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Trap loads and the proper choke

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by PJ-Hunter, Jun 26, 2013.

  1. PJ-Hunter

    PJ-Hunter Well-Known Member

    I use a Beretta A400 xcel and basic loads.

    7 1/2 or 8 shot

    I don't seem to be getting consistant shots and miss some that I shoot and my average is 19. The ones I miss the most are the straight-away clays. The ones that fly at an angle I can lead and smoke them all. What choke would best be suited for that gun?

    FYI, I don't reload. I don't have the time so I just buy the loads from Wal-Mart or Sports Authority
  2. Hunterdad

    Hunterdad Well-Known Member

    I shoot 8's with a full choke and have had great success with it.
  3. kudu

    kudu Well-Known Member

    Yardage? assuming 16 yard line, a mod or improved mod choke would be plenty even I/C at 16 yard line should break all the targets. I would use #8's back to 20-22 yards then switch to 7.5's. Straight away trap targets most people shoot under the rising bird unless you have true trap gun that shoots a 70% plus over pattern. I prefer a gun that shoots 90% over so I can keep an eye on the target and actually "float" the bird above the barrel.

    Cheap promo loads from walmart or wherever don't necessarily pattern very well either, the pattern board is your friend. If you only shoot trap for some fun and don't get real competitive cheap shells are fine, they may let the occassional target get through a hole in your pattern.
  4. PJ-Hunter

    PJ-Hunter Well-Known Member

    The 16 yard and our team handicap is the 21 yard line. If I could break into the 20s we would be able to make it further back. We are generally a couple broken birds away from stepping back.

    What exactly is a true trap gun? This is Beretta's target semi auto. I also use it for skeet. I use Carlson's skeet choke for that.
  5. kudu

    kudu Well-Known Member

    Trap guns are generaly set up to shoot a very high point of impact so targets are flying into the pattern. A standard gun or target gun usually shoots a 50/50 pattern. On trap you have to cover the rising target with the barrel and lose sight of the actual bird. A trap barrel will shoot at least a 70/30 pattern. You can set up the gun so you see more rib between the beads, this will raise your pattern. If you don't regularly pattern your gun and loads, it can be a real eye opener how your barrel shoots.

    My skeet gun shoots about a 60/40 pattern so I can just see the target on top of the barrel as I swing through it.
  6. PJ-Hunter

    PJ-Hunter Well-Known Member

    Am I correct in when you say 70/30 you mean that 70% of the shot is in the target area while 30% is out?

    I patterend it last year and at 16 yards and an 8" circle, most of the circle was gone. Did I even do that right? I think it was an IM choke
  7. Deer_Freak

    Deer_Freak Member.

    The best way to pattern a shotgun is to shoot an old sheet until you shoot a hole in it. You find the point of impact by shooting a sheet. One shot on paper just shows shot density.
  8. OneWound

    OneWound Well-Known Member

    70/30 means that 70% of the shot lland above where you were aiming, and 30% of the shot landed below where you were aiming
  9. kudu

    kudu Well-Known Member

    I set a point on the pattern board, a 3" target let's say. Draw a 30" circle around the point of aim. I shoot t 25 yards usually. Draw lines straight through horizontal and vertical. Shoot at the point you put on the target. You should be able to establish where your center of pattern is by counting the shot in each quarter of the board. If 70% of the shot is above the center, you have loosely speaking, a 70/30 pattern, if it is very even top to bottom you have a 50/50 pattern from your barrel. I would start with a full choke to keep the pattern as tight as possible.

    I use old paper feed sacks or large dog food sacks cut open for pattern paper, or if you have access to large cardboard. Different shells and chokes will give you different patterns. Read the following link in the shotgunning 101 threads, Dave explained it better than I can.

  10. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

    When patterning your gun draw the circle AFTER you fire at the center mark. A Modified will work just fine - I use one to break sporting clay targets well past 40 yards, but if you want ink blots go tighter. Remember though, that 25 chips beats 24 ink blots - every time.

    You may have a slight gun fit issue. The Beretta comes with shims - play around with them while at the pattern plate. I have the 400 Xplor I bought for my wife - she is RH and I am LH. I can change the shins in 5 minutes..

    As mentioned, 70-30 is a typical single shot trap gun %, but some of the newer guns with adjustable ribs can go from 90/10 to 50/50 (Fabarm is one).

    Point the gun at the bird, pull the trigger and remember to follow through. The Xcel is fairly flat shooting, so as the straight away starts to rise, swing up through the bird and as your muzzle blocks the bird, pull the trigger and keep the gun moving.

    Remington has a brochure on trap fundamentals
  11. PJ-Hunter

    PJ-Hunter Well-Known Member

    Awesome! Thanks.

    Last night I shot a 22 at the 16, team handicapped to the 22 and I shot a 19.

    Total score was an improvement.

    What's this about shims on the Beretta? I have nothing in my box. It does fit me pretty well, I think. I shoulder it the same and lay my cheek on the stock the same every time. As a long time archer I have trained myself to get the "feel" every time and if it doesn't feel quite right, bring it down and start over.
  12. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

    The A400 Xcel, like all new Berettas (and most of the older 390 and 391 models) come with shims to adjust the cast and drop - there is a black nylon one that goes between the stock and the rear of the receiver, and a corresponding metal one that goes inside the stock at the stock bolt. You can adjust for both LH and RH cast and more or less drop at heel using them - but you need to read the directions about installing them correctly or you can crack your stock. It isn't hard, but it makes a LOT of difference - I am LH and 6'3, my wife is RH and 5'8. 5% minutes making the change and the gun goes from fitting her to a T to doing the same for me
  13. throdgrain

    throdgrain Well-Known Member

    Remember this folks, it's the truth :)

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