Beginner Trap Gun ?....Suggestions

Not open for further replies.


Dec 26, 2002
San Francisco Bay Area
I took my new 870 to the range last weekend. I was going to pattern it, but it started to rain.

While I was waiting and watching, they had a trap shooting "competition" going on. Looked fun. I've never shot trap before, thought I might like to try it.

The 870 I just bought will be a HD gun. I know at 20" and an 8 shot, this is not the right gun for trap.

Any suggestions for a basic gun, to go try trap shooting with ?

If it matters, I'm 40's, 6 foot, 200+.

Tom, plenty of trap records have been set with 870s. I used one, an 870TB, to start trapshooting. A friend has it now and has run them a half dozen times with it.

870s last forever, have tons of aftermarket stuff and cost less than a week's pay.

Look around for a trap grade 870 or make an equivalent. You need a long barrel either tightly choked or with Remchokes. Get the stock to fit, pattern to determine POI/POA, and have fun.

Rather than taking your HD gun apart every range trip, I suggest you just get another 870.

I also started shooting trap with a 870 trap that I bought for 300.00. Darn thing shot very well. If you want to find a used trap 870 for not a million dollars, visit state trapshoots, vendors come, and some private sales there. Jaquas is a good place to start if you wanna start looking for one tonite. I think I saw one in stock for 325.00 Check out their website, they have a online list
Personally, pump action on the trap line drive me nuts. Not that my peculiarities should influence your choice of gun, but they mostly irk me because they seem to be a bit frustrating for the people shooting them too.

If the microphones are at all sensitive, you will send clays flying when you eject your spent shell, possibly when you close the action too. I get that with my semi sometimes, but not as often as the guys with pumps. They do seem to just have a different rhythm than break actions and semis, and sometimes that seems disconcerting to the folks shooting them.

These aren't good reasons to avoid an 870, but just things to think about. I can say that of the two times I've gone shooting with beginning trap shooters with 870s, both times the shooter felt a bit awkward and commented that they wished they had a different gun. Not trying to step on toes, and anecdotal evidence isn't, but I doubt if my husband will want to go trapshooting with me again until we get a different gun for him. He was shooting an 870 Wingmaster.
We are not quite so sophisticated around here.......... Hell, we still call PULL for a target. I'd be happy to see a new shooter show up with an 870. I'm 39 years old and I'm tired of being the "kid" at the range. I don't want to see our sport die with the old timers.
Get a longer vent rib barrel for your 870 and you'll do fine.
I don't want to be taking apart my 870 all the time.

A second gun is the way I want to go. Something reasonably priced, in case I suck at trap.

What barrel length should I be looking for ?

Thanks for the input.
A beginning Trap Gun to me is a BT 99. It's a $1,200-1,400 gun but it is specifically set up for Trap.

There are Trap versions of many guns including 870's and 1100's that are less expensive.

It may be a good idea to look for a gun that has a high comb with a raised rib that fits you well. That could be just about any brand or model. You can also build up the comb on a field or skeet gun to meet your needs.
Last edited:
One caveat re trap singles like the BT-99.

I have a BT. It's a good trap gun, for beginners and experienced shooters. It's good for absolutely NOTHING besides trap, though.

If you really think trap is what you want to shoot, go for it. The BT is probably what you will eventually buy, anyway.

However, if what you really want to do is shoot some trap, skeet, sporting clays or 5 stand because it all looks fun, then I'd slow down before making a buying decision. There are guns that will let you do all of the above.

And you can hit trap targets with an 870 Express just fine. It just doesn't have a built-in vertical lead.

Yes, a high rib might help if you get serious about competition and want more of an edge, though even then it takes some adjustment to get used to the thing, and some more if you want to go back to shooting a more general-purpose gun.

Trap favors longer, heavier guns. A 28" pump gun will suffice -- it's about as long as a 32" BT-99. To me, the way the gun swings matters a lot more than the rib.

But anyway, consider what you really want to do with the gun before getting a gun like a BT which is specifically for American Trap, and is used only for that and some trap games (Annie Oakleys, Chip Shoots, etc.) Most clay target shooting other than American Trap (including International Trap, any kind of Skeet, 5-stand, Sporting Clays, and Doubles Trap) involves at least the option of taking 2 shots.
Last edited:
Pumps are fine for trap. I shoot a Model 12. If the canterburys pick it up, then the sensetivity needs to be adjusted down. Or a common dish sponge in the mic will help.
I've been using and OLD 870TB and a fixed full for nearly a decade. Some trap guys are anal on the line so I wouldn't load the shell into the magazine and then run the action - just throw it into the port and close the action.

I wouldn't invest a lot into a new gun, unless you really want a dedicated trap gun. My advice would be to buy a 30" BBL from Remington for $130 and use that for trap. As a general rule: use what ever you are good with. A field gun can put you at a disadvantage, but again if you can break 'em with it does it matter? I'd love to have a nice O/U, but my 870 is good enough and I have made guys with $30,000 Perazzis angry.

The Boom Stick:
I'm really confused. The man said he has an HD-style 870 and wants recs on a gun for trap. He reiterated that he wants a different gun.

If he had asked "Can I use an 870 for trap?" then the answer would be yes.
If he had asked "Can I shoot trap very well with an 870?" then the answer would still be yes.

If he had asked "What's a good all-around shotgun that I can use for trap in addition to lots of general shooting?" then 870 would still be the best answer.

And yeah, the 870 is a fine all-around shotgun.

But when a man asks for recommendations for a trap gun, I see nothing wrong with recommending a TRAP GUN.

That said, a used BT-99 will be readily resellable if you don't like the game or want to progress on to an O/U or a higher end trap gun. And don't give it up if you suck at it, only if you don't like it! There is a whole lot more technique than it look like and after getting the basics down getting from most of the clays to nearly all of the clays can take a long time. I suck pretty bad, but I enjoy it and am learning new things every week about how to get better. It is just a very, very technique intensive game.
Sure, but if you spend the money on a regular O/U instead of a trap single, you can shoot trap as well as anything else you want. I'm contemplating selling my BT for that reason. If I go shooting after work, it's hard to have a collection of guns with me.

And the 870 Classic Trap (or TB, TC, etc.) is a trap gun. It's just not a break-action trap gun.

If you shoot at a range where old jerks have nothing better to do than sneer at a pump gun, and you don't have the fortitude to tell them where to stick it, I guess you have to get a break action.

Where I shoot, the geezers have all sorts of guns, including pumps, usually all in the rack at the same time, and they're really nice guys. If they're not, find another range. You won't learn how to shoot from a bunch of jerks anyway.

The last thing I'd do, though, is spend too much on a specialized trap gun before I had any experience shooting trap. It's hard to know what feels right when you have no point of reference. Try it first, IMO. If you have to buy a gun to do that, get a cheap one that's utilitarian and will serve other purposes, like hunting. Then, once you have a bit of experience, figure out what you really want and buy it.
You are 100% correct Armed Bear. Trap guns tend to be among the top lines for nearly every manufacture. Trap guns tend to be shot at the range only and as such don't generally exhibit the wear that a regular field gun might. Used trap guns may have had several hundred thousand rounds through them - so I would have used examples thoroughly examined first. My 870 had 200k+ rounds though it before I bought it. A BT or any dedicated trap gun is unlikely to have any real problem with it, but I'd still err. on the side of caution.

Honestly, the best beginner trap gun is the one you own!

I would shoot it a few times and decide if it is a game that you would like to make an investment in. You should try a few different guns and then spend the money on what is best for you. The BT is an excellent gun, but I'd prefer an O/U since the extra weight out front gives me a better swing. When you go to buy it make sure it fits properly and I'd avoid ones with a 10 way adjustable stock. Trap is shot in a gun up position, and as such the guns are setup for you have it mounted before you call for a target. Trap guns tend to shoot high, so when you mount the gun the mid-bead should be under the front bead making a figure 8. Trap guns also generally set... bla, bla, bla...

Seriously, just throw a modified or full choke in the gun you have and have at it! If you like it then buy the equipment!
Sure, but if you spend the money on a regular O/U instead of a trap single, you can shoot trap as well as anything else you want. I'm contemplating selling my BT for that reason. If I go shooting after work, it's hard to have a collection of guns with me.

Oh sure, I was more taking exception with the couple of posters who seemed to indicate that an 870, any 870 (with a 28" or so barrel) is the most ideal gun for trap, and that it is anal or sophisticated or pretentious to even suggest that a different action has certain advantages in trap, even for a beginner, who, btw, started thread asking for suggestion for different guns.
I took up shooting trap when I was 2 or 21. I was using an 870 Express w/ a 28" barrell. The best I ever shot was 24 out of the 25, with a bare bones 870!
I put the gun down in '95. I've shot twice since say I've gotten rusty is an understatement!!! :eek:
I saw a dedicated trap gun at one of the larger chain stores (don't remember if it was Dick's or Gander), but it was a Russian Remington (maybe Baikal), used Rem chokes, 30" VR barrel, high comb stock, and was ported. It had an unusual method of opening the action, utilizing a lever that was located underneath by the trigger guard. Only saw it once and then on my next visit it was gone and haven't seen another one since. I think it was priced something like $179 or $199. Seemed like a decent gun to try trap with, and if you didn't like it, you're not out that much if you go to sell it.
Bannock, You are talking about the Remington Spartan. I saw those at the Grand American. It is made for Remington by Bikail - Bakail ... something like that. They shoot pretty good from wat I hear.
Yeah, I mean for the money, if you just wanted to get your feet wet, without laying out that much; seemed like a decent buy. Granted the cosmetics (dull bluing and unusual wood finish), leave something to be desired; but the broad rib, beavertail forearm, and blaze orange sight add more positive features to the gun.
Went out this morning to check the "pre-owned" inventory. None of the 4 shops had much, but this is California.

Looking online, found a few used Wingmasters in the $300-400 range, but I really don't like to buy sight unseen.

I did "pattern" my HD 870 this afternoon. Put a box of light trap loads through it. Shot nice.

Thanks for the advice and input.
I don't know if California allows gun shows but I just attended one here in IN last weekend and saw quite a few different trap guns. That would give you a selection and price range to choose from and also be able to see and inspect them:)
There is a show weekend after next.

Problem is there usually aren't any GUNS at the gun show.

But I'll go anyway. Need some ammo, which is about all the show is good for.
Not open for further replies.