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After some gun trading a couple of weeks ago, I wound up with a Browning BT-100 single shot trap gun. The 100 was made from 1995 to 2002, then discontinued in favor of the reintroduced BT-99. I suspect Browning got rid of the 100 because the 99 cost less to make. Don’t get me wrong: BT-99s are also great guns, just not as great as this one. It balances and handles better than the 99s I’ve shot, and, although it costs a small fraction of what you pay for a Krieghoff or Perazzi, BT-100s have one of the niceties of a high-end gun: a removable trigger.

Push a sliding latch behind the trigger, and the whole mechanism comes out so you can adjust the pull, or switch from extraction to ejection. I’ve got mine set for extracting, and the trigger now breaks at 3 ½ pounds. The pull is so light and crisp that even I, who never notice trigger pulls when I shoot shotguns, can tell how nice this one is.

Theoretically, if you broke a spring in competition, you could easily fix it, or take your spare trigger out of the velvet Crown Royal bag you keep it in, put it in the gun and be back on the line in a couple of minutes. In reality, coil springs hardly ever break. The main reason I like this removable trigger is that it’s jeweled and finely made. When I show my new gun to people, I can say, “Hey, check this out,” and pop out the trigger, show it to them, then put it back.

I did that for a friend of mine, who told me the following cautionary tale: he was at a sporting clays club on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, and one of the shooters in his party had driven a couple hours across the bay from northern Virginia, showing up with a brand new Krieghoff K-80. K-80s are serious target breakers starting around $10,000. The guy pulled the gun out of his trunk fully expecting to bask in the ooohs and aaahs his friends.
One of them looked at and said, “Nice gun. Where’s the trigger?”

It was at home, in a velvet Crown Royal bag.