View Full Version : Newbie question - best advice on shotguns for trap shooting

February 11, 2011, 12:01 PM
Joining a trap club in my area and looking to purchase a shotgun. I have no clue what to look for. Pump vs. over/under vs. auto vs. whatever. Length of barrel? Etc. I'm an experienced gun owner and have shot pistols, rifles and used to shoot trap when I was a kid. I'm just getting reintroduced to trap now and starting my learning here.

Also looking for suggestions on specific shotguns. Reliability and performance are first considerations, cost is second.

Thanks for the advice in advance!

February 11, 2011, 12:20 PM
For Trap - my personal preference is the Browning Citori XT with 32" barrels and the adjustable comb. Its about a 10 lb gun ....but heavier and longer guns are preferred on a Trap field where there is less left to right barrel movement vs sporting clays or skeet ( where guns in the 8 1/2lb range and 30" barrels are more common).

Some shooters prefer the single barrel / break open models ....but they're Trap Singles specific / like the Browning BT-99 or the older BT-100. There isn't anything wrong with them / but the Citori XT lets you shoot singles, doubles and Continental Trap where you can load 2 shells. If I were to choose a single barrel - I would go with a 34" barrel ...for better swing characteristics.

I think the Citori XT is just a better overall gun. I have a couple of them - both 32" / one with a GraCoil recoil supression system on it. The new list price on the XT with the adj comb is around $ 3,200 but I think the street price is about $ 2,900.


Browning makes a Gold XT - with adj comb / and the GraCoil installed - and some more engraving on receiver ... list is about $ 5,400 and street price is around $ 4,500 I think .... Its cheaper to have your own GraCoil installed ---but the Gold is a nice gun as well.


There are also a lot of good used XT's on the market ... In the attached photo of my XT's ....the one with the upgraded wood, is a very nice gun that I picked up used a few yrs ago for around $3,000 ...


Now, having said all this ....if all you want to do is shoot Trap casually ...almost any gun will be just fine. I'm assuming you want to shoot Trap fairly seiously / want a dedicated "Trap" gun ... but I was at my club last week .....and shot 2 rounds of Trap with a 28ga, Citori Over Under ....just for the heck of it too ... So your choice of guns - depends on how serious you want to take it.

There is also a unigue new semi-auto on the market now - being marketed as a sporting clays or Trap gun ....Beretta UGB ... Its a break open semi-auto / the 2nd shell loads in a holder placed on the side of the receiver. Its an interesting gun ....retailing for around $3,500.

I think its a gun worth considering as well / and since its a break open gun --- you won't be tossing shells out of the gun at your squad mates either.

But those are my preferences... No matter what / shoot as many different guns as you can / most guys will let you put some shells thru their gun if you approach them properly ... and have fun with the selection process.

Welcome back to our pastime ( I'm not much of a Trap shooter ....more Sporing Clays and Skeet these days ...) ...

February 11, 2011, 01:59 PM
It you didn't notice, my friend Big Jim favors the Japanese Brownings. If you are going to shoot a lot of trap, you may wish to consider a combo trap gun. It has two sets of barrels: a long single barrel for shooting singles (16-yd) and handicap, and a set of shorter double barrels for, you guessed it, shooting doubles. I prefer the Italian guns to the Japanese and my trap combo is a Beretta 682. It predates the factory adjustable stock, so it's been fitted with a Shockmaster recoil reduction/adjustment mechanism.

Head on out to your local trap club and see what they're shooting. Try out as many guns as possible before you make a selection. Many shooters will gladly loan their gun to a prospective new shooter.

Harry Callahan
February 11, 2011, 02:06 PM
Start out with a Remington 1100 Trap Model. Relatively inexpensive shotgun to use while you're getting comfortable with the sport. Then, when you think you're ready you can move on to a Beretta, Browning, or something else that's a step up. Last year was my first year really getting in to the sport. I bought a used 1100 Trap Model for a little over $500 at Cabela's. Monte Carlo stock, 30" barrel, and nice wood. Shoots very comfortably and is gas operated to tame the recoil. Hits what I'm aiming at most of the time! What's not to like? Great starter shotgun.

February 11, 2011, 05:54 PM
The BT-99 is a decent single barrel American trap gun - Belgian Brownings from m30-60 years ago still work well. If trap singles are your game, a Ljutic or similar will be the best gun - but they aren't cheap........than again, shooting hundreds of thousands of shells at targets isn't either

February 11, 2011, 09:13 PM
Call me crazy, but the step rib and high comb inserts on the Benelli supersport 30" make it a heck of a trap gun. Either that or a Winchester SX1 Trap.

February 11, 2011, 09:37 PM
32 inch barrel
Go to your trap club and tell the guys your looking for a trap gun. You will probably have to wade through the help. Single barrel, a BT-99 is hard to beat. Another is the Remington 870 TC.

Cousin Pat
February 11, 2011, 11:05 PM
I wouldn't put too much $$ into your first gun -- trap guns can get pretty specialized, and you are almost certain to change your mind a few times. I would look for something that is heavy (7.5 lbs+) and longer barrelled (28"+ auto/pump and 32"+ over-under or SBS). The auto's can upset people on the line by throwing shells around; the pumps are more controllable in shell ejection but you still have to pick'm up. Have fun!

Dave McC
February 12, 2011, 01:41 PM
Don't buy anything yet. Go to your local range and talk to people. A well spoken Noobie,at the ranges I frequent, gets handed a lot of shotguns to take a shot or two with.

Try different things out and see what works for you.

Or, get an 870 Wingmaster. You need one anyway.......


February 14, 2011, 06:48 AM
Great advice. I think I'll do what I should have done before I bought my first pistol, get to the range and see if I can handle a few guns. Will also keep track of trap discussions in forums like these.

Thanks again.

February 14, 2011, 07:42 AM
i started shooting trap 47 years ago with a older win 12 trap next a rem. 870tc nex a rem 1100 next a valmet 412 next a browning over under and now use a browning bt-100 and have shot strait 25,s with all of them and strait 50,s with several. if the gun fits you and you pratice you will improve as time goes by and you will also upgrade your gun as you aquire the skill to use it. eastbank.