View Full Version : Double Barrel?

Grizzly Adams
December 25, 2006, 06:48 AM
Greetings from the gun hating state of NY. New to this forum and looking forward to some healthy chats.

Thinking about getting into trap shooting and am really partial to double barreled shotguns. Would a side by side be a good choice for trap or should I be looking at the semis and pumps?


December 25, 2006, 07:19 AM
SxS's can be used, but are very rare on a trap line. Dedicated O/U's or single shots, quite a few autos like the Beretta 391 series, and many pumps like 870 Traps are quite common.
The following link has a nice 870TB for sale.


December 25, 2006, 11:33 PM
SxS's can be used, but are very rare on a trap line.

Yes they are, but they work quite well. There's few things more satisfying than shooting a perfect round with one of my Ithaca SxS doubles while the guys with their Benelli or Beretta O/Us are cursing their guns. All it takes is some practice, and a SxS double will work just as well as anything else on the trap firing line.

Jim Watson
December 25, 2006, 11:49 PM
Side by sides are good for nostalgia and that sense of accomplishment. And for a big dent in the bank account for one of sufficient quality to shoot much trap with.

A pump (For singles, shucking a pump for doubles - a separate event you don't have to enter if you don't want to, unlike Skeet - is a whole 'nother accomplishment I feel no need for.), auto (less recoil), or O/U is what to shoot if you want to break more birds.

December 26, 2006, 12:27 AM
Why is an O/U so much better for busting clays? I have very limited experience, but I have shot a semi Benelli and a SxS Baikal at clays, and I did better with the SxS, recoil was exactly the same to me.

Are we talking money at stake competetive here? Maybe then the differences would come to light.

December 26, 2006, 09:14 AM
I just bought a spartan imported by remmington sxs in 20 ga. i think its fantastic...
i shoot at the oneonta sportsmans club up on franklin mountain. Many sxs used there for skeet/trap....try one youll like it .

Grizzly Adams
December 26, 2006, 09:36 AM
All great replies, thank you. I am seriously considering the SPR220 in 12ga.
Price is great but I am wondering if it is TOO great. Should I be looking at something better but more expensive for trap?
Anyone familiar with this gun?

Isn't a 20ga a bit small for trap?

Guess I'm just in love with the SXS models. I have more traditional sense than common sense I suppose.

Thanks for all the replies and keep the opinions coming. I hope to get one by the end of the week.

December 26, 2006, 11:24 AM
I shoot my Fox model B at clays in an informal setting and do fine. I've never monkeyed around with any real competition though.

December 26, 2006, 11:47 AM
I think you will be disappointed if you go with that spr220 and use it for much trap shooting. Most of the people getting the sub 1k shotguns are counting by shots instead of thousands of rounds. Side by sides of good quality are starting around $2500-3000. I have been looking for one for a while and the only "deals" that I've seen are used skb's and browning bss's that can be had for well under 2k. The ruger gold label, weatherby athena, berreta 471 and merkel SxS's are some of options for one that should hold up to the heavy shooting of trap. CZ and Charles Daly are making SxS's now for under 1k and have heard mixed reviews of both. I hate to spend that kind of money and get a bad one though. I also heard that S&W was going to start making SxS's in 2007 for under 2k. I'm gonna start saving for a year or two and see what I can find when I have some more money. I wish someone would make a 870 of SxS's, but from what I've heard the cost of building a SxS is high as hell and labor aint getting any cheaper.

Jim Watson
December 26, 2006, 12:23 PM
I kind of agree with Hoss.
But that Russian Remington is not very expensive and if the crooked stock* and light weight** don't discourage you completely, you will not be out much if you set it aside for a more conventional trap gun after a while.

I used to shoot a good deal of regulation ATA trap and had the opportunity to try out Ithaca, Winchester, and Fox real deal trap model SxS guns with stocks and ribs made for the game. A nice nostalgia trip but I went back to my auto and O/U for serious shooting.

*Regulation trap - I am not talking about a portable trap in a beanfield - is shot at outgoing targets. Correct timing will have you shooting at them while still rising from the traphouse. So a dedicated trap gun is built with a high comb stock to elevate the line of sight and build in some vertical lead so you can see the target instead of having to "blot it out" with the muzzle to hit it.
You can buy stick-on comb pads to get a field stock up to where you can see a straightaway target when you shoot.

**The Russian Remington is cataloged at 6 1/4 lbs. A round of trap is 25 targets, a box of shells. A scheduled trap event - or a good afternoon's practice - is either 100 or 200 targets. A light gun will beat you up in pretty short order. Most trap models weigh 8 pounds and up.

Grizzly Adams
December 26, 2006, 01:05 PM
Great replies, thanks again. I can understand all the concerns you have listed. Not really ready to plunk down over a grand on this yet though as I'm not sure how long my enthusiasm is going to last. I am mostly a rifle kinda guy and shoot long range pretty good. Not enough local events though so I'm going to try the trap thing. Like most benchrest shooters I reload my own cartridges. Is reloading as necessary for trap as it is for benchrest where it is an absolute must? You won't hit anything over 700yds with factory ammo.

December 26, 2006, 03:46 PM
When the instructor I went to saw my Baikal, he called it a hunting gun, but said it was fine for busting clays. My gun is around 7.2 pounds.

Why not get started with the Baikal, or something even cheaper, like a pump gun. Then, if you think you like trap (and you probably will), start saving up for whatever gun you want. One problem with that though is that it will be hard to save with all those clay targets, shells and rounds you will be paying for, unless you don't go to a range but do it yourself/with a friend.

I may be learning bad habits with this hunting gun, but as a beginner I can tell you I felt no big difference between my gun and an expensive semi-automatic Benelli, and neither did the person who was shooting with me.

Maybe, you could go to a local range, many of them have shotguns for rent, or that you can borrow for free if you get a lesson (which I highly recommend if you haven't gotten one).

December 26, 2006, 04:04 PM
Isn't a 20ga a bit small for trap?

Not at all. Trap shooting started out with paper shotshells and felt wads, and a 12-gauge was du riguere. My own trap loads were 1oz. of #8 shot over 3 dram equivalent of powder, and they worked quite fine. You can certainly duplicate that load with a 20-gauge. No reason not to try trapshooting with a 20. You'll do just fine with it!

Happy shooting!

December 26, 2006, 06:16 PM
You can do whatever you want - and have some fun with it.

But most serious, competitive, trap shooter will stay with a 12ga and most of them are still using 1 1/8 oz of 7 1/2's ( very few of them shoot 1 oz loads of 8's - although I think it's a good load ).

A heavy gun is better for trap - and a longer barrel - 32" or 34" because you have less barrel movement and the heavy gun helps you with the follow thru. Most shooter have a "dedicated" trap gun - and adjust it so it shoots high in the sense that they can float the bird above the barrel. Where floating the bird is not very good in skeet or sporting clays.

Sight picture is the same over a single barrel - something like a fixed Browning BT-99 - or a semi auto or an over under with both barrels hitting the same point / you seeing the same sight picture over the barrels.
Side by sides - you have a different sight picture over the left and right barrels. So it takes a little more adjustment to shoot a SXS - but it can be done.

In general for clay games ( a 32" semi-auto is the same overall length as a 30" over under ). The most popular gun for Trap is a 32" over under. Most popular skeet gun and probably sporting clays gun is a 30" over under. Mix in a 28" semi-auto in there once in a while - but most clay shooters are reloaders - and picking hulls up off ground gets to be a hassle. If we shoot semi's we shoot cheap shells and let them lay.

My favorite trap gun Browning XT over under 32" with adj comb / favorite skeet - sporting clays gun Browning XS Skeet with 30". I like a semi-auto and Benelli super sport in 30" is my choice. Occasionally I will shoot a single barrel and Browning BT-100 or BT-99 is my choice in a 34". But just get out there and have some fun - and shoot whatever you want to shoot.

December 26, 2006, 06:33 PM
Annie Oakley earned her reputation as a Trap Shooter. She used a 16 GA SXS! She could outshoot just about everybody in her day!

Jim Watson
December 26, 2006, 06:48 PM
"In her day" being the operative phrase.
She set a women's record with a 98. The only time she ever shot in the Grand, she broke a 97 but was then 65 with only a year to live.

Or consider John Philip Sousa who was a president of the AATA, predecessor of the ATA and had Ithaca name a single barrel trapgun after him. He shot "winning scores" of 94 and 95 in handicap.

Nowadays a 100 straight just gets you a ticket to the shootoff in an event of any size. Not with a SxS.

December 28, 2006, 02:47 AM
Side by sides are good for nostalgia and that sense of accomplishment. And for a big dent in the bank account for one of sufficient quality to shoot much trap with.

I can't argue with that. If I had to replace my SxS trapgun today, it would cost me a couple of grand. The good ones work just fine, but they don't come cheap. That's why I broke down and invested in a gunsafe this year.

I'd always thought I'd like a nice mahogony and glass gun cabinet, but the steel safe with the three bolt lock just seemed like a better idea.

Grizzly Adams
December 29, 2006, 07:11 AM
Thanks again gents. Looks like I will probably go with an O/U now. I don't mind plunking down the big bucks for a high quality gun but I do want to make sure I will be sticking to it first.

Gonna spend the day looking at brand names and prices. There is a range right up the road from me which I will probably be joining.

Jim Watson
December 29, 2006, 08:48 AM
Suggest you go to the range FIRST.
Get acquainted, act interested, and you will probably get to try some different guns out before you buy. You can shoot two different guns of the same general specifications, quality, and price and hit with one but not the other. Shotguns should fit like a good pair of shoes.

December 29, 2006, 03:10 PM
hey Griz...I grew up shootin' my grandpas Fox B sXs 16 ga. At 52 years of age I still shoot it. I don't shoot trap, but I do shoot sporting clays. Most new guys I shoot with kinda laugh when I take 'er out of the case. Funny thing is after I kick their azz with it they quietly put their Benelli's and Brownings away and want to take a second look at Grandpa's gun. Most Gun manufacturers quit making sXs's for a number of years because of lack of demand........today most have renewed selling them but are having them made overseas.....Stevens and Remington now import the Baikal with their name on them. My youngest bought one when they were still being distributed by EAA and it is a fine shooting gun for the money. They still have to fit right to shoot well, no matter what price you pay...........

December 29, 2006, 05:20 PM
They still have to fit right to shoot well, no matter what price you pay...........

Ditto that. When I had the smithy install the recoil pad on my double, I asked him to add 1/2" to the length-of-pull. It made a world of difference for my shooting. If it doesn't fit right, you'll never be able to shoot it well, regardless if it's a SxS, O/U, pump, semi, or single. The single most important thing is that what ever you decide on, make sure it fits.

Grizzly Adams
December 29, 2006, 06:30 PM
Great advice all. It usually takes me at least a half hour of trying up to 10 different pair to find a pair of shoes that fit. I suspect finding a shotgun that "fits" is even more "hit and miss" (pun intended):rolleyes:

Will try as many as I can without becoming a PITA.


December 30, 2006, 01:16 AM

If you have access to a trap range, I'd be willing to bet the members there would be willing to let you try their trapguns. I know I have. You might have to join the Amateur Trapshooting Association http://www.shootata.com/, and fill out a form. Leave it on the desk and someone will sponsor you. Like most shooting sports, there's a camaradie between all of us. Best luck to you! :D

December 30, 2006, 04:52 PM
I wouldn't worry about the 12 v 20 gauge. Both are excellent and will do what you want them to do, bust clays.

I remember when I bought my 20 gauge and brought it out, all my friends with their 12 gauges gave me grief. Or at least until I outshot them in every round with "less gun".

Whatever you end up deciding on, I hope you have lots of happy trips to the range with it.

January 4, 2007, 12:53 AM
never shot a sxs for trap, but i sure would love to try it! easy, light swinging reciever with 24" barrels in 20 gauge would be a killer trap gun. I have scene 1 guy do it at my gun club, and while he wasnt great he did hold his own, i myself love to go out there and keep up or beat all these guys with their $1000+ autoloaders, i even like to beat guys with "lesser" atuoloaders with my old pump gun! Also have a o/u silver reserve that fits perfect in my shoulder, and my cheek-comb fit and i can blast clay pigeons with it all day. Trap shooting is a fun, semi non competitive sport to me and without it i would probably go insane!

January 4, 2007, 11:09 AM
Greetings from a NY expatriate.

Trap was great fun up there - possibly even more so than Texas as we lack the climate and resources for the clambakes that were common at informal shoots in NY. At least that was the case in the northeast (Plattsburgh) and west (Rochester). One assumes the Albany area wouldn't be much different.

I started off with a used 12Ga pump of indeterminant heritage and after deciding I liked the game (didn't take long), got an 870TB - scores immediately improved.

So I'll be voice of dissent: A really good pump trap gun beats the snickers out of double-barrel not-a-trap-gun, IF the objective is shooting trap. The 870 trap is still available but used examples of the TB and TC pop up with attractive pricing every so often - I replaced my TB for 350.00 not too long ago.

I eventually wound up with an O/U but the 870 still acquits itself well and I prefer it for straight trap as opposed to SC. If you do get into the game, the lesser doubles will be a stepping stone, likely sold at a loss at some point, whereas the trap pump will continue to perform.

January 5, 2007, 05:26 PM
haha, i just remembered something that happened at the gun range once, and i thought i would share. There was this older gal who had a o/u looking to be from the early 80's didnt even have a selector switch and was made in italy or something. Well she was shooting it and she had it dialed in for awhile, and then it would switch between the barrels at random times. So after she started loading 2 into the gun... it doubled on her! and damn near knocked her over. Well after that she stuck with 1 in the gun, live and learn.

January 5, 2007, 08:31 PM
A few comments from my experience.

Try shooting SKEET and Sporting Clays/5 Stand. I have always found Skeet shooters to be more sociable and more willing to offer advice/guns to shoot. Skeet because of the layout means all the shooters are in close proximity during the round, Trap has the shooters separated. Besides, Trap shooters are grumpy.

Try all the sports, you may find one more enjoyable.

Get a lesson first! Just because you are a guy and shoot does not give you expertise. Having a pro show you how to stand, mount and look for targets, and how to lead the target is a key to enjoying the sport.

If you like the feel of a particular O/U or SXS, take it to a gunfitter and have it fitted. Once you have shot for a time this will become apparent to you.

It amazes me how rifle and pistol competitors will spend thousands on equipment,sights,stocks etc for a gun originally costing under $1000, and shotgunners won't spend $300 on a fitting for an $8000 shotgun. Even pumps and autos can be "fitted". Beretta includes wedges with it's Clays Autos to allow alterations in cast and drop.

Buy a reloader! You will need it.

January 9, 2007, 08:59 AM
never shot trap but for sporting clays the advantange to a double is you can have different chokes depending on the station your at. for skeet I don't change chokes but my o/u has extractors that lift the hulls making it easy to just drop them in my hull bag . my club ask that you pick up your hulls and reload the machines when done this doesn't always happen but it's not a perfect world . Good Luck

January 9, 2007, 10:22 AM
my club all you have to do is pick up the hulls. I show up early sometimes, and i dont usually help out but i will throw some help their way if i think its needed. 5 stand is perfect for doubles of any sort, and my o/u would take the cake if i took some time to check poi at the different ranges, and i think i have a killer choke set up right now first one being a cylinder, second being a skeet choke, or something of the like. Dont even use the bottom barrel for trap really, it hits bout a half inch low so i have to aim alittle over the top.