Adjusting A Stock For Trap

Dear Techness,

I’ve been using my 390 sporter for skeet with decent results. I decided to try some trap shooting last Sunday , what a humbling experience that was. I have the 50mm shim in there and that’s the limit according to Coles. I have a set of slide on foam pads for the comb.

Without getting too anal,what configuration should I go with, and what am I trying to do? Up, down, raise the comb lower the comb turn the stock backwards or what.This whole thing starts to get a little over done after awhile, what basic steps do I need to follow?

Don’t say take up golf, or hang up the shell bag. I still value your most honorable advice. Thank You,

Your humble follower


Dear TS,

Trap is great fun, especially wobble trap. Setting your sporter up for trap is easy and there are a couple of ways to do it.

Since a skeet target is relatively flat, most people set their skeet guns to shoot dead on or perhaps just a bit high. ATA trap is a game of consistently rising targets, most trap shooters like to set their guns up to shoot high. The reason for this is that to hit a trap target with a flat shooting gun you have to lead it “in front”. This means you are shooting above the rising bird and thus covering it completely with the barrel at the moment of firing. You can do this, but many people aren’t comfortable with it. Most shooters like to shoot right at the trap target and build the lead into the gun by setting it to shoot high. That way they can shoot right at the bird (which would be a miss below/behind with a flat shooting gun) and yet still hit the bird because the trap gun is set up to shoot considerably higher than a skeet gun.

I shoot trap, skeet and sporting with the same gun and the same stock. For me, my gun shoots dead on and I am used to covering trap targets. It isn’t ideal for ATA trap, but since I shoot more International Trap (where you are just as likely to get a flat target as a rising one) than ATA trap, I am willing to make the slight sacrifice when I shoot ATA. I do know quite a number of skeet shooters who use trap stocks on their skeet guns. It really depends as much on their facial configuration and stance as anything. A stock height which produces a high shooting gun for one person may not do so for another. Women and children generally have smaller faces than men and thus need a higher stock in order to see the same amount of rib. A man with a full face and an upright shooting stance may use a low stock to see a certain sight picture, while a woman with a thin face who crawls her stock might need a considerably higher stock to see exactly the same sight picture. One size does not fit all.

If you want to experiment with a high stock for trap, it’s easy enough to do. You say that you already have “slide-on foam pads” for the comb. Well, slide ’em on! You have a middle bead on your sporter. Build up the height of the comb with the Beretta shims and/or your slide-on pads (or with common masking tape layered on top of the comb) until you see a “figure 8″ when you cheek the gun firmly and look down the rib. The front bead should seem to be riding on top of the middle bead. Looking at it another way, you might be seeing 1/8” of rib or a touch more. What you don’t want to be doing is looking flat down the rib so that the middle bead and front bead are superimposed.

Once your gun is set up like this, go shoot some trap and see how you do. Get someone experienced to stand behind you so that he can tell you where you are shooting. If you are shooting high, lower the stock. If you are shooting underneath the target, build it up more. You will have to experiment, but a figure 8 is in the ball park for most people.

Be careful with those foam pads. Some of them add as much thickness to the sides of the stock as they do to the top. Assuming that your gun fits you as a sporter, you only want to add height to the TOP of the stock, not the sides. If you add too much thickness to the side of the stock, it will make a right handed shooter shoot to the left.

If you decide that you want to shoot both skeet and trap with the same gun and can’t find one stock setting which works for both, you can always have an adjustable comb installed for under $200. This will allow you to raise, lower and cast your comb to your heart’s content. The opportunity for entertainment is endless. No more boredom while you are waiting in long lines for your turn to shoot. That’s gotta be worth something.

Best regards,

Bruce Buck
The Technoid writing for Shotgun Report, LLC
(Often in error. Never in doubt.)

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3 Responses to Adjusting A Stock For Trap

  1. The shim goes between the head of the stock and the end of the receiver. 50 mm probably refers to how much drop at the comb you get when you put he shim in. It is not a 50 mm sized shim.


    • Ted Cherry says:

      Franklin….. You are correct, I have the same shim adjustments on my Benelli Cordoba. I could be wrong, but I don’t think that you could install a shim thick enough to drop the comb 50mm (approx. 2″) Nothing important I guess, as long as whatever it does helps.


  2. Ted Cherry says:

    Don’t quite understand the application of the 50mm (2″) shim? Where does this 50mm shim go, and what is it’s purpose? Thanks


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