by Larry S. Sterett
When winning shooters of the Amateur Trapshooting Association's annual Grand American tourney pick up their trophies, they are supposed to complete a form which may already have their name and score on it, with space provided for them to sign, and indicate the gun and ammunition they used.
This column heading simply states "Gun" and "Ammo;" although it would be useful information if the make and model of shotgun were listed, along with the brand and load of ammunition. Hence, it would be beneficial if the gun listing appeared as "Krieghoff K-80," although K-80 is easily recognized as being a Krieghoff.
A listing such as "BT-99" is recognized as a Browning, as a "90-T or 3200" is a Remington, but just listing Browning and Remington alone leaves a lot to be desired as to the details of an individual shooter's performance. "Per." is probably a Perazzi, as is a MX8, a DB81, or MX14, and Seitz and Kolar are understood. The same comments apply to ammunition. "AA" is Winchester, but "AA Super-Lite 8" is better, and Federal is fine, but "Federal Handicap paper 7°" would be better. STS is Remington, but an indicated shot size would also help.
Some shooters provide a bare minimum of information-if anything-and others tend to misspell the make of their shotguns. A few provide information which only their mother could decipher, and possibly not even her, while others definitely are helpful with info like a Browning BT-99 and Winchester's AA 7°.
Among the winners at the 2000 Grand American the favorite shotgun brand was Perazzi, with 27.2% of the winners so listing. This preference is up 0.2% from 1999.
The favorite Perazzi model this year was the MX10 by a ratio of 5 to 2 over the MX8, while in 1999 it was the MX8 by a 5 to 3 margin over the MX3. Most of the Perazzi models were represented in the winners circle, including the DB81, MX14, TMX, TM1 and MX9.
The second favored shotgun brand was Browning, as it has been for the past two years with 19.0% so noting, up 2.7% over 1999. The favorite models were the BT-99 and BT-100, with the former in one of its versions-Standard, Plus, or Max-leading by 78.6% to 21.4%.
Third in shotgun brand preference was the Krieghoff at 17.2%, up 5.9% over 1999. The K-80 led the KS-5 by a ratio of 6 to 1, and no K-32 models were noted this year.
Beretta was again the fourth most-favored shotgun brand among winners at 11.3%, up 0.7% over 1999, but still 0.5% less than in 1998. The 682 was the model of choice for most of those shooters providing such information, followed by the 687 and the 682X.
Remington dropped from the fifth spot to sixth with 5.9%, being edged out by Seitz users at 6.2%. In 1999, 9.9% of the winners used Remington shotguns with the 90-T being the favorite, followed by the 1100 and 3200 in that order.
In 2000, Remington users favored the 3200 over the 90-T by almost 2 to 1, and the number of Remington shooters in the winners circle decreased 4.0%. The number of Silver Seitz winners increased by 1.9% over 1999, and 2.7% over 1998.
Among the top 10 shotgun brands used by winners at Grand American 2000 were Kolar and Ljutic at 3.2% each, followed by Winchester and Mach One. In 1998, with the exception of the Mach One, 2.4% of winning shooters used a shotgun brand not already mentioned. In 1999, the number of such shooters increased to 5.0%, and in 2000 that number dropped to 3.5%. These included models by Alferman, Bowen, Charles Daly, Franchi, Gamba, Ithaca, Rottweil, SKB, and Valmet.
Winchester was the "Official Ammunition of the Grand American" for 2000, but Federal was the brand of choice among winners by a slight margin of 34.2% to 32.4% for Winchester. Federal was used by 31.8% of the winners in 1999 while Winchester had 43.5%.
The use of Remington ammunition by winners was up 8.2% over 1999, moving from 22.6% to 30.8%. Fiocchi shotshells were used by 2.6% of the winners.
These figures can be misleading, since not all winners listed the ammunition brand used; hence the figures are correct only for the winners actually listing their brands.
If some winners failed to list the brand or model of shotgun used, or the brand or load of shotshells, an even greater number neglected to list the shot size used. Of those who were considerate enough to do so, the shot size of choice was size 8 over size 7°, by 61.9% to 33.3%.
This is similar to 1998, where the size 8 to 7° use ratio was nearly 2:1, but different from 1999, when the preference of size 8 shot users over size 7° shot users was only 2.5%. Size 8° shot was used by 4.8% of the listing winners at Grand American 2000.
Ammunition used during any event at the Grand American must be purchased at the Shell House at the time of entry, and a complete listing of available shells was in the ATA Grand program booklet. For 2000, a total of 71 different loads were available, with a choice of Federal (21 loads), Fiocchi (16 loads), Remington (14 loads), and Winchester (11 loads), in shot sizes 7°, 8, 8°, and 9, and using 1-ounce or 1-1/8 ounces of shot, depending on the brand and load. Of the 21 Federal loads, 11 were paper hulled, with all the Fiocchi, Remington, and Winchester loads having plastic hulls.
Exhibits and More
Industry Row at the Grand American has-in addition to the major manufacturers of sporting arms and ammunition-many firms doing gunsmithing or featuring "previously-owned" shotguns, plus a few rifles, and lots of accessories. (Even many of the smaller exhibitors may have a few sporting arms in a rack or table in their building or tent.)
Optical goods, clothing for shooters, leather goods, traps, stocks, reloaders, targets, and powder for reloading were all on exhibit, with food booths located throughout.
Shotshell reloaders being demonstrated included Dillon, Hornady, MEC, Ponsness/Warren, and Spolar. Hornady announced it discontinued the Apex 3.0 and 3.1 and is concentrating on the Model 366, which is time-tested and capable of turning out more excellent 12-gauge reloads than many shooters have time to shoot.
White Flyer Targets (124 River Road, Dept. GWK, Middlesex, NJ 08846; phone: 800-647-2898; on-line: www.whiteflyer.com) was passing out a small gift of appreciation-a year 2000 Commemorative Bio Target-at their building along the line, while most of the powder manufacturers, including Alliant and Hodgdon, were distributing copies of their new small (2000) complimentary loading manuals.
Accurate Arms (5891 Hwy. 230 W., Dept. GWK, McEwen, TN 37101; phone: 800-416-3006; on-line: www.accuratepowder.com) has a new Volume Two of their extensive Loading Guide available for $18.95, postpaid.
Barrels, Stocks, Optics
Moneymaker Guncraft Corp. (1420 Military Ave., Dept. GWK, Omaha, NE 68131) has discontinued their regular Adjustable Rib and their "Custom .780 Barrel." At the Grand, Barnes was exhibiting the firm's New M-10 Adjustable Rib.
CNC precision-fabricated, the all-steel M-10 rib is tapered, fully adjustable, and hand-fitted to all top single or autoloading (fixed barrel) shotguns with 30-, 32-, or 34-inch barrels, or any over/under with 30- or 32-inch barrels and soft-soldered sideribs. Complete installation costs $650 and $750, respectively. (Unsingle barrels cannot be fitted with the M-10 rib.) Moneymaker was also featuring Beretta Model 390 and 391 pull and release trigger conversions, and K-80 double release trigger assemblies.
Wenig Custom Gunstocks Inc. (103 North Market St., Dept. GWK, Lincoln, MO 65338) was exhibiting their regular stock line available in English and American walnut in a choice of five grades from "Standard" to "100% Special Selection," plus their laminated stocks. The Wenig stocks are available as machine-inletted "do-it-yourself" replacement stocks, for most rifles and shotguns, in a variety of models.
For some shotguns they also have a special "Ladies Stock," which features an offset comb with higher Monte Carlo, a smaller grip with palm swell and tighter curve, a downward pitch, and toe-out for better fit and additional comfort. Wenig also produces stocks for those right-handed shooters having a left master eye, or who have had an injury to the right eye.
Allen Lehman Optical (1018 E. Indian School Road, Dept. GWK, Phoenix, AZ 85014) was exhibiting their new Post 4 Titanium Frame shooting glasses. Available in Plane, Rx, or Bifocal, the Post 4 is available with one, two or three pairs of lenses.
Remington Arms Co. Inc. (870 Remington Drive, Dept. GWK, Madison, NC 27025-0700; phone: 800-243-9700; on-line: www.remington.com) was showcasing their new Nitro 27 Premier Handicap loads. The new load has the same feet-per-second (fps) velocity (1,235 fps) as the original, but with reduced recoil. In addition, there's a new 1ounce Nitro 27 load, available in size 7° or 8 shot, with a velocity of 1,290 fps. With this load, shooters can reach out and touch that target a bit quicker.
Beretta shotguns were the fourth most popular brand used by winners at the 2000 Grand American, and Beretta USA (17601 Beretta Drive, Dept. GWK, Accokeek, MD 20607; phone: 301-283-2191; on-line: www.berettausa.com) had their latest models on display, including the DT10 Trident and the AL391 Urika.
The DT10 Trident used by some of the winners has several new features, including a new internal barrel configuration. Called the Optima-Bore, it is designed to improve the pattern distribution, provide felt recoil reduction and increase shot velocity. Coupled with the new Optima-choke competition tubes, which are long and slim, the Optima-Bore should enhance the distribution of the shot within the patterns.
Other features of the DT10 (That's DT for detachable trigger) include: a replaceable forearm iron block, a new trigger group release system using "v" leaf mainsprings, an innovative new top lever that is easier to use by left-hand shooters, and stepped tapered ventilated barrel rib.
Five DT10 models are currently available, including Sporting Clays, Skeet, Trap Single, Trap, and Trap Combo. The Skeet and Trap models feature adjustable comb Monte Carlo stocks, with beavertail forearms. All models feature an adjustable single selective trigger and a safety shaped to provide smooth operation and barrel selection. Barrel lengths vary from 28 to 24 inches, depending on the model
Beretta's new AL391 Urika autoloader is available in a dozen versions, including Youth, Camouflage, Gold, Synthetic, Sporting, Trap, and Target. The trap versions feature Monte Carlo stocks with a tight grip radius, and stepped ventilated rib. Other features include a recoil absorber within the receiver, a newly designed forearm cap, self-compensating gas valve, and gas valve flange.
The buttstock on the AL391 can be adjusted for drop and cast by using shims and spacers, and the length of pull can be changed through the use of interchangeable recoil pads. The Urika receiver has been trimmed a bit and a new fiber-reinforced, techno-polymer trigger guard added. The Competition Model AL391s weigh approximately 7 pounds and are available with a choice of a 30- or 32-inch barrel and five Mobilchoke tubes.
The Beretta Model 682 Gold E over/under is available in skeet, trap, and sporting clays grades, with the skeet and trap guns featuring adjustable comb stocks. The Gold E, like the DT10 Trident, features a new Optima-Bore barrel with Optima-Choke tubes.
The non-detachable trigger assembly comes with two interchangeable trigger shoes-one with a face canted right or left, and one with a wide symmetrical face. (The trigger length of draw is adjustable for 3/8 inch.) The hammers utilize coil springs. Other features of the 682 Gold E include self-adjusting, dual conical locking lugs, and replaceable hinge pins and barrel shoulders.
Winchester Ammunition (Olin Corp., 427 North Shamrock St., Dept GWK, East Alton, IL 62024; phone: 618-258-2000; on-line: www.winchester.com) featured a new, gray-colored (Winchester calls the shells silver-colored), inflatable giant shotshell outside their building this year to introduce shooters to their new target loads of the same color. These three new offerings are the AA SuperHandicap, the AA SuperSport Sporting Clays, and the 24-gram AA International Target loads.
The handicap loads were available at the ATA Trap House in 1 ounce or 1-1/8 ounces of size 7° or 8 shot, and in Super or Light versions. These new loads feature improved components and a new innovative, high-strength tube (for more reloadings) that provides higher velocities.
The new MX2000 over/under from Perazzi USA (855 N. Todd Ave., Dept. GWK, Azusa, CA 91702; phone: 626-303-0068) is available in seven versions, from an American Trap Combo to a Game gun. Features of the new model include an adjustable, ventilated barrel rib, stock with adjustable comb, a removable trigger group with either flat or coil springs, and interchangeable choke tubes.
The Sporting Clays and Game versions-available in 20 and 12 gauge-feature a non-removable coil spring trigger assembly with the barrel selection operated through the safety slide. Upon request the MX2000 can be obtained with a fixed ventilated rib, fixed chokes, and a fixed comb stock.
Fiocchi USA (5030 Fremont Road, Dept. GWK, Ozark, MO 65721; phone: 800-721-AMMO; on-line: www.fiocchiusa.com) was promoting their new, improved, low-recoil trap loads. They're available in light or heavy, with velocities of 1,140 and 1,185 fps, and 1-1/8 ounce sizes of 7° or 8 high antimony lead shot.
Fiocchi also has an extensive line of game and waterfowl loads, plus rimfire and centerfire rifle and handgun cartridges, including some exotics, such as the 5.75mm Velo Dog, 9mm Flobert Rimfire Shotshell, and the 7.5 Swiss Ordnance, along with a line of law enforcement ammunition, and blanks.
Among the many dealers on Industry Row handling new and "previously owned" shotguns, a couple stood out at this year's Grand.
Hi-Grade Shooters Supply (Route 30, Box 448, Dept. GWK, Irwin, PA 15642) and Jaqua's Fine Guns Inc. (900 E. Bigelow Ave., Dept. GWK, Findlay, OH 45840) both had a constantly changing supply of pre-owned shotguns, with many within the price range of a beginning trapshooter. Jaqua's usually has some high grade English guns available, and this year there was a Purdey Single Barrel Trap gun on the "wish rack."
New for Reloaders
Ponsness/Warren (768 Ohio St., Dept. GWK, Rathdrum, ID 83858) exhibited their Platinum 2000 Series Reloader and Automatic Shell Feed System at the 1999 Grand American. The "grivory" Dive Removal System, standard on the Platinum 2000, is available to upgrade the P/W 900 "Elite," 950 "Elite," and L/S-1000 reloaders.
Also new is the EZ-Fill Access Hopper. This large, square-shaped, divided hopper is standard on the Platinum 2000 series reloaders, but can be purchased separately to upgrade most 900 series reloaders. The EZ-Fill holds 25 pounds of lead shot, a pound of powder, and is a foot shorter than the standard large tube hoppers. Constructed of high impact plastic, the hoppers feature bushing access holes so shot and powder bushings can be changed quickly without emptying and removing the hopper.
Another of the custom gunstock makers along Industry Row was located a few doors west of the Sturm, Ruger building. Stocks by Umberger is part of the Sportsman's Haven Inc. (14695 East Pike Road, Dept. GWK, Cambridge, OH 43725). Brent Umberger is their master stockmaker, and he can produce a custom-fitted stock for almost any shotgun a shooter might own-from a pump or autoloader to a single barrel or side/side Purdey, Perazzi, Holland & Holland, Parker, etc. The wood can be Turkish, Claro, American Black, Bastone, or English walnut, with excellent figure. The cost of the stock depends on the type of walnut and the amount of figure, with the Turkish and English walnuts being the most expensive. Three checkering grades are available, and the labor costs do not include the black walnut price.
The National Rifle Association was in its regular building, and offered a promotion where new or renewing members could pay their dues and receive two free boxes of Winchester 12-gauge shells, plus an NRA cap and their choice of one of the three NRA magazines. Women could present their NRA or ATA card at the booth and register to win $2,000 worth of prizes, plus receive a Women On Target goody bag.
On Friday, Aug. 11, there was also A Day At The Range for women, sponsored by the Women's Shooting Sports Foundation.
For the past several years, the ATA Hall of Fame has been having a silent auction to benefit the ATA Museum, its Youth Program and other endeavors. Typically, during the Grand American the donated items (all are tax-deductible) are on display on the ground floor of the main building. Bidding starts on Monday of Grand Week and ends at 4 p.m. on Friday, and the highest bidder of record, logged in on a large board in the display area, can pay and pick up their item at this time.
This year, the donated items ranged from an afghan to a Savage rifle, with shotshells, knives, jackets, wads, lead shot, and more than five dozen other items to bid on. Many of the items were handcrafted, and worth considerably more than the amount of the winning bid. A few items did realize more than their suggested value.
A Fun Event . . .
Whether you attend the Grand American as a shooter, an exhibitor, spouse, family member or simply want to see the greatest trapshooting championships in the world, there's always plenty to see and do. Watch the exhibition shooter, the shoot-offs, visit the exhibitors, the ATA Museum, or enjoy food from one of the many vendors along Industry Row. It's a great way to spend your vacation, or even a few days.
The Grand American has been held at Vandalia, OH, since 1924 on land leased along the south edge of the Dayton International Airport. Only a few years ago the trap line was expanded from one mile to 1-5/8 miles.
But because of the proposed expansion at the airport (rumor has it that Emory Air Freight wanted more room), the ATA has been told it will have to move before the 2003 tournament. On Aug. 17, the ATA Executive Committee announced five possible sites are in the running for the new ATA home. These include two in Clark County, OH, near I-70, one in Indianapolis, IN, one in southern Illinois, and one in Montgomery County, OH, near the Dayton airport. The list is expected to be narrowed to two sites by December, with a final decision at a later date.
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