Trap guns are shotguns that are designed for the purpose of target shooting. Trapshooting, skeet, and sport shooting are all forms of target shooting with a shotgun. Shotguns designed for this type of shooting have some differences from field or hunting guns. Do these differences mean that you can only use these guns for target shooting, or can you hunt with your trap gun?
You can hunt with a trap gun, especially if you are familiar with shooting a trap gun. If you are more familiar with a field gun, you will have to compensate for the additional weight and length of the trap gun and the fact that it shoots high. The lack of a safety on many trap guns can be a concern.
Trap guns are built with target shooting in mind, so one would think that this would be no problem for hunting since hunting is also shooting a similar, moving target. However, there are more subtle differences between a trap gun and a field gun that may cause you to reconsider taking a trap gun out on a hunt!
How Does A Trap Gun Differ From A Field Gun?
Trap guns are designed with characteristics that make them purpose-built for target shooting. These characteristics that are built into the gun are to make the job of the target shooter easier, but do these differences disqualify your trap gun from being used on a hunt?
Let’s take a look at what differentiates a trap gun from a field gun which will help draw the necessary conclusion about whether they will work for hunting.
- Trap guns are heavier than field guns. Trap shooters typically shoot hundreds of rounds during a trap shoot. The additional weight of a trap gun is to absorb and minimize the recoil of the gun, which would become uncomfortable for a trap shooter firing so many shells at one event.
- Trap guns are longer than field guns. Trap guns generally have longer barrels than field guns. The longer barrel makes for a smoother sweep when tracking the target.
- Trap guns are designed to shoot high. Trap guns have a built-in “lead,” which makes the gun shoot high. This characteristic helps the target shooter to better hit a rising target.
- Some trap guns do not have a safety. Trap shooters generally only load the gun when they are ready to call for the target. This means that the gun is generally not loaded most of the time, and a safety catch or mechanism is not a necessity.
- Trap guns are expensive. Trap guns are built to take a lot more punishment in the form of the number of shots that get put through the gun. This means that they are built to be more robust, more reliable, and to finer tolerances. This all translates into a more expensive price tag on a trap gun than a field gun.
Many shotgun manufacturers will make trap and field guns in the same model, with each gun built with the specific characteristics for each type of shooting.
People who only own a trap gun may wonder if a trap gun would be suitable to take on a hunt or if these differences between a trap gun and a field gun will pose any difficulties for them during a hunt.
Can You Hunt With A Trap Gun?
Whether you can use a trap gun for hunting will largely depend on what you are used to shooting and whether the characteristics of a trap gun make hunting more difficult for you or not.
It is certainly possible for you to hunt with a trap gun, and in some circumstances, you may find that a trap gun works better for you on the hunt.
If you are used to hunting with a field gun, and you change to a trap gun, you may find the differences between the two causing you to miss a lot of shots or the gun being cumbersome to carry and swing up for a shot.
Where a trap gun would be to your advantage is if you are already a seasoned trap shooter and are familiar with your trap gun. You will be used to the weight of the gun, the long barrel, and the gun shooting high, so you will not need to compensate for these characteristics of a trap gun since you are familiar with them already.
If you are a trap shooter, you would probably have more success on a hunt if you used your trap gun than if you swopped it out for a field gun that you are not familiar with.
The Additional Weight Of A Trap Gun
The weight of the trap gun may be a disadvantage if you will be doing a lot of walking as part of the hunt. If you are flushing out the game birds while walking, then the extra weight of the trap gun may cause fatigue quicker than a field gun would.
However, if you are hunting from a sheltered position or a blind, then the weight of the gun will be less of a negative factor in the hunt.
The Length Of Trap Guns
When hunting with a shotgun, the gun is normally carried in a relaxed position until the quarry is spotted. At this point, the gun is swung up into the shooting position to take the shot. The additional barrel length of the trap gun may result in it taking a little longer to get the gun into the shooting position.
However, this characteristic of trap guns you can get used to with a little practice, but it may feel a little cumbersomeand unwieldy at first.
Trap Guns Shoot High
If you are familiar with your trap gun and used to shooting targets with the gun, then you will be used to the type of sight picture that you need on your trap gun to get the shot on target.
If you are not a practiced trap shooter, you may find that you miss your shots often when you aim a trap gun the same way that you aim a field gun. You would need to adjust your sight picture to get the necessary accuracy for a hunt.
Lack Of A Safety On A Trap Gun
Not all trap guns are without a safety, but the lack of a safety is common among these types of shotguns. This is probably the feature that is of greatest concern during a hunt since you are walking around with a loaded gun, ready for action.
If your trap gun does not have a safety, this would be the main aspect of the gun that should make you consider if the trap gun is the best choice for the hunt. An accident on a hunt can change your life forever!
Trap Guns Are Expensive
Hunting can be a dirty business for both the hunter and his gun. Taking a gun out on a hunt is going to expose the gun to rough handling, dirt and grime, and the potential to get scratched and knocked about.
You may not want to subject an expensive trap gun through this kind of rough environment if it is a cherished gun that you use for target shooting on a regular basis. Even though a trap gun is generally a better-made gun and will be more reliable than a field gun, you may not want to risk damage to an expensive gun.
There are some differences between a trap gun and a field gun, but this does not disqualify a trap gun from being used successfully on a hunt.
If you are more familiar with shooting a trap gun, it will probably be the best gun for you to take on the hunt because of this familiarity. If you are used to shooting a field gun, taking a trap gun on a hunt will mean making some adjustments to your shooting technique and site picture, which may take some time.
The only characteristic of a trap gun that would exclude it from a hunt, in my opinion, would be if the gun lacks a safety. The risks of hunting without a safety are not worth taking, and it would be better to take a different gun on the hunt if your trap gun lacks this feature.