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What have you noticed about the great trapshooters? Their stance, the way they mount and hold their gun, the way their gun is stocked, the point of impact, the heigth over the trap house, their philosophy for breaking targets.You get the drift. You old timers can fill us in on the great shots in the past too.
 

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They can see the target better than most of us. That one thing can account for more misses than any other part of target shooting.

Bob W
 

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Nov. 18, 1905 Sporting Life

HOW CROSBY SMASHES HIS TARGETS WITH SUCH SUCCESS Mrs. Will K. Park

While W. R. Crosby, the professional wing shot, of O’Fallon, Ill., was shooting in the big target tourney at Watson Park, Chicago, recently, and when he broke the full 20 without a miss, one of the amateurs watching him closely remarked: "I believe that quickness is every thing in shooting these inanimate birds. I notice that Crosby never allows one to get over 20 or 30 yards away from the trap, while some of the other fellows wait until the target is 50 or 60 yards away and on the descent instead of on the rise. I believe that it is one of the secrets of his wonderful work at all tournaments."

Scores of men who are themselves among the best shots were also watching every move made by Crosby. They noted that he sighted his gun right at the trap, and no sooner had the clay pigeon been thrown than Crosby fired. He seemed to go right along with the target as it was thrown and some of the birds were smashed before they had gone ten yards away from the mouth of the trap house. The only birds allowed to sail more than 20 yards away from the traps were the right quarterers, which were let go by a short distance on a dead line to prevent a miss from being recorded. These are the hardest shots to secure.
 

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most had short necks, or at least the appearance of short necks, leads me to believe that gun fit was the key then, now whith better engineered adjustments in our guns I think I have noticed a change in shooter stature.
 

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Stance-varies

Gun mount and hold-vary

stock design-vary

POI-from flat or actually shooting less than dead on to 32" high

hold point on house-vary

phylosophy-ultimate desire and focus
 

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For the very best of the best, I believe there is something different about how their eyes/brain work together. I once saw a guy shooting quarters thrown into the air with a .22 rifle and iron sights. He was hitting the quarters more than half the time. The same guy shot clays with a scoped .22, although with less accuracy (but still several out of 25). If you have a safe place to try this sometime, do so and you'll see that it's even more difficult than it sounds. And yet some people are wired to do it. Yes they practice, but that does not completely explain it. There is a natural, God-given component involved in my opinion.

-Gary
 

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Both time and money! They shoot a ton more targets than the average guy. I also believe they are always trying to find an edge. I've shot with some guys that won't change a thing just because they broke a 98 from the 23 yard line 15 years ago.
 

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Pigeon Shooting: With instructions for beginners and suggestions for those who participate in the sport of pigeon shooting

Albert William Money, Arthur Corbin Gould 1896

I would lay great stress on the necessity of concentrating your whole thought and attention on the shot. I have for many years past, known all the best pigeon shots, both amateur and professional, who have made their mark on either side of the water, and I have seen the very best of them miss comparatively easy birds, because their thought for the moment was on something else; some one, perhaps, having made a remark as they went to the score and so called off their attention from what they were doing.

Next to this I would advise keeping a cool and equable temperament. Never allow yourself to be upset or put out by anything that may occur. If a miss comes, take it philosophically; we all miss at times. Don't lose your temper and blame your gun, or shells, or anything but your own want of holding straight.
 

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Valuable suggestions given by the famous shot, Rolla O. Heikes

Dayton. O., March 7, 1898. Gun Editor Sporting Life

To become an expert requires natural talent, patience and practice. I am not a believer that every amateur can be an expert, for all have not the eye, nerve and natural ability required. Yet I know many of ordinary skill who enjoy this outdoor sport, recreation and good fellowship among sportsmen equally as well as those quite proficient in the art. The question might be asked: What is required to become an expert? In my opinion a good constitution, a keen eye, a steady nerve, a natural talent and above all an even temper. How often we have seen some of our best shots balked and unnerved by broken birds in traps. This may happen two or three times in succession and the oftener it occurs the less chance you have of breaking the target unless you control your temper. To lose your temper loses many a target and the good shot who learns to keep a cool head usually lands in the "King Row" first.

Concentrate your mind on the bird, and do not allow anything else to attract your attention until after you have fired.
 

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Guns, Ammunition, and Tackle

Albert William Money, Horace Kephart, W. E. Carlin, Abraham Lincoln Artmann Himmelwright, John Harrington Keene 1904

When I first began shooting targets, I asked a professional who then, as he does to-day, stood in the very front rank as a target shot, how he accounted for being so good as he was. His answer taught me a great deal. It was, "Constant practice, using my head, and never firing a shot that I did not put all my mind into."
 

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Robert Churchill 1925 How to Shoot - Some Lessons in the Science of Shot Gun Shooting

The whole art of trapshooting is comprised in the ability to take instantaneous aim and pull the trigger on the instant.
 

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I was a friend of Vic Reinders, shot with him on occasion, and discussed many times what it took to be a great trap shooter and a champion. First of all, Vic was not blessed with above average athletic ability, or above average eye site, as he wore glasses. He was tall, and had a long neck. Vic always said that he could teach someone to shoot well with just average coordination.

From Vic's view, trap shooting took mental toughness. He always said that most trap shooters lost targets from the neck up. If you could control your nerves in competition he felt he could teach you how to become successful in this game.

Some of the things Vic believed in and personally felt that would contributed not only to his and others success is, sticking with the same gun. Vic always told me that a person who likes to purchase and trade guns will never be a top notch shooter. They would be better off becoming a gun vendor at shoots.

He felt wearing the same clothing was also important as he said different clothes including vest allows you to mount your gun differently. He felt for consistent scores you needed to shoot each time with the same gun, and clothing, including shoes.

Vic felt your squad mates were also important. People you choose to shoot with that won't screw up your squad but good. He felt a good squad is one that you can depend on not to talk on the line, makes comments after they miss targets, and they all know the rules of the game, and act as a champions would and should act.

Vic felt when you miss a target, it's over, don't stew over it, you can't get it back. He felt if you continue thinking about that previous miss, you will most likely miss the next target out. Vic felt another aspect of becoming a champion was to know the rules of trapshooting. Vic rewrote that ATA rules in 1958 when he was the ATA president. He knew these rules like the back of his hand. He told me knowing the rule book saved him from losing targets numerous times.

All Vic felt that a person needed to become a champion was the above mentioned things I wrote, lots of practice, and average physical ability and eye site. Vic felt even if you wear eyeglasses and the correction made you 20/20, you could be a champion. The only time wearing glasses could become a problem he felt was shooting in the rain. He said make sure your glasses fit properly so they do not fog up on you while shooting.

The last thing Vic said a shooter needed was the heart of a champion. He felt one's desire played an important role. How badly do you want to win and be successful? Vic felt no one could teach that. You are either born with it or not.

Vic did not put much stock in averages, only for classification purposes. Vic judged fellow shooters on tournament wins. To show you how mental tough Vic was, I will tell you a short story.

Vic and I shoot during the Wisconsin state shoot one year. It was raining and my scores were not good. I started to complain between banks of traps about the rain making my hands slip off my gun. He told me when it rains he never takes his hand off the forend of his gun during the entire 100 targets. Vic actually kept his hand on the forend of his gun from start to finish so rain water would not make the forend slippery.

You may or may not agree with Vic's views on making a champion trap shooter, but I would think that know one can deny he was one hell of a champion trap shooter. Any one doubt what I say, look up the record books and read about the old time shooters.
Steve Balistreri
 

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I would like to add my comments to this thread. There are two things that the older & current great shots have in common. Number 1 is 20/15 vision and number 2 is the ability to relax during the events.

Dave Thomas
 
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