Which Barrel to Use First for Trap Shooting: Top or Bottom Barrel?

As a clay shooter, it took me a while to decide whether a top or bottom barrel works perfectly for trap shooting. In this article, I will share my experience with you and let you know the functionality of over-and-under shotguns with regards to clay shooting.

Trap Shooting Singles: Top or Bottom?

According to one of the disciplines of trap shooting, a single clay pigeon is launched at a time from the trap house. Shotguns with two barrels arranged vertically are the most practical firearm for trapshooting singles. However, you should choose the top barrel in the case of 20-yard singles, while a bottom barrel will be more suitable for 16-yard singles.

trap shooting singles

Being situated at the center of the shotgun, the bottom barrel has less recoil and causes the muzzle to jump a little less. This way, you get the chance to achieve an excellent point of impact with the lower barrel. Moreover, if you install a modified or improved choke in this barrel, you will be able to hit the target precisely.

On the other hand, the top barrel recoils with more intensity, causing you to settle back into your aiming position with a little delay. Therefore, it is less suitable for shooting singles.

Trap Shooting Doubles: Top or Bottom First?

As the term suggests, two targets are launched simultaneously in trapshooting doubles. When shooting with a double-barrelled shotgun, I would recommend you use the lower barrel first and the top barrel in the next shot.


Again, the reason is no different here. The bottom barrel features minimum recoil as compared to the top barrel. Needless to say, in trap shooting doubles, you have to be prepared for the second shot immediately. So, if you shoot with the bottom barrel first, it would be easier for you to get your aim ready for the next target. If you use the top barrel first, the greater recoil and higher muzzle rise might affect your target acquisition.


Since the lower barrel has less recoil, it serves me very well whether I’m shooting singles or the first target in doubles. It’s convenient for me to tolerate the recoil of the lower barrel and aim for the second clay pigeon soon after the first shot.