Trap Point Of Impact


I’ve got a Beretta 391 Trap gun that I patterned the other day. With the stock shims that put the comb to the lowest position, the gun patterns just above the aiming point. I know trap guns are supposed to shoot a little high but shouldn’t the aiming point be up into the pattern somewhat?


— Jeff

Dear Jeff,

Where you set your trap gun to pattern is really a question of personal preference. For ATA-type trap a pattern that is 60% above and 40% below (called a 60/40 pattern) is quite popular. Just step off the distance at which you normally shoot your bird, put an aiming point on a piece of paper and take three or four carefully aimed shots (at the same paper). This will give you a nice dense average cloud and you can see exactly what you have. I think that taking a few shots is more reliable than just shooting once.

If your pattern is higher than you like and you have run your Beretta shims down as far as you can, you might contact Rich Cole at Cole Gunsmithing, Rt. 123, Harpswell, ME 04079, Tel: 207-833-5027, <>. He may be able to supply you with an alternate set of shims. I haven’t fooled much with the trap model of the 391, so I’m not sure what extra shims sets are available. Other than that, you can modify the existing shim set. Those rear metal washers are tougher than nails though. Get ready for some serious grinding. You may find it easier just to grind a whole new washer. To get more drop from the plastic O ring up front, you can just add a second O ring. An obvious alternative is to shave the comb of the stock. That’s my last pick as it means more work. Do it with the shims if you can. Just make sure that you pair the front and rear shims to keep stresses down. Ask Rich for his advice. I’ll bet he has a fix.

I must confess. My 303 trap gun with the Monte Carlo trap stock was always just a bit high for me. It’s a pre-shim model, so I just cut one piece of a Winchester AA plastic hull and stuck it between the head of the stock and the receiver at the top. That pushed the stock down just enough for what I wanted. Not very sophisticated, but I’m a blunt trauma kind of guy. Yes, it does put a little unwanted stress on the magazine spring tube, but it is so slight that it has worked for the past 80,000 rounds.

I tried the same trick on one of my 1100s and bent the tube too far. That caused the link to jam as it recoiled back into the tube. Bad news. Moral: when using Neanderthal stock adjustment techniques, go easy.

As an aside, I set my trap guns up to shoot 50/50 because I shoot a lot of International Trap with their very flat birds. I don’t mind covering rising birds and have gotten used to that sight picture. I also use my trap guns for skeet and sporting clays. I use trap stocks for everything. Even the field. Just because a stock is labeled “trap” doesn’t automatically mean that it shoots high for every shooter. Trap stocks do tend to have less drop from nose to heel and I find the almost parallel stock to be more comfortable as to face slap. Heavily dropping stocks give me chipmunk cheek.

Bottom line: where your point of impact should be for trap is a personal decision. I’ve seen everything from 50/50 to 80/20. It sounds like you are running a little high and most people like that. Of course, you don’t want it too high. The one thing that you didn’t mention was how you shot the gun. Well? How does it shoot? If you are new to things and don’t have too much experience, get a seasoned shooter to stand behind you and tell you where you are hitting the birds. He can see if you are high or low on the bird. If you are new to trap, be slow to change things as your style is still evolving. It’s hard to fit a gun to a shooter whose style is still in flux. It’s one of those chicken and egg things.

There it is. More bad Technoidal advice than you knew existed.

Best regards,

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

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