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Article 10 – 2013

person aiming shotgun at target range

Question: I am a reasonable shooter in the field and also at skeet and sporting clays, but I cannot seem to grasp what I am doing when I shoot trap. Everybody tells me I simply shoot behind the targets when I miss. I try to measure a reasonable amount of lead in front of the targets, but I just have no consistency. Can you explain how much lead I should be using especially on stations one and five? I have no issues leading targets in skeet or sporting.

Geoff Matthews, Lismore NSW


Answer: The most frustrating thing a new shooter can be told in trap shooting when they miss is simply “you shot behind it”. Those four words may be true, but mean nothing unless a solution is offered. Without seeing you actually shoot I will have to take your word that you are indeed missing behind.

The answer may be hidden in your explanation of how you are attempting to lead your trap targets. You state that you “try to measure a reasonable amount of lead in front of the targets”. What you are describing is a form of lead called “sustained” lead. This means that the barrel is held at a constant distance in front of the target for a period of time before the shot is executed. Other methods of lead are “pull away” where the barrel and the target are held together and just before the shot is performed the barrel accelerates faster than the target thus giving the desired amount of lead. The final method is “swing through” where the barrel swings at a faster speeds from behind the target and the trigger is pulled when the barrel actually catches the target. Lead is gained because the barrels are moving faster than the target. The latter method is the ONLY form of lead that should be used in any form of trap shooting. Skeet requires sustained lead and good field and sporting shooters will be required to use a combination of all three techniques.

Targets in trap just do not allow enough time for sustained lead to be used and because trap targets trajectories are unpredictable there is just no consistency in the pull away technique. I would have no doubt that your problems are being caused by trying to be too methodical and actually calculating a distance in front of the target where you are trying to place your shot load. Shooting trap consistently is all about timing and smooth gun pointing. I would suggest you throw a bit of caution to the wind and make a smooth, but aggressive move to the targets that are angled on stations one and five and before long your timing should be breaking then consistently.


Question: I would like your opinion on whether I could use my fathers side by side to shoot in DTL competitions. It is a twin trigger twenty six inch barrel Webley Scott. I think it was built around 1930. My father says it would be sufficient, but most of my shooting mates tell me it is not practical. I don’t want to learn with one gun and then change. What are the advantages and disadvantages of side by sides for shooting trap?

Ron Fox, Brisbane QLD


Answer: The shortest book ever written is “Great Trap Shooters who used a Side by Side shotgun since 1950”. I will go to my grave never having been beaten by someone who uses one.

Advantages; None. Disadvantages; Too many to mention here. Just don’t do it. Go and find a thirty inch barrel trap shotgun.

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