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Old February 1, 2000, 08:26 PM   #1
GKT
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I shot trap for the first time this weekend and am interested in getting a starter gun. A couple of you were really helpful earlier this week and was able to hone down my search. I went to a gun shop today and they had a used 870 Trap selling for $239. I know this gun is at least 20 years old, but it's a good condition. A little superficial rusting, but it looks like it'll clean up pretty easily.

So whaddya think? It seems like a good way to start into the sport and then move to an O/U when I have a better clue as to what the heck I'm doing.

As always, any wisdom would be appreciated!
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Old February 1, 2000, 09:00 PM   #2
TheOtherMikey
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Ok, GKT, here is the "skinney". Trap shooting is basically a break-open sport. This is not to say that a lot of good competators do not use pump or automatic shotguns. The biggest thing is to have the shotgun sighted by the factory as a "trap" shotgun. This means that the shotgun shoots slightly (like a foot) high so you can keep your eye on the bird.

There are a bunch of guys at my R&G club who shoot autos and pumps. It is a matter of personal preference. I got started with a 22 year old Browning BT-99 which had seen its best times. Still, I do OK with it. Why not get the seller to allow you to use it for a round or two of trap and then decide what you want to do. I paid $425 for my Browning and your price isn't all that much so you don't habve a whole lot to use.

Shoot what feels best to YOU. Regards, and good luck, MIkey.

------------------
Retired, Broke, and In Need of Brass, Powder, and Shot. Will Work To Shoot!
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Old February 1, 2000, 10:36 PM   #3
Hueco
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When you consider that the price of a new 870, you have a decent deal on your hands. If you can pattern it -- do it. Shoot from 35 yards, with all chokes at least once. You should have about 60% on top, and 40% on bottom. Check for large holes. As far as getting it to shoot high (which it should if it is shooting properly), you can do a few things.

Put a mid bead on if there isn't already one. This way you can "aim" high more consistently.

Adjust the stock at the point where the butt-stock meets the receiver by loosening it (stock from the receiver) and placing shim at the top/bottom/left/right to make the gun shoot where you want it to. I suppose this is a bit like sighting in a rifle. But I hate to make metaphores between the two.

Play with your chokes and loads. Patterns have a lot to do with the chokes of course. But the load you are shooting does too. Reload a variety of loads and pattern them with the different chokes. Load different dram equiv., shot weights, different shot sizes, different wads, different hulls, and different primers. BUT FOLLOW THE RELOADING GUIDE TO THE DOT. Just load a bunch of different loads, and see what works best.

If I am picturing the proper gun you are speaking of -- they are beautiful. Good luck! Trap is fun, isn't it?


Hueco
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Old February 1, 2000, 10:47 PM   #4
Hueco
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One more thing, I started on a pump. I have basically learned trap on a pump. I now want to move on to an auto or an o/u. There are so many basics that have to be engraved on your receiver...err, I mean brain. And they can be learned with a pump. The most important thing right now is to shoot, but to shoot properly. Spend the saved money on shooting time. You can shoot singles for a long time and have a ton fo fun before moving up to a doubles gun.


Hueco
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Old February 2, 2000, 05:45 AM   #5
Dave McC
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Trap guns get shot lot and lots. Luckily, you've one of the most durable shotguns ever there. If the thing hits for you,you're more than ready for singles,Doubles may be different.
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Old February 2, 2000, 12:24 PM   #6
GKT
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Thanks for the advice! I'll give the guy a call today and see if I can take it out.

Mikey...good words. At $239, you're right...not a lot to lose.

Hueco...you're the man. Good advice even if I only understood about half of what you said. So I'm supposed to choke the gun? There's an amusing picture.

Dave McC...thanks for taking time as well.

I'll keep y'all posted!

GKT
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Old February 2, 2000, 11:29 PM   #7
Hueco
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Hmmm, sorry to confuse you about chokes. Here is the deal, they are screw in tubes that constrict the shot as it leaves the muzzle. They control the spread of the pattern. With a wider choke, you get a wider and less dense patter. With a tight choke, you get a dense narrow pattern. In order from tightest to most open:

Extra-full
Full
Improved Modified
Modified
Improved Cyl.
Skeet
Cyl.

For trap I use a modified. I believe in skeet the going is Imp. Cyl. The extra full is for turkeys. Play with the chokes -- and pattern your gun at 35-40 yds will all that you have. Let me know if this is clearer -- it took me a while to understand chokes too.


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Old February 3, 2000, 02:33 AM   #8
GKT
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A-Ha! Thanks for that explanation, Hueco....that is actually very, very helpful!
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Old February 3, 2000, 07:49 AM   #9
muleshoe
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Did they put Rem. chokes on the 870's 20 years ago? I wasn't aware that they did. If not, you may want to invest in a new barrel that has them. The 870 is a tough gun and should serve you well. As long as there is no obvious abuse to the gun it should work just fine.

Oh yeah, I should add that most guys will tell you they didn't stick with the gun they started with. Even if they did spend a bunch on it, something else usually catches their eye. Enjoy.



------------------
bullet placement is gun control

[This message has been edited by muleshoe (edited February 03, 2000).]
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Old February 3, 2000, 02:08 PM   #10
cjb
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I think I would go for that 870. I shoot trap with a few older guys who use the 870 trap, and those ol'e boys can bust the birds! The question was brought up about the rem. chokes. If it dosent have them try to find a local gunsmith who can install screw chokes in the barrel you already have. At our shop we could set that barrel up for Briley tubes AND port it for less than a new Remington trap barrel.Shop around! Good luck!
Calvin
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Old February 3, 2000, 02:46 PM   #11
Hueco
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Yes, if the barrel that is installed now on the gun is not capable of using screw-in chokes...budget in a set of chokes, and a barrel job to allow the use of them. For starters I would get an Imp. Cyl., Mod., and an Imp. Mod. One of those should suit your shooting style very well. Good luck, and let me know of anything else you need help with!


Hueco
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Old February 3, 2000, 05:13 PM   #12
GKT
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The deed is done!

Picked up the 870 today and will try to get out with it this Saturday. You're right...I'll have to have it add the screw chokes but have the name of a gunsmith here in Seattle that is supposed to be great.

Thanks to all of you for the advice...I will smack some clays in your honor this weekend!

Thanks again,

GKT
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Old February 3, 2000, 05:24 PM   #13
muleshoe
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Congrats, was wondering if the barrel had a vent rib? If not, and along with the rust you mentioned might be a good enough excuse for a new barrel. Always got to have plenty of excuses.



------------------
bullet placement is gun control
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Old February 3, 2000, 07:14 PM   #14
Hueco
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Awesome man! I think you made the right choice on getting it. But jus ta few more things. The barrel is probably choke full. You are going to be shooting a fairly tight pattern. Don't be at all discouraged if you are not hitting as many as the first time you went. You were most likely using a more open-pattern choke then. But notice, when you do hit them...they will most likely be powdered as opposed to just being broken in two or three pieces. I noticed a huge difference when I switched from an imp. cly to a mod. I hit no less really, I just powdered a lot more. So have fun out there, and stay at it!!

And for heaven's sake -- pattern even if it is a fixed choke!! It helps to know where your gun is shooting (unless you have Superman-eyes and can see where each one of those 400+ pellets goes!!).


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Old February 4, 2000, 02:15 PM   #15
GKT
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Once again, I'm indebted....I'm going to head to the range tomorrow and will let you know how it goes!

Thanks again!

GKT
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Old February 17, 2000, 12:57 PM   #16
LongDuck
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So... how'd it go?!?
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Old February 18, 2000, 02:44 PM   #17
Hueco
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Yeah...c'mon, how did it shoot? You like it alright? How did it pattern? I am dyin gto know!


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Old February 18, 2000, 04:27 PM   #18
muleshoe
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Well? How did it shoot?

I hope your lack of response doesn't mean it blow up on you or something.

------------------
bullet placement is gun control
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Old February 18, 2000, 08:01 PM   #19
GKT
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You're killin' me!

I've gotten the gun out twice and have really enjoyed it. I don't have much basis for comparison but it seems to fit me pretty well. I did have a slight problem when I started out with the gun thumping me in the cheek...just a matter of figuring out how best to get around it. But I shot a couple 17s and one 19 last week on the 16-yard...can't seem to break 20!

I've been using Federal 7.5 shot, 1 1/8 ounce and a gentleman suggested I go down to 1 oz. to help cut down on recoil. I'll be giving that a try next week. The 870 is also lighter than the 1100 I tried out my first time out...and that took a little getting used to.

My biggest problem is figuring out what to do with my eyes. I'm cross-dominant (posted on this last week) and am still trying to get it dialed in. But like most things in life, the less I think about it, the more accurate I am. Go figure.

But all in all, I love it! Thanks for the great advice. I'm going to take a trap class sometime this month and am befriending a couple older guys at the range...hopefully I'll have a chance to try their O/U to compare.

This trap thing is waaaaaaay to addictive!
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Old February 19, 2000, 11:26 AM   #20
huntschool
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GKT

If you are slapping yourself in the face have someone that knows gunfit look at you. I am going to make the assumption the length of pull vs the height of comb needs some adj. You could do this yourself with a file and some sandpaper but it would be better to have someone else look.

As a Lev II NSCA instructor I get to see a number of folks that come to sporting clays with gun fit problems. Trap is no different.

On the loads....28 grm or 24 grm loads will do real well and break the hell out of thos hard eatin clays

Huntschool
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Old February 19, 2000, 12:37 PM   #21
K80Geoff
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GKT, I would definitely go to a gunfitter and have him fit the gun to you. Don't be afraid to make modifications to the stock, they will help your shooting and cut down on recoil. Once you know the proper measurements for the gun you can have a new gun altered to the same measurements.

Before you have screw chokes installed into the present barrel, look into buying a barrel with screw chokes. This may be cheaper and will allow you to use Remington rem chokes rather than some oddball choke tubes.

With a tight fixed (non screw in) choke, you might want to try different brands of shells to see which patterns best with your gun. Sometimes changing shells can alter the shot pattern and help you break more birds. Many of the oldtimers shoot fixed (Eg non screw in) chokes and do well with them. Learn to shoot your gun before you start changing chokes, believe me, it will help your game. Too often shooters blame poor performance on not having the right gun, or shells or glasses or shooting partners etc. Screw chokes are just one more thing to distract you from learning how to shoot. (OK, don't ask me how many choke tubes I have for my guns!).

Also, think about spending some money on lessons. It may seem expensive but will help you to learn to shoot. A good instructor can spot the little things you are doing wrong and correct you now before you learn too many bad habits. Just like golf or tennis, lessons at the beginning are important.

You may be able to find an instructor/ gunfitter who will help you to get started right.

My $.02 as usual

Geoff Ross
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Old February 20, 2000, 03:05 AM   #22
GKT
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Great advice! I'll do some calling around and see what I can find for lessons.

I also bought a mix of shells and will give 'em a whirl next weekend.

Thanks all!
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