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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I started my son shooting a BB gun when he was 8 and he liked it. He started with a 22 rifle when he was 9, and he liked that and has hunted with it and taken squirrel. We have also shot a lot of reactive targets, like spinners and soda cans.

Now, at age 10, he seemed to be ready for a shotgun, so I got him a Mossberg 500 Bantam 20 gauge. He more than likes this. He's crazy about it. We live close to a range and have frequent opportunities to shoot clays using my portable Outers clay thrower. The magnitude of this interest is beyond anything I've seen from him yet. He quotes Byron Dalyrmple on wingshooting, sleeps with The Shotgunner's Bible, and likes to talk about chokes and shot sizes. To feed this thing, I added shotshell reloading to my repertoire of handgun reloading (target pistols are my passion).

Not being much of a shotgunner myself, I now need some help in figuring out how best to encourage this interest. He'd like to shoot in a league of some sort, but I don't know what will be best for developing his shotgunning skills: trap or skeet, or something else.

What do you think? What game is best for teaching kids to shoot well. My own opinion is that skeet is probably the right thing because you really can't do it without learning to swing the gun. It's also more compatible with the kind of shots that we'll see while hunting grouse.

On the other hand, trap is THE shotgun game in my area. It's very popular here. The ATA shoots attract a lot of competitors and there are weekly leagues that attract literally hundreds of shooters. In terms of opportunities for league participation, trap is the best choice.

If you have any links or references to information about kids and shotgunning, particularly in Minnesota's Twin Cities area, I'd like to know about it.

Thank you for your time.
 

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Skeet is a good game for learning to swing, more so than trap. But have you ever considered sporting clays ? The variety of shots you find on a sporting clays range can not be matched, plus some ranges use odd sized targets to make it more interesting. Also, some SC ranges have leagues for sporting clays and/or 5-stand. Not to take a cheap shot at anyone but I find the people at SC ranges to be a little more relaxed and willing to help others than at the other two.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I have thought of sporting clays, and will be trying it out myself soon. The biggest impediment to doing it is money. I understand it's quite expensive to do. On the other hand, the more relaxed environment is very attractive because I too have noticed that trap and skeet shooters tend to be a bit impatient. We'll give it a try.
 

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Questor,
I recently purchased the Mossberg Bantam 20ga. also, for my 13 yr. old Grandson. I was wondering how you and your son like the gun in general, and how well do the chokes work for skeet and trap supplied with it? Has he experienced any flinch problems? Like you, I'm not a shotgunner so I'm hoping his other granddad can give him some good pointers.

I camo-wrapped his Mossberg, outfitted Mike's gun with Williams Firesights and picked up an extended Hastings full turkey choke. He's going on his first weekend outing with his other grandfather for his first turkey hunt at a private club. He won't be able to hunt deer with me this season in New York State so we're pulling for him!

Jim
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
SavageT:

We are using Winchester AA target loads and light target loads based on them. They are 7/8 ounce. My 10 year old does not even notice the recoil. When I shoot them in my shotgun, I feel a vibration but don't sense recoil. There's a big difference between these loads and hunting loads.

I'd expect some flinching (even from me) if we were shooting a lot of heavy turkey loads. Perhaps the best approach is to practice with target loads and hunt with the heavy loads. When a turkey shows itself and he gets a shot, he won't even notice the recoil.

We also noticed a big difference in recoil between the target loads and the WalMart Federal promotional loads.
 

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Sporting Clays

After recently competing in Clays, Trap Skeet and 5-Stand, I prefer Trap and find it is easier to shoot well. Sporting Clays is like going out golfing for 18 holes, its pricey, but you still have a lot of fun. Skeet whipped my butt, it would take me quite awhile to serously improve (kinda like my golf game). 5-Stand is fun and much easier to learn than sporting clays, cheaper too. Still out of all of the games I found trap to be the easiest to learn quickly and have alot of fun shooting. Ken
 

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Check out a localclub. They probably have a youth program which includes training and league shooting and will help to correct himif he has any bad habits. I started my son at 13 and he shoots much better than I do.
 

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They are all different

and present different problems. What I find most important in keeping my son interested is that he has to be breaking birds. Youngsters loose interest fast when they are not doing well. IMHO Trap is probobly the easiest to get started in. Good results and teh fact that it is a FAST game helps keep them pumped. I'd get him started at a FRIENDLY club ( not one full of "experts" ) on trap. Then see if someone can walk him through sporting clays /skeet. He will be the best judge on what keeps him interested.
hth
 

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Many years ago my son wanted to get involved in shooting with me. I hose to take him to shoot trap as I think it is somewhat easier to learn basic pointing and follow through. After a couple of weeks I took him skeet shooting which kinda confused him at the time with all the different leads and stations etc. I had him shoot 25 from station #1 and #7 until he would break the birds pretty regular. Later I moved him to #2 and #6 for a time, then we shot 25 at #4. I feel that by letting him learn the leads at individual stations until he broke them was the biggest help. If you run a kid through a standard skeet course he will spend so much time trying to remember leads, foot posisition, which to shoot first and how many shots, he may do poorly and lose interest. The trick is for them to succeed and feel good about it. Now, me and my kid go out a couple of times every week and we both love it. I hope you and your son do as well.
 
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