Pump for Trap shooting

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Oct 22, 2010
Flagstaff AZ
I am just now getting into trap shooting. Just want to have some fun. No competition or anything like taht. Just some at ease trap shooting.
My question is:

Is my 12 ga pump good to use. I have a S&W 3000. It has has a 26in barrel with fixed IC for a choke. I am going to use 7 1/2 shot as the load.
For casual use, a pump is fine for busting clays. Lots of guys have gotten very good running one for trap with a little time and practice.

Improved cylinder might be a touch open for anything you're not hitting fairly fast, but it's certainly doable.

Go out and have fun. :)
I shoot trap for fun, mostly, but I also use it as practice for the occasion when I can shoot some real birds. For rhat reason, I use my 870. I've never gotten a single weird look or comment, even with the magazine extension I'm usually too lazy to take off.
I think you're going to get really frustrated shooting an IC choke. It's way to open of a choke and you'll have way less birds break. If its all you have, then roll with it, but I'd bet you'll be looking to get something with a tighter choke really soon.
I've never understood that. I cant see why you think you will break more clays with a tight choke than a more open choke, indeed I'd say quite the reverse.

You may get more dusted, clean breaks with a tight choke, but not more breaks generally.

I shot English sporting clays for a year or so every week with a fixed skeet choke 1100, and can't say that I missed anything through lack of choke. Lack of skill on occasion sure, but not choke :)
True, but IC is a very open choke, good for Skeet (done that) but something a tad tighter would be better for Trap.

I started shooting Trap using a Rem 870 with a fixed full choke barrel and upgraded to a ribbed barrel with choke tubes. Dropping from Full to IM choke was a vast improvement, but more open than that would be too much IMO.

Maybe IC would work if you shot heavy hunting loads to get the shot density up. Dunno, never tried that.

Personally, if all I had was a fixed IC choke with a pump, I'd go for Skeet. The choke is right and Station 7 doubles are a blast with a pump; I've shot Skeet with that Rem 870 using 26' barrel with IC choke tube.
Shooting skeet and shooting trap are very different. Trap is generally a farther distance from the bird to the shooter. The longer "shot" is in the air, it spreads out more. I started shoot trap with a MOD choke and averaged a 12-14. Bought a full choke barrel and jumped to a 17-19.
That's just my opinion from my experience.
From the 16 yard line, you should be fine. If you decide to get serious, you will be getting something else, like the BT-99 and a M, IM,or F will suffice as you progress and move backwards
Now for some facts...

The 7-1/2 shot will, in fact, help with the range/pattern a tad but not well enough really for Trap, sorry. IC will take your 30" pattern out to 20 yards. 20 meters with the heavier pellets let's say. The average Trap bird is busted at 36 yards (from 16 yards from the Traphouse). So, you're shotgun will be perfect to shoot Trap if you are standing ON the Traphouse when you call "pull." IM is pretty standard for non-handicap Trap.
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I am not a trapshooter or even a skeet shooter (unlike our President). I thought the marks indicating choke on a barrel were merely guides, not gospel. I was under the impression that you should pattern a shotgun to see what and where it is hitting. Like I said, not a shotgunner.
Arizona, I'm not an expert, I'll just pass on something that helped me. After not hitting and not hitting with my 20 ga Win pump FC, I made up a special frame and patterned the gun with several loads. All it told me was... it looks OK (40yards). Still couldn't hit. Maybe it's me not getting on the gun correctly (I had not used a shotgun in a looong time)? So I set a few birds on some scrub oak bushes so that they were at 40 yards about 4 ft of the ground and edge on, just like they were flying away. Helped me get on the gun properly and might help you decide if the IC is going to work for you.

Just a thought.
Arizona, if you are trapshooting clays launched from an ATA sanctioned traphouse, the target's initial velocity is about 42 to 45 mph. With the open chokes, any delay in getting onto target means a more sparse pattern the target can fly through.
Now for some facts...

The 7-1/2 shot will, in fact, help with the range/pattern a tad

Sorry shot size has NOTHING to do with patterns, choke does. Shot size does help at distance with maintaining a higher velocity longer - but for all intended purposes, the difference is insignificant

An IC choke can break clay targets out to a distance many would not assume it could. Is it the ideal choke for trap? Not by a longshot, but i have had my best round with an 1100 in 28 gauge and a skeet choke from the 16 - I was only there to get used to a brand new gun before heading to the 5-stand and sporting. For starting out, he'll be fine. If he wants to get serious, the 32 or 34" gun with the m or IM choke will follow soon after
My shotgun of choice for pretty much everything is my 20 gauge 870 Special Field. I use a full choke tube and either 7 or 9 shot for trap.

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You can spend a stack of money on a custom trap gun and still shoot poorly. Or you can practise, practise, practise with your field pump gun and have a great time while improving your scores. Most shooters prefer #8 shot.

I have gone trap shooting with a police edition 870 12ga pump many times. I get the occasional look, namely for the side shell carrier, collapsible stock and red dot. Pump is the jack of all trades for shotguns.
Sorry shot size has NOTHING to do with patterns, choke does. Shot size does help at distance with maintaining a higher velocity longer - but for all intended purposes, the difference is insignificant

An IC choke can break clay targets out to a distance many would not assume it could...

Oh for cryin' out loud...

Arizona, you have to speak with serious, experienced, shooters for coaching (I'd recommend the professionals at the ranges) and read up on this stuff some day if really interested. To prove this commonly known effect try a little exagerated experiment yourself which everyone here whose ever noticed can attest to for you: see which has a tighter pattern from the exact same same cylinder bore or Improved Cylinder choke, birdshot or buckshot? It will be obvious it is the buckshot. Same choke, different shot, different spread...

Pellet size effects pattern. In fact, "back in the day" shooters who were constrained to fixed-choke barrels, which was the norm, regularly gravitated to a specific shot size to optimize their pattern, i.e. #9 for Full and 7-1/2 for Modified chokes. They still can...

Welcome to Trap shooting Arizona!
And your experience is?? I admit, I have only been shooting competitively for 35 years, so I still have a lot to learn - why don't you cite your facts?
I started with a 12g Rem 870 and it worked just fine. I have a buddy who shots a benneli nova, and he out shoots plenty of guys with much more expensive guns. In the end you need to just find something that fits you and go with it. My favorite trap gun is a stoeger uplander 20g side by side. There is just something about that gun that clicks with me.
I shoot a pump for all events & yardage... 1 gun with a fixed full choke, 30" bbl.


Here's a little chart about shotgun ballistics that helped me alot when choosing shot size... hope it helps you too;

There are several league trophies on the wall behind me I won shooting trap/skeet with my 870 pump.

The doubles were ... um ... interesting!
choke ?

I vote for the full choke on trap, based on my experience. One thing, not mentioned, is the stock. Trap guns are a bit higher at the comb, thus making the gun shoot a bit high which is perfect for a rising going away target. You might try covering the bird with the barrel just at the moment you pull the trigger. My .02
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