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Old December 16, 2014, 01:21 AM   #1
Sheepdog1968
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Have any of you actually seen trap score go up by changing shotguns?

I tend to strongly believe it's the User and not the tool.

In the trap league I tend to hit 21 give or take two out of 25. Though I am no threat to top competitors I am generally happy with these scores and happy with the shotgun I use. It's a nothing special pump 28" barrel fixed mid choke that I like a lot because I've used it a lot. I've been thinking if getting a different shotgun just to spice things up a bit. In theory, the new shotgun should be better for trap. I'm not convinced I will do better but just want to have more than one shotgun to take tot he range.

Have any of you actually seen your shotgun choice increase you scores at any of the clay shooting sports? Just curious. If so what was the reason in your opinion you were doing better.
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Old December 16, 2014, 02:09 AM   #2
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Shotgun fit increases your score.

If your old gun doesn't quit fit you, even though you think it does?
And it can't be changed easily?
And the new gun does fit you better, or has an adjustable stock shim kit?

Your scores will go up.
No two ways about it.

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Old December 16, 2014, 03:57 AM   #3
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Putting a monte carlo stock on my Browning BPS increased my score about 1.5 per game. As rcmodel says, that was a fit issue. Except for fit, I'm not convinced that anything about substantially more expensive shotguns improves the user's performance to a statistically significant degree.

Or at minimum, it's a serious question of diminishing returns. A $2,000 gun gives some advantages over a $300 gun, but I would be shocked if a $20,000 gun gives another sizable bump in statistically-significant performance over a $2,000 gun.

All in all, once I got the fit sorted with a different stock, I never once felt that my gun (a Browning BPS pump) was the limiting factor shooting trap instead of myself.
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Old December 16, 2014, 04:59 AM   #4
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i have known shooters who could not shoot a 15-25 with a 10,000 shotgun and i have known shooters who could shoot 25-25 with a 159.00 mossberg pump, i watched a young man shoot a 42-50 at sporting clays with a mossberg pump and another young man shoot a 48-50 at trap with a old stevens pump. i think the shooter come first and then a gun that will throw good patterns and then a gun that shoots where you look(fit). if they can come together you will be on you way. the higher end shotguns tend to last alot longer.eastbank.
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Old December 16, 2014, 05:52 AM   #5
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I don't shoot clays with any formality, but I have had better scores (and worse scores) with different shotguns.

I did ok with my Mav 88, did terrible with my mom's SxS 20 gauge, did the best with my step-dad's Remington 1100 20 gauge. Haven't taken out my Remington 48 semi to the trap range yet, so who knows how well I'll do with that.

So yes, scores can change with equipment.

I've found that if the shooter doesn't know what they're doing in the first place, changing equipment probably won't help. But if you take away their tacticool HD shotgun with 18.5" open bore barrel, 6 position pistol grip stock, heat shield, side saddle and reflex sight, and replace it with a shotgun designed and suitable for busting clays, their score may improve.
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Old December 16, 2014, 06:44 AM   #6
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Not trap specifically, but Skeet and Sporting, yes. For me. Borrow or try a gun that looks or feels good, bingo. Buy it, and scores quickly went back down below where they were. Same effect happened with golf clubs. Once I documented and cataloged this phenomena, I was thereafter able to save a lot of money.
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Old December 16, 2014, 10:03 AM   #7
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Fit and balance are critical, even in trap, let alone sporting clays. If you want a very decent trap single, look for a Browning BT-99. If it fits you your scores should do well. It is amazing what a good trigger and better balance can do for your scores.
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Old December 16, 2014, 11:27 AM   #8
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Most shooters that start out shooting a field gun will get to somewhere around a 22-23 average with a lot of practice. Once you hit that point, having a dedicated trap gun that fits you, you should start seeing a lot more 25 straights. Of course it will always take some practice to get used to any new gun. You can't just pick up a Kolar or Perazzi and expect to shoot 25's automatically.
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Old December 16, 2014, 03:53 PM   #9
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Yeah, almost every year. I try something new from May on through summer league. Maybe a BT99, a Citori, a Cynergy, a new stock on the 1100. Work my way up to 96 or so percent. Come fall tournament season, I bring out the 42 year old 870TB and break (smoke) more birds per event than I've been doing all season. Some years I just stick with old Tibby and do just fine. Forty years later I guess my body has adapted to fit it and it alone.
Fit and good practice are the two main things. I even shoot it for sweet with a different barrel and carry a 92 average with it.
Third thing, get your eyes checked by a shooting ophthalmologist.
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Old December 16, 2014, 05:05 PM   #10
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In addition to better fit, a new gun might pattern better. What I realized though when I went from a CZ 912 to a Beretta A400 with kickoff, a new gun might have softer recoil (by a lot!) I used to get banged up pretty good by my 912, but I can shoot 6 rounds of trap with my A400 with no discomfort.
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Old December 16, 2014, 05:47 PM   #11
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If you want to be competitive at a high level, then yes you'll need a good gun. If you look at the larger competitions (satellite grands etc) if you're not shooting 99-100 in singles consistently you're not going to be winning. Consequently, a shooter who is/wants to be competitive in that arena will want to do everything he can to minimize the chances of missing even one target.

Fit is the biggest thing. When I shot my first hundred rounds after getting my stock worked on/fitted, my score went up nearly 10 targets. I'm also not sure I've met anyone who has seen a decent factory choke tube. A good, consistent pattern can definitely help you pick up targets. Ammo also plays a role here as just like with rifle shooting, shotguns will pattern differently with different ammo. It was surprising to me how different the brands of ammo could be. Other things like lengthened forcing cones may help with patterning, but they definitely help reduce felt recoil which is definitely appreciated when you're spending a week at a competition shooting several hundred rounds a day. Triggers can also be improved on in some cases, for example on my Browning XT, the difference in trigger pull from 1st to 2nd shot was horrendous. Once that got sorted out I picked up a few extra targets in doubles.

The biggest thing a Perazzi or other upper level competition gun offers above less expensive guns is longevity. If you ask the browning armorers at the Grand, they'll be upfront in telling you that the Citori XT (sold as a gun specifically for trap) is not really designed to stand up to the round counts that competition shooters put through the guns and that eventually the gun will fail. It's also not fun finding a smith to do armorer level maintenance twice a season.

All that to say, there are definitely reasons for the tricked out trap guns. Every little thing that gets changed has a purpose. However if you're a more casual shooter or even just doing local competitions, after making sure the gun fits you're not likely to see enough benefit in the other changes to be worth the additional cost.
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Old December 16, 2014, 05:50 PM   #12
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As usual, rcmodel hit the nail on the head. The reality is that you can get pretty dang good at contorting yourself to make an ill-fitting gun work for you, but the consistency just won't be there the way that it will be with a gun that actually fits.
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Old December 17, 2014, 02:21 AM   #13
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Many thanks for all the feedback. Making it fit seems to be a constant theme. Do any of you have any recommendations on where to get this done. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area if that helps.
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I think Thor's hammer was an 45-70 lever action loaded with Garrett cartridges.

I find that 90% of the questions asked here have been answered 20 or more years ago by Jeff Cooper in his Gargantuan Gunsite Gossip books.

Best website I have ever seen regarding gun facts and figures for your discussions with others:

http://www.gunfacts.info/
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Old December 17, 2014, 09:28 AM   #14
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Try Dale Tate at Camanche Hills in Ione. He was trained at Purdey:

http://www.camhills.com/Dale_Tate_link_2.pdf
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Old December 17, 2014, 02:46 PM   #15
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I was shooting about 18-19 with my 60's browning A5 20ga. I bought a browning gold 12ga and i started shooting 21-22 almost immediately. Not sure if it is the gun or going from 20 to 12 ga. The gold fits me great. It shoots where i point it.
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Old December 17, 2014, 02:51 PM   #16
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The gold fits me great. It shoots where i point it.
IF that is true, then you found your answer.....
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Old December 17, 2014, 11:26 PM   #17
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Thanks oneounce. Dale Tate is reasonably close to me. The other issue I need to address is cross dominance. I need to squint my left eye when shooting right handed. The biggest drawback is that I don't pick up the clays as fast that way. In Trap league that begins around March I'm going to shoot left handed mostly because I want to get more trigger time left handed from a self defense perspective. Should be interesting to see what it does to my scores. Of course, I think I will need to then make a decision on which side I want to shoot trap from. Over the course of a season I usually shoot 2000-3000 rounds so that should help me get comfortable on my left side. I've also heard all the arguments about cross dominance. I just need to see for myself if my trap scores change.
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I think Thor's hammer was an 45-70 lever action loaded with Garrett cartridges.

I find that 90% of the questions asked here have been answered 20 or more years ago by Jeff Cooper in his Gargantuan Gunsite Gossip books.

Best website I have ever seen regarding gun facts and figures for your discussions with others:

http://www.gunfacts.info/
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Old December 18, 2014, 02:38 AM   #18
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As it was explained to me by competitive shooters, a normal bird hunting shotgun is patterned to throw it's load over the area that is blotted out by the muzzle.

A trap-specific gun is patterned to throw it's load immediately above (at 12 o'clock) the area it is pointed at. In other words, the trap gun's muzzle does not usually blot out the target. So the target remains within your field of vision as it rises away from you. As a result, the trap gun's 'high' pattern meets the rising target.

I tried it out and the good trap shooters were right.

The well fitted trap gun places your eye behind the barrel such that the barrel points immediately below where you are looking, rather than right where the muzzle is pointing. It may be a subtle difference, but switching from hunting to trap setups takes a bit of adjustment.
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Old December 18, 2014, 10:56 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twofifty View Post
As it was explained to me by competitive shooters, a normal bird hunting shotgun is patterned to throw it's load over the area that is blotted out by the muzzle.

A trap-specific gun is patterned to throw it's load immediately above (at 12 o'clock) the area it is pointed at. In other words, the trap gun's muzzle does not usually blot out the target. So the target remains within your field of vision as it rises away from you. As a result, the trap gun's 'high' pattern meets the rising target.

I tried it out and the good trap shooters were right.

The well fitted trap gun places your eye behind the barrel such that the barrel points immediately below where you are looking, rather than right where the muzzle is pointing. It may be a subtle difference, but switching from hunting to trap setups takes a bit of adjustment.
Thanks. When I started it took me a while to figure out my shotgun and where I needed to have the bead in relationship to the clay at each station. The best thing I did to help myself was after about 500-1000 rounds go on a slow day and shoot 25 clays in a row at each station. This past season which ran 40 weeks (four ten week seasons with some breaks in between) my brother and I were put on a team with three new individuals who really hadn't shot much trap. Their scores were low at first. My brother and I didn't care as they showed up on time for league which was more important to us than anything. They lamented their scores. We told them not to worry as somewhere around 1000 rounds they would be shooting fine. Sure enough they are.

Speaking of shotguns. I needed to send my pump in as under recoil a shell from the tube would come out under recoil. For most trap that isn't an issue but for 5 stand it is and we are doing that in this ten week season. While waiting for my pump to come back I decided to borrow my brothers stoeger side by side just to try something different. I didn't pattern it. One week we went and shot normal trap where I know I will normally hit 21 give or take three out of 25. I must have hit half as many over the two games. My past leads weren't working. I'm sure if I patterned it I would have an idea of where it is hitting relative to my pump. My bigger lesson learned is when I switch to a different shotgun I will need to check poa poi and then expect there to be some transition to relearn some subtle lead changes.
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I think Thor's hammer was an 45-70 lever action loaded with Garrett cartridges.

I find that 90% of the questions asked here have been answered 20 or more years ago by Jeff Cooper in his Gargantuan Gunsite Gossip books.

Best website I have ever seen regarding gun facts and figures for your discussions with others:

http://www.gunfacts.info/
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Old December 18, 2014, 11:54 AM   #20
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Not changing guns exactly, but changing gun fit....

I've been taking our youngest daughter shooting at a local trap range since just before thanksgiving. She's been hitting anywhere between 3 and 7 out of a round of 25. She's been using one of my son's guns, a Win 1300, and it doesn't fit her very well. Over the weekend, I did a short redneck fitting on her for that gun. The LOP is still too long, but not by much. It has a thinner pad on it so the LOP about 13.5". The biggest problem was that the comb was way too low and to the left for her. She's shooting left-handed so I built up the stock on the comb about 1/2" and about 3/8" to the inside so her left eye was more-or-less lined up with the rib. I used the finest in craft foam and vet wrap.

We went shooting last night and she got 16 on the first round and 18 on the second. I'm still working with her on getting a consistent mount, but we're not worried about it too much with this gun. She's getting a Mossberg 500 Bantam for Christmas next week and it should fit her much better. This spring she went shooting with a church group and that is the gun that she used and it seemed to fit her much better. If it needs to be adjusted, it can be shimmed much easier than the 1300 because of the flat mating surface between the stock and receiver. Or I could just use decorative camo vet wrap and seal it in clear epoxy.

Matt
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Old December 18, 2014, 01:28 PM   #21
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When I started it took me a while to figure out my shotgun and where I needed to have the bead in relationship to the clay at each station.
STOP that right now. Once you get the mounted where you want it, STOP looking at the bead, using your off hand you guide (point) the muzzle from your hold point to your breakpoint focusing ONLY on the clay. Looking at the bead will cause you to miss behind every time

If you have a slight dominance issue, the fuzzy tape dots on your off eye lens can do wonders
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Old December 18, 2014, 04:46 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Sheepdog1968 View Post
Have any of you actually seen your shotgun choice increase you scores at any of the clay shooting sports? Just curious. If so what was the reason in your opinion you were doing better.
-I- didn't get to see it, but I -did- have a =very= excited customer I sold a Beretta 682 Gold E to a few years back call me and say he had just shot 22 and 21 birds with the Beretta ... and his previous best had been 18 (don't know what he was shooting then)

Think about it for a moment ... if a purpose built/higher quality gun would =not= improve your score .. .why would anyone buy them? How many Remington 870's do you see shooting "big time" trap/skeet?
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Old December 18, 2014, 05:03 PM   #23
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Yup, mine sure did.
I was shooting a Wingmaster with a 30" fixed full choke. I averaged anywhere between17-21. Ended up getting a Tikka 412s in a trade and my first time out with it, I shot a 25. Haven't shot bellow a 20 since getting it.

A proper fitting gun can certainly make a difference.
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Old December 18, 2014, 06:17 PM   #24
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Quote:
-I- didn't get to see it, but I -did- have a =very= excited customer I sold a Beretta 682 Gold E to a few years back call me and say he had just shot 22 and 21 birds with the Beretta ... and his previous best had been 18 (don't know what he was shooting then)

Think about it for a moment ... if a purpose built/higher quality gun would =not= improve your score .. .why would anyone buy them? How many Remington 870's do you see shooting "big time" trap/skeet?
* Break-action guns are definitely more convenient for the user. With my BPS, to load a round into the chamber, I flip the gun over, slide the slide slightly to retract the ejector bars, drop the round in, slide the slide fully to chamber the round, flip it back over, and shoulder it. And after the round of trap, I get to pick 25 hulls off the ground. Break-action guns don't have those extra hassles, which if you're shooting a half-dozen rounds of trap in an afternoon is a big convenience improvement (but doesn't make a difference in your score).
* Break-action guns typically have more attractive craftsmanship and nicer materials from an aesthetic/luxury perspective, even though that doesn't make a performance difference.
* For skeet and for double trap, an O/U allows for much faster second shots than a pump like the 870, and also allows you to use different chokes in the different barrels if you want.
* Expensive guns sometimes have more customizable ergonomics, making it easier and quicker for someone to get the fit "right" than with an inexpensive pump. If I had an adjustable comb on my BPS Hunter, I could have raised the comb to the height I wanted with a wrench instead of a replacement buttstock.

None of those factors, though, will make a $3,000 break-action shoot a higher score for a shooter in single trap than a $500 pump, assuming both guns have been made to fit the shooter equally well.
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Old December 18, 2014, 09:29 PM   #25
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Then you have not shot those better guns. If what you say was true, then no one would spend $15,000 on a Ljutic or Silver Seitz and they would all be shooting cheap POS pumps. The reality is they don't
When you get serious about competition, then perhaps you will realize that the Mossberg pump is NOT the be all end all.

And, BTW, $3000 is barely at the entry level for serious comp guns in any of the clay disciplines
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