View Full Version : patterning a gun for trap

December 18, 2010, 01:15 PM
just got a new o/u for trap shooting and was wondering how you would pattern it. i was thinking setting up targets at 36 yards? figuring if i am at the 16 yard line then another 20 yards the bird might go before i shoot it? any help appreciated

December 18, 2010, 01:44 PM
Depends on your reaction time. Watch to see where your broken targets land in relation to the bulk of targets downrange to get a handle on your distance.
I pattern at 32yds. for singles and then just add the yardage on for handicap. So maybe pattern a few at 36 or a little closer and see how it holds up at 40.
My take, JT

December 18, 2010, 01:50 PM
ok ill have to try that. also im confused about all these aftermarket chokes. i know the normal ones like imp cylinder. modified. imp modified. full and such but where do the skeet chokes fit in? i would like a choke inbetween improved cylinder and modified if at all possible. also do the extended chokes have any extra benifits than the normal ones.

December 18, 2010, 03:45 PM
In 12-ga, the standard choke constrictions are in the neighborhood of:
0.000" Cylinder (no choke)
0.005" Skeet
0.010" Improved Cylinder
0.015" Light Modified
0.020" Modified
0.025" Improved Modified
0.030" Light Full
0.035" Full
0.040" Extra Full

Typically, extended chokes are marketed to the sporting clays shooters who find them easier/quicker to change. Some claim high-grade extended screw-ins, with their longer choke length, provide more consistent patterns.

December 18, 2010, 07:14 PM
If you are shooting trap you need mod., imp mod or full. I like full. I like the orange clouds I get off the 16 yd line.
Patterning a gun to shoot trap usually involves trying to deternine where the gun shoots, high or low, left or right. Most trap shooters want a gun that shoots a little high. 60/40 is pretty common.

December 18, 2010, 07:40 PM
Smokeballs may be nice, but 25 chips beats 24 smokeballs every day.

Until you learn proper form and stance, an IC, LM, of M will give you a little room for error.

Once you master the 16 and start moving back several yards, then tightening up one increment from the above will be beneficial

December 19, 2010, 10:00 AM
ya im 16 and shot trap for the first time probably 2 months ago and shot a 23 out of 25 with a borrowed bt99. it was my first time shooting any kind of clay sport so i am excited

December 19, 2010, 02:43 PM
The way to pattern a shotgun is get some butcher paper at least 40" by 40" and hang that up 40 yards away. Shoot at the center of the paper and use a string and pencil (use a 15" string attached to the near tip of the pencil) to encircle inside the 30" diameter circle the densest portion of the shot pellets.

See how close the center of the circle is to your point of aim to assess the aim of the shotgun.

Then count the pellets inside the circle and make that a numerator over the denominator (denominator equals total number of pellets fired in the shell) to see what percentage the 40 yard pattern is.

Chokes are supposed to give percentages of shot inside the circle compared to the entire load that represent Modified, Improved Modified, and Full (etc).

If memory serves me correctly, full choke is a 70% pattern--but better look that up to be sure where they all are supposed to be.

December 19, 2010, 09:45 PM
I tend to go with zippy about the better grade chokes if available for your model. The extensions help to more quickly identify the constriction as well.

Patterning at 40 yards was long ago accepted as the industry standard for determining chokes. Nothing more.
You won't be shooting at 40 yard targets until you are beyond the 20 -22 yard line or playing games.

I stick to my first statement and would pattern at your anticipated break distances. I don't care what my singles (16yds.) load does at 40 yards, because I will have pulled the trigger before then.

I shoot an improved modified at 16 myself. Not because I like the smoke (when I get it!), but that the tighter constriction helps to better identify just where you are on a target that you do NOT smoke.

Enjoy yourself, JT

December 20, 2010, 09:23 AM
While this chart from Briley is aimed at sporting clays, you can get an idea of the chokes used and at what distances they recommend:


December 20, 2010, 01:09 PM
35 yards is about right for patterning a shotgun for Trap Singles from 16 - 20 yard lines.

When I pattern - point of impact is most important - so I screw in a full choke to make sure the gun is adjusted for the correct point of impact. Once I have that - for Trap singles from 16 - 20 yards a Modified is about right ( but it depends on what the difference in your barrel is, vs the choke). I like a 60%/40% on my Trap guns or even 70%/30% is ok.

You don't get extra points for smoke balling a target ....and in fact over-choking a gun / may cause you to defeat the ballistics ...by trying to fine tune things too tightly - when the idea of a choke is to put a 30" effective pattern on the target at the kill range ( Trap target at 35 yards ). So I pattern the gun for about 35 yards. You want your move to target to be smoooooth ...with a good follow thru .......not quick ...and a "slap" at the target ....

Stay in the gun ( and on the comb ) ...as you watch the target break ...

December 20, 2010, 01:16 PM
Stay in the gun ( and on the comb ) ...as you watch the target break ..

Eye on the rock, head on the stock as the old adage goes

Dave McC
December 20, 2010, 10:56 PM
The ATA says singles targets are usually broken at 33-36 yards. I'd pattern in that range with my loads of choice. And as long as I'm using the board, I'd skooch my fit around until I had about 60% of the pattern above POA or maybe 65%. Trap targets are always rising and a high shooting gun will help.

As for smokeballs, they indicate excess tightness. If you're getting smoke on half your hits, go to the next choke you have that's a little more open. Like, LM instead of modified.

Or,stay with the tighter choke and smoke them, accepting you're losing a few targets but learning to center them better.


December 21, 2010, 08:23 AM
Take a look here for a good, inexpensive patterning aid: http://www.hugetarget.com/