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Article 5 – 2021 (June)

Australian Shooter Magazine

Question and Answers

Article 5 – 2021 (June)

Question: I was interested to see the recent video you made for the SSAA regarding different forms of lead. I own a model 56 Beretta Field Gun with seventy-one-centimetre-long barrels and I have recently been shooting at some Trap targets and was keen to get your thoughts. I seem to hit more trap targets using a form of sustained lead. Is this normal? I understand that this form of lead is best used for Sporting Clays and Skeet.

Keith Burnham, Caroline Springs VIC

Answer: No doubt sustained lead is the form of lead used most widely on a Skeet layout. With the known and consistent flight path of a Skeet target this form of lead is perfectly suited for this discipline. On a Trap range however it is certainly not the lead that I would recommend. Because a Trap target is thrown at an unknown trajectory your starting gun position cannot be perfectly placed, as it can on a Skeet layout, to be positioned in front of the target to execute a perfect sustained lead shot every time. The nature of the Trap game requires quick and decisive reflex shots that falls into the domain of “pass through” lead. This simply involves letting the target get in front of your barrels starting position and chasing it from behind the flight path. When you catch the target the speed of your barrel provides the lead required and the trigger is pulled. All this takes place in hundredths of seconds and if your shotgun is set up with the correct amount of horizontal elevation in the comb of its stock then shooting a trap target is a relatively easy shot. Doing it repetitively hundreds of times in a row becomes the problem.

Serious Sporting Clay shooters and indeed any field shooter of note, need to be able have both the mechanics of pass through and sustained lead in their tool bag and also a lead commonly called “pull away”. This is where the target is tracked by matching its speed with that of your barrel and at the last fraction of a second the barrel is accelerated in front of the target until the desired point is reached before pulling the trigger. This type of lead is commonly used on longer range shots.

Going back to your original comment of being able to hit more Trap targets using sustained lead than with any other technique it makes me wonder how slow you are trying to shoot your targets? Generally sustained lead takes some calculation and in the Trap shooting world the unknown trajectory makes guessing the exact amount of lead you will need on your next target impossible. Once you call for the target to be released you will quickly have to identify its path, catch the target and then keep the barrel at constant distance in front of the target for a period of time. If you were on positions one or five on a trap range and happen to draw the hard angled target then I guess your method of sustained lead is certainly possible, but if you draw a target that is virtually straight away from you then this type of technique would be hard to be consistently applied with success in my opinion.

It nearly sounds like you have learnt to shoot Trap with a stock that is so low therefore causing the point of impact of your shot pattern to be also low, that you are having to make the targets disappear from your vision for a short period to be able to hit a fast-rising Trap target correctly. The shotgun that you mention is certainly not ideal for shooting competitive Trap competitions as it will certainly have a “flat” shooting field stock on it, but without seeing you shoot this of course is impossible to say, but my suggestion would be to see if you could borrow somebody’s “high shooting” Trap shotgun and you may be surprised how easy this discipline may become.

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