Choosing a trap shotgun

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Choosing a trap shotgun

Postby JeffA on Tue Nov 01, 2011 8:43 pm

I am looking for purchase a shotgun for trap shooting. I have never owned a shotgun before and I am not sure what to look for.

I think I would prefer a semi-auto or pump over a double barrel. Speaking to some people I know who shoot they say make sure you get a gun that fits you correctly. I am not exactly sure what that means or how you would determine that unless I was able to try shooting several different models to see what I like best.

Some questions I have for the group are:

What is the ideal barrel length for trap?

Do people frown upon semi auto when shooting trap because they eject shells out the side?

What are the generally accepted semi-auto's that are considered great designs with a proven history?

What separates a $500 semi auto from a $1000+ semi auto? Will a person who is new to shooting trap appreciate the differences between entry level shotgun vs a higher quality shotgun?

I would prefer to spend less than more, but I am also of the mentally buy once cry one. Any input is appreciated.

Thanks, Jeff
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Re: Choosing a trap shotgun

Postby Thunder71 on Tue Nov 01, 2011 8:54 pm

I started out with a Remington 870 Express (pump). You can do trap with any shotgun... they all do the same thing.

I now shoot with a CZ Redhead Deluxe and had some custom stock work done (adjustable comb) and had them add a center bead for easy alignment before calling for the trap.

By fit, there's a couple main things...

1. Comb (height of the top of the stock)
2. Cast (cast-on, cast-off, cast-neutral) this is the angle of the stock left to right
3. Cheek position (forward/backward) on the stock

A Browning BT99 is a pretty common recommendation for a starter trap gun, but many people start out with semi autos and pumps (their field guns usually).

Really depends on your budget, sky is the limit ($30,000+). That said, I recently shot a $10-$12000 trap gun and realized I miss with those too. :D

Here's my adjustable comb:
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Adjustable Comb by Tom Larkin by Light Artisan Photography, on Flickr
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Re: Choosing a trap shotgun

Postby MKearn on Tue Nov 01, 2011 10:31 pm

I have a Browning Maxus Sporting. 30" barrel. I use it for Trap, Skeet & my favorite...Sporting Clays. Easy to clean. Easier to shoot. Sure it is a semi-auto but I love it. If I wanted to spend more I would have gotten a Cynergy Sporting with the adjustable comb.
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Re: Choosing a trap shotgun

Postby JeffA on Wed Nov 02, 2011 6:50 am

I want to revise my original question. Instead of limiting my purchase to a trap specific gun, i would like something that would also be a good fit for skeet and sporting clays.
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Re: Choosing a trap shotgun

Postby rugersol on Wed Nov 02, 2011 7:01 am

JeffA wrote:I want to revise my original question. Instead of limiting my purchase to a trap specific gun, i would like something that would also be a good fit for skeet and sporting clays.

I can think of none better, than this





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Re: Choosing a trap shotgun

Postby Thunder71 on Wed Nov 02, 2011 7:02 am

If you ever plan on doubles get an over under. I shoot 5 stand for what it's worth.

Buying a gun (to me) is a personal thing... you have to get one that fits you, you'll have an idea when you mount it up. A good shop should be able to help you as well. I'd just stay away from Stoeger and the low end Mossberg (if you go over/under). Trap guns are expensive... plan on $1000 or more to get started if you truly want a trap gun.

Also, some tips when you get going:

When shooting single clays you're only allowed one shot shell to be chambered at a time.
Pick up your hulls after the round.
The only noises you should make are 'pull' and 'bang'. Plenty of time for chit chat between rounds, etc.

Seems most guns are made for right handed shooters around 5'8 and 145 pounds, unless you fit that frame you may need some adjustments done. I highly recommend Tom Larkin of The Stock Shop in Kenyon, MN - great guy who does incredible work.

Posted from my Thunderbolt using Tapatalk.
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Re: Choosing a trap shotgun

Postby rockcreek on Wed Nov 02, 2011 3:04 pm

It is fine to start out with a field gun for the clay sports. You can shoot any of the disciplines with a pump or auto 12ga. A purpose built trap gun will be lousy for skeet and sporting clays. If you decide to get serious with trap, you can always upgrade later once you are consistently shooting in the 20's. You are looking in the right direction by staying away from the low end o/u's IMO, when a top quality pump, or decent auto can be had in the same price range. I would look at the Browning BPS, or Mossberg 500 for pumps, and Mossberg 930, Beretta or Browning for an auto. Whichever feels best to you.
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Re: Choosing a trap shotgun

Postby JeffA on Thu Nov 03, 2011 6:40 am

rugersol wrote:
JeffA wrote:I want to revise my original question. Instead of limiting my purchase to a trap specific gun, i would like something that would also be a good fit for skeet and sporting clays.

I can think of none better, than this


Looks nice, but I am not looking for camo.
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Re: Choosing a trap shotgun

Postby smurfman on Thu Nov 03, 2011 7:27 am

A semi-auto is a better fit for sporting clays and skeet than a pump for the most part, less arm movement and distraction. I think it is better for trap doubles too, but both are merely my opinions. I also lean heavily toward gas operated semi-autos as I feel they attenuate recoil better than recoil operated ones due to the mechanism and added weight. I would also look at 2 3/4" chambered guns if this is going to be a dedicated clays gun as these tend to be more reliable over the long run with target loads. I guess this may be due to being designed specifically for the pressure curve of the shorter shell and not a compromise with the longer ones. The 3.5" guns are the most finicky overall with target loads.
A Beretta 391/390/3901 semi-auto will make for a very reliable and long lived gun for any and all clay target competition. It is what I outfitted my wife with and it has gotten her near 20 years of shooting without issue. I am more an O/U and Browning guy but the Berettas have a great reputation for reliability and is a reason it has a huge following in sporting clays competitions. It was one of the early guns to come with shims which one can use to help fit a gun to them selves. More on that later.
The Browning Gold is another pretty good gun, it had some troubles early on but they seem to have been corrected since the 90s. It is the second most popular gun in sporting clays but it is a large distance behind the Berettas. I shoot one for waterfowl and use it as a back up gun for competitions and it has been stellar so far. I like it a bit better than the Beretta as the stock is not so clunky but that is an idividual thing again; afterall my wife prefers the Beretta to the Browning in spite of its thickness. The current Winchester semi-autos I would lump into the same category as they are so similar.
Remington is a bit far behind, one does not see them nearly as often as the others. I see them in trap shooting more than anyplace else as those guys don't need a second shot as often and they are kind of traditionalists and do not jump on new gun models as quickly as others disciplines. I prefer the 1100 over the 11-87 as it seems to be more reliablebut one is then buying a used gun for the most part. That is not bad as the lower cost is a benefit and one does not mind mucking it up as much learning gun fitting. That parts for the gun are common everywhere, easily replaced by oneself, and fairly cheap are major pluses in my mind.
As for features, a semi-auto is not maligned for trap all that much providing one uses a shell catcher or deflector. The former catches the shell before it exits the chamber and stove pipes it for removal. It is used for singles and a rubber band can be placed around the reciever for much the same effect. A deflector does just that, deflects the empty downward and is used for doubles as a second shot is needed.
I would look to any one of the various shooting instructors for help in fitting, I personally would go with a sporting clays instructor as the gun would be less specialized than a trap gun. You shold be able to find on locally on the NSCA website as they are certified by that organization. They may not be able to fit a gun perfectly but they will be able to fit it close enough for you to get started correctly. Larkin is a great fitter close by but he may be more beneficial once you get some consisitency in your gun mount and swing. Its been a while since I've gone through the process so I have skipped things but it is not as hard as one would imagine.
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