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Shotgun Tip: Raise the Comb on Your Field Gun for Trap

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May 07, 2012

Shotgun Tip: Raise the Comb on Your Field Gun for Trap

By Phil Bourjaily

I have posted this picture before but it gets a repost for good reason. It’s spring, and for many of you summer trap league is right around the corner. A lot of hunters shoot league trap with their field guns purely for fun and to hit more birds in the fall, and that’s great. However, you will shoot much higher scores (and get even better practice, as high scores beget confidence, and confidence makes good shooters) if you raise the comb of your stock a quarter-inch or so. A slightly elevated comb raises the gun’s point of impact, allowing you to see the target instead of having to cover it up with the barrel of your gun to hit it.

It’s simply easier to hit birds you can see.

That’s not to say it’s impossible to shoot good scores with a field gun. You can. I’ve done it, and seen it done a lot. But, it’s a difficult way to shoot clays, and what often happens is, eventually, the good shooter with a field gun starts to miss and doesn’t know why. Then he or she bears down, squishing their face even harder on the comb, which just makes the target even harder to see. A cycle of frustration, madness and despair follows.

Last night at practice I asked one of our shooters, who has been struggling, if he would let me use him for a guinea pig. I pulled the Beartooth products’ Comb Raising Kit onto his gun at the start of a round. He immediately broke his first 25 straight of the season. He’s a good shot. He had just been bearing down so hard he couldn’t see the targets.

 

Comments (14)

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from RipperIII wrote 1 year 50 weeks ago

I always use my field gun for trap and skeet for the reason you mentioned.
I shot in a league a year or so ago and avg. 95 per round(trap).
This spring I've shot twice and avg. 15 per round...
Why does raising the comb raise the POI?

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Shuck M. wrote 1 year 50 weeks ago

Cuz your eye is akin to a rear site.

Even though we all can shoot just fine with a stock with drop, I wonder if we all wouldn't shoot any target better with a level comb. I believe we would.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Longbeard wrote 1 year 50 weeks ago

Boy, does that explain a few things, like how I hit the first few clays and then can't hit a thing. And why I don't like shooting trap all that much. Thanks for the post, Phil.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Michigan Gunner wrote 1 year 50 weeks ago

Phil, very true. It works. But, in the end I bought a used trap gun (A Browning Citori Plus). It made trap shooting a whole lot more fun and I still hit more birds in the fall with my field gun(s).

MG

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 1 year 50 weeks ago

HMMMMMM You float the clay target by raising the comb establishing motor memory, and then the season starts, and you lower the comb back, and cover the live bird? Doesn't seem right to me. Bird flushes, and you instinctively shoot. I would think I would instinctively float the live bird having shot a lot of rounds doing just that on clays.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 1 year 50 weeks ago

Ripper...Angle a line from high in the back to lower at the front sight. You visualy see the point of impact then at here ( __ )when the gun is shooting here (---)

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from RES1956 wrote 1 year 50 weeks ago

Ripper,
Shuck pretty well hit it.
Shuck,
A nice thing about a parallel comb is that no matter how much you shorten or lengthen the stock, the drop will always be the same. Makes no difference if your shooting ducks all bundled up or doves in a tee shirt.
Phil,
The S&W 1000 (pictured) has a lot of drop, 1 1/2 x 2 1/2 and a flat rib to boot (thank God) and no doubt that if used for trap a higher comb would be much needed. Next time try this, Dr. Schols makes 1/4" molesskin and a 1/2"
wide strip can be adhered to the top of the comb, then take a standard sheet of the thin moleskin and pull over it to smooth out the sides. It will not be as bulky as the Beartooth product which makes the gun now require cast off to fit or the shooter will cant the gun unmercifully.
IMHO, American stock dimensions are too low for most folks, me included. My old beater field gun is an 11/87SP that I put a straight trap stock on (which has a parallel comb) and is considerably higher than a field stock, as well as a 1/4" longer too. The beads don't nearly make a figure 8, but it sure does shoot where I'm lookin.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from gunslinger90 wrote 1 year 50 weeks ago

This is absolutly right. I took my girlfriend trap shooting and she couldn't hit a target if her life depended on it. I finally saw her problem and not she knows the right place to place her cheek on the comb of my field gun and is not doing much better.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from gunslinger90 wrote 1 year 50 weeks ago

This is absolutly right. I took my girlfriend trap shooting and she couldn't hit a target if her life depended on it. I finally saw her problem and not she knows the right place to place her cheek on the comb of my field gun and is not doing much better.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 1 year 50 weeks ago

Good eye on the S&W 1000, RES!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 1 year 50 weeks ago

My guess on height of comb is most gun mfgers, that manufacture a hunting shotgun, have a significant drop at heal, and a higher comb for the gun to shoot right on, as the gunner mounts the gun. Most hunting folks don't like having to duck down their head onto the stock. Raising the head is a big problem, and the shooter can mount the gun without ducking down seeing the bird better, and it compensates for the raised head. We get in trouble when we try to combine hunting, and competitive clay target shooting. Two different methods of shooting generally speaking.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from RES1956 wrote 1 year 49 weeks ago

I must respectfully disagree with Sayfu's last comment about 'two' methods of shooting. Good shooting technique will be effective regardless of the fact that the target has feathers or is made of clay. If you wish to dispute this, just watch a group of Master Class sporting shooters or AAA Class (or A Class, for that matter) skeet shooters work their magic on a late season dove field where the chokes are tight and shots are long.
They will employ the technique and skills in the field as they do on the course or at the range.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from sdditchpig wrote 1 year 49 weeks ago

Just finishes a parrellel, cast off, toe out, stock set for my Rem 870, 410, the green bean eaten bunnies are in big trouble now.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Trapper Vic wrote 1 year 49 weeks ago

POI is a tough nut to crack! I like my trap and field guns to shoot about 6" high. If the POI is higher it is easy to judge straight aways but hard rights and lefts I tend to kreep up on and shoot over the top.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from RipperIII wrote 1 year 50 weeks ago

I always use my field gun for trap and skeet for the reason you mentioned.
I shot in a league a year or so ago and avg. 95 per round(trap).
This spring I've shot twice and avg. 15 per round...
Why does raising the comb raise the POI?

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Shuck M. wrote 1 year 50 weeks ago

Cuz your eye is akin to a rear site.

Even though we all can shoot just fine with a stock with drop, I wonder if we all wouldn't shoot any target better with a level comb. I believe we would.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Michigan Gunner wrote 1 year 50 weeks ago

Phil, very true. It works. But, in the end I bought a used trap gun (A Browning Citori Plus). It made trap shooting a whole lot more fun and I still hit more birds in the fall with my field gun(s).

MG

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Longbeard wrote 1 year 50 weeks ago

Boy, does that explain a few things, like how I hit the first few clays and then can't hit a thing. And why I don't like shooting trap all that much. Thanks for the post, Phil.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 1 year 50 weeks ago

HMMMMMM You float the clay target by raising the comb establishing motor memory, and then the season starts, and you lower the comb back, and cover the live bird? Doesn't seem right to me. Bird flushes, and you instinctively shoot. I would think I would instinctively float the live bird having shot a lot of rounds doing just that on clays.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 1 year 50 weeks ago

Ripper...Angle a line from high in the back to lower at the front sight. You visualy see the point of impact then at here ( __ )when the gun is shooting here (---)

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from RES1956 wrote 1 year 50 weeks ago

Ripper,
Shuck pretty well hit it.
Shuck,
A nice thing about a parallel comb is that no matter how much you shorten or lengthen the stock, the drop will always be the same. Makes no difference if your shooting ducks all bundled up or doves in a tee shirt.
Phil,
The S&W 1000 (pictured) has a lot of drop, 1 1/2 x 2 1/2 and a flat rib to boot (thank God) and no doubt that if used for trap a higher comb would be much needed. Next time try this, Dr. Schols makes 1/4" molesskin and a 1/2"
wide strip can be adhered to the top of the comb, then take a standard sheet of the thin moleskin and pull over it to smooth out the sides. It will not be as bulky as the Beartooth product which makes the gun now require cast off to fit or the shooter will cant the gun unmercifully.
IMHO, American stock dimensions are too low for most folks, me included. My old beater field gun is an 11/87SP that I put a straight trap stock on (which has a parallel comb) and is considerably higher than a field stock, as well as a 1/4" longer too. The beads don't nearly make a figure 8, but it sure does shoot where I'm lookin.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from gunslinger90 wrote 1 year 50 weeks ago

This is absolutly right. I took my girlfriend trap shooting and she couldn't hit a target if her life depended on it. I finally saw her problem and not she knows the right place to place her cheek on the comb of my field gun and is not doing much better.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from gunslinger90 wrote 1 year 50 weeks ago

This is absolutly right. I took my girlfriend trap shooting and she couldn't hit a target if her life depended on it. I finally saw her problem and not she knows the right place to place her cheek on the comb of my field gun and is not doing much better.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 1 year 50 weeks ago

Good eye on the S&W 1000, RES!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 1 year 50 weeks ago

My guess on height of comb is most gun mfgers, that manufacture a hunting shotgun, have a significant drop at heal, and a higher comb for the gun to shoot right on, as the gunner mounts the gun. Most hunting folks don't like having to duck down their head onto the stock. Raising the head is a big problem, and the shooter can mount the gun without ducking down seeing the bird better, and it compensates for the raised head. We get in trouble when we try to combine hunting, and competitive clay target shooting. Two different methods of shooting generally speaking.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from RES1956 wrote 1 year 49 weeks ago

I must respectfully disagree with Sayfu's last comment about 'two' methods of shooting. Good shooting technique will be effective regardless of the fact that the target has feathers or is made of clay. If you wish to dispute this, just watch a group of Master Class sporting shooters or AAA Class (or A Class, for that matter) skeet shooters work their magic on a late season dove field where the chokes are tight and shots are long.
They will employ the technique and skills in the field as they do on the course or at the range.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from sdditchpig wrote 1 year 49 weeks ago

Just finishes a parrellel, cast off, toe out, stock set for my Rem 870, 410, the green bean eaten bunnies are in big trouble now.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Trapper Vic wrote 1 year 49 weeks ago

POI is a tough nut to crack! I like my trap and field guns to shoot about 6" high. If the POI is higher it is easy to judge straight aways but hard rights and lefts I tend to kreep up on and shoot over the top.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment