View Full Version : An update on my trapshooting...

Dave McC
June 3, 2002, 05:56 AM
A year and a a half after starting trap, here's where I'm at, at the moment.

Generally, I shoot 22 or 23 each round of 25. Some straights, few scores lower than 22. I was getting more straights before my cataract surgery, but the difference is minor.

Most of the targets I hit are centered in the pattern. Lots of little bits going everywhere, some smoke. The ones I miss do not fall into one kind of shot, I seem to miss them all equally well(G)...

I do tend to overshoot straightaways, but not often right now.

I'm of the opinion that my misses at this point are more due to a loss of focus than bad technique. Working on that.

And as for form,I now shoot trap with an erect stance.Those light loads don't push me around like 00 and slugs do.By straightening up, I have more flexibility from the hips up.Front knee is still flexed a bit.

I've also switched to two eyed shooting.IMO,this is as much why I'm busting them closer to the trap as familiarity.

I've been messing with my hold points, right now I hold on the top left corner of the traphouse for Post 1, the top right for Post 5, and I hold for the straightaways from 2,3 and 4. This may change, but it seems to be working fine.

Equipment is as follows....

870 TB with a .733" bore and a .695" constriction for a X-Full choke. Stock's an M/C with a Morgan pad. Drop at cheek's about an inch, at heel close to three to accomodate my oversized frame and long neck. 3 3/4 lb trigger. After maybe 6K rounds in the last 17 months, no glitches. With added weight and springs, it comes in around 9 1/2 lbs. Balances nicely, smoooth swing. If I do one of the big dove shoots this fall, I may just take this hunting once.

Load's 1 oz of 8 1/2 shot at 1150 FPS(from the Hogdon manual). Depending on what the Hull Elf leaves under my pillow, the case's either an STS or AA. The STS seems to last longer. Similar load with 7 1/2 shot works very, very well on Preserve Pheasant and Chukar. Clays powder, Claybuster wads, Win 209 primer, and West Coast hard shot. This last is important.

Why 8 1/2 shot? Because an oz of 8 1/2s has a similar pellet count to 1 1/8 oz of 8s. A denser pattern, and maybe one with better effect at the fringes. I will never use 8 1/2s on any live game.

And the loader's still the much used MEC 600 JR I bought for $50 last year. It's built on the 870 principle, never needs fixing. Did have the bottle support bust, MEC sent me a new one within days at a nominal cost. Fixed the old one with JB Weld so I now have a spare.


Right now, I've taken this as far as I can go w/o massive infusions of time and money. 9/11 saw us undergo a massive income drop,and I've limited my trap to 100 rounds/week most of the time since.

IMO, here's what I'd have to do to improve my scores,all of which cost money we do not have at present.Listed in the order of most important to least.

One, shoot more. I think going back to a case a week would see my straights become more frequent as of old.

Two, shuck out serious dinero and get lessons from a top pro/instructor.Kiner,Morgan, Handy,and Carlisle come to mind. Everyone I've talked to that has done this regards it highly as a means of improving.

Three, upgrading equipment. I'd stick to the 870 TB, but I'd have the choke opened to about 25 POC and the forcing cone done. This last for pattern improvement more than recoil reduction. I may do this, sometimes after at least one little McC graduates college and gets a job.At least a year away....

So, hope this helps......

June 3, 2002, 12:50 PM

That's fine shooting for someone in the game for less than a year and a half. Nothing to complain about at all particularly having eye surgery during that period. I'm in the same range and have been shooting trap for 8 years.

What you might consider is colored shooting glasses. I find they make the target stand out and thus easier to see.

What I wouldn't do is "upgrade" your 870. If anything my gun switching over the years has kept the scores lower. I also tend to shoot other games as well. To shoot trap well I believe you need to shoot it and nothing else.


June 3, 2002, 01:50 PM
What PJR said.

And what you said.......FOCUS.
Sounds like you have the rest of the variables pretty well dialed.


June 3, 2002, 06:16 PM
I am a newbie to trap. The last game I played I got 16 out of 25, which is the best I ever did. Because of bad weather during the weekends I haven't gone to the range for about three weeks.

My Persuader has a 20" barrel. I just ordered a 28" barrel from Mossberg.

I find I do better if I just relax and let my instinct takeover and don't spend much time thinking.

I would like to get used to two eyed shooting. However, I find it a bit unnerving.


June 3, 2002, 07:09 PM
It's actually a lot easier, the proof of which is that you will bust more clays.

And it doesn't take long. You start getting better right away. Like in a couple or three rounds. You have to be consistent. This means, if you are a rifle or pistol shooter, forcing yourself to open both eyes before you call "pull" and keep them both open until after the shot.
I started with a 20" barrel Mossberg 590A1. I'm now using a Remington 1100 I bought at Wal Mart for $328, thanks to a thread I saw here. Good luck.

Dave, good post. Hope things pick up and your range days stay good.

Sam, simplifies and explains it all with FOCUS. I believe it. I always shoot better when my attention is on the bird, not on my gun (mount, sight, trigger) or my stance. FWIW, I am trying to keep both legs slightly bent, not unlike a golfer, and about a twenty to thirty degree offset from the POA.

Regards to all.

Dave McC
June 4, 2002, 05:48 AM
Thanks, folks. A coupla things....

Paul, I'm currently using Vermillion colored glasses on bright days, clear on cloudy ones. One nice side effect on my surgery was 20-20 left eye, 20-25 right. So, no need for prescription glasses for trap.

The light yellow ones boosted for low light do not work all that well for me. Clear works better for contrast.

Did you note I put equipment upgrading last? I've been making changes all through this, and it may have slowed my progress a trifle. However, I now know what works for me.

Sam, focus may be the hardest part for me. IMO, the difference between a top shooter and Joe Average may be the top is able to keep his/her concentration focussed shot after shot. Maybe I should take Ritalin(G)...

Michael, two eyes shooting is a prob ONLY when the master eye is not on the same side as the strong hand. Even so, Brad Dysinger says he's left eyed, RH, and shoots Right eye, RH. He's in the ATA Hall of Fame, I believe. For you to switch, the time is now. Less to unlearn.

Also, when I find myself intellectualizing on the line, I repeat a mantra. "Just shoot the $%^&* thing". Taking the shot has no thinking attached.

Led, I think the best thing for me to do is to work out the little glitches and tweak both my form and mental game.

Thanks again and good shooting to all....

June 4, 2002, 07:59 AM
You guys are right. I will practice the two eyed shooting more.

Congratulations Dave on doing so well.

I do want to upgrade to a semi-auto when I can afford it.


June 4, 2002, 01:22 PM
It's not the action that make my 1100 better. It has the 28" barrel, like you ordered, and it's a little lighter weight for faster swinging.

Good shooting to all.

June 4, 2002, 02:11 PM
Dave--One question about your technique--are you "holding" right on the top of the traphouse, or "up" a little??? If right on the top edge of the house, I'd suggest trying to hold a foot or a foot-and-a-half ABOVE the top of the house...lessens upward gun movement, reduces the possibility of shooting OVER the staightaways...just something to ponder....mikey357

Dave McC
June 4, 2002, 02:48 PM
Thanks, Michael. Upgrade when you're ready, but keep your pump. They can come in handy....

Led, longer bbls swing smoother because of the balance and inertia. If I were rich, I'd get a 34" 870 bbl custom made just to try it out.

Mikey, here's the deal. One of the things I'm been changing over this time is hold point. While holding higher MAY increase hits on straightaways, it complicates tracking the angle shots.

Right now I hold on the roof, it's more precise for me. Post 1, I hold on the left corner. 2,3 and 4, I hold for the straightaway. Post 5 is the right corner. A little odd, but it works for me.

June 4, 2002, 03:12 PM
I hold my gun at the roof.

Especially with a 20" I try to get my shot off as soon as possible.


June 4, 2002, 09:38 PM
Agree with those who would NOT hold over the house.