Trap Shooting Tips with the Bartholow Brothers

Shooting trap can be both challenging and a ton of fun, so here are some tips that will help you BBQ clay targets the next time you’re at the range.

Browning over under Shotgun Trap Shooting gear

Patterning your Browning shotgun.

The first tip we strongly encourage is to go pattern your shotgun. It’s easy to do and gives you confidence in your gear when going out to the line. We recommend shooting a series of three shots at 32-34 yards to give yourself a good review of your pattern. Why 32-34 yards? This is typically the yardage a 16-yard singles trap shooter will be breaking a target. Matt and I recommend using an Improved Mod or Full choke to give you strong, consistent breaks. Always use the same choke tube in practice that you’ll use during competition.

Browning Shotgun Choke Tube Wrench Trap Shooting IMAGE
An interchangeable choke tube system, like the Invector systems in Browning shotguns, make dialing-in the perfect shot pattern easy. An Improved Mod or Full choke are the best choices for trap shooting.
Browning Shotgun Patterning Trap Shooting IMAGE
For trap shooting, we recommend patterning your shotgun at a distance of 32-34 yards. This is the yardage a 16-yard singles trap shooter will be breaking a target. 
Browning Shotgun Patterning Trap Shooting Checking IMAGE
Inspect the patttern to determine your shotgun's point of impact, pellet distribution and choke performance.

We talk a lot about using your whole body to swing (like a tank turret) and that starts by having solid footwork. Try standing with your feet about shoulder width to slightly over shoulder width apart. Your footwork should be comfortable with the toes flared slightly to give yourself the ability to swing through. Focus on using your midsection and hips to power you to the target versus just swinging with your arms. One thing you’ll notice when your footwork is correct is that you have more control to make a consistent and fluid move on the target.

If you feel yourself struggling to get to (and through) the target, try opening your footwork to allow your body to turn easier in that direction. For example, a right-handed shooter will shift his or her footwork clockwise.

Browning Shotgun Trap Shooting Stance 1 IMAGE
Right Stance
Browning Shotgun Trap Shooting Stance 2 IMAGE
Center Stance
Browning Shotgun Trap Shooting Stance 3 IMAGE
Left Stance

Your footwork is solid, now try this.

Another aspect that can make a huge impact is your hold point location for each post. Remember that each post has different target angles so your hold points need to change to account for that.

Generally, we recommend one-eye dominant shooters to hold level with the top of the trap house, where two-eye dominant shooters can hold a “high gun” to shorten the distance needed to catch the target. 

Don’t be afraid to expand your hold points past the trap house. Matt and I both hold outside the trap house a foot or two on posts 1 and 5 for faster response and less catch-up time needed for a hard right or left targets.

While you’re shooting, if you notice you’re hitting the back end of targets, try adjusting either your footwork or your hold point. Typically, one of these changes will make the difference and you’ll start center punching and dusting those targets!

Browning Shotgun Trap Shooting Hold Points IMAGE
Hold outside the trap house a foot or two on posts 1 and 5 for faster response and less catch-up time for hard right or left targets.

These tips are here for you to find what we call “Your Recipe” for shooting. This is simply what YOU need to consistently smoke targets. Your Recipe encompasses everything from consistent footwork, hold points, mental focus, sight bead color, shooting glasses lens color, hydration, etc. – all the little things that need to come together to make the difference and give you the confidence to completely destroy targets, day after day.

As you practice using this information, remember to that the safe handling of firearms always comes first whether on or off the field. Good luck and have fun on the range this summer!