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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,

I'm new here and to shotgunning. Just purchased a lovely little Benelli Legacy 20 ga. and started shooting trap. I'm petite and I bruise easily, so I'm trying to decide which vest to buy. Does anyone have a favorite vest maker that uses serious shoulder padding?

Any advice is welcome. Thanks!
 

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I'm guessing you are female (a guy wouldn't describe himself as "petite").

Browning makes a nice ladies shooting vest with a pocket in the shoulder that holds a REACTAR gel recoil pad. They come in several colors and left handed versions. If you need more padding than what one pad can give you, you just get a second pad and stick it in the pocket along with the first.

Browning has recently come out with a whole line of women's hunting and shooting clothing. The shooting shirts are double patched right and left shoulder, and have recoil pad pockets on both sides to put in the optional pad. I have a couple of them and they are really nice and well made.
 

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There is a lady that shoot at our club that said the Reactar pad wasn't enough. She has taken her Browning vest and uses Dr.Scholls Gel pads rolled up and puts them in the Reactar pouch in the vest.
 

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Hey Shutze,

I went through the same thing....the bruising and I tried a vest and I didn't like the vest, just didn't feel right I prefer the belt to hold my shells. My husband put a Morgan adjustable pad on my gun and it made such an improvement....fit wise and all....good luck

Wendy....LuckyStar :D
 

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Welcome to the Women's Forum! Glad to have you here. I don't use a vest with my 20 ga., just a nice recoil pad. But I have a very nice Browning vest for when I shoot my 12 ga. If you are bruising, there could be other causes. Like you aren't holding your gun properly in the pocket of your shoulder, or that the stock is too long for you so you aren't shooting correctly. Since you are new to shooting I would have someone watch your form and stance as you are shooting to make sure you are holding the gun properly {the best person for that would be a gunsmith}. It will help limit bruising, and then a Browning vest with a Dr. Schoell's gel pad will help protect your shoulder more. Hope that helps.
 

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I agree with golden hunter, you should see if your stock fits you right or not. See if there is someone at your club (since you shoot trap) that knows about stockwork. If your located in KS (longshot i know, or a state near) Greg Hissim is the man with stocks. I would also suggest buying a recoil pad that is softer i know guns come with horrible recoil pads stock (except for perrazzis) I would suggest a Kick-Eez (what i have on my gun) or a TrapDude Gooey Pad (www.trapdude.com) Gooey pads come in all colors. I have shot with a vest alot and part of the reason reactar pads don't work to well for me is the pad is to low i mount my gun much higher then where the pad is when you put shells in the pocket. I safety pinned mine further toward the top. But i don't even shoot with a vest now a little shell holder/hull bag combo thing. Ohh last thing always (once you have someone help you figure out how you should hold your gun) mount your gun in the same place everytime. Occasionally i will end up with a bruise because i got mine on my collar bone (i think thats the right bone) and get thumped. Plus then at least your point of impact should be the same.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks all,

Good to hear you thoughts and ideas. At least a few times I definately missed the mark while shouldering the gun the other day, so I know I need to work on that. The third party gun pad sounds like a good place to start to ensure comfort. It sounds like a vest could get in the way.

My next step is to work with a coach and I'll definately check with a gunsmith for advice on fit. 'Cause bruise or not I ain't quittin'! My husband and I will be heading back to the range in the next couple of days.

Thanks again!
 

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Schutze

A 20ga Benelii should not be bruising you so you are dead right to find a coach to check stance, mount and gun fit.

This may sound strange, many people starting out do not hold the gun firmly enough, have your coach check that too.

Glad you are in the game, its really fun and one where women compete on equal terms with men.

Roger
 

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Oh, and one other thing that should be mentioned... even if gun fit, recoil pad, etc. are all right-on, you still have to work up to handling recoil. What I mean by this is, you can't go out and buy a case of heavy handicap loads and shoot them your first day out, without feeling some soreness. You start small, with a couple boxes of light or extra light low ounce-weight trap loads, then shoot more and more as your shoulder "toughens up". In any case, you don't need to shoot more than an ounce of shot. If you're on the birds, an ounce is plenty to break them.

I use one reactar pad in a vest, or, a separate shoulder pad harness (depending on how hot it is outside) and I can shoot a case of heavy handicap oads at a time without feeling anything. I can shoot a case of light trap loads with no pad at all. You work up to this as you get used to it!!

Pads and vests are a personal thing. Some people need not much padding, some like more, some like vests and some don't. You have to find what feels comfortable and good on you.

And a gun, esp. an over and under, is heavy at first. Using some barbell type weights to build up your arms (they don't have to be big heavy ones, just a couple pounds each will do) will make the gun seem light and easy to swing later on.
 

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Rajaniblue,

I am going to disagree with you about using weights like barbells. The action of mounting a gun and holding it and absorbing recoil, are totally different to doing barbel reps, which are OK, but not for developing gun holding strength.

What I suggest to beginning shooters is to mount the gun several times each night before going to bed. Just mount and and lower. Ideally you should start with your eyes closed, mount, open the eyes and see if you got the right mount. This does several things - it smooths out the mount, makes the correct mount instinctive, AND it build the muscles.

By the way, close the drapes before doing this lest you scare the neighbours :lol:

Gotta go, I have a 25 women clinic to go to,

Roger
 

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I had a the same bruising problem with my 12 ga. over and under.
A couple of things I did that helped with the recoil.
#1- Try shooting low-recoil shells. With no more than 1oz of shot. (The inexpensive way) PMC makes a low-recoil shell
http://www.pmcammo.com/shotgun/liteclay.html

#2- I had the forcing cones lengthened which greatly reduces the kick of the gun (More expensive about $60 a barrel, but definitely worth it)
Before after about 100 rounds of ammo my shoulder would be killing me and would be black-n-blue the next morning
Now I can shoot 300 or 400 rounds with no bruising and just a little tenderness the next day.
 

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Roger,

And I'm going to disagree with you... to a point. I do agree that mounting the gun over and over is quite helpful, and will make a difference in your ability to handle a heavy gun. In fact, I often take this further than what you suggest, and I will rent a trap all to myself and just shoot, over and over, until my arms just begin to feel the burn. (You can't do this with five people, because there is too much rest time between lifting the gun). Don't go too far, because you want to still be in control of your gun. Just enough that you can begin feel tiredness in your muscles.

But I did notice that after I used barbell weights, the effect was even better. It's like crosstraining. The more in shape you are, all over, the better equipped you are to handle what you're asking your body to do. Muscles all work together, and when all are strong, you are better off than when only some are strong.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Hello again, all,

Schutze here. I really appreciate all of your words of wisdom and experience. I purchased a harness shoulder pad that I used yesterday (second time out with the gun) and did pretty well with that. Only felt one poorly shouldered round that did leave an additional small bruise near my collarbone, but nowhere near the bruising I got after my first time.

My Benelli is a 20 ga. autoloader and is only 5.7 lbs - not heavy at all. Since it's action cycles light loads just fine I've been shooting 7/8 oz., 2 ½ dr. eq. target loads. I do lift weights, too, and haven't noticed my arms getting very tired shooting 75 rounds with 3 or 4 other folks. My husband just lowered the drop on the stock slightly, so maybe that will help me mount the gun more properly.

Rajaniblue, I do like your idea about renting a trap on my own. I think a little more time and space to focus on my technique will help. Of course, I still think working with a coach is essential and I'm going to try to make that happen as soon as possible.

I'll be checking back in soon and will post progress as it comes. Thanks again, everyone!
 
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rajaniblue said:
Roger,

But I did notice that after I used barbell weights, the effect was even better. It's like crosstraining. The more in shape you are, all over, the better equipped you are to handle what you're asking your body to do. Muscles all work together, and when all are strong, you are better off than when only some are strong.
Exactly! Doing both *is* better than just doing the one or the
other. You can't focus on a couple of specific muscles and allow
the others to lose ton and strength if the lifting of the
gun doesn't affect them. The answer in that case, is to lift
weights for those muscles. Keep the whole 'group' happy.

Besides, the stronger the surrounding support muscles
are around your shooting muscles ( which are specific ) the
better those specific muscles will handle the strain.

Pump iron...lift gun..become strong like bull ( and half
as smart ) :lol:
 

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THIS IS A GREAT FORUM! ^o^

I just started to learn to trap shoot. This last Saturday was my first time ever to shoot a shotgun. I have shot pistols and a 22/250 for years, though.

But what weenie!!!! I only shot 25 shells (but hit 20 out of 25, so that wasn't too bad). Boy did my shoulder hurt. No bruising the next day, but it still hurt pretty bad.

I have a pretty good vest and am shooting a borrowed Browning 12 ***** from my coach. But, I think I will look into one of those pads you add (Reactor?) I saw mentioned on the womens site. Any ideas where I go to find one? I live in a small town in Wyoming so shopping is limited. Need to go to the Internet.

Sure do appreciate all the wisdom posted here. Keep it coming!!!!
 

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I am currently using a PAST pad that I got from Midway USA.
http://www.midwayusa.com/ebrowse.exe/br ... andid=1125.
It has two velcro straps that hold it on your bra strap. It made a HUGE difference when I first started shooting and now I have shot as many as 400 rounds in a day (heavy loaded field rounds) with only slight tenderness the next day and no bruising. I like this pad because it is hidden, fairly small and isn't bulky. It is on sale right now for $13.99 I would recommend purchasing two as it gets sweaty and kind of stinky in the summer (Use one and wash the other) and there is a $3.00 handling charge for purchases under $25..

I also just recently purchase a O/U and after I changed the recoil pad to a limbsaver by Sims Vibration Laboratory and filled the stock with lead, the recoil is much better and I have worked up to 100 rounds in a 2 1/2 to 3 hour period. The weight in the back helped to reduce the recoil and it balanced the gun more to my liking.

One more thing...I would suggest a flat recoil pad as opposed to a curved one. My new gun came with a contoured pad on a morgan. The point at the toe was excrutiating. I immediately swiped the straight one off my husbands gun (he wasn't using it) and swapped it out.

Keep it up and Good (and safe) shooting to you all!
 
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