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Article 11 – 2017 (December)

people laughing and chatting at target shooting range

Russell Mark

Australian Shooter Magazine, Question and Answers

Article 11 – 2017 (December)


Question: I have an old Gamba Sporting shot gun that I have used in the field and on clays for some time. It has a 30-inch (76 centimetre) barrel on it and comes with a handful of interchangeable chokes. I am told if I get another stock made for the shotgun it could also be used for shooting clay events like Trap and Skeet. In your opinion is this a good piece of advice?

Will Faust, Geelong VIC


Answer: I am assuming the new stock that has been suggested that you purchase would be made with a higher comb on it so the shooting of constansistently rising Trap targets would be an advantage? If that is the case it is some reasonable advice you have been offered. In saying that depending on where you get the stock made it could easily end up costing you over $1,000. This would probably be more than half the current value of your shotgun. All of a sudden this idea becomes less appealing in my mind.

I would suggest a better piece of advice if you were simply going to tinker in the Trap and Skeet disciplines would be to get an adjustable comb cut into the existing stock of the shotgun. The existing stock in it’s current form may already be good enough to shoot Skeet with as normally Skeet combs are set lower than Trap stock combs. Generally speaking Sporting shotgun manufacturers make their standard stocks at around 40 millimetres of height at the front of the comb (this is calculated by measuring the distance from a straight continuing line taken from the top of the rib on the barrels directly over the comb of the stock). The rear stock dimension will be around 60 mm therefore a drop of 20mm in total. Trap stocks as a general rule will be anywhere up to 30 mm at the front of the comb and no more than 40 mm at the rear (a drop measurement of 10mm). Many trap shooters prefer no drop at all and have what is called a “Monte Carlo” stock which lets the comb remain parallel to the barrels and a small 10mm to 20mm cut away over the last few centimetres of the stock to let the pad sit perfectly on the shooters shoulder.

The only problem I see with the greater majority of adjustable stocks that are fitted to shotguns in Australia is that most do not have the mechanics in them to adjust the drop measurement which is critical if you are thinking of changing a Sporting shotgun into a Trap one. If your current stock has 20 mm of drop and you get a cheap and nasty adjustable comb fitted to it then it very well may have the ability to raise the comb the 10 mm that is needed to shoot Trap correctly with, but what ever measurement it is lifted at the front of the comb it will needed to be lifted at the back. The better adjustable stocks have a mechanism in both the front and rear metal posts that allow for one end of the comb to be angled more or less than the other.

What does it matter you may ask? Probably not much if you are going down to the range just to blast off twenty five shots a week at a round of Trap, but if you are put in a situation where you need to shoot a couple of hundred targets in a row to win an event then a stock with 20 mm of drop in it is going to belt your face a lot harder than a stock with no drop. Your second barrel with more drop will be harder to control also.

Your answer simply lies in how serious you are about shooting Trap? If you decide to take it up seriously then the obvious solution is to buy a Trap gun that will have heavier barrels and a higher stock than your Sporter. In my opinion you can never have too many shotguns in your safe. I would suggest you don’t show this suggestion to your wife or partner.

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