Trap shoot like a champion

By: Sara Seyydin Journal Staff Writer
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Editor's Note: Sports reporter Sara Seyydin caught up with Bernie Fox, champion trap shooter and president of the Auburn Trap Club, Friday, for instructions on how to trap shoot like a champion. This is the fifth in a series of how-to articles appearing Tuesdays in Journal Sports. A summary of Fox's basic tips, instructions and insights follow.

Safety first

Before learning any of the mechanics of shooting a trap gun, you have to take the right precautions. First, it is recommended that you learn from a National Rifle Association Certified Instructor. Make sure you have glasses to protect your eyes and earplugs or shooting earmuffs to protect your ears. Also, keep in mind the rules of the club you are shooting at. When handling your gun, make sure it is unloaded until you get to the range and are ready to shoot. Do not point the gun at or near anyone. The barrel should be facing the ground and the gun should be open to show it is unloaded. When you are ready to shoot, carefully load your gun, close the barrel and make sure it is cocked.  

Stance and grip

In trap shooting, it is particularly important to stand and position your gun correctly. Put your arms above your head and find the meaty area of your shoulder. The back of the gun should be resting very firmly on this more muscular area, not on your collarbone, on the shoulder of your dominant eye. If the gun isn't positioned correctly on your shoulder, the kick could hurt. Hold the back end of the gun with your dominant hand. Keep your finger off of the trigger until you are ready to shoot. Hold the barrel of the gun, closer to the trigger, with your other hand. Most of the pressure should be in your dominant hand. The front hand should be relaxed and steady. Push the side of the gun very firmly into your cheek. It should be so firm it makes your cheek hang over a little bit. This is another tactic to protect your face from the recoil. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Your dominant foot should be back, while your other foot is forward and bent. Imagine the stance you take when at bat during a baseball game. This will ensure you stay stable while firing.

Aim and fire

Stare down the barrel of the gun at the bead on the end. In trap shooting, you won't know exactly which direction the clay pigeon will go when it is released, but keep in mind that the bullet travels much faster than the target. When you are ready to shoot shout "pull" to your partner. When you spot the target, move with a smooth, fluid motion to line your bead up with it. As you move the gun it should stay firmly planted to your cheek and in the meat of your shoulder. When you have lined up the bead with the target, keep in mind that you can't shoot it exactly in that spot or you will miss it. Move your body and your gun in tandem with the target. When they are aligned, quickly pull the trigger. In trap shooting, unlike other types of shooting, it is necessary to pull the trigger at this fast pace. The gun is made to respond to rapid firing. Remember that as you shoot the recoil will send you backward if your stance and gun position are not strong and correct.

Remove, reload and repeat

Point your gun downward, open the barrel, remove the shell and drop it below your feet. Reload and repeat as necessary.

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Try your hand at trap shooting:

The Auburn Trap Club provides free lessons to anyone desiring to learn how to trap shoot. Shells are $6 for non-members, $5 for members and loaner guns are available. Reservations must be made in advance. For more information, call (530) 885-5748, click, or visit 11540 Lorensen Road, Auburn.