Trap shooting is a popular form of clay pigeon shooting that involves shooting at clay targets (also known as pigeons) launched into the air at varying speeds and angles. The sport originated in England in the late 18th century as a way for hunters to practice their shooting skills. Today, it is a popular recreational activity and competitive sport that is enjoyed by people of all ages and skill levels around the world.
Although the clay targets are often called “birds” by some trap enthusiasts, shooting clay pigeons is a bit different than shooting real birds. For example, shooting dove in Argentina is going to be a bit more challenging than shooting clay targets because of the unpredictability of their flight pattern. Clay targets launched from a trap machine can be unpredictable as well but in a way than those of real birds.
The first recorded trap shooting competition took place in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1831, where shooters used live birds as targets. In the 1870s, clay targets made of compressed coal dust were introduced, which led to the development of modern trap shooting.
In trap shooting, shooters stand 16 yards behind a trap house, which contains a machine that launches the clay targets into the air. The targets are launched at varying angles and speeds, and shooters must hit as many targets as possible within a given time frame. The competition typically consists of 25 shots, with each shooter taking turns to shoot at a single target until all 25 shots have been fired.
In the standard trap shooting format, the targets are launched from a single machine located in front of the shooters. There are also other variations of trap shooting, including Double Trap and Olympic Trap, which involve multiple trap machines and different shooting rules.
Scoring in trap shooting is based on the number of targets hit. A perfect score is 25 out of 25 targets, and ties are broken by a shoot-off.
Trap shooting requires skill, concentration, and quick reflexes, making it a challenging and exciting sport for participants and spectators alike.
Some Trap Shooting Tips
If you are new to the sport or just looking to improve your trap shooting skills, here are some tips that can help:
- Focus on proper gun mount and stance: A good gun mount and proper stance are essential for consistent and accurate shooting. Make sure you are holding the gun properly, with a firm grip and good body alignment, and keep your eyes on the target.
- Practice regularly: Consistent practice is essential to improve your shooting skills. Try to set aside time for regular practice sessions and focus on different aspects of your shooting technique each time.
- Work on your timing: Timing is critical in trap shooting, and getting your timing right can help you hit more targets. Try to develop a consistent pre-shot routine and work on anticipating the trajectory of the target.
- Improve your follow-through: Follow-through is essential in trap shooting, and continuing to follow through after you shoot can help improve your accuracy. Keep your eyes on the target and maintain your gun position until the target hits the ground.
- Get coaching: A qualified coach or experienced shooter can provide valuable feedback on your shooting technique and help you identify areas for improvement. Take advantage of coaching opportunities and ask for feedback on your technique.
- Stay focused and positive: Trap shooting can be challenging, and it’s essential to stay focused and positive. Try to stay calm, focused, and positive, even if you miss a few targets. Remember that consistent practice and perseverance are key to improving your skills over time.
Common Trap Shooting Mistakes
Trap shooting can be a challenging sport, and even experienced shooters can make mistakes that can impact their accuracy and consistency. Here are some common trap shooting mistakes to watch out for:
- Improper gun mount: A poor gun mount can lead to inconsistent shooting, as it can cause the shooter to miss the target or shoot too early or too late. Make sure you are holding the gun properly and mounting it consistently before each shot.
- Poor stance: A bad stance can also impact your shooting accuracy, as it can make it harder to maintain a consistent gun mount and track the target effectively. Make sure you are standing with a balanced and stable stance, with your feet shoulder-width apart and your weight evenly distributed.
- Anticipating the shot: Anticipating the shot or shooting too early is a common mistake among trap shooters. This can happen if the shooter tries to shoot the target before it reaches its peak or if they flinch or jerk the gun when shooting.
- Overthinking: Overthinking or getting distracted can also impact your shooting accuracy. It’s important to stay focused and maintain a consistent routine, so you can shoot with confidence and precision.
- Poor follow-through: Follow-through is essential in trap shooting, as it can impact your accuracy and consistency. Make sure you maintain your gun position and keep your eyes on the target until it hits the ground.
- Lack of practice: Consistent practice is essential to improve your trap shooting skills, and not practicing regularly can lead to inconsistent shooting and a lack of progress. Make sure you set aside time for regular practice sessions, and focus on different aspects of your technique each time.
Gun Mount Defined
Gun mount in trap shooting refers to the process of bringing the shotgun up to the shooter’s shoulder and cheek in preparation for a shot. A good gun mount is critical in trap shooting as it allows the shooter to maintain proper eye alignment with the shotgun’s sighting system, allowing them to accurately track the target.
The gun mount should be consistent and repeatable for every shot, allowing the shooter to shoot with accuracy and consistency. The shooter should bring the gun up to the shoulder and cheek in a smooth and controlled motion, with the cheek firmly pressed against the stock to maintain a consistent sight picture.
The proper gun mount is influenced by the shooter’s stance, and it should be a natural extension of their shooting motion. In addition, the gun mount should be adjusted based on the shooter’s physical features, such as height, arm length, and shoulder width, to ensure maximum comfort and accuracy. Overall, developing a consistent and repeatable gun mount is essential for success in trap shooting.
Is the Type of Gun Important to Trap Shooting Success?
Yes, the type of gun you use can be important to your success in trap shooting. There are different types of shotguns that are commonly used in trap shooting, including over-under, semi-automatic, and pump-action shotguns.
Over-under shotguns are popular among trap shooters because they are easy to handle and provide good balance and control. They are also generally more reliable and accurate than other types of shotguns.
Semi-automatic shotguns can also be effective in trap shooting, as they offer fast and easy reloading and can help reduce recoil, which can improve accuracy and consistency.
Pump-action shotguns are less common in trap shooting but can still be effective in the hands of an experienced shooter. They require more effort to reload and can be less accurate than other types of shotguns, but they can be a good choice for shooters on a budget.
Ultimately, the most important factor in choosing a shotgun for trap shooting is finding one that feels comfortable and fits well. A well-fitted gun can help improve your accuracy and consistency and make it easier to handle and shoot effectively.
Common Gun Gauges Used in Trap Shooting
The most common gauge used in trap shooting is the 12 gauge shotgun. The 12 gauge is preferred by many trap shooters because it has a good balance of power and recoil, making it easier to handle and shoot accurately.
However, other gauges, such as the 20 gauge and 28 gauge, can also be effective in trap shooting, particularly for younger or less experienced shooters who may find the 12 gauge to be too heavy or difficult to handle. It’s also worth noting that some trap shooters may prefer to use larger or smaller gauges depending on personal preference or the specific requirements of the competition.