If I get a 12-gauge, it will not be some cool over-under. It's going to be something that costs less than $250.

So: is it worth it to shop for an inexpensive 12 GA, or should I just accept that I suck at trap and try to do better with my inexpensive 20 GA?

Perhaps a better way of proposing the question is this: is an inexpensive 12 Ga going to do more for me than an inexpensive 20 Ga, or is it more important to figure out where I suck and try to fix those problems?

Thanks in advance for your input.

(One day when I'm wealthier, I will buy a nice over-under for trap shooting, but that is not feasible right now.)
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Comments

  • WarbirdsWarbirds Member Posts: 15,382 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Find a way to spend an afternoon with some expierened trap shooters. If you live in Pensacola or Lower Alabama, I could have you hitting almost double what you do now in a few hours (if we could get the trap range mostly empty). I could also let you shoot a variety of different shotguns.

    Do you need a new gun?

    A 12 gauge is the prefered shotgun for trap, the extra shot is obviously an advantage.

    Does your shotgun barrel have a rib?

    Does it have two beads, or just one bead in the front?



    Shotguns are not like rifles or pistols, throw out what you know and be ready to learn. there's tons of guys out there with good old Remington 870's who can bust 70-80 targets or more, every time they go out, the expensive guns have a place, but we won't get into that until you can hit lots of the clays.
  • RosieRosie Member Posts: 14,524 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    If you want to get good at trap it's gonna cost you money and lots of it. If you want to just go out and have fun now and then just about anything will do. Above all your gun needs to shoot high. As dave said, talk to a few trap shooters, try out their guns and LISTEN to them.
  • bobskibobski Member Posts: 17,868 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    you need a monte carlo stock to get the shot up where it belongs.
    Retired Naval Aviation
    Former Member U.S. Navy Shooting Team
    Former NSSA All American
    Navy Distinguished Pistol Shot
    MO, CT, VA.
  • spanielsellsspanielsells Member Posts: 12,498
    edited November -1
    I can do 23-25/25 most the time with my Mossy 835. You don't need to spend big bucks on a pricey shotgun. Pumps do the job just fine. I was also able to do 20-23/25 most of the time with my Winchester 1300, and that one has a 30" barrel. I think the reason that I do better with the Mossy is that it has front and back TruGlo sights, whereas the Winchester has a single bead. Both have a ribbed barrel, and that's going to make a lot of difference, too.

    I have no experience with the 870/20 but I am seriously considering buying one in the next month or so. I held one in my hand yesterday and it felt pretty darned good. Not the prettiest gun, but who cares? I don't buy guns because they look good -- I buy guns because they function well.

    I'd say keep your 20, chat with the guys on the trap range who seem to be regulars, and you'll get a lot of advice as to what to do. You'll probably get them to watch how you shoot and they'll make recommendations.

    My guess is it isn't your gun, you're probably not giving the birds enough lead or you're overshooting them. They'll be able to figure that out in only a few shots after watching you.
  • bpostbpost Member Posts: 30,920 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    This is what I found out by experience.

    I too had little money to buy a good shotgun. I shot a mossberg 500 because it fit my budget. I hit some things and missed a lot too.

    Then I saved and purchased my Browning Citori with 3-1/2" chambers 30" barrels and invector plus choke tubes.

    My shooting improved by AT LEAST 100%.

    A better fitting, better made shotgun will help you a lot IMO.
  • spurgemasturspurgemastur Member Posts: 5,655
    edited November -1
    Well I see that opinions are fairly varied regarding what to do about the gun. Still, it's grist for the mill, so thanks for the info. Best advice I got is to buddy up with the regulars, and of course practice, practice, practice.

    To answer some questions: My 870 has a rib and a single bead at the front. I shoot the smallest shot I can put my hands on (usually 7.5 or 8).

    Thanks for the offer, Dave W, but I'm about as far from Pensacola as you can get and still be in the continental US (WA state).
  • 320090T320090T Member Posts: 2,715 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Another reason to go 12 is the reloading costs are less. I make my shot and buy components in quantity and reload at $1.37 per box. Factory shot for handicap raises the price to $2.88, still cheaper than new or 20 ga. Doing your own loading saves money and allows you to taper the load to fit the event you are shooting.

    A trap gun stock is configured differently than a field gun therefore reducing felt recoil. When firing the gun, a curved stock will allow the gun to raise up and bump your cheek. A straight stock will recoil rearward into your shoulder and not hurt your face. When the face gets beat up it sends a signal to the brain that everytime you allow the finger to pull the trigger, I'm gonna get clobbered. Pretty soon the brain won't let the finger pull the trigger and you get a FLINCH!!! Don't let it get this far, if you are going to shoot a lot, get a gun that fits you and won't bump your face.
  • drsckdrsck Member Posts: 992 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Dear Spurgemastur: First go to the Amature Trap Assocation web page (www1.shootata.com) and then find the list of clubs in your area. Then go to the web pages for the clubs near you and see when they are having a shoot or if there is a way to contact the club. You'll probably find that you'll be welcome to attend and after you begin talking to folks and explaining your situation there will be several folks who will let you try their guns. Now, like the other folks have said, a trap gun that is fitted to you will help your shooting and the guns you borrow obviously won't be fitted to you, but you'll get a good idea of what a better gun will do and you will probably get some pointers as to your form as well. Many of the clubs offer classes and training sessions. Best of luck and keep us posted -- Steve
  • spurgemasturspurgemastur Member Posts: 5,655
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by drsck
    Dear Spurgemastur: First go to the Amature Trap Assocation web page (www1.shootata.com) and then find the list of clubs in your area. Then go to the web pages for the clubs near you and see when they are having a shoot or if there is a way to contact the club. You'll probably find that you'll be welcome to attend and after you begin talking to folks and explaining your situation there will be several folks who will let you try their guns. Now, like the other folks have said, a trap gun that is fitted to you will help your shooting and the guns you borrow obviously won't be fitted to you, but you'll get a good idea of what a better gun will do and you will probably get some pointers as to your form as well. Many of the clubs offer classes and training sessions. Best of luck and keep us posted -- Steve


    More good advice.

    I've found a trap club. It used to claim to be the oldest gun club in the US, but I guess there's some joint in FLA that is older, so now it's just the second oldest (Lewiston Gun Club, ID).

    They're in a bit of a tight spot right now, as they're getting kicked off the site that they lease because the Lewiston airport needs to expand. Hopefully they'll be able to relocate rather than just having to shut down.

    Tell you what, though, it's kind of a weird place to shoot. They actually throw the clays over the airport fence, so they're usually over aiport property when you break them.

    So you'll be lining up a shot and suddenly you're sweeping a passenger airplane that's taxiing down the runway. The runway's far enough that you'd never hit it with a shotgun, but it is a little odd. I'm sure it's also a little odd to be the passenger sitting in the plane who looks out the window and sees a line of 30 shotguns pointed in his general direction.
  • sotheresothere Member Posts: 1,414 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Leave the trap range to the trap shooters.If you want to hit birds find a skeet range or sporting clays.It will help you with leading and follow through.shoot a couple of normal rounds then a round of report doubles.Station 8 will give you a twist but it can be done[:D].My hits in the field increased substancially after I started shooting skeet as well as long running shots with a rifle.You wont be dissapointed;ST
  • chuckchuck Member Posts: 4,911
    edited November -1
    Rosie, Thank god your here (TELL IT THE WAY IT IS )[:D][8D][:)]
  • WarbirdsWarbirds Member Posts: 15,382 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    By the way, in the trap shooting world, there is a HUGE differene between shooting 20-23 every time, and running 100 straight or 98's and 99's every time.

    It is relatively easy to get proficient enough to hit most of the clays, most of the time. It is an entirely different world when you stop worrying about 25 straight, and when you are worried about 100 straight.
  • shooter4shooter4 Member Posts: 4,457
    edited November -1
    At our range, the very best shooter is a guy around 80, walks with a cane, gets into the cage, leans his cane against the cage and gets ready with an old double barrel 12ga. No fancy guns here.

    The next best shooter uses an old Rem 1187 that he uses hunting all the time. Again, nothing fancy.

    There is another guy that spends big bucks on his guns, real pretty, fitted all of that, he has hunted Africa, etc. You get the picture.

    He is not near the best.

    We only shoot clay birds, not really skeet or trap, just commercial throwers (Lincolns) that are back on your right and left. But we can throw them any which way. Not like trap.

    In trap, the birds all come from the same place. Its nothing like being in the field.
  • spanielsellsspanielsells Member Posts: 12,498
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by shooter4
    At our range, the very best shooter is a guy around 80, walks with a cane, gets into the cage, leans his cane against the cage and gets ready with an old double barrel 12ga. No fancy guns here.

    The next best shooter uses an old Rem 1187 that he uses hunting all the time. Again, nothing fancy.

    There is another guy that spends big bucks on his guns, real pretty, fitted all of that, he has hunted Africa, etc. You get the picture.

    He is not near the best.

    We only shoot clay birds, not really skeet or trap, just commercial throwers (Lincolns) that are back on your right and left. But we can throw them any which way. Not like trap.

    In trap, the birds all come from the same place. Its nothing like being in the field.
    The trap range that I frequent uses three different houses to launch the clays.
  • n/an/a Member Posts: 168,427
    edited November -1
    Our range has trap, skeet and 5 stand. Our 5 stand uses 8 different machines.
  • bobskibobski Member Posts: 17,868 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    spurge....serious, sell the 20 and get 12. and get a gun designed for trap if youre gonna shoot trap. anything else is trying to make the small shoe fit on a foot too big.
    in a 20, youre only shooting 7/8oz of lead. once you get past the 16yd line, youre gonna be at a real bad disadvantage and youll need the extra lead a 12 offers. and again....get a gun with a monte carlo stock so the gun will have a built in rise on the target when you aim.
    Retired Naval Aviation
    Former Member U.S. Navy Shooting Team
    Former NSSA All American
    Navy Distinguished Pistol Shot
    MO, CT, VA.
  • shooter4shooter4 Member Posts: 4,457
    edited November -1
    Yeah,

    I wish there were real trap of skeet ranges around here.

    But there ain't. We got what we got.

    We rent the outdoor range land and cannot build any structures, etc.
  • BlckhrnBlckhrn Member Posts: 5,136
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by bpost1958

    A better fitting, better made shotgun will help you a lot IMO.


    + 1. My right inseam is 38". Most off the rack shotguns have a 14.5" LOP. My LOP is 17.5". It takes time and effort to bring a poorly fitted gun up to point. My misses go high (I'm not that avid a trap shooter) because my guns just don't shoulder right for me and I'm not looking down the barrel but over it. Getting lined up takes longer and the birds are out almost too far by the time I am lined up.
  • RosieRosie Member Posts: 14,524 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Dang guys! Reading this thread is giving me the "I WANNA GO SHOOT TRAP AGAIN" feeling. Only have two trap guns left. One is a Charles Daly OU with adjustable comb and butt pad and the other is a 1187 trap. There was a time when I shot four and five times a week.
  • spurgemasturspurgemastur Member Posts: 5,655
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by Rosie
    Dang guys! Reading this thread is giving me the "I WANNA GO SHOOT TRAP AGAIN" feeling. Only have two trap guns left. One is a Charles Daly OU with adjustable comb and butt pad and the other is a 1187 trap. There was a time when I shot four and five times a week.


    Well then I guess the post was worth more than I thought. Go break some clay already!
  • spurgemasturspurgemastur Member Posts: 5,655
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by sothere
    Leave the trap range to the trap shooters.If you want to hit birds find a skeet range or sporting clays.It will help you with leading and follow through.shoot a couple of normal rounds then a round of report doubles.Station 8 will give you a twist but it can be done[:D].My hits in the field increased substancially after I started shooting skeet as well as long running shots with a rifle.You wont be dissapointed;ST


    Yes, that sounds fun. I'm actually not much of a hunter. Still, I think I'll try to learn on a trap range, and slowly start to work skeet, 5-stand and sporting clays into the mix. I learn better if I can see a bit of success, rather than feeling like a monkey all day long with the sporting clays [;)].
  • bigtirebigtire Member Posts: 24,800
    edited November -1
    Get a 10 GA![:D][:D]
  • spurgemasturspurgemastur Member Posts: 5,655
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by bigtire
    Get a 10 GA![:D][:D]


    hehe.

    Actually, I'm leaning towards keeping the current, cheap 20GA until I can afford a nice trap gun. Difference in 100 rounds of 20GA vs 12GA is about $3. So if I shoot four rounds per outing (which is what I do), I can shoot 50 outings before I save the cost of a cheap 12GA. And given that I'm planning to shoot every other week, that's two years, by which time I expect to see my salary triple (no, still not wealthy, just expecting to make a living wage within two years--I'm close to done with grad school).

    The gun fund is limited. I'm not sure I want to tie a bunch of it up in a trap gun. I have other gun desires, too.
  • Mr CoolMr Cool Member Posts: 883 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    the gun that i shoot best for trap is a full choke 20ga. i bought it for 70$ new about 20 years ago. i would suggest you get a lesson or two from a local pro or something at your range. the problem isnt your gun though.
  • asphalt cowboyasphalt cowboy Member Posts: 8,552 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    There are a few thing which can be done to 'adjust' an off the shelf 870. You can lengthen or shorten the LOP, addition of a pitch plate may help also. Then there's the Cheek-Eez which will raise line of sight as well as limit cheeck slap.
  • bigdaddyjuniorbigdaddyjunior Member Posts: 11,233
    edited November -1
    You don't need a new gun yet. You can do yourself a great favor by learning to shoot that 20 gauge provided you have a full choke. Sounds like you are lifting your head off the stock to see the bird break. Keep your face tight on the stock, keep your shoulders/hips moving during the shot, and don't aim or try to calculate lead...just look at the leading edge of the bird, forget about the gun, and shoot the damn thing.
  • spanielsellsspanielsells Member Posts: 12,498
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by bigtire
    Get a 10 GA![:D][:D]
    LMAO.

    I can't imagine shooting trap with a 10-gauge. 25 shots and your shoulder would be hamburger!
  • hughbetchahughbetcha Member Posts: 7,782 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by spurgemastur
    quote:Originally posted by bigtire
    Get a 10 GA![:D][:D]


    hehe.

    Actually, I'm leaning towards keeping the current, cheap 20GA until I can afford a nice trap gun. Difference in 100 rounds of 20GA vs 12GA is about $3. So if I shoot four rounds per outing (which is what I do), I can shoot 50 outings before I save the cost of a cheap 12GA. And given that I'm planning to shoot every other week, that's two years, by which time I expect to see my salary triple (no, still not wealthy, just expecting to make a living wage within two years--I'm close to done with grad school).

    The gun fund is limited. I'm not sure I want to tie a bunch of it up in a trap gun. I have other gun desires, too.


    If you want to be any good at skeet or trap you have to practice a lot and that means reloding. The cost to reload 12 ga is not really much more than 20 ga.

    By a cheap 12ga and a reloading set up instead of an expensive shotgun. I carry my Win. 1300 on to the range against guys with $3000 shotguns and I beat them all the time.
  • spanielsellsspanielsells Member Posts: 12,498
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by hughbetcha
    quote:Originally posted by spurgemastur
    quote:Originally posted by bigtire
    Get a 10 GA![:D][:D]


    hehe.

    Actually, I'm leaning towards keeping the current, cheap 20GA until I can afford a nice trap gun. Difference in 100 rounds of 20GA vs 12GA is about $3. So if I shoot four rounds per outing (which is what I do), I can shoot 50 outings before I save the cost of a cheap 12GA. And given that I'm planning to shoot every other week, that's two years, by which time I expect to see my salary triple (no, still not wealthy, just expecting to make a living wage within two years--I'm close to done with grad school).

    The gun fund is limited. I'm not sure I want to tie a bunch of it up in a trap gun. I have other gun desires, too.


    If you want to be any good at skeet or trap you have to practice a lot and that means reloding. The cost to reload 12 ga is not really much more than 20 ga.

    By a cheap 12ga and a reloading set up instead of an expensive shotgun. I carry my Win. 1300 on to the range against guys with $3000 shotguns and I beat them all the time.
    Agreed (I don't reload, but I mean with the 1300).
  • GuvamintCheeseGuvamintCheese Member Posts: 38,932
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by Rosie
    Dang guys! Reading this thread is giving me the "I WANNA GO SHOOT TRAP AGAIN" feeling. Only have two trap guns left. One is a Charles Daly OU with adjustable comb and butt pad and the other is a 1187 trap. There was a time when I shot four and five times a week.


    Me too....and I dont shoot trap.[:D] Its hell getting older.
  • 320090T320090T Member Posts: 2,715 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Spanielsells, I often shoot trap in Indiana with a Kiwi, amazing fellow!
  • spanielsellsspanielsells Member Posts: 12,498
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by 320090T
    Spanielsells, I often shoot trap in Indiana with a Kiwi, amazing fellow!
    Love the kiwis, tried to find one to marry back in 1990 (found a pollack instead). But, I'm not from New Zealand nor do I live there... despite what my profile might say. Been there, fell in love with the place, want to go back and YES, the kiwis are amazing people.
  • bobskibobski Member Posts: 17,868 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    by the time youre done putting money into the 20ga to get it to shoot nice with all the gizmos out there, it would have been easier to buy a cheap trap 12ga all ready to go. (870 trap/single shot remington spartan/high standard flite-king, etc...) it may be best to tell you this right up front, if youre looking to save money trap shooting, dont shoot trap! quit while you can![:D]
    and, if you get advice from a local pro, i'll bet a dollar to a donut, he's gonna tell you the same thing im telling you, plus....get a monte carlo stock![^] sometimes you have to pay a little up front to acheive sucess. otherwise, its a long uphill battle against adversaries that could have been avoided if youd just started with the basics in the first place.
    you dont play baseball with football gear.
    get rid of the football gear and get a baseball uniform. and when you start hitting homeruns, youll be amazed.
    and always remember this, you only waste money at a trap range if you miss and dont know why. if you miss and know why, you practice 'not' to on the next shot, and will have no one to blame but yourself if you miss again. its easy to blame the gun for misses, but its not so easy if you have the right gun and you know its fitted right. then, when you start hitting those 25 straights, youll see that it was worth the extra money you invested.[;)]
    Retired Naval Aviation
    Former Member U.S. Navy Shooting Team
    Former NSSA All American
    Navy Distinguished Pistol Shot
    MO, CT, VA.
  • AlpineAlpine Member Posts: 14,454 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Everything your saying, has been there done that. Trying to make a gun fit/work for you is where you are going to waste more momey and time than if you got a gun that fit, and works for trap.

    Trying to save money, is going to cost you more than getting a gun that fits, and shoots high for trap.

    The first hurdle is the 25 straight. It may seem impossible, but after a while when you don't go clean on a round you will wonder what you are doing wrong!

    Good luck
    ?The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money.?
    Margaret Thatcher

    "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics."
    Mark Twain
  • plains scoutplains scout Member Posts: 4,563
    edited November -1
    I am not a trap shooter. However, I have shot it three times.

    I hunt with a 20 ga (lighter after a full days walking, swings easier for me, and the ammo is lighter as well -- I guess I have the "back packing" mentality) I also enjoy the challenge.

    If I were to shoot trap, I would get a 12 ga.

    Last year was the third time I shot trap. Hunting camp I was at set up a thrower. Everyone laughed at me shooting trap. However, when the pheasants starting getting up, the laughter died.

    I can not shoot trap worth a crap with that 20 but put me on birds on a day when I am hot -- we are going to get out limit (I have been known to shoot a triple with pheasants when hunting).

    My cousin shoots skeet. He is pretty good. In a league and all that. Has a nice fancy over and under 12ga. We had to shoot all his birds last year -- he couldn't hit a live bird if he tried. When we were growing up, he had an old 12ga pump -- he was a good bird shooter then.

    Don't get rid of that 20 if you like it. It will make a better shooter out of you.[;)] But for trap -- 12ga so you are on a more even playing field.
  • spurgemasturspurgemastur Member Posts: 5,655
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by plains scout
    I am not a trap shooter. However, I have shot it three times.

    I hunt with a 20 ga (lighter after a full days walking, swings easier for me, and the ammo is lighter as well -- I guess I have the "back packing" mentality) I also enjoy the challenge.

    If I were to shoot trap, I would get a 12 ga.

    Last year was the third time I shot trap. Hunting camp I was at set up a thrower. Everyone laughed at me shooting trap. However, when the pheasants starting getting up, the laughter died.

    I can not shoot trap worth a crap with that 20 but put me on birds on a day when I am hot -- we are going to get out limit (I have been known to shoot a triple with pheasants when hunting).

    My cousin shoots skeet. He is pretty good. In a league and all that. Has a nice fancy over and under 12ga. We had to shoot all his birds last year -- he couldn't hit a live bird if he tried. When we were growing up, he had an old 12ga pump -- he was a good bird shooter then.

    Don't get rid of that 20 if you like it. It will make a better shooter out of you.[;)] But for trap -- 12ga so you are on a more even playing field.


    I think I won't get rid of the 20GA. I'm not competitive anyway. If I learn to shoot with the 20GA, the 12GA (when I can afford it) will make my life cake!
  • Fatboy livesFatboy lives Member Posts: 708 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I shoot clays from walmart, I'm shooting them with an 835 turkey choke, hit probally 95% of them. Spend money on a fancy gun if you want, there nice to have. Practice, and good technique make all the difference in the world. Much more difference than a high dollar gun.
  • bobskibobski Member Posts: 17,868 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    ...as long as the cheap gun has a monte carlo stock![^][;)]
    Retired Naval Aviation
    Former Member U.S. Navy Shooting Team
    Former NSSA All American
    Navy Distinguished Pistol Shot
    MO, CT, VA.
  • RosieRosie Member Posts: 14,524 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Why not an adjustable stock bobski? 95% is nothing to sneeze at Fatboy but all it will ever get you is a seat on the sidelines watching the 100% boys in a shoot off.
  • shooter4shooter4 Member Posts: 4,457
    edited November -1
    18 of 25 is good for a beginner. Especially with a 20ga.

    Sell something and get a 12ga.
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