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Attention Publishers:  See reprint permission credits at end of page before printing in your magazine.

List of Articles:

bulletBuying Your First Trap Shotgun
bulletSpecifications on Your Trap Shotgun
bulletShould I Buy An Elite Trap Gun?
bulletWhy I Should Shoot A High-Rib Gun
bulletWhy You Should Participate In Registered Shoots
bulletDissolving Trap Shooting Myths
bulletHow to Trap Shoot - The First Time Shooter
bulletWhy Join the ATA
bullet12 Ideas to Promote the Sport You Love
bulletGo to next page of Articles


Advice before buying a new or used trap gun.

Money to buy the proper gun, of course.

For more information
Contact the following:

  So you want to buy a trap gun?  Hmmm, when you look around and see so many shooters buying and selling guns - often selling at a loss from what they paid just to get rid of it - you become confused as to what to buy.  Join the club! 

  Let's demystify the process so you will buy the gun that is right for you... the first time... and save yourself a measure of disappointment, poor shooting scores and money to boot!

  1. The nature of the beast is a trap gun is not like buying a field gun for casual use... it must be custom built to fit you.  What this means is you can't simply buy your buddy's gun or snatch one from the dealer's shelf and simply start shooting it.  You can, most everyone does, but most everyone can't shoot for beans and this is the #1 prime reason why... their gun's do not fit.
  2. You can not shoot trap effectively (to win large tournaments) if you learn to shoot by conforming to the gun.  The gun must conform to you.  So you must, after buying your gun, or before the purchase, visit a stock fitter and have the gun altered to fit you.  If you are like most shooters, you won't do it.  But I hope you will.
  3. You are not interested in shooting registered tournament trap.  Don't kid yourself... you will eventually.  It may not be this year or next, but you will.   I've seen dedicated shooters who have shot for years at the local gun club swear up, down, left and right they would never, ever, never shoot a registered shoot.   Then a miracle happens... I see them at an ATA shoot.  So this means two things... First, if you buy the proper gun you will shoot better, have more fun and be able to shoot registered targets when that miraculous day occurs (which it will) and two, you will get more money for the gun when you wish to sell it.  Enough said.   Lets look at the guns.


The gun that breaks the most targets!  

  So which gun is that?  Could be the gun you own now, with a few modifications to ensure it fits you with tight choke(s) you may have the golden goose and not know it.   Let's assume you don't, and you don't even have your first trap gun.  Where do I begin?


The autoloader shotgun is arguably the best all-around trap gun for the first-time beginner.   The reasons being; The stock is easily adjustable to set point of impact (a critical consideration), the gun can shoot all the games; singles, handicap, double-trap, sporting clays, you name it.  One gun for everything.  Recoil is lowest and that makes it ideal for everyone, especially the women.  The drawback is; autoloaders require extra cleaning and worst of all can jam.  In trap shooting singles and handicap you can always fire off one shot so jams is not a concern, but in doubles events you will be penalized and lose if your gun jams a wee too many times... though rules do appear to be changing to forgive such incidents... it will still disrupt the squad and yourself. More moving parts require more maintenance and repairs.  The autoloader has a benefit of being a low-recoil gun and that is a very positive feature.  Overall, the autoloader is a good first and last choice.


The dedicated single-barrel break-open trap gun is dominate stateside (USA trapshooting).   This does not mean it is the best gun to own... it only means it is favored in the states at this time.  Though the trend has been long-lasting we are seeing a gradual shift away from these guns to the under & over, but don't get me wrong... the single barrel gun will be dominate stateside for years to come.  The drawback is; you have to change to another gun to shoot double-trap as the gun will only fire one round.   This requires you must now purchase and setup (fit and adjust point of impact, etc,) another gun in your inventory and learn how to shoot the gun.  Now you have a duel learning curve... and that is not a good idea for the average shooter.   For the accomplished shooter (there are few professional shooters, believe me) this is not a problem.  If everyone sees a Top Gun shoot a single-barrel gun everyone flocks to it.  People do the same thing in golf, buy the club the pro uses.   That's okay, but is it the best weapon to use?  Is it practical?  Will it increase your scores?

  Yes, it is true that each game, singles, handicap and doubles are separate games and no one can argue the point that to have a specific gun designed for the game to play may be best... it is not practical in the overall sense that the majority of shooters are not so professional they could easily adapt to each gun.  Remember, when you change guns you better know how to shoot it because it's not going to shoot like the other one.  It will point differently, swing differently, balance and weight will be different and even the shot patterns will be altered, to name a few.

  So, for all economy and practical purposes, the single barrel guns should be left to the pros to shoot.  When you become professional and can shoot with such accomplishments you can then do what you want to do because you have the inside knowledge and abilities to shoot anything well.  Shifting from one gun to another is a problem even for the pros, but they can handle it.  Can you?  Be honest.  Look at your scores.

  The point is this.  The new or up and coming shooter should be shooting "one gun" not two or three guns.  One gun!  Not only is this the best and fastest way to learn to shoot, it is the most financially economical.   So, all you new shooters out there living paycheck-to-paycheck listen up... you only need one gun!  Don't let anyone try to convince you otherwise.  Just talk to some of the pros who shoot for a living and they will tell you the same thing.   That old proverb still holds true, "Beware of he who shoots one gun."   Daro Handy is living proof of that fact.  He shoots a custom modified Remington 1100 autoloader.


  Autoloader guns with a shell catcher works fine with single shot targets but will eject the second hull at other shooters during double trap events.  This annoys shooters on the squad and if you reload shells you'll have to perform the Easter Egg hunt when finished shooting to retrieve shells and do so quickly so as to beat the dreaded hull thief.  At competition shoots you lose the hull.  Rules are you can't retrieve them.  The autoloader is inherently unsafe to a degree relative to the O&U as it can be a bit more difficult to see if the gun is in fact unloaded when carried.  The O&U breaks wide open and there is no chance the gun could accidentally fire.


  The over & under trap gun is a fantastic machine and you should give great consideration here to buy one.  You can shoot all the games with one gun, as you can with the autoloader, but there are more benefits to the O&U.  There is less maintenance due to no moving parts subjected to the pounding forces of recoil (no gas shuttle as in the autoloader and no jamming)  You can even take the gun to the sporting clays events and kick-butt with it... many accomplished sporting clays shooters are using trap specified guns now!  If a firing pin fails you can continue shooting singles or handicap with the alternative barrel... two guns in one!  They will most certainly break the targets just as hard and fast as a dedicated single-barrel gun.   The gun's weight is the same and in some cases less.  Recoil is often less due to the mass of the gun and the bore on the bottom barrel is lower.  The two shots are fired extremely rapidly as no shuttling time is required which makes it ideal for double-trap, Olympic, wobble or sporting clays, etc., etc.  This gun does it all.   Maintenance is simply swabbing out the barrel and apply trigger grease once year and that's just about it.  Another factor of importance is most all O&U today come with removable chokes so you can customize the shot pattern spread for the game you wish to play.  The autoloader can also come with adjustable chokes, but most dedicated single barrel trap guns do not (usually a custom order). 

  The O&U gun, especially with a high rib and ventilated barrels, greatly reduces heat wave distortions so you can see the target better.  You normally shoot the lower barrel on a O&U on handicap targets so the upper barrel acts as a heat sink.  Also, the lower barrel is often configured to shoot higher than the top barrel... which makes it ideal for shooting handicap and double-trap.  If targets are flying low you can shoot the top flatter shooting barrel to help compensate.  If targets are flying high you can use the bottom barrel to raise the point of impact a smidgen and it's all done automatically simply by tossing the selector switch.  A bit more flexibility here can come in handy when facing weather related and target setting variations.


  Take your pick between the autoloader or the O&U.  That's the best overall option for the general shooter.  This recommendation also considers $ Costs $.   Certainly, if money is not an option to you... you can afford to do anything you want buying as many guns as you desire.  The O&U and dedicated single-barrel trap gun can have recoil reduced by installing a compression butt-mounted shock absorber device.  They work so good you can shoot all day long and never feel any discomfort!


  This recommendation is not to say it is a grave mistake or error to purchase a dedicated single-barrel trap gun.  We are recognizing the fact only of economy, practicality and efficiency.  You can learn to shoot two-guns. Keep in mind for each new (or used) gun you slide upon your shoulder you will have to fire at minimum 5,000 rounds just to get aquatinted with the gun.  It will require 10,000 to become engaged and 15,000 to be married to that gun.  The learning curve is intense to shoot a new gun, so be forewarned.  Many shooters can't shoot well because they keep changing guns... looking for that magic machine that will take them to the top ranks.  It's skill, not the gun to get that job done! Also, by the time you reach these numbers you'll have shot out the gun for it's first round of general maintenance parts replacements so it's important to consider the gun that will last the longest of all.  Which brings us back to the O&U again as a good choice gun.

  Now some to many shooters stateside will argue with this, but the British / European boys are going to agree that the O&U is the most versatile, reliable and most heavily used guns in that part of the world (which is larger than this stateside part of the planet), and these boys and girls shoot much tougher games than we do over here... and they get the job done with remarkable precision.  It's only a matter of time we too will see the light, and it's already happening.  More and more shooters are converting to the O&U to shoot American trap... and winning!   How slow we are to change, but change will be.

  There is a percentage of shooters, (many who just shoot for the money) who only shoot the handicap events and nothing more.  In this case... it is highly recommended to purchase the single-barrel trap gun.  Autoloader or O&U.  Though the O&U can still do the job, the extra barrel and weight is not necessary and the expensive dedicated single-barrel guns can be purchased in a wide array of price ranges.

  So, when you really look at the situation, with all things considered, the O&U gun is still the best all-around trap shotgun one can buy for it plays all the games, gets the job done, is highly reliable, requires low maintenance, and most of all... you only need to learn to own and shoot one gun.  


  The most popular gun manufactures at this time, particularly in the USA;  Browning Citori, Perazzi MX, Remington 90-T, Beretta, Ljutic, Cole Arms, Golden Seitz.  In Europe the Browning and Beretta take the lead with Perazzi. 

  The most popular manufacturers for USA & European shooters - among the beginner shooters (and accomplished shooters) looking for the most features at the lowest cost is Browning.  Among the pros the Berretta and Perazzi, and other guns.

  Keep in mind that when buying the expensive guns (technically all trap shotguns should be included) these machines are not designed to be purchased off the shelf, but custom ordered to fit with the features desired such as; POI adjustment, length of pull, high/low or adjustable rib, back-bored, lengthened forcing cone(s), trigger pull setting with release or pull trigger, etc., etc.  


Features a trap shotgun should have.

These items should be installed on the gun.

For more information
Contact the following:

What are the main critical or most important features to have installed on your trap shotgun?  When you attend gun club shoots, and even the registered tournament shoots, we see many gizmos dangling on the guns.  Are they important?  Some are, some are not.  Let's find out what is right for you!

Now that you know which type of shotgun you should buy that is right for you, here's the features you need consider.

  1. Adjustable comb is a must unless you have had your stock custom made, bent or formed to your body dimensions.  So, don't buy a gun unless you can set the cast on, cast off, and height.  It's one or the other... custom fit or adjustable.  If your gun has neither you will not be shooting well no matter how much you practice because the gun will not fit you.  Gun fit is critical, critical, critical!
  2. Removable chokes are optional, but handy.  What if, just what if you pay $7,000 for a gun and discover the hard way... the pattern and core centering is horrible?  If shell brand selection does not solve the problem, you are stuck with it.  Taking your barrel to a specialist can solve the problem, but at great delay and cost to get it right.   So pattern check the gun before you buy it and shoot some targets with it to make sure it works in the real world. Removable chokes give you incredible control and options to easy fix the problems.  Not everyone can afford custom barrels.
  3. Adjustable butt to set cant, gun fit and length of pull.  All important to insure proper gun mount and eye alignment along the rib and the length of pull, if properly set, will enhance swing balance dynamics; reduce recoil and further enhance pointability on the visual aspect.
  4. A high rib will do you wonders, and if adjustable will create miracles!  Way too many shooters are not shooting adjustable rib guns and they should be.  It is true once you are proficient with a gun you never need to adjust your point of impact (POI), but what if you are not so proficient, yet?  What are you going to do shim and re-shim the stock, keep fiddling with comb height that does nothing but give your cheek more of a beating from recoil?  The adjustable high rib gun is an important factor to consider;


bullet  You can adjust the rib setting to set the point of impact exactly for the game you wish to play.   A simple turn of a dial or screw raises or lowers the impact for many reasons you may want to.  If you have a O&U and shoot double-trap you can drop the POI to flash-hit that first target and smash the second on a flatter-trending shot path.
bullet  You can easily make POI adjustments to match the gun to the zone you plan to shoot.  In the learning process it requires many adjustment combinations to find that right zone to match your timing of the shot.  If targets are running slow and flat?  You can drop the POI.  Targets flying fast and high?  Raise the POI. 
bullet  You earn yardage, you have to learn a new series of sight pictures.  With the adjustable rib you simply raise the POI a smidgen and that's that!  The sight pictures and your timing remain the same.  The gun does all these corrections for you.  That's the wonder of the adjustable rib... but there is much more...
bullet  You see the target way much better and sooner with a high rib gun as your eye's are up and away from the barrel.
bullet  Your head remains in a straight-line erect stature looking straight ahead concentric to the rib.   A low rib gun will require you to crouch down or raise the gun high on the shoulder which throws off swing dynamics, upsets eye to rib alignment and raises the odds of a mismount to unacceptable levels.
bullet  Recoil is reduced as the bore of the barrel is lowered in direct line with the shoulder.  This reduces the tendency to lift your head from the stock overshooting the targets.
bullet  Your standing stance is correct with no crouching of the upper back or shoulders to hold the gun.  This only makes for a better setup and that means more targets hit.    
bullet  Visually distorting heat waves are extraordinarily diminished.  The optical illusion effect is abolished.

There are many benefits of a high rib gun, and these benefits are only enhanced further if the rib is adjustable.  However, there is a great deficiency of knowledge pertaining to POI, timing and zone shooting.  Shooter's stateside, have not been properly educated on how to fit their guns and shoot high POI guns, adjust timing factors, etc.  European shooters understand these important factors simply because these, primarily the English, have not only been shooting shotguns since time began... they have mastered the art of shooting... and I don't believe we Americans are ever going to take their hard-earned title away.  They believe way too heavily on gun fit and shooting instruction, so the average English / European shooter will kick out rears on the trapfield.  They know everything!  They shoot targets running at 70 m.p.h. while we shoot 40 m.p.h. targets.  See the drift?  And they do it with 7/8 oz of shot... so let's not think we can measure up to those standards anytime soon.  Fact is, our trap shooting game is child's play to them.  Gosh, they invented trap shooting and sporting clays, and games we never even heard of or shoot over here.  And, to top it off... they deeply love the O&U shotgun. A thought to ponder.


What more gizmos do you need on your trap gun?  Not much more.  All the rest is fine-tuning.

bullet   Fluorescent sight beads are easily glued on with silicone rubber (magnets are not reliable as the sight will shift or fly off the rib).  These sight beads are great learning tools and more.  You can see the target angle immediately as it passes by the barrel and you can, with great ease, learn sight pictures and get that bead where it should be regardless of lighting condition or background interference.
bullet  Barrel weight may be necessary if the gun is too lively (though you can compensate by shifting your forearm grip further toward the muzzle end of the stock to kill hyperactive guns).   As a general rule, your gun should be about 8 to 9 pounds for trapshooting.   Any heavier and the swing is smooth but you can't break the inertia unless you have very powerful muscles or use a moving gun technique.  A gun that is too heavy will start slow allowing the target to escape the zone and overshoot the target as heavy guns tend to rise higher when swung because your muscles are stiffer just to hold the darn thing up.  If the gun is too light you gain too much control and pointing errors increase.  The gun moves too fast and becomes unstable and difficult to stay on the target's true flight path.
bullet  Release or pull trigger?  That's a big subject.  Just shoot a pull trigger unless you develop serious flinching problems.  The release trigger is not a cure-all but it does work.  Before you quit the sport due to low scores and flinching read my book "Trap Shooting Secrets." It will break you out of slumps and many other troublesome thorns in the flesh.  The book also reveals what a flinch is, and it's not caused by recoil as you think it is, but shooting out of time with one's inner time clock.
bullet  Ported barrels are great to have as it will reduce a tad of muzzle rise and some felt recoil, but it has positive effects on the shotstring and eases the punishment to lead pellets prior to entering the choke, or final squeeze if your gun has no choke.
bullet  Recoil reduction device is a must for many shooters, but not all shooters need or want them.   Overall, it is best to have one installed because way too many targets are missed, and shooters rarely admit, head-lifting ever so slightly from the comb.  Most shooters don't even know they are doing it even when it happens because it is a unconscious reaction!  But if you watch shooters miss, you will see it happening, allot.  Tell a 27-yard shooter s/he lifted their head and they will likely cuss at you in their attempt of self-denial.     
bulletConsider buying a trap shotgun with Back-bored (another term for Over-bored) barrels and lengthened Forcing Cones.  This reduces felt recoil and produces tighter shotstring patterns.   If you can't get both, at least opt for the Over-bored barrel.  Chrome-lined barrels is a great feature to avoid pitting, wad friction scuffing and makes cleaning a quick task.
bulletThe rib should have a wide scored face to contrast the sight bead.

That just about wraps it up.      


Deciding how much money to spend on a trap shotgun.

Money.  Lots of money.

For more information
Contact the following:


  It's really difficult to find the "right gun" no matter who you are.   The choices are many and there are many fine guns with varying price tags.   Now, it is commonly thought the more money you pay for a gun the better the gun is.   True and false.  Better for what?  Resale value? Investment? Quality of workmanship? Reliability? 

  Is it truly practical to believe if you spend $8,000 or more on a trap gun you will be shooting better?  Don't kid yourself... you won't.  How many shooters do you know who shoot expensive guns never win those big shoots?  On the other hand, a beat-up junk gun that doesn't fit won't do you justice.  Striking the happy medium is the goal.  So, ask yourself...


  That is the most important question of all to ask yourself.  Here's some typical reasons why shooters buy another or a new gun and the pitfalls to avoid...

  1. I can't shoot this gun I have now.  Pitfall:  Why?  Do you know the real true reasons why you can't shoot the gun you currently own?  Is it a "feeling" or is it a technical deficiency you can literally point to on the gun?   Example:  Gun does not fit is a technical reason.  A feeling is just that and nothing more but a guess.   Many shooters change guns based on a feeling or mood or want rather than a need.   They buy another or new gun switching only models or brands but never correcting the true reason why they find it difficult to shoot the gun.  Find the reason, make the modification or buy the new gun with the modification.  Anything less you are simply wasting money, time, energy and ensuring more poor scores.

  2. I'm in a slump and I can't escape. A new gun will help me.  Pitfall:  It won't.  The gun does non create slumps, the shooter does.   Read item #1 again.  A temporary boost in scores often will occur when someone buys a new gun as attention and new enthusiasm inspires the mind, but soon the bottom falls out and scores again plummet.  The shooter still has not learned how to shoot and no new gun is going do that for you.  Shooting a new gun is a thrill.  This emotion activates the subconscious mind, but only for short time.  There are techniques that work to bring you out of Slump Hell which are explained in my books.

  3. I shot a new gun at a tournement practice trap and shot better.  Pitfall:  The power of your mind has given you a temporary lift enabling you to believe you can shoot better... that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  This new belief in yourself was triggered by shooting the new gun, but it will not last.  As you buy the gun and enter the learning curve to shoot the gun this exileration phase disapates and your are right back where you started... in a slump with an expensive new gun.  If you are going to buy a new gun it better have the features on it that you know will solve your shooting problems otherwise it's a waste of money.

  4. The pros shoot this type of gun so I've got to progress to it.  Pitfall:   The expensive guns shoot little to no better than the inexpensive gun.  If the gun you shoot is not mechanically defective or has a POI that is corrupted - like shooting to the left or right or too low or too high, then the gun you own may be fine as is... as long as it fits you and shoots where you look!  If you fix your current gun in a vice it will keep shooting into the bullseye because it is a precision instrument.  The expensive gun will do the same.  So if this is the case you will be buying the expensive gun for the wrong reasons... not to shoot more accurately.  Where is the advantage?   There is none.

  5. Everybody is raving about the gun and I've got to have one.  Pitfall:  Will you shoot better with that gun?  Are you sure?  What is it about the gun's features that will positively enhance your shooting?  Example:  A gun with a high rib verses the low rib gun you are now shooting can be a positive feature.

  6. I want that gun!  I've always wanted one!  Pitfall:  Buy it because you want it, but don't expect the gun to do your job for you.  There is nothing wrong with owning the car or truck you've always wanted.  Same is true with a new gun... if you want it, buy it.  Just make certain the new gun you buy has the features you must have to shoot better.  Buying a gun for prestige reasons will give you little prestige as you gaze at your low scores posted on the wall at the registered shoot. 

  Expensive guns are really nice.  They are well-built and will last a lifetime if not abused, lost or stolen.  The quality is high, but this does not mean the economical gun that cost about $2,000 or so is not better for you score-wise.  Price will not buy scores!  We humans are always looking for the shortcuts, the easy way out of things.  Trapshooting is not easy... it's hard work!  A new gun will only make your work harder than it is now especially if it's not what you needed to correct poor scores.

  First, learn how to shoot high scores, then when you are proficient, go out and buy your new expensive gun as you will have the raw experience under your belt to adapt to the gun.  The worst thing you can do is keep changing guns!  Each gun requires thousands of rounds of shooting to get to know it well.   Each new gun will set your scores back a year or two in re-learning and that's an expensive price to pay.  Remember;  guns don't win shoots... people do!

  If you have lots of money to burn, then by all means go out and buy the most expensive gun you can with all the features you need included and learn to shoot from this starting point.  Most shooters who begin trap shooting don't have the money to buy expensive guns, don't yet know the features they should have, or are not sure what they want or need.  These magazine articles should help you to at least clear out some of the doubts and fallacies of trapguns so you won't make expensive mistakes. 

  There are way too many shooters changing guns for one reason or another.  The biggest of them all is buying the wrong gun to begin with.  Usually, a new shooter arrives at a gun club, falls for the game and buys a member's trapgun for sale... but was it the right gun to buy?  I could or it could not.  The good news is, if you bought a decent trap gun (not a field or skeet gun) you can have it modified to fit you so it will shoot where you look.  So, instead of looking to buy a new gun you may want to consider alterations.  But if the alterations are too expensive?  Then buy a new gun with the features you need.

  Be aware you can't just walk into a gun store and buy a trap shotgun off the shelf unless it has all the adjustable features; adjustable comb, adjustable rib or stock, adjustable butt-end, removable chokes.  It's a huge mistake to purchase a gun that can not be adjusted to fit you and set POI easily.   Now you can buy a gun off the shelf, but don't you dare shoot it as is... you must take it to a stock fitter right away and have the gun fitted.  If you have never done this with the gun you are shooting now... it's no wonder you are always looking to buy another trapgun.  You can never consistently shoot well with a gun that does not fit you!  The swings between having good days and bad days will be extreme... like shooting on luck alone.  It can become so frustrating a shooter may even quit the sport.

  Get your priorities in line.  Too many shooters are so willing to pay money for new shells to try, new whatever's, and neglect the most important factor of all... gun fit. Gun fit!  Gun fit!  Gun fit!  Say it a thousand times as your penance.  If you really want to shoot well and see yourself winning the money and trophy's then make your appointment now to get your gun checked for fit.  It is simply incredible how many shooters out there have never had such a tune-up... yet it is so important! 

  And for those who do have all the adjustable features already on the gun... did you have your settings checked by a stockfitter?   Likely not!  The settings on your gun may seem to be right and may even feel right yet could be all wrong!  Don't kid yourself... you can't setup the gun by yourself.  You need that outside perspective to see gun fit!   Looking in a mirror will not work as you will unconsciously make adjustments to make it look right then when you shoot it will revert to being all wrong again.

  Having your gun fit checked is often free!  Or a minimal charge of $20 or so.  The actual cost of fitting the gun to you is approximately $80 to $120 with stock bending, etc.  Win one option event and you have your money back!  Fact is, you'll be winning more and more money with a gun that fits.  So, let's stop messing around and get the gun fit checked.  Don't delay, make your appointment today! 

  Buying another or new gun is a controversial and personal subject.  Some shooters will agree or disagree to this article and that's okay.  The point is established that no matter what gun you buy it must enhance your shooting.  Wants and needs are two separate entities and often do not compliment each other.  You may discover the gun you always wanted due to aesthetic or prestige reasons was not the right gun for you at all.  So, before you buy know why!


The miracle benefits of the ventilated high-rib rig.

The desire to shoot well.

For more information
Talk to your gunsmith or new gun dealer.


  Arise and awaken ye' ol' trapshooter's of planet Earth for the day of reckoning is near.  Okay, sage warnings never could frighten hardened trap shooters, but low scores will make them #!*#!* scared stiff.  Here's some good advice and if you follow it no doubt you will make some money at trapshoots when you pass the initial learning curve

Here's the skinny on ribs!

  I'm not going to explain all of the features and benefits as I need to keep the article short and sweet, so here goes:

  1. The high rib lowers the bore line to reduce felt recoil and reduces head-lifting.
  2. Gives you superior visibility of the target rising under the barrel and when taking the shot.
  3. Keeps your eye on line as the head does not have to reach down to the comb.
  4. A better shooting stance is obtained and that means less shooting over the top of targets.
  5. Reduces flinching.
  6. Eliminates visual target optical illusions by chilling distorting heat waves from the barrel.
  7. Helps you get on the target quicker.
  8. And that's as far as we go here so nobody gets irate.

  Now if you are shooting a flat-rib gun you are not receiving these benefits and likely your scores are reflecting this on the score sheet.  So my advice is the next time you do go to a registered shoot to visit the 'gun boys' and test drive a high-rib gun.   When the day comes to buy; beg, plead, stomp your feet and demand a adjustable rib gun or tell the dealer he must personally guarantee the gun will shoot where you look and in synchronization with your timing or you get your money back (they won't do it, believe me).  Some may even say, "Synchronize?  What?"  And make certain your comb is adjustable too for height and cast (on & off).

  That adjustable rib is going to bail you out of many heartaches in the long haul as you work your way back from the short-yardage handicap to the long-yardage.  You can make fine adjustments on each yardage punch (usually raising point of impact) and still maintain your timing and sight pictures without a troublesome learning curve.

  For those who are already at the back fence the adjustable rib will help you fine-tune your shooting as you can experiment with different POI settings to maximize precise hits on the target using various timing schemes.  You can't do that with a fixed rib gun as easily as you may think.

  So if you have a fix-rib gun with a solid comb stock you had better be ready to go see a stockfitter because if you haven't you are shooting a gun that does not fit you.   And if you don't believe it, then look at your scores!  Your score will tell you the truth regardless if your ignore the problem. 

"I don't have a personality problem... you do!"

  There is one troubling common thread many trapshooters have as a personality defect and that is one of; "It ain't me!  It's the other guy that has the problem!"   And worse yet... "Yeah, yeah, I know, but..."  Those "but's" will kick 'em in the butt every time they go out to win a tournament.   So what's the point?

  If you are serious about trap shooting get the rig that can take you where you want to go and get all the features you can on your gun that will give you the winning edge.   You must have the advantage over your competition in equipment and skill if you wish to win again, and again.  Everybody wins here and there, but can you do it again and do it at the big shoots?  Go test out a ventilated high-rib gun... they are true trap guns!

The gun you own may be lying to you!

  "Loyalty breeds dishonesty."  Just read the news of politicians and other government civil servants in power and you'll see the common theme of loyalty covering up one wrong deed after another.  Trapshooters do the same thing in a way when they begin to give affectionate loyalty to the gun they paid $3,000 to $6,000 for and they can't win a big shoot with it, ever.  I say big shoots as anyone can get lucky and win a small shoot.  And averages mean nothing in the "real world" of trapshooting.  You can have a respectable average and still not walk out with the trophy and money at the Satellite or other Grand-type shoots.

  So here lies the problem, 1) The gun you own is the wrong gun, but you don't believe it,  2)  You need shooting lessons and instructions,  3)  Both number 1 and number 2 apply and you still won't believe it and will do nothing, 4)  This is why the better shooter's take your money, 5)  You can change your attitude and win shoots if you are willing to get rid of that silly loyalty thing that is holding you down, but you likely won't do that either until you get sick and tired of your scores and finally cave-in to reason.

  It's not easy to give up a gun after you've spent big money on it and that is a problem for many trapshooters for they never did their homework and consulted the proper experts before buying the gun.  I've said time and again buying expensive guns is a custom purchase... not an off the shelf on my shoulder deal.  You don't learn how to shoot a gun... you shoot a gun that fits you... then you learn how to shoot targets!

  You don't have to agree with me on anything here.  Heaven forbid if I get blamed for divorcing your loyalty to your gun.  I'm just telling you the way it is and maybe, just maybe, you'll take a second look to see if the gun you are shooting is in fact the right gun for you.  I know many will try a high-rib gun at the practice trap and fail to break as many targets as they did with their loyal spouse and say, "I can't shoot this confounded thing!"  That's not proof.  You may have to buy the gun and shoot 500 rounds to really tell if it's right, and one thing I can assure you.   If the gun fits, shoots where you look and the rib and comb are adjustable... you will learn how to shoot it!  And in the end you too will swear by the high-rib gun.

  Not all the pros shoot high-rib guns though many do.  The key is to take the straight easiest route to success not the most twisted road that may lead nowhere.   Trapshooting is never easy, but it is easier to see targets with a high-rib gun... and s/he who sees the target best usually breaks the targets best.  That's a shortcut worth taking.  The low-rib gun is like paying tolls on an Eastern turnpike... who needs it?  What benefits are there?  All they do is tax the spirit and take your money and give it to someone else, and it's still a bumpy ride. 

  So the bottom line is this.  Your next gun purchase should be your last... or at least close to that figure.  So step up to the stepped-up rib and go to work breaking targets.  After all, you paid to break them so it's just not fair to you to let those orange or green fruits just fly away unscathed into the horizon.

Why You Should Participate In Registered Shoots

           You need to get into competition now to be a good shooter and to have real fun!

A shotgun and you.

For more information
Contact the ATAShotgun Sports Magazine and Clay Shooting Magazine


  This is not true.  Many new and casual trapshooters practicing at local gun clubs 'for fun' believe they must shoot better to compete in the big registered shoots and shy away from the prospect of signing up. "I can't beat them guys!"  I also hear, "I just shoot for fun" as another reason why they don't participate.  Do you fall into this category?   Let's talk!


  Let me assure you I fully understand your reluctance as I (and everybody else) went through the same thing, 1) You do not have to shoot better to begin competition shooting and, 2) It is more fun than shooting at the local club... 10-times more fun! 3)  It is perfectly normal to be a bit intimidated to the prospect of signing up!

bullet  Fear is the predominate factor to overcome... fear of shooting an embarrassingly low score.  This fear is unjustified and totally unreasonable.  If you attend any registered shoot you will see very low scores even among shooters who have competed for 20-years or more!  I'm talking low 60's in handicap!  If you look at your own practice scores you may be surprised to see you are doing way better than that! 

  There is no reason to fear shooting a low score.  Trapshooter's at these shoots are very cautious of 'racking on' anyone's scores as they are usually not very proud of their own scores!  Everyone gets a dose of 'humbling lessons' at these shoots... as most everyone who attends loses!  So your fear of losing and shooting a low score is not realistic, so you may as well get your calendar and mark it to attend the next shoot!

bullet  The fun factor of shooting registered targets is more fun than shooting at the club on Sunday's.  Many more functions are planned, larger banquets and fun-shoots like Annie Oakley's and Buddy Shoots.  There is the fun of taking mini-vacations out of town to meet new friends you haven't even met yet.  And at the Grand-level shoots  your wife can take-off on excursion tours offered by the shoot promoter on shopping trips, museum visits, etc.

  When the sun falls and the stars flicker above you can sit around and chat with people nibbling on tasty morsels of food they use to attract friends (it's a dirty trick to get company but it works).  So if you shoot for fun... you are missing out on the real fun if you don't attend registered competitions.

bullet  Now for those who want to shoot better before entering competition and plan to practice until you get better?  It doesn't work that way!  First, competition shooting is totally unlike practice and there is no comparison whatsoever.  Secondly, you can practice all you want at the club and hit high 90's in handicap and when you go to the registered shoot you'll blow it and lose badly and that will crush your spirit greatly.
bullet  You will not be shooting against the pros!  You will be assigned an entry-level class and you will shoot with other shooters with the same abilities you now have, more or less.   So it is not inconceivable to actually go to a registered tournament shoot... and actually win it!  It happens all the time.  So there is no need to fret and delay.  Pack your bags and get ready for the next registered shoot!
bullet  Sooner or later you will attend registered competitions.  Many, many, many, shooters have told me, "Never will you ever see me shooting tournaments.  It's not my thing.   Believe me."  And two-years later guess who I see shooting?  Yep, it will happen to you too!  If you keep shooting on weekends the day will come your friends will 'go for it' and eventually you will feel 'left-out' and join-in on the fun.   Believe me, it is more fun shooting registered shoots than simply practicing on Sunday afternoons.  Just try it once and see for yourself.  You at least owe that to yourself to have some real fun, don't you?
bulletThe day arrives you will get the urge to shoot better and to do this you'll need to enter registered shoots.


  1. When you practice at the local club you are shooting on familiar ground.   You know the traps, the targets, the speed and feel of the traps and targets, and the people around you will be upsetting to your natural squad-building at the registered shoot.  This comfort zone will not be there when you attend your first tournament shoot.  Everything will 'look different' and the targets thrown may be faster or slower or of a different color and this will upset your timing and sight pictures.   The background scene will be strange and will cause eye-flicker. All of this will dump your scores for you have gained little to no experience of shooting at other clubs and variant conditions.  So it's a waste of time, energy and a life of fun to wait until you shoot a better score.  Don't make this mistake!
  2. The formal nature of the shoot will upset your mind-set and the internal fears of shooting a good rank will be destructive to your final score.  Competition stirs adrenaline like no other factor and it can not be generated at the club on a Sunday practice shoot.  Try as you may... it's impossible.  So no matter how much you practice it's all for nothing until you get your feet to the fire during competition itself.  Only competition can elevate you to a new level.
  3. To be a better shooter and to get your scores up you have to enter competition, and the sooner you do the better shooter you will be.  The longer you delay the worst it's going to be for you to compete!  The better you get at the local club... the lower your score will be in the registered tournament event and that will create more fear and perceived embarrassment to you.  If you delay... you pay.  It's all part of competitive psychology.
  4. How are you going to learn if you surround yourself with shooters that are not top-notch trapshooters?  Knowledge is passed on by pros to friends and to you at these shoots.  Along with the actual experience of shooting competition... you learn!  Your knowledge base remains limited if you only practice at the club on Sunday afternoons.   

These are just a few reasons why you must sign-up now

So mark your calendar and let's go!

  Do yourself a favor.  If you love to shoot your shotgun, the registered shoot is the place you want to be!  The time to join is now!

Dissolving Trap Shooting Myths

           Setting the record straight of the many myths misleading shooters.

A willinglness to learn.

For more information
Contact your inner mind of reason.


bullet  Angled targets travel in straight lines.

False.  Gravity exerts anti-linear momentum forces upon targets.  All angled trap targets "bend" along a curved-arc flight path.  The better trapshooters are conscious of this fact and insure they aim/point/acquire the target's arc before pulling that trigger.  Once learned it becomes a natural subconscious act, to a degree, but awareness of this anomaly is critical to obtain consistent solid hits and scores. 

bulletStraight-away targets are straight.

Straight targets bend left or right but never travel in a straight line.  It is so rare to see a true straight-away target they are practically non-existent.  You can see this for yourself by locking the trap machine and see how many target will strike the center field post.  Most targets will still fall left or right of the post and that's with with machine "locked" in position on a calm day.  When the trap oscillates those off-centerline targets increase dramatically.  Always aim to shoot left or right of a straight-trending target, never at its center.

bulletNever use the sight beads when shooting trap.

Sight beads are necessary to use.  Back-sighting is a requirement to learn how to shoot off the end of your barrel, to tighten the sight picture and to control trigger timing.  You can't shoot with your eyes alone in handicap.   Eye/hand coordination is not precise enough to establish precision dispatching of edge-on targets.  You have to use the sights more than you currently believe.   This is not rifle-aiming, but close to it. 

bulletYou must learn to shoot singles to be good at handicap.

No.  The two games are very different.  Each requires its own technique.  If this were not true you may as well start shooting double-rise (double-trap) or Olympic trap so you can shoot DTL or ATA handicap targets properly.   Each game is different, so do not believe the myth you must shoot singles 16-yard targets to excel in handicap.  Specialization is required.

bulletA soft eye focus is required prior to calling for target.

Not true.  You have to learn how to pre-focus the eye along the sight rib to energize centralized vision.  Pros will casually tell a novice to use a soft focus but they fail to consider they themselves are using centralized vision focus due to the tremendous level of eye-training they have acquired over the years.   Once learned it appears as a soft focus but to the beginner it is not.  Also, pre-focus allows the shooter to enter the slow-motion mode of shooting, allows the target to appear brighter and the targets come to the shooter instead of having to chase them down.

bulletA shooter can setup his/her own gun fit.

  Extremely rare.  Only a few can who have the inner knowledge.  Most all shooters are shooting guns that are not fitted properly and have never consulted with a stockfitter for a check-up.  A mirror will not help to perform fit tests as the shooter will tweak adjustments to "make" it look right.   An outside view is required.  Too many targets are missed due to failing to insure good gun fit.

bullet30-inch patterns is the standard and most reliable.

  A common myth.  In singles you'll get away with it, but not in long-yardage handicap as the pattern fails.  The central hot-core is what breaks targets with 'reliability' so pattern down to the 25" pattern to establish the tightly-packed central core.  If you don't, you will miss targets when you did not miss at all.  The 30" pattern works against you in handicap shooting.  If the 25" pattern is too much for you to learn then try the 28" pattern first to learn to adapt to the increased precision required to break the targets then migrate to the 25" pattern.  

bulletRelease trigger solves flinching.

  It is a management tool, not a cure-all.  Flinching comes in many forms not just recoil flinching.  Release triggers do help many shooters and is a viable tool.  There are alternative techniques to explore before switching to the release trigger as these triggers will not cure sight-picture flinches where you pull the trigger at the wrong time and miss the target.

bulletShooters don't need lessons.

  A prevalent misconception especially in the USA and Canada.   Every shooter needs instruction to learn the finer points of trapshooting.   There are too many shooters who shoot in competition not really knowing what is really going on out there with the targets.  There are tricks to this trade like any other sport or occupation.  If you don't learn these little secrets you eventually hit a wall that can't be broken down and the dreaded slump materializes.  

bullet  A new shooter should begin at the 16-yard line.

  Everybody does this but it's wrong.  The new shooter is too close to the targets and they appear too fast to the eye like shooting skeet targets.   The gun must swing faster in a wider arc so they learn right away to "push" the muzzle to the target, often violently.  Shooting 16-yard targets is difficult to do for the brand new shooter and no sense of preliminary accuracy is acquired.  Put the new shooter on the 20-yard line so they can see the target a little better and slower and not have to swing the gun so wildly.  Once they get the hang of it then let them shoot the 16's.

bulletCanting a shotgun is a grave error.

  Only if performed with no specific purpose.  A new shooter will cant the gun because the mind's-eye is seeing the curving targets and telling the body to respond to follow the arc.  The shooting coach will eliminate the canting so as to establish proper swing dynamics.  However, once swing form is learned canting is a technique a shooter can intentionally use to get on the target quicker and smoother and shape the shotstring for dead-center hits.  It is an advance moving gun technique.  You will see pros using it.  It's subtle to the untrained eye but canting is used with great success in trapshooting.

bulletMany shooters are using the wrong size choke.

  Absolutely.  Most shooters are using a choke that is throwing a wide pattern to obtain "easy hits" but the pattern fails just enough to keep the scores down in the non-winning area.  Tighten up the choke.  You'll miss targets at first due to learning how to get more precise hits but in the long-run you'll begin to pick up those previously lost targets and see impressive scores.   Learn to shoot with precision not with a choke.  Practice with an extra-full choke!  This will build precision.  Later, in competition, you can open up the choke a bit if you wish to help counter for those slight misalignments, nervousness induced errors, etc. 

bullet  It is easier to shoot at the 27-yard line.

  When shooters at shorter handicap distances shoot the 27-yard at Turkey or Buddy-shoots they seem to pump some good scores; "Hey, it's easier here than where I'm standing!"  So the drive to get to that "easy" 27 is very attractive and all efforts are expended to get there quickly.  The day of victory arrives... success at last!  Then suddenly - almost immeditely upon arrival - the scores dump to the pits and stay there.  What happened to that easy 27?  It's not so easy anymore!  In fact, it's hellishly difficult.  You can thank your unconcious mind for the trip to hell because it brought you there, not by pure skill, but my emotion and luck.  On the journey to the 27-yard line precision shooting techniques were never learned and when that luck runs dry (and it does) a shooter can not escape from the plateau.  The wall is hit hard and the shooter is trapped in a snare.  All efforts to escape fail and the relentless slump materizes, feeding on itself, and the walls squeeze in to crush the shooter's spirit and scores.  Now there is help!   You can take lessons from a coach to escape and/or read my books to learn these precision shooting secrets.  Try as you may, you will never escape this hellish slump on your own efforts.  You must have the knowledge to break free.  It's now or never.

bulletYou must have natural-born talent to become a professional trapshooter.

  Totally false!  Many, many, pros will tell you how badly they shot when they first started out... often worse than your scores when you first shot!  One Hall of Fame pro told me when he fired his first round of trap he couldn't hit any of the 25 targets and it took him ten tries before he hit ten of them!  Talk to Olympic Medallists winners and they will tell you just how little natural-talent plays a role to perform professionally.  You have to learn pro techniques!  You also need advice, support, lessons and instructions.  Some shooters can rise to high levels of achievement on natural-talent, but few do.  And even those that do rely on the "inner knowledge" they picked up from other professionals!  Pros don't shoot in a vacuum.  No man is an island.  Get the knowledge and you can become a professional trapshooter!

bulletNobody gives lessons for free.

  Not true.  There are many free resources you can use to learn trapshooting.

  1. Click here for free trap shooting lessons and click here for answers to many questions.
  2. Talk to professional shooters... ask questions.  Many trapshooters feel intimidated to approach these professionals.  Simply push past that barrier and introduce yourself and open with, "Can I ask you a question about (gun fit, sight pictures, etc.)?"  It's that simple.  Most will never say no so you'll get your answer.  Keep conversation brief and short, a couple minutes or so, and the next day you will get even more advice if you ask.
  3. Subscribe to shooting magazines.  The subscription cost is so low relative to the information given the shooting lessons given in the articles themselves are essentially free.
  4. Search for internet sources where advice is given and where shooters talk to each other on-line. 
  5. The library may have shooting books you can read for free.
  6. You can pay to have shooting lessons from a coach/instructor.   Yes, the cost is there, but if you win option money due to the increased scores - those shooting lessons were free.  A good investment was made.
bullet  You never aim a shotgun, you point it at the target.

  Just watch a pro shoot and tell me s/he is pointing the gun at the targets when shooting handicap targets... and I'll show you a pro that is no longer going to stay a pro.  You bet these pro shooters aim their guns!  After 25-years of shooting 40,000 targets a year it may even appear to be pointing to them at times, but the truth is they are using those sight beads/muzzle to put them on the target.  It's the only way to get that sure-fire hit each and every time.  No luck here or relying on pure eye/hand coordination as the sole factor.  Fact is, at the 27-yard line there is little eye/hand coordination taking place.  It's pure intentional calculated precision moves to the target; trigger control, eye focus, gun and eye holds, tracking the target's true line of flight, fine-tuned back-sighting, etc.  Techniques that have nothing to do with pointing a shotgun.  Don't believe the myth you point a shotgun for if you do... you will continue to point and lose to the pros who know better.  There are many secrets to trapshooting. 

bulletEye/hand coordination is a predominate skill in handicap trapshooting.

  False.  There is very little angular muzzle travel at the 27-yard line, a bit more at lesser yardage's but dangerous to assume handicap shooting requires polished eye/hand coordination as would shooting singles or double trap at the 16-yard line or other disciplines such as skeet and sporting clays.  A higher degree of precision aiming is required in the handicap trap game where the shooter must learn how to use the sight beads without rifle-shooting.  A technique called back-sighting which allows the shooter to shoot off the end of the barrel.

bulletShooting Glasses?  A waste of money.

  False.  Shooting glasses are designed with lenses ground to centralize vision into the focal zone where the iris is located so you see the target with more rod receptors, about 750,000 more!  This enhances your shooting greatly the moment you put the glasses on.  The better you see the target the easier it will be to hit it.  Many shooter are missing out on these benefits.   Lens filters also enhance target centering and clarity.  The cost is now way more affordable! 

bulletDo not think when shooting in competition.

  True and false.  If you don't think you'll be shooting blindly with a dead mind.  Using trigger words and simple positive statements will keep you focused to the job at hand.  The top Olympic shooters are fierce competitors and they mentally converse with themselves with a vengeance when shooting.  It elevates desire and forces you to enhance performance and crush negetive thoughts; "You have to beat the devil to submit to your will not his!"

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How to Trapshoot - The First Time Shooter

You need quick lessons on your first day so here's some shooting tips.

The will to learn and have fun.

For more information
This Web site has all the information to take you where you want to go.

  The best bet is to ask the gun club manager to have some give you some basic instruction on safety procedures, how to stand correctly, how to move from station to station, how to shoulder and hold the gun.  Once this is performed you can begin to take that first step to learn how to shoot trap targets.

  Now you may only want to try just one or two of these items on your first day or two of trap shooting.  You don't want this to become a technical exercise as you are only trying to have some fun.

  1. When you are standing on any one post/station you will now notice that when a target exits you will receive one of three basic angled targets... left, straight or right.   Keep this basic thought in mind and it will help you eliminate all of the angles in between from concern. 
  2. Now, the idea here is to setup your gun hold (where you hold the gun over or on the traphouse) to take advantage of the most severest angled target you will receive on that specific post.  Post 1 the hard extreme left target is the most difficult so you want to mentally prepare yourself for that target to emerge.  You don't anticipate it will exit, but if it does you are ready to go for it.  Post #2 a less severe left target.   Post #3 you'll receive minor angled left and right so there is no need to setup for any of these angles so you setup for the straight target.  Post #4 and #5 is the reverse of #1 #2 as you'll setup for the extreme right angled target.  Easy, huh?   It is.  But breaking the target is always still hard to do... to do it consistently.
  3. Try taking a nice deep breath before you call for the target as this will settle the nerves and add a boost of oxygen to the eye to increase your vision of the target.
  4. If you can't hit the targets you can try closing your eye and rifle-shoot the target by aiming at it.  The trick is to not take your eye off the target otherwise the muzzle will stop and you'll shoot behind the target.  So no peeking back at the sight bead.
  5. Don't be afraid to put that gun's muzzle/sight bead way ahead of the target before you pull the trigger.. it's hard to shoot behind a target this way.
  6. When you miss a target just remember there are two basic reasons why.  You shot over the top of the target or behind it.  It is an extremely rare event that you will actually shoot below a target or too far ahead of it.  This is an important thing to keep in your mind when learning how to trapshoot.  Now you can focus on leading the target (advancing the gun ahead of the target) and to keep the muzzle pointed at the bottom or below the target.  Trap guns are designed to shoot high, meaning when you fire the gun the shotstring pellets will actually be shot a bit higher than where you aimed.   Stay below and ahead of the target and you'll be hitting much more of them.
  7. Do not mount (place gun on shoulder) too quickly.  Do not be in a hurry here, okay?   It is important to learn right away that you mount the gun smoothly to your shoulder, like in slow-motion, and socket it into your shoulder firmly.  Pull the gun in snugly so it's nice and tight.  This will help you maintain control of the gun and reduce and recoil from banging your shoulder.
  8. Now you must keep your head down on the gun's comb.  So snug your cheek down and feel that it is down before you call for the target.  Now be aware, if the gun does not fit you the gun may rise up a bit and whack you in the cheek with a slight sting.   If this happens ask the gun club manager if there's another gun you could use or place some shock absorbent material to the gun.  Even a folded towel taped to the comb will do the trick.  Now push your cheek down snugly.  The more you push down the less recoil you will experience (as long as the comb is fitting your face dimensions). 
  9. Now that you have the gun shouldered firmly and your cheek is down on the comb, close your eyes for a second and "feel" what this feels like.  This is how you must remain when you call for the target, see the target and move the muzzle to the target.  You cannot loosen your grip on the gun and you cannot lift your head from the comb.  If you have a hard time seeing the target leave the traphouse, then lower your gun hold so you can. 
  10. Try holding the gun all the way down to the traphouse before you call for the target.   You will see the target better but you'll have to swing the gun a bit more than the high gun hold method.  The high gun hold is holding the gun straight out horizontally like many other shooters you see doing.  But here's a hot tip the pros use and many experienced trapshooters don't know.  Lower the gun hold an inch or two more from the straight out horizontal.  This will help you see the target quicker and be able to swing on the target's true flight path.  If you don't do this you will be swinging the gun left and right only and you will miss way too many targets doing this.
  11. When tracking the target with your muzzle make sure you do just that!  Think of the target as a freight train on railroad tracks.  You want to get onto the same railroad track and follow the muzzle along this track until you catch up with the target.   Believe it or not, many shooters forget to do this!
  12. When you swing the gun, don't push or jerk the muzzle.  Relax!  Allow your entire body to move the gun to the target by pivoting from the hips and upper body.   You and the gun should feel like a "ridged" piece of steel so the gun can't move unless you move your body to the target.  This is called using Body English and it's an advanced shooting form that is correct for the beginner to learn.   You lose control of the gun and all accuracy if you push that gun with your arm to the target.  Let your body flow to the target.
  13. Be smooth to the target.  Don't rush it.  Don't be in a great hurry to shoot the target the moment it exits the house.  Let it get out there a ways so you can see it.  Don't worry if other shooters are shooting faster.  You will too, later.   Just relax and try to put that sight bead on the target if you can.
  14. You don't have to aim the shotgun at this stage of your learning experience.  Just keep your eyes solidly locked onto the target at all times.  Never take your eyes off the target, okay?  It will take a little time for your eyes to learn how to look at fast moving targets.  Hey, this is your first time shooting so don't worry about it.   If you want to train your eyes for the next round keep watching the targets fly as other shooters shoot and try to focus in on a little broken fragment.  This will help you to learn how to see small moving objects.  When you do this the target will appear bigger and easier to hit.
  15. Try shooting handicap targets at the 20-yard line.  This is a better place to learn as you can see the targets better (smaller but they appear slower with less blur to them) and you don't need to swing the muzzle as much (the angle decreases with distance from the traphouse).  This is also where all the big money is made in trapshooting.   Handicap shooting is more difficult but much more rewarding to learn.
  16. Don't make the mistake of practicing for months on the 16-yard line.  There is no big money shooting singles (16-yard targets are called, singles targets).
  17. Don't get caught up in the score trap!  If you shoot the singles too much, say a month or two, you will start to see you are hitting most all of the targets.  Then when the handicap trap game is started the singles shooter's tend to shy away from it, "I can't shoot with them pros.  My scores go down and I get embarrassed."   This is a trap trapshooters fall into early in their shooting and you must avoid it.  Get yourself onto the handicap shooting line as soon as you possibly can and learn from there... like today!  Why?  Because your 16-yard singles score will automatically increase because handicap is a harder game to learn.  You will hear you have to learn singles to be able to shoot handicap targets first.  This is a myth.  Do not believe it.  Singles shooting can never help you shoot well in handicap as the handicap game is much more complex and totally unrelated to shooting singles.  Use the reverse process here and you'll see amazing score increases with singles targets after you learn to shoot the handicap.
  18. Everyone will give you tips and lessons.  Listen, but don't try to absorb all of the things told to you all at one time.  Many shooters cannot fully explain to your why certain things are done or how to do them, but they can tell you what is right or wrong (usually wrong is explained due to they not knowing the inner workings of the game).   So take advice with a grain of salt. 
  19. Find out who the "best" shooter is at the club and ask this person questions.   If the shooter is a big-mouth braggart type, don't.  No matter how good of a shooter... these types of people tend to enjoy giving bad advice to new shooters.   Thankfully, they are rare in trapshooting, but a few "Glory Seeker Know-It-All's" do exist.
  20. I know this is your first day of trap shooting, but you should check out the opportunities available to you to enter competitive shooting.  Yes, you are ready!   Just a few practice sessions like you have done today, say, four more and you'll have the basic safety instructions to begin.  You don't begin shooting competitively waiting until your scores increase.  That's not the right way to learn trapshooting!  You dive right in!  Don't get into those hang-ups so many shooter's have fearing to enter competition shoots... waiting for their scores to increase.  That's not the way to go, okay?  Trust me on this one!

  That's enough for today, and for the next month of shooting to learn.  Print this page and bring it with you the next time you go to shoot... you'll be glad you did!

  Contact the ATA to get into competition and start having some real fun trap shooting!  And when you're really ready to start learning this great game, read the book "Trap Shooting Secrets" by James Russell and get ahead of your competition, fast!    

Why Join the ATA

Governing bodies guiding the sport of trap shooting.

About $15 per year.

For more information
In USA and Canada contact the ATA  



  First, you have to join to shoot registered targets in tournament competitions.   The ATA alone gives you access to over 1,250 gun clubs holding registered shoots.  There are more than 6,000 formally conducted tournament shoots taking place in the USA & Canada with the ATA alone not counting the PITA's shooting schedules.  Bet you didn't know that!  And you'll find competition shoots in your own home town or just a skip and a bucket away.  Believe me you will be very surprised to see what has been going on in or near your own town and never heard a thing about it.  After all, you don't overhear people talking, "Hey, lets go trapshooting!"  Despite the sport's private nature, you will be pleasantly surprised how welcome you and your entire family will be when you arrive.  And you will even be more surprised to see just who is attending these shoots!

  And did you know there are 8,000,000 clay target shooters?  Yes, millions.   So if you thought clay target shooting was an obscure sport you are right to say it is an unpublicized sport... but would be an oversight to assume it is a sport nobody is interested in.  A low profile keeps the ATA membership ranks in the 110,000 member range.  This figure will certainly rise as the word is getting out fast about this new sport.  The sport is decades old, but new to so many people who have no knowledge of the sport's existence.  It has always been a reserved sport for the well-heeled.  See the article, "What Is Trap Shooting."    

  The ATA assigns your classification and handicap yardage scores, etc.   Membership allows you to win trophies and prize money.  Now for $15 per year that's one heck of a good deal especially in today's expensive economy.  What can you buy today for $15 that will last a year and award you recognition and money?  So it's an investment well made.  And you'll never get a better fun value factor.  Have you checked out the membership fees for golf clubs?  Many are thousands of dollars and you never get a chance to play against the pros.

  Now, tell me one sport where the average person can walk in off the street, plank down $15 and shoot against professional players?  Only trap shooting allows you this privilege.  Certainly, many shooters feel this a disadvantage, though the positive side is it can bring you up to the professional shooter's skill levels.  And, you most certainly do not need to place into 1st, 2nd or 3rd place in a shoot to win money!   The option system will reward you regardless of your final score.   Just break good scores on one or two traps and you'll be seeing some cash in the handicap game.  And... you get four chances to break a good trap score on every handicap event!  The ATA rules manage the money, so the payoffs are distributed fairly and accurately.

  So now we have some neat benefits just for joining the ATA; the ability to shoot against the pros and earn money even when you lose.  Amazing sport!  Those are the rules now.  Anything could change, but the money will always be there for the trapshooter regardless of rule changes... trap shooting is a money game.  Always was and always will be.

  But there is more!  You can buy insurance for your gun with the ATA and they are implementing more benefits for members every year.  You can find out about them when you join.    

  Now, once you get into this sport and join-up with the ATA.  You get the opportunity to approach the pros, sit and chat with them, have your photo taken, etc.  Can you do this with any other sport?  Hardly!  

  Plus, you can ask the pros questions to get tips on shooting to enhance your skills and even take lessons from them too!  Again, you can't do that with other sports.   Just try it with golf and see how far you'll get.  You'd be lucky to receive an autograph, very lucky, never mind a smile and a handshake.  In trap shooting you will not see a  rope barrier to keep you away from the professional Hall of Fame and All-American shooters.  Frankly, the sport does not discriminate between amateur and professional... all are treated equally.  All have equal access to facilities and to each other.  You can't beat that kind of social environment the ATA promotes!

  And then there's the World's largest shoot, The ATA Grand American.  A worldwide event attracting over 100,000 shooters and spectators.  You don't see that on the TV news!  But who cares?  We don't need the media to have fun!

  The ATA has it's own magazine Trap & Field Magazine.  For approximately $25 per year you'll receive a fine magazine full of shoot results, photo's of wining shooters, shooting tips and advice, and much more.

  So that's just part of it.  You'll have to experience the exhilaration for yourself.  The time to join is now! 

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ball1 bouncing ball.gif (4361 bytes) Don't wait another day ...

for life passes us by as we delay...

and on knees we pray, "If I only had one more day!"