View Full Version : Pump gun shooting trap - how do you work your action?

February 27, 2011, 10:59 PM
This is just a question for pump gun shooters.

Shooting trap, I see most people, after they make the shot, cycle the action to the rear as they lower their gun ejecting the empty shell. Then, when it is their turn to shoot again, they drop a new shell in the chamber, close the action and shoot their next shot.

Wouldn't it be better from a muscle memory standpoint (if you hunt and/or shoot clay games with frequent doubles) to immediately and fully work the action after every shot? Then, as you lower the gun down, cycle the action to the rear waiting for your next turn to shoot.

Admittedly, in trap, you would be working the action on an empty gun after your shot. But, it seems to me that the first method could build habits that could cause you foul your pump stroke. If you work the action fully (even if it is on an empty chamber), you are doing the same thing every time for singles or doubles and training yourself to instinctively cycle your gun after the shot.

What do you think?

Pvt. Pyle
February 27, 2011, 11:22 PM
I assume it could. But instinctively i know I can't get anything downrange if my action is open. So whether I am shooting singles or doubles Iusually leave the action open after my turn. That's when I am shooting trap outside of a range. At the range I probably would do the same thing, just without a full tube of shells.

February 27, 2011, 11:23 PM
Most shooters "rhythm" begins with loading the shotgun. Its safer this way too as you are not loading up a shotgun then standing around with it. Even if "its empty" and the action is closed, ITS LOADED. Its the same with sporting clays too. You walk around with the tube empty and action open, and only load up at the shooting station right before your turn.

February 27, 2011, 11:28 PM
Lower the gun after the shot, cycle the action and catch the shell and place it in pouch. Slide shell in chamber and close when its your turn to shoot. Doing both without distracting your squadmates and activating a microphone system will take some practice.
I am only an occasional pump shooter on the trapfield, but I hunt waterfowl with a pump a good bit. Ive never experienced any adverse effects in the field, due to shooting trap as described above.

Jim Watson
February 27, 2011, 11:32 PM
I am with LSnSC.

I'd rather you fired your shot, shucked your empty, and refrained from clankety clanks while I am setting up for my shot.

February 27, 2011, 11:57 PM
I don't shoot trap or skeet at any kind of club or range, and no one taught me how to do it properly. But I think I'm pretty good at it :) better than my friends anyway. I can generally break two clays with two shots, hand thrown or machine thrown, with my 20" (maybe it's an 18"?) mossberg maverick.

When I shoot clays I don't lower my shot gun at all. Obviously I start with an empty chamber with the gun at waist level, action open. I close the action when I say pull. I action the shotgun as needed while sighting down the barrel. When I have broken my two clays, or whatever the game may be, and I'm done shooting I leave the action open and hand the gun off to whomever is next in line.

Hope that was helpful.

February 28, 2011, 12:24 AM
For trap practice, I follow the procedure described by LSnSC. When shooting competitive targets with my squad, I speed it up just a bit by closing the bolt just after the shooter two posts prior to me fires. I've completed this well before the shooter to my left has mounted his gun. When he, the shooter to my left, fires I mount my already loaded gun. After firing, as I dismount and unload my gun, the shooter to my right is mounting his gun, and the shooter two posts beyond me has closed his action.

This may seem contrary to the general safety rules -- many shotgun sports have a rule that allows you to load only when on station and it's your turn to shoot. But, ATA rules allow you to load when you are on the firing station. This speeds-up competition. When practicing with non-ATA types, I don't load until it's my turn to shoot -- I don't want to confuse them. Here's an extract from the ATA rules for those not familiar with them:SECTION IV, ATA TOURNAMENTS, PART I. SAFETY
12. A contestant shall place a live shell in his/her gun only when on a
post facing the traps. In Singles and Handicap shooting he/she may
place only one (1) live shell in his/her gun at a time and must remove
it or the empty shell(s) before moving from one post to another. In
Doubles shooting he/she may place two (2) live shells in his/her gun at
a time and must remove both live or empty shells before moving from
one (1) post to another. In changing from one (1) post to another, the
shooter shall not walk in front of the other competitors.

February 28, 2011, 08:34 AM
I think I may have not explained it right.

Theoretically a person would shoot. Then, while the gun is still mounted and pointing downrange, shuck the action fully. As the person lowers the gun, the action would be opened.

I think the answers will still be the same because shucking the gun will distract the other shooters.

February 28, 2011, 11:33 AM
I am a newby and this may not be correct but how I plan to shoot vs how I have been shooting Trap.

Ii had a basic lesson yesterday in skeet shooting and I was using an 870 pump. Until then I had perhaps done ten rounds of Trap, with no instruction, and I had been loading one round into the chamber after the shooter vbevoer me shot. I then mounted and fifred. Then I would usually dismount and shuck. Because I want to build the muscle memory to shooot doubles for skeeet, and if needed to fire rapidly in the real world, I am going to work on it this way in Trap and Skeet. This is how I was instructed to fire for skeet doubles.

When I mount to shoot, keep reward pressure on the forend so that as soon as the shot is off it slides to the rear so as to eject the spent hull. Then shove the forend forward immediately, without any pause, so as to shoot the second bird.

If I am shooting trap I plan on doing the same, except since there is no second round in the magazine and followling a brief pause I will slide the forend to the rear with the barrel pointed down range and then dismount the weapon. That is if I am shooting alone or with someone who doesn't care about the clankety clank. I only now realized that this may be distracting and rude to squadmates.

If I may be distracting squad mates, I will still keep rearwards pressure on the forend so that I immediately eject after firing, but will not shove it foreward so as to reduce the clankety clank.

This may not work too well if you are saving hulls to reload, in which case I usually shuck more gently so as to enable me to kind of tilt the action to one side and catch the hull, but for the time being I don't plan on reloading and will just be shooting wall mart cheapies.

If what I plan is improper I welcome comments but if I there are none I will ask some of the guys at the range what they think, as they may be too polite to volunteer unsolicited constructive criticism.

February 28, 2011, 12:03 PM
Thanks Klawman. I had considered what you described.

Retract the action with the gun mounted. But, do not close it.

However, I am concerned that this too will build bad muscle memory after long periods of time. I understand the concerns about not disturbing other shooters. My main concern is that I don't want any clay game to make me less effective as a hunter or in self defense.

That means I need to violently, fully work the action immediately after every shot.


February 28, 2011, 12:49 PM
My main concern is that I don't want any clay game to make me less effective as a hunter or in self defense.If that's the case, then Trap shooting with its no ejecting shells at your neighbor rule makes them not the games for you. If you want to practice rapidly reloading a mounted pump gun, then you need to shoot a clays game with a lot of doubles presentations. Skeet Doubles comes to mind. Because of the ejection restriction, International Trap and Trap Doubles are competed exclusively with O/Us.

February 28, 2011, 01:03 PM
Because of the ejection restriction, International Trap and Trap Doubles are competed exclusively with O/Us.

Hey Zippy - don't forget about that new Beretta - the UGB Excel - its sole reason for living was primarily Bunker, with a secondary thought given to sporting.........;)

February 28, 2011, 01:12 PM
Yep, that pesky UBG (Ugly Beretta Gun :rolleyes:) Excel is the exception to generalizations in shotgun classifications. It's not a stick gun because it has a hinge and it's not an O/U because it's a barrel short. Is it a O/O or a U/U or what…?

February 28, 2011, 01:15 PM
Technically it is a gas-operated semi auto with a break open feature allowing it to be used where the break action is required for safety, so I would say it is a European legal semi auto.............and it is REALLY soft shooting

and since it ejects DOWN - the OP could use that on the trap field

February 28, 2011, 01:22 PM
I used to shoot Trap with a pump gun .....and I would always execute my shot ....dismount the gun, retract the forend - dropping the spent hull into my hand ...then putting the spent hull in my pouch ( and hold my motionless position there ) - as the next 2 shooters beside me mounted and fired.

Before the 2nd shooter to my left would mount his gun ...I would drop a shell into the action but not close the forend ( and again hold my position motionless ). As the shooter to my left fired his shot ...only then would I move - and close the action chambering a round ...and fire my shot, etc...

On a Trap firing line ....part of the courtesy - is to remain motionless, because you're so close together if there is any "foot shuffling", "bending over to pick up a hull" or "any barrel movement" beside you / its in your peripheral vision as the next shooter and its really distracting. If there is any movement beside me, as a shooter, I will dismount my gun ...until it stops / then re-mount and execute my shot. This is all especially important if a shooter next to you is trying to "practice seriously" ...or in any "registered shoot" where scores really matter. If everyone is just out having some laughs - shooting a few targets ...it doesn't matter as much / at least to me.

Muscle memory is important ...and if you're shooting "clays" to become a better bird hunter... there are a couple of things that you'll always have to keep in mind, if you choose to shoot a "pump gun"...

1. All "Clays" and "live birds" are very different ! All "Clay" targets decelerate as they go accross the field or downrange. Once they come off the arm of the machine - they will never increase in speed. Allmost all "live birds" accellerate as they cross or go downrange... ( anyone who hunts knows this / but it makes a difference in how you insert your barrel, track a "sustained lead" shot, etc ...

2. Trap singles is only 1 bird / so it isn't good practice when in the field you can fire 2 or even 3 shells at a bird. But if its all you have around / its still time behind your gun. But Continental Trap - where angles are flatter or steeper / and birds are smaller and faster ...might be better practice for hunting.

3. Skeet, 5 Stand and Sporting Clays - you can only load 2 shells ...but its still way better practice for hunting. You typically have more gun movement / left to right ...and a lot more variety. But it still doesn't give you that muscle memory of cycling that gun for that 3rd shell ....or reloading after the 2nd shot is executed ...anticipating more birds to come up quickly / or keeping a gun loaded for defense. ( and I won't pretend to be a defensive shotgun person ) ...

But in my mind - you need to mentally adapt a little / for each game. Maybe get a little more aggressive in the field on live / faster birds ...and adapt a lot for a "defensive situation with a shotgun" .....but very few, if any of us as clay or bird hunters ...would use the same guns for Defense. So right there / you're adapting to a different gun ( different balance, weight, probably more recoil, etc for Defense ) ... So I guess what I'm trying to say ...is learn something from each "clays game" ...stay mentally sharp when the game changes / or you want to shoot Tactical Drills with a different gun ...and not worry too much about it.

February 28, 2011, 01:31 PM
Just to add clarification for those who might not know the terms...

Jim's "Continental" trap
Zippy's "International" trap
and my "Bunker" trap are the same game

targets are faster and further, and you are allowed 2 shots at every single target

FITASC, which is European Sporting has, as part of its menu, a variety of single targets at each peg - there you are allowed 2 shots at each target (most often needing them as well)

5-stand, AKA "Compak" typically has one single at each station as your first target; again you can shoot twice at it if need be

Those are the only registered official games I am aware of where you are allowed to take more than one shot at a target

As for target speeds and birds, Jim is right that clay targets decelerate about 3 feet off the arm - with one exception - the dropping target, usually a looping chondelle or a dropping teal which will accelerate on its downward path

February 28, 2011, 01:40 PM
And, to add to the confusion, let's not forget the bottom ejecting pumps like the BPS and I-37.

February 28, 2011, 02:12 PM
Please remember a "Trap" firing line is different ...in that you can drop a shell into a gun, as long as you are on the pad, even though it is not your turn to shoot. But I've seen some clubs insist that you cannot close the action on your gun, despite what the ATA or PITA rules say ...until it is your turn to shoot. To make it worse ....those same clubs may allow the rule ...on loading....as Zippy pointed out above ....in an ATA or PITA registered shoot ....but not in everyday use at the club...

Somewhere in the dusty cobwebs in my already dusty memory ...at one point the ATA and PITA associations had different definitions of what constituted a "loaded gun" ....

At my last detailed reading of "Skeet, Sporting Clays and 5 Stand published rules" .....any part of a shells hull, touching any part of a gun, even if it is
empty and fired...makes it a loaded gun. So you cannot be pulling empties out of your gun as you walk off the pad, or out of the cage ....because its a serious safety violation ! There are a number of other scenarios on a Skeet field especially - where you cannot put more than one shell in your gun at a time ...but the scenarios get long and wordy to discuss on this topic. Bottom line - read and understand the "official rules" of the game you're playing ....and they change annually ....and be very familiar with the clubs rules you choose to shoot at. I belong to 3 shotgun clubs locally ....but I visit 12 - 15 clubs a year in my travels ....and I'm always careful to find and read the posted rules / and if I have any questions discuss them with the range safety officer ( being very friendly ) ... When I'm a guest at a club ----I don't want to be " that ugly pain in the _ _ _," that wasn't following the rules !!....and I'd like to be invited back to shoot with some of their experienced shooters ....

Case in point ( at my club, the skeet fields - you can shoot any pellet size you want ( from 9's to 7 1/2's ) ....but I was south of Portland, Oregon a few months ago ....and was surprised to be advised, I could only shoot 9's on their Skeet fields ( I happend to only have reloads in 8's in 12ga and 20ga ) so I had to buy a case of shells for my son and I to shoot .....

February 28, 2011, 03:23 PM
Thanks for all the great replies. I just bought a Trius one step clay thrower. It was $95. Considering what you pay to shoot at a club, it should pay for itself soon.

I'll use the Trius to practice with my 870. I'll use my Benelli M1 and M2 for the formal clay games.

That might work.

February 28, 2011, 03:27 PM
....but I was south of Portland, Oregon a few months ago ....and was surprised to be advised, I could only shoot 9's on their Skeet fields
Big Jim, I'm guessing those skeet fields were laid out with shot fall safety zones at an absolute minimum based on the maximum range of #9 shot. Larger shot, like trap's #7-1/2, goes further. Often a skeet field will have the same back fence distance as an adjacent trap field, but the skeet field requires much more sideways (wider) safety zone than a trap field.

February 28, 2011, 03:55 PM
I will have to check how far my 870 ejects when shucked hard, but I don't believe it will hit the ample bosom of the woman to my right, if I am fortunate enough that I am shooting besides one, as a cetrain poster is rumored to have once done with a semi. I don't think my pump will eject as far as a semi.

Remember, extreme, I am only learning this stuff and my ideas may be flat bad, but thanks for the thanks.

As for the size of shot, BigJim, one of the newbies in my skeet class was caught firing #4 high brass. I was shooting without my RX so I couldn't make out the Dram, but it was 1-1/8 oz.

February 28, 2011, 04:01 PM
Theklawman, great observation. My 870 barely dribbles rounds out of the chamber even when you violently shuck it. On the other hand, my Benelli's throw them a considerable distance.

February 28, 2011, 04:39 PM
Yes, Zippy the club felt they had a shot fall safety zone issue ...and had received some complaints from their neighbors ....and they were under pressure from a number of county officials to cut it back ...

Yes, Klawman ..... most any gunclub ...will kick your butt out ...if they catch you shooting any shells with shot bigger than 7 1/2's ...( shots sizes bigger than 7 1/2's may go well beyond their shot fall safety zones they've established for their neighbors ...

Remember it isn't just about bouncing shells off the shooter next to you ...off their guns or bouncing them at their feet ...its about not being disruptive if you can do something to prevent it. Like I've said before, a lot of us started shooting Trap and other games with pump guns ..so we've all dealt with these issues. I'll still occassionally shoot some Trap or 5 Stand with a semi-auto / especially when I travel and I want to take one gun ...that will do a little of everything ....some clays, some birds, ....( my Benelli Super Sport semi-auto is my airline travel gun ....)...does everything pretty well.

But a lot of shooters don're realize there are governing national organizations that publish rules on all these clay target games too ...like on shot size / and when is a gun considered to be loaded .../ so its good that we kick this stuff around.

February 28, 2011, 09:56 PM
BigJim, When I said I couldn't make out the Dram on the huill of the spent shotshell, I wasn't trying to make an excuse for myself. All I shot was #7-1/2 from Wallmart. I meant I couldn't read the dram equivalent printed on another's hull, when a third student showed it to me. Coach Don Zigler noticed what the other student was shooting a minute later and had him go to his car for correct ammuniton.

March 1, 2011, 12:57 PM
No problem - I understand ...

not all hulls are marked either ...