View Full Version : Shooting Trap with short barrel--what load?

August 7, 2000, 12:46 PM

There have been several shooters posting here lately who shoot trap with shorter (18-20") barrels, me included.

One shooter uses magnum shells and notices an advantage over standard game loads. I have used standard game and target loads (mostly Fiocchi and Remington 7 1/2 shot), which work pretty well, and Winchester AA's, which seem to work a little better but have more "kick."

Anyone have any theories or experience to share on what loads will work best for trap out of a short barrel? I am trying to improve from 12-15 out of 25 to 20 or more.

Thanks and regards,


August 7, 2000, 01:15 PM
My experience is that larger shot has longer range and less spread out of my 18" barrel, which is probably the same performance in longer barrels, yes?

The larger shot I used recently happened to be in 3" magnum shells. Magnum shells have more shot (weight) for any given shot size load, and lower velocities, yes? My gut feel is that larger shot providing greater range has more influence than magnum versus non-mag for my informal clay shooting. I'm interested in and may try a magnum versus regular 2-3/4" shell comparison for large (#2 or #4) shot.

[This message has been edited by m3bullet (edited August 07, 2000).]

Dave McC
August 7, 2000, 02:36 PM
Whatever works...

Patterning(the P Word) is important here. Often a light load will give a better pattern than the barnburners, but one has to test to find out.

I like the AA trap loads in 7 1/2 for clays, and smaller birds.8s don't pattern nearly as well in THIS shotgun.This is in a 21" bbled Kitchen Table 870 built from parts.

Bbl length is not crucial for load effectiveness, it's more useful for sight radius and balance.

A hint,cheapo loads can be used, but I like to tighten the choke when using them to keep the pattern dense.

August 7, 2000, 05:13 PM
Most short barrel guns have open chokes which makes trap a little tougher because the game favors tighter chokes. I shoot a lot of trap and have done it with shorter barrels but my scores do drop. My preferred load is 1-1/8 ounce of very hard shot because it patterns tighter.

Shooting trap with 3 inch magnum loads is for those a lot tougher than me. I'd be ready to pack it in after one round. Secondly, I probably wouldn't want to shoot beside someone with 3" shells and an 18" barrel. It's a lot louder combination than the typical trapgun.

Incidentally, check to make sure you can use the larger pellet, 3" shells on your local trap field. Shot fall zones often require limits on shot size and shell power. Quite often clay target ranges limit the shells to nothing bigger than 3-1/4 dram, 1-1/8 ounce #7-1/2.

August 7, 2000, 05:58 PM
I should have stated this in my thread-starter, but like most short barrelled shotguns, my barrel is Cylinder Bore. Would modification of the forcing cone tighten the pattern? Hans Vang's shop is right up the road from me. In fact, I met him once at the local gun club.


August 7, 2000, 07:22 PM
Lengthening the forcing cone may make your pattern marginally tighter and denser because you are deforming fewer pellets. Vang's system as I understand it backbores the barrel but tapers back to the original diameter a few inches from the muzzle which acts as the choke. I can't say how well it works.

I don't recall what make of gun you are shooting but it might be worth getting a longer barrel. Gun shows often have used barrels for sale particularly for Remingtons.
I've shot cylinder choke at trap and have to shoot very fast to even hope to break a bird. You might try skeet with a cylinder choke if there is a skeet field near you. I like shooting skeet with my 18" 870 pump as a break from my over/under. It's great fun.

August 7, 2000, 08:28 PM

It's a Mossberg M590A1. I don't think the longer Mossberg barrels will fit because of the increased thickness.

Re: Patterns. I guess you choose between large and sparse or small and dense and the latter is better, yes?

Re: Skeet. The gun club runs it's trap and skeet ranges side by side. I decided a few weeks ago to start with trap because there's only one bird. Yeah man, I have to shoot fast. Maybe I'll move on up to the skeet range for a change and see if the ranges for that agree with my gun more.

Thanks for the replies.