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Discussion Starter #1
I had taken my son to his first trapshooting lesson about a week ago. He had only shot 2 rounds of trap previously, and each time he came home with a bruised cheek, then a bruised jaw. He had used a borrowed compact pump-action Mossberg.

I purchased a used Weatherby SA-08 20G Compact for him, after reading about the recoil reducing effects of a S/A. I had also purchased the lowest recoil shells that I could find: Winchester AA 7/8 oz, in 980fps, before finding out that a S/A likely won't cycle those shells.

I brought those to the lesson anyway, in the off chance that the instructor might suggest another pump-action or O/U which might be a better fit. We did use regular Remington Gun Club's for the first round, then the instructor suggested trying the AA 980fps shells anyway. They did have a very positive impact on my son's shooting, but they didn't cycle the action, and my son was unable to pull the bolt back to release the shell.

I've now purchased a much larger charging handle for the bolt. My son is able to pull back the bolt much more easily (at least when it's empty, without a spent shell in the chamber). My question is whether it's ok to use those low recoil shells in the Weatherby, knowing that my son will need to manually cycle the action? Like a pump-action, but harder :hand44: Will that cause any damage to the shotgun, or are there any other considerations?

Thanks!
 

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No, it won't hurt the gun.
Just make sure he keeps it pointed down range when he does it and not sweep anyone right or left.

Good luck and have some fun.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
No, it won't hurt the gun.
Just make sure he keeps it pointed down range when he does it and not sweep anyone right or left.

Good luck and have some fun.
Great reminder - thanks! He seems to be fine in that regard, as we also shoot .22 rifles so I try to drill that into him. But if he's struggling to pull the bolt back, he might not be cognizant of where the barrel is pointing at that time. I'll keep an eye on that and provide gentle (or not so gentle) reminders to him.
 

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Do you reload? If so, you could load up some 3/4oz #8.5s at 1125-1150 FPS with green dot and that’ll have pressures around 8.5k and should cycle the action. Plus, at 16yards 3/4oz 8.5s in a full choke is all you’ll need.
 

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There have been a couple of good suggestions here, so I'm not going to belabor the issue too much. That said:

  1. The "cheek slap" and attendant bruising are more likely a fit issue with the Mossberg than strictly recoil induced.
  2. Manually ejecting the spent shell from the semi-auto won't harm anything, but it's a pain in the neck.
  3. You should be able to find or develop a light load for the semi-auto that will cycle the action or
  4. If the Weatherby fits your son correctly, he should be able to shoot readily available loads that will cycle the action reliably.

When my wife started shooting trap, I bought a 20 gauge Remington Model 1100 for her to shoot - it's a gas-operated semi-auto like your Weatherby. It's also a fairly heavy gun (20 gauge built on a 12 gauge receiver) so the weight absorbs some of the recoil. I reload 3/4 ounce loads for her at about 1,200 fps that she shoots comfortably and that reliably cycle the action on the Remington. She's a small person and is recoil averse, having had surgery on her neck, but the gun fits her well and she seems to have no complaints about recoil, even when shooting standard 7/8 ounce 20 gauge target loads.

You haven't said how old your son is or his size - how well does the Weatherby fit him? Have you needed to shorten the stock to give him a correct length of pull? Is he struggling with the weight of the gun? There are a lot of people on this forum who can give you great advice about gun fit, including the guy who literally 'wrote the book' on gun fitting (Rollin Oswald - author of the Stock Fitter's Bible), so don't be afraid to solicit input. Once you get the fit correct, I suspect the action cycling issue will resolve itself and you'll be able to use off the shelf loads, as along as we're not talking about a six year old kid who weighs 70 pounds.
 

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I have posted almost this same reply previously, so bear with me....

elm3c - In my family, a couple of the lady shooters are currently shooting the Mossberg SA-20 Bantam (a compact, 20ga, semiautomatic). The Mossbergs are built side-by-side in the same factory as your Weatherby. They are virtually identical, with the main difference being a slight variation in the design of how the gasses are managed. The Mossberg literature stresses that a box, or maybe two boxes, of high powered hunting loads be fired through their gun to break it in and make it cycle properly. We followed Mossberg's instructions and in the beginning, even with the high powered shells, the guns displayed a few difficulties. HOWEVER, by the time each gun had fired its first box of shells, they began to function normally. Then, each gun had a second box of shells fired through it, just to be thorough about the breaking in. Every shell cycled just fine. At this point, both guns have each fired several hundred target loads without any problems. If you haven't done something similar, maybe this will help you.

Some words of advice (caution?):
Firing those high powered hunting loads through those guns was decidedly NOT FUN. We resorted to bracing the buttstock against the trap house and firing the shells out into the shotfall area. The whole process has been very worthwhile. I hope something here is helpful for you. Best of luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
will not hurt a thing as long as he uses the gun in a safe manner, him getting beat in the face is not a recoil issue it's a gun fit issue, get that problem fixed first
Thanks, Steve - I think it was a combination of fit as well as mount. In the first two, separate rounds of trap with the Boy Scouts, he didn't get much instruction on the way to properly mount the Mossberg shotgun. With the one on one instruction last week, he was a happy camper after two full rounds back to back, with no bruising or pain whatsoever on the Weatherby. I did also purchase a thin cheek pad at the instructor's suggestion, to raise the comb a bit. We have our next lesson this weekend (if it doesn't rain) so hopefully the good experiences continue!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Do you reload? If so, you could load up some 3/4oz #8.5s at 1125-1150 FPS with green dot and that’ll have pressures around 8.5k and should cycle the action. Plus, at 16yards 3/4oz 8.5s in a full choke is all you’ll need.
Thanks, I don't reload - yet... I just purchased shotguns for myself and him a few weeks ago, our firsts! We'll take it a step at a time, but from reading this forum, reloading is definitely part of the path. I have a friend who reloads, and he's offered to instruct us. I'll keep your recipe in mind.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
There have been a couple of good suggestions here, so I'm not going to belabor the issue too much. That said:

  1. The "cheek slap" and attendant bruising are more likely a fit issue with the Mossberg than strictly recoil induced.
  2. Manually ejecting the spent shell from the semi-auto won't harm anything, but it's a pain in the neck.
  3. You should be able to find or develop a light load for the semi-auto that will cycle the action or
  4. If the Weatherby fits your son correctly, he should be able to shoot readily available loads that will cycle the action reliably.

When my wife started shooting trap, I bought a 20 gauge Remington Model 1100 for her to shoot - it's a gas-operated semi-auto like your Weatherby. It's also a fairly heavy gun (20 gauge built on a 12 gauge receiver) so the weight absorbs some of the recoil. I reload 3/4 ounce loads for her at about 1,200 fps that she shoots comfortably and that reliably cycle the action on the Remington. She's a small person and is recoil averse, having had surgery on her neck, but the gun fits her well and she seems to have no complaints about recoil, even when shooting standard 7/8 ounce 20 gauge target loads.

You haven't said how old your son is or his size - how well does the Weatherby fit him? Have you needed to shorten the stock to give him a correct length of pull? Is he struggling with the weight of the gun? There are a lot of people on this forum who can give you great advice about gun fit, including the guy who literally 'wrote the book' on gun fitting (Rollin Oswald - author of the Stock Fitter's Bible), so don't be afraid to solicit input. Once you get the fit correct, I suspect the action cycling issue will resolve itself and you'll be able to use off the shelf loads, as along as we're not talking about a six year old kid who weighs 70 pounds.
Thanks - my son just turned 12 last weekend, and he's 4'11" and 80 pounds. The instructor did think the Weatherby (12.5" LOP) seemed to be a good fit for him but suggested adding a thin cheek pad which I've purchased. I also did purchase Rollin's book and I'm about halfway through it now. My son is definitely struggling a bit with the gun weight, as I can see him leaning back to counterbalance. I had to remind him a few times to lean into it, especially towards the end of the 2nd round. I have 5 more boxes of the low recoil AA - I think having him use those remaining shells will keep him from flinching and raising his head. Once he's more comfortable with mount and shooting overall, I bet he'll be ready to use the standard 7/8 oz target loads as you suggest. As I'm new to the shotgun world myself, I didn't realize that it would be fine to manually cycle. I thought it could cause jams or other malfunctions down the line.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I have posted almost this same reply previously, so bear with me....

elm3c - In my family, a couple of the lady shooters are currently shooting the Mossberg SA-20 Bantam (a compact, 20ga, semiautomatic). The Mossbergs are built side-by-side in the same factory as your Weatherby. They are virtually identical, with the main difference being a slight variation in the design of how the gasses are managed. The Mossberg literature stresses that a box, or maybe two boxes, of high powered hunting loads be fired through their gun to break it in and make it cycle properly. We followed Mossberg's instructions and in the beginning, even with the high powered shells, the guns displayed a few difficulties. HOWEVER, by the time each gun had fired its first box of shells, they began to function normally. Then, each gun had a second box of shells fired through it, just to be thorough about the breaking in. Every shell cycled just fine. At this point, both guns have each fired several hundred target loads without any problems. If you haven't done something similar, maybe this will help you.

Some words of advice (caution?):
Firing those high powered hunting loads through those guns was decidedly NOT FUN. We resorted to bracing the buttstock against the trap house and firing the shells out into the shotfall area. The whole process has been very worthwhile. I hope something here is helpful for you. Best of luck.
I had purchased the Weatherby used, and supposedly it had about 400 shells through it already (likely more, given how dirty it was...). I put 4 boxes of 7/8 oz 1200fps shells through it myself, to test before letting him use it, and those cycled fine.

I just got the heavy load piston from Weatherby last week, as the original owner had lost it. Do you think I should still fire the high powered hunting loads through it now? Is that typically allowed to be fired on a trap field, or where should I go to shoot those shells? Thanks!
 

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Do you think I should still fire the high powered hunting loads through it now?
I'm not familiar with that gun, but it seems unlikely that following that procedure at this point would make any change. Seems like the point of shooting a box or two of heavy loads was just to break-in the action. Since you say it was dirty, is there any chance that the gas ports could be full of crud and that could be causing some of the cycling issue with the lighter loads?
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I'm not familiar with that gun, but it seems unlikely that following that procedure at this point would make any change. Seems like the point of shooting a box or two of heavy loads was just to break-in the action. Since you say it was dirty, is there any chance that the gas ports could be full of crud and that could be causing some of the cycling issue with the lighter loads?
Thanks, that will save me some time/pain. :18:

I cleaned it up completely after I got it, including the gas ports. There is a possibility that the light load piston is/was defective. It unscrewed into three parts, and it took me a while to clean it, using #0000 steel wool. I called Weatherby to ask what torque to use to reassemble it, and the entire CS team was surprised that it even came apart. They're sending me a new light piston, gratis, so hopefully that will help. I still don't think it will cycle the AA 980fps shells though. Everything I've read on forums seems to indicate that those shells are too light. The factory recommendation is to use higher powered shells.
 

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Do you think I should still fire the high powered hunting loads through it now? Is that typically allowed to be fired on a trap field, or where should I go to shoot those shells? Thanks!
At this point, I have my doubts that you will gain any improvement by firing the high powered hunting loads through your gun. That said though, it was impressive to us the amount of improvement we achieved from forcefully cycling the actions of our guns by firing the powerful shells. I addition, you don't have anything to lose by shooting several powerful shells to find out if it might be helpful. Concerning shooting those types of shells at your local club: Just about every club has an area that is used by members and guests for working out 'kinks' in their guns. It may be as simple as moving to one of the trap fields that isn't being used on that day, or possibly an area near the patterning board, or some other option, but there should be a place on the club grounds for conducting such activities. Be sure to ask someone in a position of authority for location and approval. And, impress the pants off of them by asking if there are any safety concerns that you should know about, that might not be obvious to a first time user.
 

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I had taken my son to his first trapshooting lesson about a week ago. He had only shot 2 rounds of trap previously, and each time he came home with a bruised cheek, then a bruised jaw. He had used a borrowed compact pump-action Mossberg.

I purchased a used Weatherby SA-08 20G Compact for him, after reading about the recoil reducing effects of a S/A. I had also purchased the lowest recoil shells that I could find: Winchester AA 7/8 oz, in 980fps, before finding out that a S/A likely won't cycle those shells.

I brought those to the lesson anyway, in the off chance that the instructor might suggest another pump-action or O/U which might be a better fit. We did use regular Remington Gun Club's for the first round, then the instructor suggested trying the AA 980fps shells anyway. They did have a very positive impact on my son's shooting, but they didn't cycle the action, and my son was unable to pull the bolt back to release the shell.

I've now purchased a much larger charging handle for the bolt. My son is able to pull back the bolt much more easily (at least when it's empty, without a spent shell in the chamber). My question is whether it's ok to use those low recoil shells in the Weatherby, knowing that my son will need to manually cycle the action? Like a pump-action, but harder :hand44: Will that cause any damage to the shotgun, or are there any other considerations?

Thanks!
The probable cause for bruising is the gun fit. Not the gun or ammunition. He needs to have a good fitter fit a gun to him. His gun is probably a low combed gun and he can not see over the receiver therefore it is slapping his face when he fires because he has to raise his head up off the comb to see the target. Length of pull is also a important factor. I have noticed at almost all of these youth trapshooting programs they use field guns (low combed guns). Remington has a true inexpensive model 870 youth trapgun. It comes with a nice Monte Carlo trap stock. Gun fit is very important for successful trapshooting. Another great starter gun is the Browning BT 99 Micro. This is what I started my Grandson with. It has good quality, safe and simple to operate I am very pleasde to see these youth shooting programs. Many kudoos for those who dedicate their time to these programs.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
At this point, I have my doubts that you will gain any improvement by firing the high powered hunting loads through your gun. That said though, it was impressive to us the amount of improvement we achieved from forcefully cycling the actions of our guns by firing the powerful shells. I addition, you don't have anything to lose by shooting several powerful shells to find out if it might be helpful. Concerning shooting those types of shells at your local club: Just about every club has an area that is used by members and guests for working out 'kinks' in their guns. It may be as simple as moving to one of the trap fields that isn't being used on that day, or possibly an area near the patterning board, or some other option, but there should be a place on the club grounds for conducting such activities. Be sure to ask someone in a position of authority for location and approval. And, impress the pants off of them by asking if there are any safety concerns that you should know about, that might not be obvious to a first time user.
Thanks for the input - I can definitely try to see if that would help.

Sorry for the stupid question, but what is classified as a high powered hunting load for 20ga? I think the local clubs only allow for #7-1/2 to #9 shot. When I look on the Sportsman's Warehouse website, I found a few options which sound to me could qualify:

Federal Heavyweight TSS 20ga 3in #9 1-1/2 oz 1100fps Tungsten ($40 for 5 rounds!)
Winchester Double X 20ga 3in #5 1-5/16 oz, 1200fps ($13/10 shells, but shot size might be too large at #5)
Remington Nitro Turkey 20ga 3in 1-1/4oz 1185fps (even more reasonable at $8/10 shells, but shot size still #5)

Is that what you had in mind? Does the patterning board / test area typically allow for larger shot sizes? Thanks!
 

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Thanks for the input - I can definitely try to see if that would help.

Sorry for the stupid question, but what is classified as a high powered hunting load for 20ga? I think the local clubs only allow for #7-1/2 to #9 shot. When I look on the Sportsman's Warehouse website, I found a few options which sound to me could qualify:

Federal Heavyweight TSS 20ga 3in #9 1-1/2 oz 1100fps Tungsten ($40 for 5 rounds!)
Winchester Double X 20ga 3in #5 1-5/16 oz, 1200fps ($13/10 shells, but shot size might be too large at #5)
Remington Nitro Turkey 20ga 3in 1-1/4oz 1185fps (even more reasonable at $8/10 shells, but shot size still #5)

Is that what you had in mind? Does the patterning board / test area typically allow for larger shot sizes? Thanks!
I'm thinking you could just buy a box or two of a heavy game load with 7 1/2 shot and shoot a couple of rounds of trap with those. No reason to go with real exotic ammunition or something that isn't allowed at your club. There should be a Winchester Super-X game load or a Remington Heavy Dove load that would be well over 1200 fps - I would think that would do it.
 
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