View Full Version : Is the 12ga neccessary for trap?

October 25, 2012, 10:29 PM
I was giving some thought to putting together a dedicated trap gun. I use a 12 for skeet but I use really reduced loads. Seems like in trap a faster, larger payload would be adventagous and I guess I could always figure in some kind of recoil reducing system but it sure would be easier to stick with my reduced loads or even better the 20.

the rifleer
October 25, 2012, 10:49 PM
I use a 20 and I usually can hit 1 or 2 more targets with a 12. Id say there is an advantage. Use the reduced loads if you like. Its all about how much lead you throw out, not how fast they move.

Every time I shoots trap/skeet I always get "good shooting for a 20 gauge":(

October 26, 2012, 06:42 AM
its all about the pattern and the larger payload will put more shot in the pattern at any given distance. i use a 20ga some times,but have only ever shot 24-25,never a 25-25. with a 12ga i have shot many 25-25 and quite a few 50-50,s. and get a shotgun that fits you,without that a 10ga will not help much. a good progressive loader is a must,but also watch for specials at dick,s,bass pro ect. i just bought 6 flats of federal trap shells for 53.00 a flat out the door at bass pro. and go have fun. eastbank.

October 26, 2012, 08:36 AM
Attend any larger trap shoot and take a look at whats being used. Pretty much all 12's.

October 26, 2012, 10:53 AM
12 ga's are dominant if you're in serious competition....but for most of us, it really doesn't make that much difference, especially on Trap singles from the 16 yard line.

I have a buddy that shoots nothing but 7/8 oz loads of 8's at 1150 fps in any 12ga ...for any game ...including Trap ...and his averages, as a casual shooter are around 96 out of 100. He's not a serious shooter ...he shoots 7/8 oz in his 12ga's ( like a typical 20ga load ) to reduce recoil and to save money on his reloads.

I've shot Trap singles with my 20ga Skeet gun (Citori XS Skeet model) - with a standard 20ga load ....7/8 oz at 1200 fps and a Mod choke ...and it breaks targets hard. I've also shot Trap singles with a 28ga Skeet gun ( Citori XS Skeet model )and my standard load of 3/4 oz of 8's at 1200 fps again with a Mod choke. My scores don't drop much at all, for Trap singles from the 16 yd line, with either the 20ga or 28ga vs the 12ga...but I'm not a serious Trap shooter either.
My primary load for a 12ga is 1oz of 8's at 1225 fps ...(I don't bother to load 3 or 4 different shells for different games)...and I shoot that load at Skeet, Trap and Sporting Clays - although I developed it primarily for Sporting Clays ...I may drop that standard load down to 7/8 oz as well to save some money on shot with a 12ga.

There have also been a lot of studies done on velocity and amount of shot in 12ga guns...and while there may not be a consensus yet....it does seem that 1 oz of shot seems to pattern better than some 1 1/8 oz loads...( less flyers outside the pattern) and guys talk about not getting their loads too fast - so they don't blow holes in their patterns. So more shot and faster ...are not necessarily a good thing.
I know some serious Trap shooters, when they shoot Handicapped singles ( 25 - 27 yd lines ) they do shoot 1 1/8 oz of 7 1/2's at 1200 fps...but their serious competitive shooters/shoot registered targets every weekend. If I practice with them ...I just stick with my 1 oz of 8's in a 12ga Trap gun ( Citori XT Trap with 32" barrels at around 10 lbs)...( and my aveages aren't great / but about a 23 from Handicap ranges - and a little higher at 16 yds) ...and that's good enough for just out having fun. If I were to shoot a 20ga at Handicap distances, I might give myself another miss or two as an acceptable round....but I'm not a serious Trap shooter.

Pay more attention to the weight and length and Fit of the gun ..especially if you want a dedicated Trap gun....than whether you will shoot 1 oz or 7/8 oz of shot....and it'll pay off way more in my opinion.

Trap is kind of the odd ball game in clay sports...because ideally we want to float the bird over the barrel - so we want a gun, that for point of impact shoots higher...say a 70%/30% pattern over point of impact or at least a 60%/40% pattern probably. Where in sporting clays and skeet we want more of a 50%/50% pattern ( and usually a lighter gun ) ...where in Trap we usually want a heavier gun ( in Trap there is less extreme left to right barrel movement ...and a heavier and longer gun helps with your sight plane and helps you with follow thru ) ....where that 32" or 34" barrel on Skeet with a 10lb gun, in my buddies words, feels like swinging a big ole sewer pipe, vs a fairly nimble and controlled swing of a typical Skeet or Sporting Clays gun.
While I have single barrel dedicated Trap guns...( BT-100, etc ) ...the Trap gun I like the best is a Citori XT Trap, 32" barrels, with adj comb, and with a GraCoil system in it and it weighs right at 10 lbs. I lust once in a while after a nice Krieghoff KX-6 in a 34" barrel ...but both of those guns are only available in 12ga...so your only option would be to drop down to a 7/8 oz shell...but the weight of the guns / and the GraCoil if you put one in....reduces recoil significantly anyway.


but I would still want the Citori XT Trap with 32" barrels for Continental Trap singles ...or Doubles. So I keep telling myself it would be foolish to shoot a different gun for Singles..../ which is why I don't shoot my BT-100 much either / so why spend the money on something I won't end up shooting too much....

Dave McC
October 26, 2012, 02:11 PM
Welcome back,John.

For fun, shoot what you want.

If you're seriously going for that first 500X500, shoot a custom fitted and choked 12.

October 26, 2012, 02:33 PM
...he shoots 7/8 oz in his 12ga's ( like a typical 20ga load ) to reduce recoil and to save money on his reloads.

While that is really a 20 ga load, he is most likely get better patterns shooting it through a 12 bore than he would the same load though a 20 bore.

October 26, 2012, 02:33 PM
I know a few serious trap shooters. They all use 1oz @ 1250fps. Like the rest of us that aren't serious, shoot whatever you want.
For as little trap that I shoot, I'm in the low 20's with any given shell.

October 26, 2012, 02:38 PM
Speaking as a newer trap shooter, but a very poor one for as long as I have been at it, full 1 -1/8 12 gauge loads make a difference. You can shoot reduced loads, but expect reduced scores, which makes little difference if you are only competing against yourself. I took a lesson recently with a guy named Phil Ross and since all I had was 1 ounce wads that was what I brought. He suggested I go to "soft 1-1/8's".

If you have these #$%^& bio targets, I think full 12's are even more important. Whereas a 1200 fps 1 ounce load breaks them, a 1250 fps 1-1/8 crushes them.

October 26, 2012, 09:14 PM
Well I'm shooting a 3/4oz load in my 311 right now. And while not common at least the 25's in skeet are coming regular enough so they don't surprise me anymore. It's even fairly adaquate at sporting clays. But that gun is terrible at trap. I've been shooting my 870 with a 28" IM barrel but I also use that with a 21" IC barrel for rabbit and an 18" Cyl for around the house. I don't mind swapping barrels between jobs but I'd like to have a higher comb for trap and I don't want to swap stocks between. I actually really like the 870 so I may buy another to dedicate to trap. I shoot to amuse myself not impress others so if I never run a 25straight it won't bother me that much.

.300 Weatherby Mag
October 27, 2012, 12:13 AM
1250 fps 1-1/8 crushes them.

Oh does it??? :D:D

October 27, 2012, 01:29 AM
Oh does it???

Don't be cruel! Okay, it crushes them when I hit them, which isn't that often.

.300 Weatherby Mag
October 27, 2012, 01:37 AM
Don't be cruel! Okay, it crushes them when I hit them, which isn't that often.

Your trap averages are better than mine...

October 27, 2012, 01:38 AM
I shoot to amuse myself not impress others

Or some days I shoot to impress myself and amuse others. For some strange reason that folks smarter than I can't quite figure out I have a clotting factor issue that causes clots to form in my arms. Well arms mostly or legs or last summer kidney. Heavy recoil tends to really cause this so my days of 1 1/8oz 1250fps loads are behind me. 3/4oz at 1200 seems to be okay as long as I kinda watch what I'm doing. I've got a closet full of mil-surps that never see the light of day anymore. The more I think about it the more I think another 870 is in order. Reduced loads and a mercury reducer. Seems to be a decent idea.

October 27, 2012, 01:44 AM
OkieCruffler, You are doing so well with greatly reduced loads, I say get what you want. Should you go with the 12, though, and you know this I am sure, you have the option of shooting 3/4, 7/8 or 1 ounce loads, and if you want to crush someone load up some 1 1/8. The other thought, if I recall what Zippy13 has said in the past, is that the shot column of a true 20 is really different than a 7/8 ounce 12 gauge.

By wanting a higher comb for trap, do you mean that you want to raise the height of the comb in relation to the rib or do you mean that you want to raise the entire gun up in relation to your shoulder so that you can shoot with your head held up more? Perhaps you mean both.

October 27, 2012, 02:18 AM
A little of both. My IM barrel has no rib and I wouldn't mind having one. A fella let me run a round with his K20 with a high comb and rib and I could definately tell the difference. A local pawn has one of those crazy looking Mossberg trap guns for sale and I'd try it but for some reason it takes a two hand grip to rack the slide on it.

October 27, 2012, 03:50 AM
There is a heck of a range from a pawn shop Mossberg to a K20 for you to consider. I think Rastoff on shotgunworld wrote a great post on the range of trap guns. It sounds to me as though you would want a Monte Carlo stock so you can stand more upright. BigJimP will come along later and know much more about the subject.

October 27, 2012, 03:57 AM
Well I do know my budget is alot closer to that mossy than a K20. I could sell off my entire collection and buy a K20 but that would make that 500yrd gong quite the challange.

October 27, 2012, 12:22 PM
Check out the options with a Jack West stock ....on the 870's if you still want to go that route.

But seriously, with blood clot issues, you need to consider getting away from a fixed breech gun...and probably go to a semi-auto gas operated ..even like a Rem 1100 ...( and maybe put the Jack West stock on it too ). With the parallel comb / adj comb on the Jack West stocks you can get the pattern a little higher...for Trap.

Picking up a good used 1100 - and then getting the Jack West Stock is a pretty reasonable expense for a dedicated Trap gun.

October 27, 2012, 05:11 PM
If you do go the Jack West stock route, which is one I thought of when BigJimP suggested that I might use it with my 870, that isn't a bad way to go. Especially if you get one with a BumpBuster. What you will not have is a true Monte Carlo stock, but the pad of the BumpBuster can be dropped some. How much I do not know. I am not sure, but think that if you don't want to get another gun and modify it, you might consider a new Model 1100 Competition Synthetic. Not sure but believe that is a Jack West with a Bump Buster on it.

October 27, 2012, 06:39 PM
On the cheap, you could use something like Wrapid Comb while shooting trap.


October 27, 2012, 07:54 PM
I had thought of something like the Wrapid Comb, but am unsure whether the thickness of the side would push the stock away and create cast on. Reading the link, it still isn't clear if that is adjustable but I am guessing that it is. Still, it won't give you the same effect as a MC stock. With an MC, your eye remains at the same height relative to the rib. If you raise your eye by virtue of am Adjustable Comb, something like the Wrapid Comb, CheekEze, or just by lifting your head off the rock a tad, the height of the eye increases relative to the rib which, as you know, results in a higher point of impact.

The virtue of a device, such as the 100 Straight or, I believe, the BumpBuster is that by lowering the recoil pad you raise the entire gun in relation to its mount on your shoulder. Some adjust as much as 1" with the result that you need not slide the gun as far up your shoulder to acheive a proper fit. This allows a trap shoorer to take a more erect stance than he might with another gun.

Actually, since I shoot trap with a relative flat shooting gun, a Citori XS Skeet, and want to be able to easily shoot skeet with it I may try the Wrapid Comb (if it can be configured so as not to add cast on).

October 27, 2012, 08:13 PM
Klawman -

I agree with you on the MC or adjustable comb being a better option as well as on the adjustable recoil pad. I have a Wrapid comb that I use on a wingmaster. It does add a little cast, but it's really not that bad. They come in right and left hand variations. I originally bought it to raise the comb when I put a 20" rifle sighted barrel on my skeet gun. I only shoot slugs a couple times a year and didn't want to bother changing stocks. It also works well when I want to shoot some trap. Not a perfect solution, but a fairly inexpensive one that works well for me.

October 27, 2012, 09:15 PM
Sounds good Dale. As is I have a problem with cast on and don't want to add any, but it sounds like a good solution for what you are doing. Another postive of something like that can be keeping cheeks smeared with bug repellant or sun block off of wood stocks; especially if they have oil finishes per someone who was a long time valuable poster; oneounceload. I think he used something similar to the Wrapid Comb from an outfit called Bear something.

October 27, 2012, 10:40 PM
Jim, I like the idea of the 1100. I have a .410 around here but talk about frustrating. I know a shop that has several, think I'll go look at them next week.

October 29, 2012, 11:44 AM
I think a gas operated semi-auto is certainly a very good option ....but a .410 ????

....( my .410 O/U giggles at me, when I load it into a case...." its says, yeah who are you fooling, you're no real shooter, you can't handle this .410 with your fragile ego - you suck " ....and then when I actually take it out to the Skeet field ...the giggling gets even worse...)....last time, I threated to tie it to my bumper with a chain and drag it thru the gravel parking lot to teach it a lesson ....darn thing, still wouldn't quit laughing....

But seriously, --- I have a completely rebuilt shoulder / and only half a bicep (all on my shooting shoulder ) ...elbow surgery ...arthritis in my hand and writst..../ and for a light gun, with almost no recoil, a 28ga O/U fits my needs really well ...when my arm, shoulder, hands hurt. 3/4 oz loads at 1200 fps....is a really soft shooting shell in an 8 lb O/U ..

....and while they aren't common, Remington and others do make a few Semi-autos in 28ga as well ...( they're pretty highly sought after on the used market ) in 1100's or 11-87's ....but the 28ga patterns really well ...and is a really good alternative. But these days its easy to download a 20ga to 3/4oz as well ...and effectively have the same thing.

So I think you have a lot of options - especially if you want to reload 20ga..

October 31, 2012, 03:04 AM
But the smile you get when you actually shoot a decent score with the .410 is priceless. I'm basically shooting a 28 now, just using 12ga hulls to load them in.
I'm looking at a well used but cared for 1100 now, 28" fixed full choke and a limbsaver pad. The pad was put on without changing the stock so it's about an inch longer than I'd like, easy fix for that. Price I can live with but I just bought me a Dane pup and I have to get her settled before I go spending any gun coin.

Uncle Billy
October 31, 2012, 06:54 AM
About 42 years ago my father and I joined a local trap-skeet club and shot every Sunday, for fun or in a league and sometimes on Wednesday nights. This went on for more than 30 years until dad and mom retired and went to Florida. He had my grandfather's Model 12 Winchester that was made in 1929 that Grandfather had won fairly prestigious competitions with the 1930s. It has an English style stock (no pistol grip shape) so recoil could have been an issue but wasn't; it was full choked with a ventilated rib and dad could toss that to his shoulder and the beads would line up without any other effort than just shouldering the gun. It has also killed maybe a million white tails, but that's another story.

My dad bought me a Model 12 trap gun also made in 1929 with a full choke and vent rib and had it reblued and restocked by a local guy whose specialty was fitting guns to their shooters. My '12 shoulders like my dad's does; it fits me "like a finger in the mud" as grandfather used to say.

We bought a Mec 600 Jr and with no further research began reloading. I have no idea how much lead or powder it throws; I do know that from day one the shot-powder bar hasn't been changed. I've always used 7 1/2 shot and the same powder, Blue Dot I think.

Over the years we put who knows how many reloads through the Mec and through our Model 12s, Dad shooting 23 or 24/25 consistently; my average was a bit higher over many matches.

I still have the shotguns, the Mec is bolted to my new reloading bench, the powder, shot, hulls and primers are all at hand. But Dad and Mom moved away after they retired, and Dad passed on a few years ago so our little shooting and reloading ritual came to an end.

Every now and then I take Dad's '12 out of the rack and handle it; then mine, and remember all the fun we had together.

Don't know why I posted this, it isn't of any use to the OP or anyone else. It's just when I read "trap" I get a flood of memories and thought to write them down this time.

October 31, 2012, 05:48 PM
Taliking about shooting a .410, BigJim. A regular at my range shoots a Citori .410. I don't know exactly what model but it looks like a sporting clays model. anyway, the guy lost the use of an eye in the service and his back is severely twisted from the same incident. Probably had to be Korea. Today he shot a 22 from the 16 yard line. Not a particularly good score for him.

November 1, 2012, 02:51 AM
Well Billy there ain't no such thing as a useless story if it's entertaining. I'd love to have the coin for a mod 12 trap gun. Or just a plain Jane mod 12 for that matter. I have a real love for old wood and steel.
One of the guys I shoot skeet with often pulls out one of his .410 O/U's. More often than not he runs a 25 with it. But he's got a few years experience (in his 80's) and apparently was pretty well known on the skeet scene back in the 50's. I'm especially fond of a sexy little win 101 he recently brought back from Oklahoma that he would gladly sell to me for a mere $2K.

November 1, 2012, 10:42 AM
Seriously, a .410 gives you a smaller pattern ( maybe 18" instead of 30" ) and with only 1/2oz of shot ...its not a gun for a novice. But it will tell you if your fundamentals ( swing, watching the target, follow thru ) are really in sync... We have a number of guys at my club that will easily run 100 straight with the .410 ...and they hit them hard !

Heck I don't have confidence in any of my guns somedays....but I do know that I get away with some sloppy moves now and then on a target with a 12ga....

But most of us shoot clay targets for fun anyway ...I did manage a 96 a few weeks ago in Skeet ....( 24, 25, 25, 24 ) ....for one of the best days I've had in a long time with my 12ga Citori XS Skeet ...and heck, I'll probably hold that day over my squadmates for at least 3 months....

But as we all get older, and I'm only 62 ...we have orthopedic issues ..that make picking a gun and gague more important (like the shoulder rebuild I spoke of above ) and somedays I just can't handle a big 8 1/2 lb 12ga gun - even mounting it hurts (not just the recoil )...its the weight that takes a toll on my elbow and shoulder. That's why I still think a 28ga is a good idea...especially in a gun that might only weigh 7 lbs...so don't overlook a gun like the Browning BPS Hunter model in 28ga ...with a 28" barrel....its an affordable option as well. They're selling new in box for around $ 600 in my area. ( its style is classic / nice wood / blued barrel ...)...


or even think seriously about reloading for that 20ga ...with some 3/4 oz loads...( basically make it like a 28ga ).

Uncle Billy
November 1, 2012, 05:05 PM
Every winter my Dad and I would shoot trap in a winter skeet and trap league they ran at our local club, which also had skeet fields. Both Dad and I did pretty well- I won my division a couple of years. The membership was divided between the skeet guys and the trap guys so there was always a lot of (usually) good-natured needling between them. Once, on a dare, I shot a round of skeet, but not with my Winchester which was expected- I used a Rossi coach gun- SxS 12 gauge with 20" barrels, IC chokes, 2 hammers and 2 triggers. My then-wife bought it new for $125 for me as a joke. It looked ridiculous in the rack next to the Citoris and Krieghoffs and other $3000-and-up guns that were common among the skeet guys. Well, I shot a 24/25 with it, hammers and triggers notwithstanding. Boy, did that give me a lot of currency in the ongoing debate with the skeet shooters- my usual retort was "How difficult is skeet when you know exactly where the bird is going to go every time? And a $125 riot gun shoots as well as one worth 6 months' mortgage payments?". It was a good laugh all around, and the top-shelf payoff at the bar went down real easy. One of the skeet guys was going to try the Rossi, but after he got over the external hammers, he came up with the 2 triggers. He broke it open, took out his shells and handed it back.

November 1, 2012, 09:59 PM
See, I shoot just to amuse myself. I go to the range, sit round and BS with a bunch of really friendly guys. Every n ow and then someone say's, "Hey, anyone want to shoot a round?" and if I'm not in the middle of some interesting conversation I'll get off my butt and wander down to the line. That's why I get such a kick out of all these people who voice their opinion that I'm wasting my time if I don't drop a couple of grand on a high grade O/U. I don't doubt that I'm handicapping myself abit with my current favorite 311. It's choked full and not quite as full. Truth be known it's an inch shorter in pull than I'd like it to be. But I really enjoy shooting it. A better gun might buy a few more clays and make those 25's show more frequently, but I'll never shoot in matches.

November 2, 2012, 01:55 AM
Okie, Here is a thought. If you like shooting the 311 for trap, but would like a longer lop, how about getting an adjustable butt plate/pad. You can lower it when shooting trap and slide it back up for skeet. Depending on the one you get and the pad, you can lengthen that LOP. You may even want to go with a Gracoil to reduce some of the felt recoil. I know you will do what you want and that is the way it should be, even if you spend more on the upgrading the gun than it is worth on the market.

Uncle Billy
November 2, 2012, 03:38 AM
Okie: You're right, the fellowship of the gun club is a good part of the pleasure of going there. Like fishing and hunting, it's the guys together that adds so much to the pleasure of doing it.