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Tips for trap shooting plz.


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I just bought a Benelli Nova 12ga Pump w/ 28" barrel. This is mainly for home wildlife defense. (I live way out in the country and have lots of rattlesnakes, copperheads, coyotes, packs of dogs, etc. come up in my yard.) I thought I would get some practice in shooting my new gun at the local trap range, and quickly found out that I suck at shooting pretty bad. At best I was hitting 2/5, and I was standing at the beginner range.

I was wondering if anyone out there could give me some tips on shooting trap and maybe any accessories that would help. (Different sights, shells, chokes, etc.)

I have looked at maybe going with a skeet choke instead of the default one in the gun, and maybe some sights like the HiViz TriViz Turkey sight. I used the cheap $21 / 100 Winchester shells from Walmart.



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first, The shells are fine. 7 1/2 or 8's.


Chokes: You say the beginner range so I think you mean the 16 yard line. The stock modifed choke will be the best for you. When you get better, the full choke might be better(you might step back).


Sights: can you see the sight that is on the gun now? Does or eye pick up red well?


Sight picture: how are you "aiming" the gun? Do you see the rib, or just the front site. Nova's are made to "stack" the middle bead on top of the front site. (like a figure 8).


Patterning: have you patterned your gun at the range with a pattern board? This will show you where your gun is shooting (high or low). It also helps with what choke you should use.


Try and think about these thing before going to the trap field.


What kind of loads are you using for your problem? (yotes, dogs, etc)




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The biggest thing I see new people mess up on is getting too excited with trap. Trap is one of those games where you have to take your time in a hurry. So dont just mash on the trigger the second you see a flash of orange, line up your shot and swing smoothly like you mean it.


As novaking said patterning your shotgun would be helpful as then you can see where the main body of shot will go relative to your aiming bead. And I also agree that a modified choke would be best, you can tighten that up as you get better to really dust them.


I wouldn't get too discouraged if you arent a superstar, most wildlife are a lot bigger than a clay pigeon and move a little slower than ~60mph haha, good luck.

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Well I definately wasnt lining the bead up with the red dot. I was lining them up in a row, basically trying to get the bead in the center of the red. My friend that was with me kept saying I was shooting over the clays, so that would explain why.


I have not patterned the gun yet, that is definately something I should try. What is a good distance to do that from?


For the coyotes and dogs I was going with a #6 or buckshot.

Snakes I felt would be fine with a regular game load.

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Where to start....


Well, step one, DO NOT try to shoot trap with a skeet choke. A modified choke is fine.


The shells you are using are fine for singles trap.


Gimmicks, Hi-Viz sights, other "stuff" won't make you a better shooter. You need practice...Start with what you have, and as you progress, you may find there are things that will help.


For now, concentrate on practicing and shooting a lot of targets to get better.


Here's a good tutorial on trap on the Remington website.




Read that and see what you think.


Do you know your eye dominance?


Are you shooting one eye open or both?


Mount the gun head up, eyes level.


The Nova is a field gun and is a pretty lightweight gun. Its probably set up to shoot pretty flat. Pattern it and see where it shoots. Do not try to pattern off-hand. It will tell you nothing. Mount the gun, and see what your sight picture looks like. Then, using that same sight picture, shoot the gun off a firm rest, at about 35 yards, and see where the pattern goes. Do this 5-6 imes to make sure you are seeing where the gun shoots, not where one particular shot went.


A good pattern to look for is one where the pattern is centered left-to-right, and a little more of the pattern is above the bead than below. 60/40 is a good general pattern percentage. Many, if not most, trap shooters shoot a much higher percentage than that, since trap targets are always rising. Helps to have a gun that shoots a little high in trap.


Foot position is important.


Gun insertion point (where you're pointing when the target is called for) is important.


Where your eyes are focused before you call for the target is important.


Head on the stock, firmly, and not picking your head up is important.


Both eyes on the target!!!! Don't lookk at the beads!!!!!


If you want to get good at trap, honestly, take some shooting lessons. You probably weren't good at hitting a baseball the first time you tried it. So many men believe they should be able to pick up a shotgun and be good with it without ever being taught how shoot.


And, at best, over the internet, I can only point you in the right direction. So much of these games require someone watching you to see what you're doing and how to correct the flaws.


FYI...the targets leave the house at 42 mph for American trap. About 65 for Olympic trap.


Try this, if your club wuill let you: Have them set the machine to throw straight-away's, without oscillation. Then stand on station 3 and shoot straight-away targets until you feel comfortable banging straight-aways.


Then, do the same thing, only shoot some from station 2, 3, and 4. Keep doing that until you are comfortable breaking most of the targets. Then, expand out to straight-aways from stations 1 through 5. You get the idea.


Once you're breaking targets consistently shooting just straight-aways, then try oscillating targets, but start again at station 3, and shoot a whole box from there.


Then, shoot a box from stations 2, 3, and 4.


This will help you get a start.


BTW, I help coach a youth trap team for the last 6 years, coached my daughter who is on her college trap shooting team, and I'm a pretty good shooter myself...lifetime average of about 95% over 5000 targets. In case you were wondering if I had any idea what I'm talking about.



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Oh, and when you're shooting, foltow through!


That is, don't stop the gun when you pull the trigger. If you miss, follow the target as if you were going to shoot at it again.


If you break one, follow a chip down to the ground, as if you were going to shoot at the chip.


This wwill help keep you from lifting your head, which is a common problem.

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The only Nova I ever picked up felt really light to me, but I'm accustomed to heavy guns.


I see the specs say the Nova weighs 8 lb, and I don't consider that particularly light. I'd have guessed the Nova to be more like 7 lb.


Hmmm. My bad.


FYI, my target shooting guns weigh somewhere between 9 and 10 lb. Obviously, these guns are strictly for target shooting. That's way too heavy to lug around in the field.

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