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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Whether you shoot registered events, club leagues or just for fun, you try to break as many targets as you can. Some of you shoot factory shells; others shoot reloads, either to lower shooting costs or as a secondary hobby tied directly to breaking more targets.

For those of you for whom the highest score is important, I pose this question: How money-wise is your goal?

By way of explanation, a short (dull?) personal history: Back in the late ‘50s when I began shooting, reloading was required due a limited budget. I had a $14.95 Lee Leader and with a bathroom scale I was on my way reloading 12 gauge shells and .44 magnums (with mixed results).

Powder and shot were both measured by volume using the adjustable dipper that came with the reloader, Red Dot for shotgun shells and 2400 for the .44. Results were mixed.

The main shortcoming of the shot shells was the crimp. Although all were 8-star crimps, with card over-powder card and felt shot wads, the Lee Loader could not seem to accomplish a crimp that kept some of the shot from migrating to my pocket. No problem; a little candle wax dripped on the crimp and the shot stayed where it belonged.

With the .44 magnum. the problem involved scooping up the right amount of 2400 to get a decent load. Some shells just about knocked the Ruger Blackhawk out of my hand while another shell would pierce only one side of a tin can. This was not good, but it was economical (and possibly averaged out fairly well).

Much more recently when I began shooting trap regularlyI wanted to break as many clay targets as possible. (The purpose of this thread follows.)

Before choosing reloading components I researched hulls, powder, wads (now plastic) and shot hardness (antimony percentages).Wanting every last target possible, I bought the best components. That, of course, included premium, high antimony shot, brand name wads and primers and a Hornady 366 progressive reloader, this time accompanied by an accurate scale. (No more dipper diving for me!)

And, did all my researching and premium buying propel me up with the elite shooters? It did not! Why? Because I lack other things that a top notch shooters possess including a gun that fits (common oversight in the late 1960s),a short reaction time, good eye/hand coordination as well as other physical (and mental?) abilities that above average shooters enjoy.

I was wasting money on excellent reloads and expensive guns when my personal shortcomings were responsible for my limited shooting success.

Might you be making the same mistake? Are you trading guns to find one that shoots better? Are you reloading shells with expensive components for little or no realistic return on your investment? Are you using shells with more shot weight and velocity than is necessary?

As far a guns go, the most important characteristic a gun can have is that it “fits” your size and shape, meaning that it will allow you to use a good stance, a good shooting posture, a good and consistent gun mount and good weight distribution (a good shooting form).

Whether your gun is a break-open or a repeater, unless it fits YOU, you cannot hope to shoot as well as you could if you had a well fitting gun and a good shooting form.

Regarding the equipment you use: The best shells, the best shooting glasses, vest, shoes, etc., however you wish to define “best” may result in 1 or 2 more targets broken per 100. That’s “may result”, not “will” result.
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Take time to consider this: You could save money buying reclaimed or chilled rather than magnum shot, lower priced primers, powder and wads. You might save even more by loading shells with a reduced shot weight and velocity and, at the same time, benefit from a significant reduction in recoil.

Don’t make the same mistake I made trying break every target you shoot at when it might not be that important, realistically. Instead, consider saving some money and at the same time, shooting more targets
 

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I can't help but think no matter how well a gun fits, if you shoot trash through it what does It profit you. Just like gun fit,good shells, proper shooting gear and quality practice time can't hurt you and can only help by eliminating variables that may cost you targets. I bet if someone said my gun fit is close enough you'd take exception to that. You could shoot a off the rack shotgun too and save money on a custom stock, or save money by not purchasing a book on gun fit. Breaking every target you can is equally important in practice or the Grand American handicap. If you don't try hard every time you call pull I think you'll find it hard to turn it on when it is important. Ymmv.
 

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When I go to the line I think of only one thing or at least try and that is to break the target when I call pull. I am there for no other reason just want to break the target. Weather I do it with factory loads, or my reloads it is always to break the target. Will I break more with a different gun who knows, I don't have that other gun. I get on the line sometimes and the guy next to me has a gun worth 8-10 times what mine is, and he shoots a 23, and I shoot a 24, this can work both ways. We both went to shoot, to break them all, that is the point of this game BREAK THEM ALL! One may complain or have an excuse after shooting that his/her shells were weak, or kicked to much or whatever, whatever, whatever. Trap shooters have more excuses than most pill makers have pills I being one of them. Still the point is to break every target. Break them all and have a great day doing it!!!
 

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For those of you for whom the highest score is important, I pose this question: How money-wise is your goal?
Rollin, enjoyed the read-thanks for making me think.

Let me share some thoughts: Never settle, always be the best you can be, do the best you can do, spend/invest what you can afford.

I didn't get my first shotgun until I was in my 60s, discovered trap and love it. I am still learning (get a lot of good information from this site), have fun and sometimes get frustrated to hell. I reload and I buy shells, the goal is to break clays. I have progressed to a dedicated trap gun, now working on fit, technique, and comfort, the goal is to break clays.

In response to your question (How money-wise is your goal?) since I will never make a living shooting, or make the Olympic team you could argue I am wasting my time and money. On the other hand, this is something I do for me. I don't go crazy overboard on spending, but if I think better reloading components will help, a different recoil pad will help, or even a new gun, I will spend the money, the goal is to break clays.

When cost becomes my primary consideration, time to find a different pastime.
 

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Once, about 40 year ago, while talking to Phil Ross (one of the great shooters in my opinion), I asked him about his gun and shells. He told me he never changed his gun (model 12 with the old plastic hydraulic stock) and 3 dram (1200 FPS) AA's. That's what he shot his whole shooting career. I abide by that rule as well. I reload to the shell I most prefer (AA's 1200 FPS), and haven't changed my primary gun (Ljutic mono) in 30 years. Although I did just have a custom Stock-Lock made for it. I have kept upgrading the stock through the years as better designs have come out. So, fit of the gun, knowing how the gun shoots, and shooting the same shell/reload through the years has been my mantra. Has it worked? I'm satisfied with my shooting most of the time. I guess that's all that really counts.

:shooter1::shooter1::shooter1:
 

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Don’t make the same mistake I made trying break every target you shoot at when it might not be that important, realistically. Instead, consider saving some money and at the same time, shooting more targets
No matter the quality of shell, learning HOW to center punch targets is mighty important. Practice is a total waste of time unless it's done for a purpose, perfecting your game with perfect practice! I do agree with more shooting but with a purpose instead of just more.

HAP
 

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Something else to consider not what is best but what is best for you. Having the best skeet gun in the word wont make any difference at the 27 yard line.

Some might be better off using a precision fit while others may not be able to accommodate to the mechanical contraption's movement. I personally don't like the looks of the things they look like their a product of the AI future where the machines take over and sport for them will be Terminating humans. Sorry I couldn't resist! No in all seriousness there is no best for everyone. Correct or incorrect for you. Spend time on loads and choke in the final analysis they are what break targets. A gun that fits you perfectly is of no use if you can't see targets or have an incorrect Point Of Impact. On to POI- Gun fitters that only use a pattern plate to adjust POI are doing you a disservice. You can not adjust POI for shooting targets by using a pattern plate. It may work for some people but finding proper POI can only be achieved for yourself individually by confirming it on targets. In my opinion many that are new to Trap or other shooting sports take a bit of a backward approach. They often set a POI and learn how to shoot it!
 

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Interesting food for thought as I consider upgrading my Radian shooting glasses to Rangers or even Pillas and look at buying a Precision Fit Stock.

As far as shells go I shoot whatever I can get the cheapest - Rios, Estates, Clevers and even some AAs with rebate and discounts. Not interested in reloading yet due to time and having to learn something else.
 

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What works for one person, it's not necessarily right for the other person, I can't shoot my father's guns and he can't shoot mine, the only way any of us can find out what is best for us, is by shooting, trying different things, until you find a gun that is right for you, you really don't understand how a shotgun should shoot. I personally believe Trapshooters make it more complicated than it needs to be, choke tubes , Back boring, porting, what loads are the best, are nothing but distractions, gun fit, a choke tight enough to break any target, and a shot shell that performs consistently, these are the only things that matter.
 

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I enjoyed the write up on the personal history. I would say the best effort a Shooter can make is spent finding a coach or mentor that will work with your game. It wont be the Handicap shell. Very few can teach themselves to be smooth and make an efficient move to the clay alone. A mentor can speed the learning curve by directing the practice that is required to get there. The clinic is a good start. But most still need a more regular check up on whats working and whats not. Thank you to any experienced shooters that take on new up an comers and offer the management help necessary to thrive in this game.
For those that make it on their own I tip my cap to you for your stubborn determination to move ahead and succeed in a hard (Not cheap) sport.
 

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A friend of mine was having a rough day when he shrugged his shoulders and said “this is just practice”. I told him to stop thinking that way and to shoot every target as if it were the championship target.
One at a time. There is no practice. That’s my motto because when you suck as bad as I do, you’ll tell yourself anything in hopes to get another target or two...and like the Bartholow’s say, “practice with a purpose”.
Otherwise you’re just creating a dirty gun.
 

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Everyone seems to have vises, some it may be golf, some bowling, some fishing, some all of the above, but whatever the vise is you do it because you like the sport. It gives you a good feeling when you do it well. I like to shoot trap I find it addictive just to try and break every target. But I also fish and hunt both cost a bunch so you do what you want with what you have to spend. Some of my fishing gear is hand me down, I will use some of the cheapest components to reload, and I only buy shells if the final cost is below the $5 mark. I still love the sport and will continue to break as many targets as I possibly can. That's what the game is all about breaking targets! Either with lots of money invested or just a little!
 

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Warning: wild idea/concept ahead.

This is gonna be "a bit out there," so bear with me... The best way I think I can explain things is simply this: We don't want to admit what we don't know. We think we know something but are not sure, and thinking we know feels better than the "not knowing," so we go with what we think we know. The point is: Are each of our shots that result in broken targets actually seen with the clarity and assurance of knowing with significant clarity, where the barrel actually was in relation to the target, why we pulled the trigger there, etc? If not, why not? Shooting again with the same uncertainty does what?? Then what about the misses? What do we really, truly know we saw, yet pulled the trigger anyway? Etc. Etc.

Since we are "not really honest," we look for "something other than (within) ourselves" for the miss: the sun, a noise, the shooter next to us, the gun, the choke,the ammo, hold point, etc.

If this "actually not knowing" is as common as I think it is, what is the real solution? How to we gain certainty of actually seeing with assurance, every single shot?

Thoughts?
 

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There are so many obstacles for the average person to overcome. Getting good advice is one. Many well intentioned teachers give advice that may not be the best for you. Works for me is not the best approach for everyone. Shooters in this country come from a tradition of independence so doing it on your own without help is a tradition. Shooting instruction was almost unavailable 50 years ago. Optometry and shooting glasses for shooting are relatively new in the sense that everyone uses them now. The instruction in this country has been so hit or miss. People spend thousands and get nowhere. Others take a lesson or two and might win a state championship. I don't know how to tell you to pick an instructor but I do know that after getting your visual needs Shooting Glasses and eye exam a good instructor or coach will save you the most money in the long run.
 

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I agree with Gun Fitter, I think one of the problems is we are very much rifle shooters in this country, you can go out by yourself and adjust your rifle sights so you will hit the bull's-eye. The trouble with shotguns is none of us know what the other person sees, and most are unadjustable, And most shooters have no idea how a shot gun supposed to shoot, and then therefore blame themselves.
 

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TRYING TO SHOT YOUR BEST? To all you young shooter there will be a time in your life when your brain thinks it can do more than your body --Your 25 straight every night is in the 22-23 --You buy new guns -- new glasses -- Have it fitted for Winter then for summer shooting. --Buy the best shells money can buy --you are spinning in circles trying to figure it out --Then finally your brain will catch up yo your body and you will accept your limitation --your floaters in your eyes -- Cataracts start setting in -- your get arthritis in your shoulders and fingers -and you finally except what you can do --that's shooting 1 1/8 loads - at my age 94 pellets are always welcome - pick when you shoot --Lighting on old eyes make a big difference -- most important thing I have learned is have fun -- you still can break targets. ---- AND don't forget the stories you can tell the younger shooters how great we had it in the good old days!
 

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Why do we waist money shooting?
1 Big boys have big toys.
2 we like competitive shooting.
3 when we win we feel like a kid again.

Could or should we spend less?
1 If we think there is a better shell or better glasses or earplugs we will buy it.
2 we should spend less but we won't do it.
3 Some have more disposable income than others.

For me whatever im doing work or play im full throttle wide open .
HW

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