Since the first article to appear in Clay Shooting magazine, I have been contact by a few shooters who have asked me about gunfit.
I thought that it would be good to help you understand the correct gunfit for Trap, especially as the future articles are regarding Universal Trap, Olympic Trap and Double Trap.
Rib is key
The most important thing with Trap is seeing rib. It is vital to see rib as the target is elevated, making it vital to see the whole target at all times.
Seeing the rib is achieved by a heightened comb as seen below.
The other vital element is the length of the stock. In Trap, the stock is longer than in Sporting, because your cheek is permanently on the stock and the head forward. As the head is placed forward then both the comb and the stock need to be correct.
Most Italian Trap guns have a high comb height, so that you can see plenty of rib. In terms of what you actually see, the images below emphasise the point of what you should see in terms of rib.
The other question that people continue to ask, especially since Peter Wilson won at the London Olympic Games, is about high-ribs. High-ribs were certainly an advantage with Double Trap for the second target, but now the discipline has changed there will be far fewer shooting with high-ribbed guns.
They certainly are not advisable in Olympic Trap and interestingly Michael Diamond, one of the most successful Olympic Trap shooters of our time, uses a standard ribbed gun. In DTL people do use high-ribs though, and that is down to personal preference.
Try before you buy
I always advocate that people should get a professional gunfit for their Trap disciplines and the most important part of this is to use a try-gun. A Trap try gun can then be set up correctly in all elements of height, pitch and balance. The try gun can then be fitted and shot according to the correct fit.
The use of the try gun and the difference that can be seen when changing the length of stock and the height of comb can be seen above. The try gun will also be used for looking at the pitch, cast and overall length of the gun and is the most important tool to fit the gun.
The try gun and the pattern plate are used to look at changes and also for the change in comb height. It is always advisable to use a good instructor who actually shoots the discipline and understands gunfit. In the picture above one of my senior instructors, Shaun Porter, is fitting his Guerini Trap gun.
Why the long barrels?
Barrel length is a personal choice, but at the international disciplines of Universal and Olympic Trap the world’s best shoot with 30-inch barrelled guns. For DTL and Double Trap 32-inch is more common, but it is personal choice in the end. Trap disciplines require a longer length so as to keep the gun under control – a smaller length barrel can lead to inconsistency in your shooting.
Stick with it!
In Trap it is also crucial not to tinker, there are too many people that tinker with their guns and then use that as a source of blame for mistakes. A Monte Carlo stock, although adjustable, is one of the best forms of stock with a heightened comb.
It does allow for some adjustment, but this again is only of any use of the gun actually fits you. I believe once you have the gunfit correct, you leave it at that. If you have an adjustable stock you throw away the key.
If you do nothing else to improve your trap shooting I encourage you to get your gun fitted correctly. I have fitted many guns over the years and many Trap guns. I never ceases to amaze me how few people actually bother to get the gun fitted correctly, a just do approach will lead to a just do score, not a perfect score.