Sporting Clays/Trap Gun


Dear Technoid,

I have an Remington NP 11-87 Sporting Clay with a 30 inch barrel. I want to shoot trap singles and doubles also. I am trying to decide whether to try and use this gun the way it is and just change to the proper choke tube or whether to purchase a “trap barrel” for it.

As I understand it, the newer 11-87 Trap Barrels are back-bored and the trap chokes for this barrel are different that those of regular 11-87 barrels. Other than this, are there any other differences in the standard sporting clays barrel and a trap barrel, such as rib height, etc.?

My second alternative that I have considering is the purchase of a 11-87 Trap Shotgun, which I understand this year is no longer available. It is now called a 1100 Classic Trap this year. Can you provide any information that will help in my decision.

I have enjoyed your web page very much since I discovered it several years ago. Thanks for your help.

Kerr

Dear Kerr,

If you are really serious about shooting trap, I’d get the trap gun. It’s not really a barrel thing as much as it is a stock fit and weight thing. You will get just as good patterns out of your SC 11-87 with the right choke as you will out of a “trap” barrel. The question is more WHERE those patterns are going to go than it is what those patterns are like.

American-style trap is a rising target game. The altitude is fixed so it makes sense to shoot a high trap stock to build in some vertical lead. This way you can hold a little under or just on the bird so that you can see it when you shoot, but the high stock makes sure that the pattern actually goes above the bird with the correct lead. Works great.

Sporting clays targets can do anything and there are usually just as many dropping targets on a course as there are rising ones. Most sporting clays shooters feel most comfortable with a gun that shoots flat. Because of this their stocks tend to be a little lower. This necessitates covering a rising bird and shooting “blind”, but it is a compromise that is necessary to deal with the falling birds.

Additionally, clays guns are usually lighter and more responsive than trap guns. Trap is a game of small precise movements where a heavy gun is an advantage. Sporting clays is often shot with a great deal of gun movement from one target to another. A somewhat lighter and more responsive gun is an advantage. Note how the 11-87 SC sporter has a shorter magazine and forend to achieve a lighter feel than the trap gun has. This is intentional.

This isn’t to say that you can’t shoot clays with a trap gun or trap with a clays gun. You certainly can. Some sporting clays shooters do use trap guns, or at least trap stocks on sporting guns. I do. My “shoot everything made of clay” gun is a 30″ Beretta 303 trap gun. I’ve had good luck with it at skeet and sporting in addition to trap. I’ve gotten used to shooting a high stock on all my guns and like to see a bit of rib. Still, most shooters find my guns too high for their facial structure and/or shooting style. It’s personal choice.

So, if you don’t mind buying a second gun, I’d opt for a pure trap gun for trap. The sporting clays gun you have will be fine for sporting, FITASC, skeet and some types of field work. The trap gun is good for trap (unless you like that high stock).

Before buying anything new though, I would do two things. 1st: Shoot your SC gun at trap and see how you like it. 2nd: Borrow a regular trap gun from someone (don’t worry about the action type, you just care about the high stock for this test) and see how you like that at trap. If you don’t notice much difference, stick with what you own. If you do notice a difference, that should be a clue as to what to buy.

As to the difference between the revived 1100 and the 11-87 in the target versions, there really isn’t any. It’s all due to a marketing ploy by Remington. When the 11-87s first came out they were touted as a “shoots anything” gun. They had 3″ chambers, but were supposed to function just fine with anything from a 3″ rhino roller to a light target load. Yeah, well….

They did work pretty well with light target loads, but not perfectly. Remington was smart enough to sell their target 11-87s with 2-3/4″ chambers “optimized for target loads”. These target 11-87s didn’t have the little extra gas ports and spring clip to vent excess gas. Since that was really the main difference between the 11-87 and the old 1100, these new 11-87 2-3/4″ target guns were really 1100s. Sooooo… Now that Remington is magically reintroducing the 1100 in the target line, it’s really just a name plate swap as far as the gas action is concerned. Ain’t marketing wonderful.

Best regards,

Bruce Buck
The Technoid writing for Shotgun Report, LLC

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