I’m a trap shooter; I like the notion of hitting a flying object going away from me at various angles. It’s a sense of accomplishment when a clay target breaks into dust as I pull the trigger on a shotgun that looks and feels good – that is to say, one made from fine steel and a stock made from a handsome piece of wood with fine checkering. I like loading my own shells which began as a way of keeping costs down, but every time someone mentions gun-control, the cost of the components goes up. Lead shot, for example, used to cost less than ten dollars for a 25-pound bag, now costs close to fifty. Primers have gone up if you can find them at all, and powder may or may not be available, you have to be flexible with brands.
There aren’t as many places to shoot as there used to be. Gun ranges have dried up for one reason or another – the anti-gun crowd and environmentalists top the list. Some shooting clubs have been plagued by rising costs and a drop in members. The Detroit Sportsman’s Club, still one of the biggest around and open to the public, used to have kids that pulled for shooters (trap and skeet). They were like caddies. Now, the fields are automated. You sign up in the club house and get a keycard that you insert into a kiosk which allows as many clays as are on the card. The problem is, a skeet round is 25, but there are times when there are issues with your safety or barrel selection or a clay just plain breaks coming out of the house. Seldom does the starter put more than 27 or 28 clays on a card. Several times my round ended at station seven.
My favorite club to shoot at is The Chain of Lakes Sportsmans Club in Antrim County. Small and rustic, it has the basics and is member hands on. The only thing automatic is the gun you may use.