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Edward C. Crossman, “The Sport of the Flying Saucer”, Outing, Dec. 1914
Outing

Lewis McKune Davis, “That Ideal Trap Gun” Outing, March 1917, p. 706
http://books.google.com/books?id=cA0LAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA706&lpg
"Gold and Silver Were Never Known To Break the Illusive Bluerock"

The “Ideal Trap Gun” has been the subject of many a preachment by many a writer, and these articles have been published in every outdoor magazine in the country. They have been immensely entertaining—filled with truth and fiction—setting forth what in the estimation of the writers were the only possible dimensions of a gun with which anything like a perfect score could be made at the traps. The majority of writers on the interesting subject of the gun are gun cranks, and most gun cranks are owners of guns of the elite, lace and lavender kind.
Men with a penchant for trap shooting have stood out on the sidelines and watched with interest the blowing of the blue rocks back to dust, secretly hoping, without expectation, that they could get into the game. Then they have gone home and settled themselves down for an evening of comfort with their favorite outdoor magazine to read the ravings of the gun crank about the ideal trap gun. These guns, as a rule, are engraved from stem to stem—from soup to nuts—with two or three choice chunks of gold inlay, and the man with a penchant for trapshooting has seen his hopes entwined in the disappearing smoke from his favorite briar.
Or, perhaps, he has read of the “fit” of the ideal trap gun. He reads wondrous criticisms of the drop, the pitch, the choke, the length of stock, and the length of barrel of the ideal, and then he pulls his old scatter gun out of the closet and looks it over with a feeling of remorse. He tells the old gun it won't do. It was all right for upland shooting, but it will never do to join the company of the Beau Brummels of the upper crust at the traps.
An examination shows that the stock is too short; the pitch is too great, and the drop out of all proportions. It's as badly out of style, he has been led to believe, as a last year's milliner's creation, and back it goes into the closet to await the opening of another quail season, and the trapshooting fraternity has lost what would have been another member.
The ravings of the gun crank has no influence over the men who have been initiated into the pleasures of trapshooting, because these men learned years ago that the old gun which could be counted on to get its share of game would give a good account of itself at the traps. It is all very fine to prattle about the beauties of the engraving, the superb natural markings of the stock—this is all right—but let it be known to the uninitiated that these beauty spots are not necessary to the breaking of a bluerock; also let it be known that there are guns minus all the Beau Brummel attachments that shoot just as well, and can be had for one-fifth the price.
The statement that a trap gun that is a trap gun will set the trapshooter back anywhere from $100 to $1000 and the further statement that the trapshooting fraternity of America is composed of a cosmopolitan membership are not in tune. The fact that there are more than 4,000 trapshooting clubs in the United States is offered as exhibit A in proof of the statement that a cosmopolitan membership really does exist.
The personnel of these 4,000 or more trapshooting clubs is made up of men in all walks of life—and there are thousands of them who never owned a gun, and never expect to, that cost over twenty-five dollars. As a matter of fact, I have a scatter gun in my possession that cost only fifteen dollars which will make a pattern equal to many of the guns that cost ten times as much.
My advice to the beginner in trapshooting is to buy an inexpensive gun, unless of course, he has plenty of the pelf with which to pay for the gewgaws. After he has been in the game a while and can estimate its value, then, if he chooses, he can buy the engraving and the little chunk of bright and yellow.
In the purchase of a gun, let the beginner buy the arm that “feels” right. Some men have set themselves up as criterions and have told us that only a gun following closely the dimensions prescribed by their architecture will do. They tell us that the stock must be 14 inches long; that the drop at the comb must be 1 3/8 inches and 2 1/4 inches at the heel; that the pitch must be so much, and a lot of other balderdash.
I admit that I fell for some of this. It may be all right for a man to follow some of these suggestions if he has never done any shooting, but there is no difference between trapshooting and live bird shooting for the average man.
I have hunted all my life. Naturally I knew something about the “feel” of a gun. When I bought this trap gun, true to plans and specifications, I realized that it didn't "feel" like my old hunting gun, but I had read much about the special trap guns brought out by various manufacturers, and followed directions.
A gun that “feels” right to the man who has been a hunter all his life “fits.” The stock may be 13 inches or it may be 14 inches—it makes no difference. But if he has been used to shooting a 13 inch stock all his shooting life he is going to have a monkey and parrot time getting used to shooting a gun with a stock 14 inches long.
There can be no prescribed measurement for a gun to fit all men. Standardization is impossible. Ask ten of the best trapshooters in the country for dimensions of their guns, and you will get ten distinct gun measurements. This of itself should be sufficient proof of the fallacy of trying to tell the beginner at the trap what his gun measurements should be. The way is open for him to fit himself, both as to gun dimensions and price.
He should buy a gun that “feels” good to him when he throws it to his shoulder. He should pay enough for it to warrant its standing up under the strain of the trap loads. The man buying the gun is the man to do the shooting, and therefore the gun should fit him and not somebody who assumes the role of dictator.
The man buying the gun is the man who has it to pay for, and in this, too, he should be fitted. When the men, and women too, now out of the game, come fully to understand these truths, the trapshooting game will grow as it has never grown before.
 

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Edward C. Crossman, “The Sport of the Flying Saucer”, Outing, Dec. 1914
Outing

Lewis McKune Davis, “That Ideal Trap Gun” Outing, March 1917, p. 706
http://books.google.com/books?id=cA0LAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA706&lpg
"Gold and Silver Were Never Known To Break the Illusive Bluerock"

The “Ideal Trap Gun” has been the subject of many a preachment by many a writer, and these articles have been published in every outdoor magazine in the country. They have been immensely entertaining—filled with truth and fiction—setting forth what in the estimation of the writers were the only possible dimensions of a gun with which anything like a perfect score could be made at the traps. The majority of writers on the interesting subject of the gun are gun cranks, and most gun cranks are owners of guns of the elite, lace and lavender kind.
Men with a penchant for trap shooting have stood out on the sidelines and watched with interest the blowing of the blue rocks back to dust, secretly hoping, without expectation, that they could get into the game. Then they have gone home and settled themselves down for an evening of comfort with their favorite outdoor magazine to read the ravings of the gun crank about the ideal trap gun. These guns, as a rule, are engraved from stem to stem—from soup to nuts—with two or three choice chunks of gold inlay, and the man with a penchant for trapshooting has seen his hopes entwined in the disappearing smoke from his favorite briar.
Or, perhaps, he has read of the “fit” of the ideal trap gun. He reads wondrous criticisms of the drop, the pitch, the choke, the length of stock, and the length of barrel of the ideal, and then he pulls his old scatter gun out of the closet and looks it over with a feeling of remorse. He tells the old gun it won't do. It was all right for upland shooting, but it will never do to join the company of the Beau Brummels of the upper crust at the traps.
An examination shows that the stock is too short; the pitch is too great, and the drop out of all proportions. It's as badly out of style, he has been led to believe, as a last year's milliner's creation, and back it goes into the closet to await the opening of another quail season, and the trapshooting fraternity has lost what would have been another member.
The ravings of the gun crank has no influence over the men who have been initiated into the pleasures of trapshooting, because these men learned years ago that the old gun which could be counted on to get its share of game would give a good account of itself at the traps. It is all very fine to prattle about the beauties of the engraving, the superb natural markings of the stock—this is all right—but let it be known to the uninitiated that these beauty spots are not necessary to the breaking of a bluerock; also let it be known that there are guns minus all the Beau Brummel attachments that shoot just as well, and can be had for one-fifth the price.
The statement that a trap gun that is a trap gun will set the trapshooter back anywhere from $100 to $1000 and the further statement that the trapshooting fraternity of America is composed of a cosmopolitan membership are not in tune. The fact that there are more than 4,000 trapshooting clubs in the United States is offered as exhibit A in proof of the statement that a cosmopolitan membership really does exist.
The personnel of these 4,000 or more trapshooting clubs is made up of men in all walks of life—and there are thousands of them who never owned a gun, and never expect to, that cost over twenty-five dollars. As a matter of fact, I have a scatter gun in my possession that cost only fifteen dollars which will make a pattern equal to many of the guns that cost ten times as much.
My advice to the beginner in trapshooting is to buy an inexpensive gun, unless of course, he has plenty of the pelf with which to pay for the gewgaws. After he has been in the game a while and can estimate its value, then, if he chooses, he can buy the engraving and the little chunk of bright and yellow.
In the purchase of a gun, let the beginner buy the arm that “feels” right. Some men have set themselves up as criterions and have told us that only a gun following closely the dimensions prescribed by their architecture will do. They tell us that the stock must be 14 inches long; that the drop at the comb must be 1 3/8 inches and 2 1/4 inches at the heel; that the pitch must be so much, and a lot of other balderdash.
I admit that I fell for some of this. It may be all right for a man to follow some of these suggestions if he has never done any shooting, but there is no difference between trapshooting and live bird shooting for the average man.
I have hunted all my life. Naturally I knew something about the “feel” of a gun. When I bought this trap gun, true to plans and specifications, I realized that it didn't "feel" like my old hunting gun, but I had read much about the special trap guns brought out by various manufacturers, and followed directions.
A gun that “feels” right to the man who has been a hunter all his life “fits.” The stock may be 13 inches or it may be 14 inches—it makes no difference. But if he has been used to shooting a 13 inch stock all his shooting life he is going to have a monkey and parrot time getting used to shooting a gun with a stock 14 inches long.
There can be no prescribed measurement for a gun to fit all men. Standardization is impossible. Ask ten of the best trapshooters in the country for dimensions of their guns, and you will get ten distinct gun measurements. This of itself should be sufficient proof of the fallacy of trying to tell the beginner at the trap what his gun measurements should be. The way is open for him to fit himself, both as to gun dimensions and price.
He should buy a gun that “feels” good to him when he throws it to his shoulder. He should pay enough for it to warrant its standing up under the strain of the trap loads. The man buying the gun is the man to do the shooting, and therefore the gun should fit him and not somebody who assumes the role of dictator.
The man buying the gun is the man who has it to pay for, and in this, too, he should be fitted. When the men, and women too, now out of the game, come fully to understand these truths, the trapshooting game will grow as it has never grown before.
Still very true today. Nothing has changed except the $$$$$..
 

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I've only been shooting trap for about a year and a half. I started out with my trusty Wingmaster, 30" full choke. I did pretty well with that gun. While listening to experienced shooters advice on guns and options, I always maintained that it is the shooter not the gun. If you can't hit anything with a $200 gun, spending thousands won't help. At our local rod and gun club, we encourage anyone to shoot trap. Just go out and try it with your favorite shotgun. You may just find a new hobby you enjoy. I did.
 
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