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Leads on Trap Technique

3889 Views 17 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  pheasantmaster

Thanks to all for the valuable tips after my first real trap shooting experience!

My question is about leads and follow through. I have been watching some videos and know that I need to lead and that makes good sense when the bird is crossing. My question is when the bird is going out straight do lead by shooting under the bird slightly? Should I aim slightly lower on the crossing birds too? I am using a Browning Citori Special Trap shotgun with 30" barrels. It does not have an exceptionally high vent rib.

Thanks again for your help. I am trying to get this all straight in my head before next weekends attempt at the game once again.

All the best,

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There are no crossing birds in American Trap. Are you sure you are shooting trap?
Welcome to the game ! First of all don't "aim" anywhere. If you're looking back at your beads before you shoot, you'll soon find yourself shooting like crapola. I found that a good source of the "leads" to be on the Terri Jordan wall chart. Look on google images or maybe do a search on here. You're starting with a great gun. Shoot it at a paper target off of a bench at 13 yds to check the point of impact. It probably shoots higher than you may expect.

Yes, I'm sure that I was shooting trap. I guess my crossing term was incorrect-rookie mistake! What I was describing was the birds at the 22 degree angle out of the trap. They have enough angle to lead slightly it seemed to me. I hit some of them but was quite surprised when I missed some straight out shots directly in front of me. I am guessing I shot over them since they were probably dropping.

Thanks for the advice on patterning. That will give me a better idea of where the shot is landing.

Again, thanks for your help!

All the best,

You should try to break the bird as it's still rising. That's why your gun will tend to pattern a little high. When you break the bird at the top of it's flight, or if you try to break it as it's falling, you may shoot over the bird.

The closer to the house that you break the bird, the less the wind or other factors will affect the birds flight. Furthermore, your pellets will have more energy to break the bird.
Ask someone if they would mind you standing behind them while they shoot a round, say around the 22 yard line. When you aren't the one shooting it can be educational to see that what you think is "straight away" actually has a slight angle to it. My guess is that, like me, you saw it as "straight", figured you could jump on that bad boy like a professional and missed to one side or the other. Even the "straights" have to be led.

Now the trick you need to ingrain in yourself is not shooting at the whole bird but the leading edge of the bird. Wait until you can see it clearly, can see which way it is going and then break it. There is no bird thrown from any machine that can outrun a shotgun shell, it pays to wait. Start breaking the birds with your eyes, not the gun...

As mentioned above, Terry Jordan's Wall Chart is a great learning tool. You can sometimes find them for sale here or a quick search will get you his contact information and you can order one.

Have fun, this game can be a lifelong learning experience.

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Great food for thought! Your input has me really excited about my next trap session.

Thanks sincerely,

PM sent...

Where do you live, 3220? I might be able to put you on to someone that can help you cut through all the BS in your area.
Pending your location, as Barry suggested, there are good coaches to get you started correctly, now and for the many questions you will have later.

It is my opinion that your gun should shoot where you look. Gun fit & technique come first, then you look in the correct spot for that target presentation and bang - soot. The fellows & posters here are excellent for information but they aren't there with you, watching.

A good gun fitting and personal coach is your fastest and best way to start correctly and learn trap shooting.

Think about this ...there are no straight targets in trap.....

js in PA
Fred, I want to thank you for posting this query. I have enjoyed reading the responses of the many good shooters who post on this site. I wish we had more like this! Martinpicker
Lead & follow through. Do not measure lead. If you do, you're looking at the bbl, which is deadly. FOCUS on a part of the target...really hard. Your brain and hands will take the gun to the target line. And when you have hard focus, pull the trigger, and continue to watch the target break with the gun mounted...this is "follow through". Focus, pull, watch, then dismount. Very controlled. Concentrate. One target at a time.

Hi All,

I am in Northern Virginia and have been shooting at Bull Run. I want to again thank you all for the wealth of information. I have been watching Chris Batha's videos on youtube. He recommends some hold positions above the trap house but says they have to be adjusted for the individual. I think I might be holding too high and maybe I am blocking my view of the bird leaving the house. When I see it and move the shotgun it is already dropping. I am going to try and hold a little lower next time. I think I will enlist a good coach too. I don't want to pick up a bunch of bad habits, they are always hard to break.

All the best,

Fred you have a great attitude! The most important thing [imho] at this stage is having a gun that fits you. Your Citori will fit the average guy. If your over 6 ft or under 5'7" or so you may want to make some adjustments. the high hold thing might be better for someone with more range time than yourself. Try holding right at the top of the house, so you can see the entire flight of the bird, but not so low that you are chasing. And shoot until you are tired and then shoot a little more. good luck. Bill
Hi Bill,

Thanks so much for the information and the encouragement! I will get the gun fitted this next week and hold at the top of the house. The idea of shooting until I am tired and then a little more sounds good too. It is really a great feeling to see that clay break!

All the best,

Go to my website above and download <i>"Gun Holds."</i>

Then, get a copy of <i>"Trapshooting with the Remington Pros"</i> DVD. It is old, but the best one ever done to show techniques, gun holds, follow-through, breaking the targets, and about everything you'd want to know for the game of trap.

MOTODOC on this site sells the Remington DVD for around $25, if I remember correctly.

As a new shooter myself, I was lucky to see it in the early 70's when it was on 16mm film. It sure helped me move to the 27 in a little over a year.

As Hall of Famer, Britt Robinson, has many times stated: <i>"Trapshooting is a game of interception, not intersection."</i> There's a lot of truth in that statement, and the key is follow-through.


When you hold above the house with both eyes open you will be able to see through the gun, xray vision, and you will not loose sight of the bird. Look at the front edge of the house, and wait for the bird to appear. Try it and see if it works for you. HMB
3220, there is a really good and inexpensive coach in your area by the name of Ronnie Sutton. He has an advertised clinic coming up here on ts. If your interested pm me if you can't find it.
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