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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 89.djvu/547

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Popular Science Monthly


��so accustomed is he to the dash of the bird on his call, and the more experi- enced the shooter, the more likely is this to cause him to miss.

To score the bird "dead" on the score sheet, the shooter must break off a perceptible piece. A puff of dust will not do. Many and many are the peeved shooters who see the fatal plume of dust rise from the bird, but do not get it scored to them. That means that a single pellet of shot has passed through the top oi the bird, but due to the in- accuracy of the shooter's pointing, the pellet hit but the outside of the shot circle, and he has virtually and legally mi.sscd the bird.

As the shooter cannot stand nearer than sixteen yards to the trap, and in handicap events, may be put back to twenty-three yards, it follows that the bird because of its high speed, gets another sixteen yards or so from the trap before it is hit. Probably the average shooter hits his birds at about thirty-five yards from the muzzle of his gun. Here there is a circle of about thirty inches of shot, which, placed on the bird, will surely break it. So the problem of the trapshooter is to judge the speed and angle of the bird so that he can place a two and a half foot circle of little pellets in the path of the saucer. He may have to pull the trigger when the muzzle is three feet ahead of a quartering bird if he is a slow shot and a slow swinger to hit that saucer.

Because of the danger of the small saucer get- ting through the hissing cloud of pellets without being hit, full choke guns, which hold their charges together and shoot dense clouds, art- necessary for the traj)- shooter, and even then there are times when tin- slow shot, firing when the bird has gotten so far away that the cloud of pellets has spread widely and thinned out, misses merely becau.sehis "pattern had a hole in it."

��Trapshooting is a game in which the gun and the clay bird are the tools as the l)all and bat are in baseball. It is not preparation for any other shooting any more than baseball is preparation for anything else. I'rom the little houses covering the pits in which are set the trappers and traps and birds, there speed more than thirty-five million of the little saucers each year. Forty-five hundred clubs fallow the game of the trap. Four hundred thousand men shoot once or more each year at the clay birds.

While the beginner marvels at the immensity of the space surrounding the little birds, and the shortness of the time available in which to locate the flying saucer and judge its angle of flight, put the gun on the right spot and pull the trigger, yet the skill acquired by the shooter following the game is wonderful. Breaking ninety of the clay birds out of one hundred in a big tournament would not put one within the first ten per cent of the men entered in the shoot unless the conditions were unusually bad. There are hundreds of instances where a hundred of the birds have been broken without a miss, while a professional shot has the record of more than fi\'e hundred straight hits. The record for 1915 was three hundred and seventy-two in competition, without a miss, four hundred and ninety-nine out of five hundred by the same man.

���The puller reclining in his little house. He watches each clay bird as it leaves the machine and he knows that his slightest hesitation will "balk" the best shooter

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