Shoulder Pads for Trap/Skeet


December 3, 2007, 08:35 PM
So I'm not really sure why I'm posting this, maybe I just need to be talked into buying one of these.

I normally only shoot about 2 rounds of trap. On occasion, I'll shoot a third, but by that point, my shoulder is sore enough that I'm not enjoying myself, nor doing very well. I went down to the range on saturday, and there was a competition going on. I didn't know a thing about it, so I started asking questions. Turns out these guys are firing like 200 shells in the competition, and here I am getting tender after 50 or 75.

So, do any of you wear a shoulder pad when you're shooting? I think my body build might be part of the problem. I know I'm holding the shotgun ok, or at least everyone says I am. I'm about 6' and about 140 pounds, so I'm tall but thin. I'm shooting an 870 with a 28" barrel, using 2&3/4 #8 shot.

I think maybe I'm letting "macho-ness" get in the way of using a shoulder pad. I was looking at one in the store yesterday, it seems like it'd help. anyone have any insight? I'm not really sure why I'm posting this, like I said, maybe I'm looking to get talked into it. :confused:

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December 3, 2007, 08:44 PM
Does your gun have a recoil pad on it?

Are you keeping the butt of the stock firm against your shoulder ?

A nominal pad will probably add to your comfort and most shooting vests/jackets have them built in.

I think you will see very, very few trap shooters who don't use some amount of pad at the shoulder.

"Macho" and $1.29 will get you a Mountain Dew.


December 3, 2007, 08:52 PM
Ha. Thanks for the reply. I meant to mention it, but yes, I do have a simple rubber "honeycomb" style pad on the stock, but it doesn't seem to be doing the job very well. It makes a huge difference from shooting without it, but not enough from the looks of it.

I'll have to look into some vests. the ones I see most people wearing are just basic mesh with pockets and stuff, but I haven't looked too hard at them. I'll definitely check into those too.

December 3, 2007, 08:52 PM
The aftermarket pads, such as limbsaver, are better than the ones normally supplied by the gun maker. On top of that, most trap/skeet shooters have a vest which has some type of padding built in, sometimes extensive. If you want to project some kind of macho image, there are always PAST pads that you can strap on under your shirt where only you will know. A nice cushy recoil makes shooting more fun and allows you to spend more money shooting up a 1/2 a flat of shells in an afternoon with no ill effects. Oh, and just because you are lighter, thinner, etc. doesn't really make any difference on recoil. Just because a guy is 50 lbs. heavier doesn't make the recoil any less. They (and I):D wear padding as well.

December 3, 2007, 08:52 PM
I'll ask also..recoil pad on that 870?
If not , my recommendation would be to put a limbsaver pad on the gun..takes a lot of the sting out.
Also I'd recommend a browning vest with slip in reactar pad. Serves two purposes. Holds shells and pads shoulder.
Do this and you will be able to shoot that 870 for many rounds of skeet or trap without the tenderness your feeling now.:)

PS.......on those shells your shooting (factory I assume) if they are 3 drams equiv.
Drop down to 2 3/4 drams .....This will also help

December 3, 2007, 09:01 PM
Also I'd recommend a browning vest with slip in reactar pad.

I shoot a gas autoloader (Rem 1100), which is a lot softer on the shoulder, so I get by with just the butt pad on the gun. But a couple of people I shoot with who shoot O/U guns recommend the Browning vests very highly.

December 3, 2007, 09:14 PM
I used to shoot fairly regularly, 3 or 4 rounds of targets (skeet/trap) on a twice weekly basis. Instead of using a pad, I simply loaded lighter recoiling ammo. I know that Winchester now sells 7/8 ounce 12 gauge ammo. It doesn't always work the action on an auto loader, but if you shoot a pump or O/U well, it won't matter. I used to load my skeet loads to 2.75 dram, 7/8 ounce in a 12. It would cycle my Browning Gold but would not cycle my B-80 or Auto 5. It probably will not cycle an 1100 or 11-87 either. If you are shooting the 3 dram - 1 1/8 ounce target load, try shooting one of the super-lite loads available.

December 3, 2007, 09:19 PM
Limbsaver. Or the Remington R3, which Remington has made by Limbsaver. I use a Limbsaver for Trap. It's just plain wonderful.

Other options are the Kick-Eez and the Pachmayr Decellerator.

The 870 has been popular for 57 years and is still going. It should be easy to find a pre-fit pad for it.:)

I'd skip the shoulder pads. They move around and generally get in the way, and they cost as much as a Limbsaver. They're great for benchrest sighting in of a rifle or something, but I don't like a bunch of stuff between me and my shotgun; it's like playing golf wearing a catcher's mitt.

Dave McCracken
December 3, 2007, 09:51 PM
I have a PAST wearable pad. It's nicknamed "The Wonderbra" here. Works well for bench work, not so good for clays.

A better pad, lighter ammo are good ways to reduce kick.

December 4, 2007, 12:30 AM
I shoot that exact same gun. with 1oz loads i roll myself.

I put and 8oz lead decoy strap in the hole in the stock. Tried to switch out the recoil pad but none of the prefit ones fit the stock to my liking.

I also put a slip on limbsaver recoil pad on it.

finally I had a Filson (limbsaver) pad swen into my shooting vest.

The recoil is about zero and i can shoot 8 games without an issue.

actually i love how little felt /percieved recoil i have now.

it addes a little to the LOP but I'm 6'4-5 and so i don't worry about it.

December 4, 2007, 01:19 AM
Two suggestions:

Install a Limbsaver recoil pad on your 870.

Buy a Browning clay shooting vest that has a REACTAR gel pad.

December 4, 2007, 02:17 AM
Shotguns with slugs or High Power shot shells can certainly give you a lesson in recoil and its control. If you are getting a lot of felt recoil and muzzle jump I would suggest you try holding your shotgun in a different manner. Most people are told to hold the shotgun firmly against the shoulder when firing to keep the butt from cracking your shoulder when the gun fires. This is good advice as far as it goes but it bears some detailing.

Assuming the Shooter is Right handed
1. When mounting the shotgun raise the Right Elbow so that the upper arm is parallel to the ground. This open up the shoulder and creates a pocket for the butt pad or plate. This will also prevent inadvertently placing the butt on the collarbone - which you will instantly regret!
2. Hold the butt against the shoulder with some pressure of your right arm but not with all your strength.
3. Put firm tension in both you arms and push forward on the forearm of the gun with the left arm - as if you are trying to pull it apart - back with the right, forward with the left.
4. Mount the gun to the face - not the face to the gun... do not dip your head to the stock.
5. When the gun fires absorb the recoil mainly with your arms... let them work like shock absorbers so that your shoulder (and face) do not get the brunt of the recoil momentum.

I have taught many lighter built people how to shoot full power 12 Guage loads with no discomfort. My exwife weighed 125 pounds and fired over 500 rounds out of a light Remington 600 .308Win in 6 days in a Gunsite Rifle Class with no bruising and no discomfort using these techniques.

Work on recoil control... it is not that difficult and adds immeasurable to the enjoyment of shooting your shotgun or rifle.

December 4, 2007, 12:08 PM
Thanks everyone. I'll look around at some nicer pads for my stock, and at the ones for vests.

AZ_Rebel, thanks for the tips. what I've been doing is pulling my right elbow down tight, so it's about perpendicular to the ground, parallel to my body. I haven't been doing much with my left hand, just supporting the gun.

I appreciate all the help, thanks everyone.

December 4, 2007, 12:32 PM
what I've been doing is pulling my right elbow down tight, so it's about perpendicular to the ground
That could be a good portion of your problem with soreness. Try This: Put your left hand on your shoulder where the gun butt would rest. Now move your right elbow up and down - you can feel how the shoulder changes and the angles are different.
Proper body position along with proper tension in the arms will eliminate most of the problems. Recoil pads and "bras" help but they alter other things - LOP for example - and only mask a problem caused by ergonomics.
Good Luck - Hope it helps

December 9, 2007, 11:05 PM

I took your advice to the range this weekend, with a great deal of success. I didn't change a thing on the gun, and I didn't use any pads other than the slip-on on the butt of the stock.

I moved my arm up and changed how I was holding the fore-end, and I'm happy to report 150 rounds without a touch of soreness, instead of the usual tender after just 50.

Thank you very much, it was a huge help.

December 9, 2007, 11:17 PM
Pleased to hear you had a succesful range session.

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