Outdoor Articles

Should I Buy An Elite Trap Gun?

by Pursue The Outdoors on November 30th, 1999 in Trap Shooting

Tough Decisions

It’s really difficult to find the “right gun” no matter who you are. The choices are many and there are many fine guns with varying price tags. Now, it is commonly thought the more money you pay for a gun the better the gun is. True and false. Better for what? Resale value? Investment? Quality of workmanship? Reliability?

Is it truly practical to believe if you spend $8,000 or more on a trap gun you will be shooting better? Don’t kid yourself…you won’t. How many shooters do you know who shoot expensive guns never win those big shoots? On the other hand, a beat-up junk gun that doesn’t fit won’t do you justice. Striking the happy medium is the goal. So, ask yourself.

Why Am I Buying A New Gun?

That is the most important question of all to ask yourself. Here’s some typical reasons why shooters buy another or a new gun and the pitfalls to avoid.

I can’t shoot this gun I have now. Pitfall: Why? Do you know the real true reasons why you can’t shoot the gun you currently own? Is it a “feeling” or is it a technical deficiency you can literally point to on the gun? Example: Gun does not fit is a technical reason. A feeling is just that and nothing more but a guess. Many shooters change guns based on a feeling or mood or want rather than a need. They buy another or new gun switching only models or brands but never correcting the true reason why they find it difficult to shoot the gun. Find the reason, make the modification or buy the new gun with the modification. Anything less you are simply wasting money, time, energy and ensuring more poor scores.


I’m in a slump and I can’t escape. A new gun will help me. Pitfall: It won’t. The gun does non create slumps, the shooter does. Read item #1 again. A temporary boost in scores often will occur when someone buys a new gun as attention and new enthusiasm inspires the mind, but soon the bottom falls out and scores again plummet. The shooter still has not learned how to shoot and no new gun is going do that for you. Shooting a new gun is a thrill. This emotion activates the subconscious mind, but only for short time. There are techniques that work to bring you out of Slump Hell which are explained in my books.

I shot a new gun at a tournement practice trap and shot better. Pitfall: The power of your mind has given you a temporary lift enabling you to believe you can shoot better, that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. This new belief in yourself was triggered by shooting the new gun, but it will not last. As you buy the gun and enter the learning curve to shoot the gun this exileration phase disapates and your are right back where you started, in a slump with an expensive new gun. If you are going to buy a new gun it better have the features on it that you know will solve your shooting problems otherwise it’s a waste of money.

The pros shoot this type of gun so I’ve got to progress to it. Pitfall: The expensive guns shoot little to no better than the inexpensive gun. If the gun you shoot is not mechanically defective or has a POI that is corrupted — like shooting to the left or right or too low or too high, then the gun you own may be fine as is, as long as it fits you and shoots where you look! If you fix your current gun in a vice it will keep shooting into the bullseye because it is a precision instrument. The expensive gun will do the same. So if this is the case you will be buying the expensive gun for the wrong reasons, not to shoot more accurately. Where is the advantage? There is none.

Everybody is raving about the gun and I’ve got to have one. Pitfall: Will you shoot better with that gun? Are you sure? What is it about the gun’s features that will positively enhance your shooting? Example: A gun with a high rib verses the low rib gun you are now shooting can be a positive feature.

I want that gun! I’ve always wanted one! Pitfall: Buy it because you want it, but don’t expect the gun to do your job for you. There is nothing wrong with owning the car or truck you’ve always wanted. Same is true with a new gun; if you want it, buy it. Just make certain the new gun you buy has the features you must have to shoot better. Buying a gun for prestige reasons will give you little prestige as you gaze at your low scores posted on the wall at the registered shoot.

Expensive guns are really nice. They are well-built and will last a lifetime if not abused, lost or stolen. The quality is high, but this does not mean the economical gun that cost about $2,000 or so is not better for you score-wise. Price will not buy scores! We humans are always looking for the shortcuts, the easy way out of things. Trapshooting is not easy, it’s hard work! A new gun will only make your work harder than it is now especially if it’s not what you needed to correct poor scores.

First, learn how to shoot high scores, then when you are proficient, go out and buy your new expensive gun as you will have the raw experience under your belt to adapt to the gun. The worst thing you can do is keep changing guns! Each gun requires thousands of rounds of shooting to get to know it well. Each new gun will set your scores back a year or two in re-learning and that’s an expensive price to pay. Remember; guns don’t win shoots…people do!

If you have lots of money to burn, then by all means go out and buy the most expensive gun you can with all the features you need included and learn to shoot from this starting point. Most shooters who begin trap shooting don’t have the money to buy expensive guns, don’t yet know the features they should have, or are not sure what they want or need. These magazine articles should help you to at least clear out some of the doubts and fallacies of trapguns so you won’t make expensive mistakes.

There are way too many shooters changing guns for one reason or another. The biggest of them all is buying the wrong gun to begin with. Usually, a new shooter arrives at a gun club, falls for the game and buys a member’s trapgun for sale, but was it the right gun to buy? I could or it could not. The good news is, if you bought a decent trap gun (not a field or skeet gun) you can have it modified to fit you so it will shoot where you look. So, instead of looking to buy a new gun you may want to consider alterations. But if the alterations are too expensive? Then buy a new gun with the features you need.

Be aware you can’t just walk into a gun store and buy a trap shotgun off the shelf unless it has all the adjustable features; adjustable comb, adjustable rib or stock, adjustable butt-end, removable chokes. It’s a huge mistake to purchase a gun that can not be adjusted to fit you and set POI easily. Now you can buy a gun off the shelf, but don’t you dare shoot it as is. You must take it to a stock fitter right away and have the gun fitted. If you have never done this with the gun you are shooting now, it’s no wonder you are always looking to buy another trapgun. You can never consistently shoot well with a gun that does not fit you! The swings between having good days and bad days will be extreme, like shooting on luck alone. It can become so frustrating a shooter may even quit the sport.

Get your priorities in line. Too many shooters are so willing to pay money for new shells to try, new whatever’s, and neglect the most important factor of all, gun fit. Gun fit! Gun fit! Gun fit! Say it a thousand times as your penance. If you really want to shoot well and see yourself winning the money and trophy’s then make your appointment now to get your gun checked for fit. It is simply incredible how many shooters out there have never had such a tune-up, yet it is so important!

And for those who do have all the adjustable features already on the gun, did you have your settings checked by a stockfitter? Likely not! The settings on your gun may seem to be right and may even feel right yet could be all wrong! Don’t kid yourself. You can’t setup the gun by yourself. You need that outside perspective to see gun fit! Looking in a mirror will not work as you will unconsciously make adjustments to make it look right then when you shoot it will revert to being all wrong again.

Having your gun fit checked is often free! Or a minimal charge of $20 or so. The actual cost of fitting the gun to you is approximately $80 to $120 with stock bending, etc. Win one option event and you have your money back! Fact is, you’ll be winning more and more money with a gun that fits. So, let’s stop messing around and get the gun fit checked. Don’t delay, make your appointment today!

Buying another or new gun is a controversial and personal subject. Some shooters will agree or disagree to this article and that’s okay. The point is established that no matter what gun you buy it must enhance your shooting. Wants and needs are two separate entities and often do not compliment each other. You may discover the gun you always wanted due to aesthetic or prestige reasons was not the right gun for you at all. So, before you buy know why!

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