Shot size for Trap / Skeet


July 26, 2004, 09:02 PM
In the finest traditions of BA/UU/R I'm intending to turn money into noise on a regular basis in an effort to improve my abilities to break clays. At the moment I'm shooting trap, but I want to have a crack at skeet as well before too long.

To date I've been using 28 gram (1 oz) loads of #7 shot moving at an advertised 1350 fps for trap. This is ammo that is sold by the gun club I've been shooting at and its $8.50 for a box of 25 shells.

I've done some investigation and found a place selling Clever Mirage "Super Target" 24 gram (7/8 oz) and 28 gram (1 oz) loads of 3% antimony #7, 8 and 9 shot for $139 for 500 shells (= $6.95 for a box of 25). The Clever Mirage "T2 Comp" loads (both 24 and 28 gram) in the same sizes are $145 for 500 shells (=$7.25 for a box of 25).

I can take 611 shots with the cheaper stuff for the same price as 500 rounds at the club prices. At 3% antimony I'm hoping the cheaper stuff will pattern OK ..... at this stage I'll live with any pattern deficiencies in order to get more bang for the buck (literally) for training purposes.

My question is, what size shot is commonly used for trap and for skeet? Should I be buying 500 rounds of #7 shot and using it for both trap and skeet, or would I be better off using #8 or #9 shot for skeet (i.e. buying 1000 rounds)? Or does it not really matter if I use #7 shot for skeet?


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July 26, 2004, 09:07 PM
My general rule is to shoot trap and skeet with the same loads I hunt with.

If you don't hunt, then that rule flies right out the window.:D

Buy the cheap stuff but pattern it, if it works then use it with a clear consious. The cheapest you can get that patterns well is the round to use.


July 26, 2004, 09:18 PM
IIRC Target grade or Hard Shot has more like antimony - around 4-5% here in the States. I dunno about New Zealand Spinner. I would pattern at the distance you intend to shoot, plue some yardage.

Can you get components to reload easy and without those %$&@ restictions they have on everything else in NZ ? I'm thinking you might be better off reloading.

Smoke...I just figured out why you have have trouble with are using the same loads for hunting and targets. Slugs are NOT usually recommended for doves... I know you think doves are "difficult" ...they really do not require that much to fell. :D

Just a thought...

July 26, 2004, 09:28 PM
Of those choices, #8 would probably be your best bet; I use #7 1/2 for trap and skeet (hell, for just about ANYTHING I use my shotguns for), and many shotgun clubs have shot size restrictions (usually, nothing larger than #7 1/2) so they don't need to worry about an extended safety area past their shot-fall zone. As long as you're doing YOUR part, either one will smoke a target at the ranges you're dealing with.

July 26, 2004, 09:32 PM

Although your club may sell loads that are #7 and 1350fps, folks should be aware that stateside many clubs have restrictions on minimum shot size #7.5 and velocity. 1200 fps (max) (Or for those of us old folks 3 dram equiv max). Most of the clubs that I shoot at require at least #7.5 shot and no more than the 1200fps or 3 dram equiv.

Personally I use either #7.5 or #8 1 1/8th oz with 2.75 dram equiv or 1195 fps. (Winchester AA Low recoil AAL127 or 128 either factory loads or reloads matching that)

Also note that Olympic trap and ATA trap have very specific restrictions on shot size and fps. Matter of fact at the "big shoots", ATA or the state associations have you buy their loads to even out competition.


July 26, 2004, 09:46 PM

Even I know enough not to use slugs on clay pigeons....but are you suggesting I quit using 00?

When you hit a dove with a .32 cal shot pellet he is DRT.


Bill B.
July 26, 2004, 09:50 PM
There is as much debate about shot sizes as there are about 9mm's vs. 45's! :D I have shot ATA trap for years and you can always hear the pro's and con's for 7 1/2's, 8's, 8 1/2's or even 9's in the clay target games. There are several shooters that won't shoot 8's on windy days and will only use 7 1/2's and these same shooters may be shooting from the 20 yard line. I have also know several 27 yard shooters who shot nothing but Federal Gold Medal Extra Light loads with 8 shot all the time; windy days included. I also know on one record holding skeet shooter who shot nothing but 7 1/2's out of a 12 ga. Whatever you have confidence in is what you will shoot best is the bottom line. There are several pro shooters in the ATA; they don't call them such but they are, who may shoot Winchester one year and Federal the next. It is which ever ammo company they can get for sponsors and if you will check their scores they will remain the same even if the ammo they use changes from year to year.

Personally I like all the shot I can get in the pattern working for me; I shoot 8's, with the least amount of recoil I can get. As long as you are using ammo from some of the major ammo makers; Federal, Remington, Winchester, etc. in the same dram and shot charge you will be hard pressed to tell a difference in your scores. There are exceptions to this rule but it may come down to the type of gun you use. Auto's just don't work as well with some loads.

I don't know if they are available in your area but they are selling Wolf 12 ga. target loads at some of the state trap shoots for $60.00 a case or $3.00 a box tax included. These I saw were loaded with 1 1/8 oz. 7 1/2 and 1250 ft. per second. They are loaded in Spain for Wolf but by whom I have no idea. These loads break targets very well and I don't think you will miss paying $8.50 a box for your target loads. The loads you currently are using are niche load to meet the requirements for certain clay games. There is no reason this load has to be used for American trap, skeet or sporting clays though you may have to use for the international version of these sports. Good luck with your shooting and do try to find some cheaper loads!

July 26, 2004, 10:07 PM
#4 buck will improve "doubles" because of pattern density , with no loss in DRT factor. :D
( yeah "same fella" that took greenheads by acccident- one a slug and one with 00 can confirm the #4 buck on doves and doubles "theory" ...oops) ;)

<waves to game wardens viewing this thread> :)

I use of a LOt of #8, my general all around shot size.
#8.5 is what I prefer in the .410 for skeet.
Hey - If it is legal [ #.7.5 or smaller] goes bang, patterns well...If it breaks its broke...

I played, T&E'd, satisfied curiousity, competed, and all that stuff. Granted I have my druthers and all , I have hit that dimension..."gimmee a gun, any gun, gimmee some shells....those will work...take 'em boys".

Okay a single shot .410 with 3" shells of # 7.5 ain't regulation trap...who cares, I had fun. What do I know...I'm a skeeter. :D

July 26, 2004, 10:47 PM
Thaks guys for your advice. Looks like 500 rounds of 28 gram loads of #8 will be (briefly) winging their way into my ammo locker very shortly. I'll spend some time at the pattern board this weekend and have a look at how it works in my guns.

Oh, and about the prices I mentioned ... the club's price of $8.50/25 is about as cheap as I can find anywhere, with the exception of the Clever Mirage at one supplier only. Of course, we're talking NZ dollars which are worth about US$0.60 at the moment.

SM, funny you should mention about reloading ..... I've been checking out the classifieds for a reloading press in the last couple of days. Haven't found any MEC presses (as seen recommended on THR :) ) advertised, but have seen a Lee Load All II brand new for $98. Hulls are not a problem as there are literally thousands of once fired hulls of various brands at the gun club free for the taking (few shooters seem to reload surprisingly). 1000 wads will cost $35, 1000 primers will cost $69 and enough 6% antimony shot for 1000 1 oz loads will cost $105. That's 1000 rounds for $209 .... a saving of $69 over the cheapest commercial loads I could find.

edited to add: oopps, forgot the powder! At $49 per 500 grams (roughly a pound) .... hmmmm, maybe I'm not saving money. Maybe that's why very few shooters seem to reload? :scrutiny:

Any comments about Lee shotgun reloading equipment?


Bill B.
July 27, 2004, 07:49 AM

:o Sorry I never realized you were located in NZ! Since I am not familar with the prices you are used to paying over there. The shells you have found may not be priced bad at all! :o

On reloading equipment I like some Lee items but would stay away from the Lee shot shell loader. Any of the Mec loaders are quite a bit better than the Lee IMO. If you decide to go with the Mec get a model that has the collet resize if planning on reloading rounds that come from guns rather than your own. The collet does a much better resize job. The Mec 9000 G is what I use and recommend.

July 27, 2004, 08:07 AM
The Lee is Ok if you only want to loadup a handful of shells at a time, but if you can find a Mec you would be better off. MEC Grabber or 9000 G. I have 4 Grabbers for all gauges myself. I once had a Lee Load All when I was 15years old.

If no one over there reloads much you may be able to make some extra money reloading for others.

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