shotgun Shells

It is easy for the novice shooter to be overwhelmed with the wide variety of shells and loads available for shotgun shooting. In many stores the sales assistants are not very helpful with your trap buying needs.

This section is designed to help the novice shooter decipher the terminology and make you confident in picking the right load for your needs. Specifically, this guide is designed for the new trap shooter at Marian. If you know nothing about shotgun shells, I suggest you start here for a description of the various components in a shell.

Since a trap meet or practice requires shooting a lot of shells, the basic idea is to pick a load that does the job of breaking targets with as little recoil as possible.

We will be shooting 12 gauge shotguns that take 2 3/4 inch long shells. Shot size is either 8 or 7 1/2 and we use lead shot. We want "target" loads not "field" loads.


shotgun Shells
As you can see above a shotgun shell has a number of components. The case (or hull) comes in different sizes. We use 12 gauge, 2 3/4 inch long shells.

ammunition example

While there are numerous configurations for shells, we are interested in those that will be use for trap shooting.


Estate Super Sport Competition Target Load. These are "light" loads designed for trap shooting. 1 1/8 th ounce of number 8 shot with a velocity of 1140 ft/s is used by a lot of shooters for the 16 yard event. 1 1/8th ounce of 7 ½ shot is used for longer range handicap. These shells can usually be purchased at the range and are usually the low cost option. estate shotgun shells
winchester shotgun shells

Winchester Super Target . These are also popular loads when available. These are a less expensive Winchester shell. Ask for a light target load in either 8 or 7 ½ size. The box top will read 12 Gauge, 2 3/4 inches, 1145 FPS, 2 3/4 DRAM, 1 1/8th OZ. 8 LEAD SHOT

Fiocchi and Federal also make good target loads. Look for the same specifications as above.

Winchester AA These are the considered to be one of the best loads for trap. Look for light target loads and as you get more experienced you may want to experiment with some of their handicap loads. They also have an extra light target load with a 1 oz. load of shot. Usually more expensive than the shells listed above.

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