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My First Muzzle Loading Shotgun Competition (Part 2 -Trap)

posted Jun 24, 2010, 4:08 AM by Peter Lucas   [ updated Jul 1, 2010, 6:12 AM ]


Part One of this Article covers my general experiences at the NMLRA Western National Shoot and the specifics related to the Muzzleloading Skeet competition.  This portion of the Article describes the Muzzleloading Trap competition.  I will start with a disclaimer.  I am not much of a Trap shooter, so I did not participate in the Trap events. I did fire a couple of practice shots on the Trap range, most of which I missed.  However, I paid close attention to the Trap events and have participated in a couple of muzzleloading Trap events since the Western Nationals.  Consequently, I can give a pretty good description of how the game is played.

    The Trap shooting events for muzzle loaders are simply variations of standard American Trap. Generally, modern American Trap is shot from five adjacent positions in a crescent-shaped formation 16 or more yards behind the "trap".  The trap (or bird launcher) is located in a small house directly in front of the shooting stations at approximately ground level.  In standard trap, shooting is done from 16 yard line, which coincidently is 16 yards trap house.  In handicap trap, shooting is done at ranges between 20 and 27 yards, depending on the shooter.  A total of 25 birds are shot in a standard round with five birds shot from each station.  Modern Trap shooting is also generally done in five person squads, with one person on Stations One through Five.  The shooting rotates with the person in the number one position firing first, with each person firing at one target at a time.  After you have fired five shots a each station, you rotate to the next station with person on Station Five moving to Station One.

   As noted in Part One of this Article, because everyone loads their muzzle loaders at a different pace, muzzle loader events are typically shot individually, rather than in squads.   While you are shooting individually. this does not mean that you are the only one shooting on the field.  As a result, some simple rules have been developed to determine where you wait to take your turn to shoot and who shoots next.

    As discussed in Part 1 of this Article, at the time you register for the event, you will be given a shooter's number and a score card for each event that you will shoot.  When you are ready to shoot a Trap event, you give a score card to the Trap scorer and proceed to the loading area to load your gun.  As with Skeet, the Trap fields had dedicated loading area with loading benches.  The loading areas are roped off from observers and are designated as non-smoking areas due to the presence of black powder.  Guns are loaded in the loading area and taken un-primed to the shooting station with the muzzle of the gun above your head.    Once your gun is loaded (but not primed) you walk to the waiting area for the station where you will be shooting next.

    Unlike Skeet, you can start a round of Trap at any of the five stations.  However, once you start a round of trap you will shoot the stations in sequence until you have shot all five stations.  In the event all the shooters are shooting from the same distance, you simply walk to the station where you will be shooting and wait your turn to shoot.  The shooter at Station One shoots first.  If your gun has only one barrel, you will shoot one bird.  If your gun has two barrels, you will shoot two birds when it your turn to shoot.  Once the shooter at Station 1 is done shooting, the shooter at Station 2 shoots next.  This continues across the five stations on the trap field. Once the shooter on Station 5 is done, the next shooter a Station 1 starts shooting.

    In Trap, the shooting stations are arranged in a shallow arc which allows shooters to safely shoot while other shooters are standing standing in adjacent stations at the same yardage.  Consequently, if all the shooters are shooting from the same yardage, shooters can step into an open shooting station,  immediately prime their gun and wait for their turn to shoot. As a result, a round of Trap can generally be shot faster than a round of Skeet.

    In the event shooters are shooting from different yardages at the same time, things get a little more complicated.  Generally, all of the 10 yard shooters will shoot first.  When the 10 yard shooters have shot and moved behind the 16 yard line, the 16 yard shooters will shoot next. When the 16 yard shooters have shot and moved behind the 20 yard line, the 20 yard shooters will commence shooting.  Once the 20 yard shooters are done, the 10 yard shooters will move forward and start the process over.

    The Trap events at the NMLRA Western National included a number of reentry events.  Reentry events can be shoot as many time as you like.  The high score during the four and one half days the Western National was taking place won the event.  In the event of a tie, the winner was determined through a shoot-off on Sunday afternoon.  The reentry events at the Winter National included the following:
  • 15 birds at 16 yards for 4 1/2 days.
  • Women's, 15 birds at 16 yards for 4 1/2 days.
  • Handicap, 15 birds at 20 yards for 4 1/2 days.
  • Originals, 15 birds at 10 yards for 4 1/2 days.
  • Junior Championship, 15 birds at 10 yards for 4 1/2 days.
  • 10 Yard Trophy Shoot, 25 birds at 10 yards for 4 1/2 days.
  • Women’s, 15 birds at 10 yards for 4 1/2 days.
  • Traditional Gun, 15 birds at 10 yards for 4 1/2 days
  • Old Timer’s, 15 birds at 10 yards for 4 1/2 days.
  • Flint, 15 birds at 16 yards for 4 1/2 days.
  • Flint, 15 birds at 10 yards for 4 1/2 days.
  • Novice, 15 birds at 10 yards for 4 1/2 days.
  • Novice, 15 birds at 16 yards for 4 1/2 days.
  • Novice, 15 birds at 20 yards for 4 1/2 days.
    In addition, the following non reentry events were conducted:
  • Western Championship, 50 birds at 16 yards. Non-reentry. Saturday 8:00 a.m. - noon.
  • Flint Championship, 25 birds at 16 yards for 4 1/2 days. Non-reentry.
  • Marge Mongan Women’s Championship, 25 birds at 10 yards for 4 1/2 days. Non-reentry.
  • 10 Yard Championship, 50 birds at 10 yards. Non-reentry. Friday 8:00 a.m. - noon.
  • Black Powder Cartridge, 25 birds at 16 yards, shot 5 per station. Wednesday 5:00 p.m.
  • Black Powder Cartridge, 25 birds at 16 yards, shot 5 per station. Friday 5:00 p.m.
    The Black Powder Cartridge events are open to any gun with exposed hammers or Damascus steel barrels.  The cartridges must be loaded with black powder or an approved substitute.

    Once again, the people at the NMLRA Winter National were extremely friendly and knowledgeable.   If you are muzzle loader who has not participated in a NMLRA event, do yourself a favor and enter the next event in your area.  You will be glad you did.

  
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