October 10th, 2016 by Sam Morstan

CZ-USA’s new All-American Trap Combo was designed specifically to help you shatter more clays.

STORY AND PHOTOS BY LARRY CASE

“Pull!”

A bright orange disc flies out of the trap house at a pace only slightly slower than the speed of light. You were hoping for a lob, a gimme, or a straightaway that you could transform into orange powder and boost your confidence a little. But you don’t get any of those, and instead the demonic chunk of clay goes hard left – your worst angle – and you struggle to catch up with the meteor. Finally, you stop the gun and slowly lift your cheek off the comb in defeat as the intact disc spins away to safety.

From somewhere nearby, you swear you hear a snicker.

This nightmare scenario is played out time and again on trap shooting ranges all over the country, and sometimes we reluctantly find ourselves in the starring role. But maybe, like me, you have a desire to break out of your present skill level for busting clays. Perhaps this will be the year you do what it takes to improve those scores.

I don’t suggest that I’m a rocket scientist in these matters, but in all honesty, it isn’t rocket science. We all know what the experts tell us. If you want to improve, you’ll have to take action to come up in the world on the trap, skeet or sporting clays range. You have to get serious and burn more powder. You have to find some good, qualified instruction, because just listening to the buddy you shoot with every other Saturday ain’t gonna cut it.

Oh, and one more thing – one really important thing. You have to get a good shotgun, one that is built for the task; a shotgun designed to make it easier for you turn those elusive little clays into powder.

Now, I admire the man or woman who shoots trap, ducks and turkeys all with the same shotgun. But if you are going to get serious in this game, you need to start thinking about a shotgun built for the job, and CZ-USA has something new that may be just what you are looking for.

CZ-USA HAS TURNED OUT impressive shotguns for several years, but the brand-new player in their lineup is the All-American Trap Combo. David Miller – CZ’s shotgun guru and the current Guinness Book of World Record holder for the most clay targets broken in one hour – travels all over the country shooting shotguns. He knows a thing or three about them, and between trigger pulls, he told me all about the company’s new smoothbore.

“It’s been a long time in the making,” he said, “I remember talking to Alice Poluchova [president of CZ-USA] on how important it was for us to tap into the American trap market
way back in 2010, but to do so would take a special product.”

Miller finally began working with CZ-USA’s partners at AKKAR, the shotgun makers in Istanbul, Turkey, in 2014. In those early talks, he stressed how durable the gun had to be, and what sort of features a shooter would want in a high-quality shotgun specifically designed for American trap shooting. That list of features soon made their way to Semih Polat, the product manager at the AKKAR factory. It was a pretty impressive list (see sidebar), so I’ll discuss the main features one group at a time.

The All-American Trap Combo in the standard over/under configuration ... (CZ-USA)

The All-American Trap Combo in the standard over/under configuration … (CZ-USA)

THE FIRST GROUP OF FEATURES consists of drop-in replaceable action components, three sizes of replaceable locking lugs, and easy-to-replace firing pins and bushings. The drop-in parts feature is huge. A well-used trap gun will fire thousands of rounds a year, and no matter how well made it is, some parts will wear out faster than others. The ability to quickly replace things like bushings, hinge pins and firing pins will be greatly appreciated by the avid shooter.

Neale Flynn, gunsmith at CZ-USA, provided even more detail on the replaceable locking lugs. “The locking block engages the bites of the barrel underneath the bottom of the chamber,” he said, “and the locking block wears over time. Slowly, the top snap lever will go from the right, when the gun is shut, to center.”

“Once at center,” he continued, “the locking block needs to be replaced. On other over/under shotguns, you have to weld and machine the locking block that was in that gun to begin with. It’s more time consuming, and we have to do it in-house to ensure it’s correct. With these drop-in locking blocks of different sizes, it allows us to send the next size of locking block to a customer for their local gunsmith to replace, no major special surgery required.”

Next on Miller’s list were an unsingle singles trap barrel with full floating rib, and a matching set of midheight rib over/under barrels. “Unsingle” refers to a single-barreled option on this gun to shoot singles, with the barrel being
“under” on the bottom. Opinions vary, but many shooters prefer the barrel to be on the bottom in a single barrel configuration, compared to a “top single” model such as one made by Krieghoff.

... and in the unsingle configuration. (CZ-USA)

… and in the unsingle configuration. (CZ-USA)

HOW THE RIB IS ATTACHED is important, and Flynn advised me that the rib on the All-American Trap Combo is silver-soldered to the barrel. The solder used is 45 percent silver, and is done in an oven at 800 degrees Fahrenheit. Compared to lead- and tin-based solders, or tin and antimony solder, which is more common on less expensive guns, this method is significantly stronger.

And a matching set of over-and-under barrels allows the All-American Trap Combo shooter to compete in all phases of American Trap shooting – singles, doubles and handicap.

Finally, we come to a fully adjustable butt pad plate (also adjustable for length of pull), a four-way adjustable parallel comb, adjustable trigger shoe positing, and select wood grain. Just as Miller requested, everything that can be adjusted on this gun is adjustable. The comb adjusts, but it is also parallel. When your cheek is against the comb, your head will not raise or lower if you move back and forth on the stock.

The butt pad adjusts for length of pull, toe in and toe out (slant of the pad from top to bottom), and even for cast on and off. The trigger is adjustable up to   inch, and the wood in the stock is listed as “select” – it is drop-dead gorgeous.

Byers made the most of his CZ-USA All-American Trap Combo test, scoring a 23 on his first round with the new gun.

Byers made the most of his CZ-USA All-American Trap Combo test, scoring a 23 on his first round with the new gun.

I PUT SEVERAL BOXES of Browning’s new BPT shotgun ammo through the All-American Trap Combo and watched others do the same. The gun seemed lively and naturally pointed, yet was still heavy enough that I saw no problems with recoil.

After putting it through its paces, I offered a few other shooters the opportunity for a test drive. Austyn Byers, a high school 4H shooter from Auto, W.Va., picked it up out of case, walked onto the trap range and shot a 23 on his first round.

The Trap Combo consistently turned heads when the author opened up the gun case.

The Trap Combo consistently turned heads when the author opened up the gun case.

I also trolled the All-American Trap Combo past some of the instructors at the Greenbrier Resort Gun Club in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va. The gun was very well received there and turned heads everywhere I took it.

“Now that CZ-USA is stepping into the realm of trap shooting,” Miller said, “we will be automatically compared to the shotguns that are already proven to work in such games. For example, Caesar Guerini’s base model is called a Summit Combo and it’s a fantastic gun, but it costs $7,995. There are other great trap guns available, but none will give you more for your money than the AllAmerican Trap Combo.”

MSRP is $3,399. If you can find another shotgun that is as well made and has as many features as this, I suggest you buy it. ASJ

West Virginia high school student Austyn Byers (left foreground) and his fellow 4H shooters liked what they saw of CZ-USA’s new All-American Trap Combo shotgun.

West Virginia high school student Austyn Byers (left foreground) and his fellow 4H shooters liked what they saw of CZ-USA’s new All-American Trap Combo shotgun.

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July 11th, 2016 by Sam Morstan

Hunting Missouri Turkeys With Shotgun World-Record Holder Dave Miller And CZ-USA’s 612 Magnum

STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHS BY LARRY CASE

OK, I confess: I may not be the best traveler in the world. To be honest, I’ve never traveled much until recently when I started down the outdoorwriting trail. What I find now is that while I may enjoy the destination once I get there, usually for hunting or a gun-related activity, getting there is not my cup of tea. Airports and flying don’t seem to be on my list of favorite things, but it is all part of traveling and what we have to endure. Sometimes I just want to stay home, work at being my usual grouchy self and hunt on my home turf in West Virginia. When I get home from a trip, I usually vow that it will be a long time before I leave again. But before I know it, I am looking at the horizon and dreaming.

 A chance to hunt with world-record holder and CZ USA product manager Dave Miller was too much to say no to for author Larry Case, here inspecting their decoy set in Missouri’s spring woods.

A chance to hunt with world-record holder and CZ USA product manager Dave Miller was too much to say no to for author Larry Case, here inspecting their decoy set in Missouri’s spring woods.

This is what happened a few months ago when I ventured west to the Show Me State for some turkey hunting. I had been discussing this for a while with Dave Miller, the shotgun product manager at CZ-USA, a firearm manufacturer headquartered next door to Missouri in Kansas City, Kan. CZ-USA is the US-based subsidiary of the Czech Republic company that makes a long list of firearms, including rifles, pistols, submachine guns and some very fine shotguns. Many of their scatterguns are made in Turkey, which, if you didn’t know, has a long history of making firearms. CZ-USA also owns Dan Wesson Firearms, which has produced excellent revolvers and pistols for years, including some very nice 1911s.

I have talked to you about Miller in these pages before. Last year I reported on a feat he accomplished that I do not expect to be equaled anytime soon. Miller broke no less than 3,653 clay targets in one hour, squarely putting him in the Guinness Book of World Records. I was there, I saw it and, to say the least, it was impressive.

Miller is what I would call a rabid shotgun shooter. He lives and breathes it. Besides handling the shotgun product line for CZ-USA, he is also their demonstration and exhibition shooter. I don’t know how many days a year he spends on the road shooting shotguns, but it is way more than I want to be away from home. Saying that Dave Miller shoots a shotgun is like saying Michelangelo painted a few pictures.

So, when Miller called me last spring and invited me to go hunt some Missouri turkeys, I was all for it. But secretly I was a little nervous. If this guy went after turkeys the way he does clay targets, I wasn’t sure I could keep up with him, but there was only one way to find out.

When it comes to hospitality, Miller takes the cake, or in this case, the turkey. He secured an absolutely beautiful piece of property for us to hunt – many thanks to J.W. Page, the owner – not far from Kansas City. And, as if that wasn’t enough, Miller found a stunning bed and breakfast a mile from there: the Laurel Brooke Farm B&B. We were set!

The combination of a CZ USA 612 shotgun, a Trijicon MRO optic and Winchester Longbeard XR loads set up Larry Case and Dave Miller for a successful hunt.

The combination of a CZ USA 612 shotgun, a Trijicon MRO optic and Winchester Longbeard XR loads set up Larry Case and Dave Miller for a successful hunt.

THE DAY I ARRIVED Miller drove me out to the hunting area to check it out and unlimber the shotguns we would be using. We elected to use the CZ 612 Magnum Turkey Shotgun, and by the end of our shooting session I was glad we did. Any shotgunner needs at least one good pump gun and the CZ 612 may be perfect. This shotgun only weighs an amazing 6.8 pounds – that’s light. It has a 3½-inch chamber for those who want to shoot the big shells, and it also takes 3- and 2¾-inch shells. What I appreciated was an action that is not equaled by any shotgun in the same price range.

“This is the smoothest, most reliable action on a pump shotgun since the Model 12,” Miller told me. “It is very durable and easy to operate.”

After carrying and hunting with it for five days, I had to agree. The shotgun is hydro-dipped in Realtree Xtra Green camo and comes with an extra-full choke just for turkey hunting. I would have no problem taking this shotgun upland-bird hunting or waterfowl hunting, for that matter.

When you take all of this into consideration, as well as the retail price of $429, this shotgun is hard to beat. If you can find a better made pump shotgun at this price – you won’t – you should buy it!

I DECIDED TO PUT AN OPTIC on one of the shotguns we carried and chose the Trijicon MRO red-dot sight. You have heard me talk about the MRO before, and I believe this is an excellent optic for a turkey gun. This sight allows for lightning-fast target acquisition, has a five-year battery life and is extremely rugged, as Trijicon optics are built to military specs. Miller and I did not baby the shotguns or the optic on this trip, and they came through it just fine.

While the hospitality of all the people in Missouri I met was wonderful, the Missouri turkeys I came across were not as friendly. They were acting a bit snobbish and did not want to just walk in and be shot like a respectable bird. On the first morning, after a very long ordeal with a particularly uppity gobbler, Miller pulled a rabbit out of his hat. We spent over an hour crawling on our bellies like reptiles, watching a typical field turkey march around out of range. With a strategic decoy placement Miller coaxed the old reprobate gobbler to come right in.

I would be lying if I said that I was not afraid I might miss in front of a shotgunner like Miller, but the Trijicon MRO really helped on a shot that was closer to 50 than 40 yards. I was also glad to have a Winchester Longbeard XR load in the chamber, as I have seen these shells excel when a hunter stretches the yardage. The CZ 612 spoke and the turkey went down as if struck by lightning (whew!). I think Miller was as happy as I was.

The CZ 612 Magnum Turkey Shotgun is an excellent all-around fowl-hunting shotgun.

The CZ 612 Magnum Turkey Shotgun is an excellent all-around fowl-hunting shotgun.

Good friends, beautiful country, a good shotgun and some turkeys to talk to – it doesn’t get much better. Think about Missouri if you are considering a road trip for turkeys. I think the annual harvest is something like 45,000 per year.

Me? I’m glad to be home, but you know, I have been thinking about a little trip somewhere. ASJ 

Editor’s note: For more on the products mentioned in this story, see cz-usa.com, trijicon.com and winchester.com.

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June 24th, 2015 by Danielle Breteau

David Miller Busts 3,653 Clays In An Hour To Set Guinness World Record!

Story and photographs by Larry Case

PHOTO 9 DAVE MILLER Shooting

If Dave Miller was a hunting dog, I would want one of his pups. He is that good. Miller has what my hunting buddy, when he rates a pack of new bird dogs, would call “fire in the belly.” I think when Miller wakes up in the morning he leaps out of bed and is immediately turning and burning, whatever his mission. You may shoot a shotgun, I do shoot a shotgun, but nobody shoots a shotgun like David Miller.

PHOTO 4

The final confirmed tally. After one hour, Dave miller had successfully shot 3,653 clays. This required four clays to be airborne during any given second for the entire hour. Impressive!

On May 16, 2015, the western Missouri man set the Guinness Book of World Records for the most clay targets shot in one hour. When the final horn blew and the smoke cleared Miller had done it: 3,653 clays broken while shooting a shotgun from the hip, and at night!

When the shooting had started an hour before, the actual world record attempt seemed almost surreal. I stood behind the platform and listened to his shotgun firing, but the rate at which the shots were going off seemed impossible. How could anyone hit anything firing this fast? The crowd watched as the targets streamed into the air and exploded with an almost machine-like consistency. That’s Miller, a shootin’ piece of machinery.

PHOTO 1

Miller had to engineer 16 Mayville Engineering Company target throwers to eject the clays at a precise rate to ensure that they weren’t being thrown so fast he couldn’t focus on them, but also that they didn’t operate too slowly and prevent making his goal.

During that hour targets were thrown continuously with absolutely no pauses. In order to achieve this, Miller had to have 30 CZ-USA shotguns fitted with two Nordic Component magazine extensions that held 16 shells total. Each shotgunPHOTO 8 was set up exactly the same way, including Miller’s special leather strap to hold his hand in place. Several gun bearers and loaders stood by with ready-to-shoot shotguns so Miller could just grab and go as the clock ticked down. Miller would blast through all the ammo in one gun, then he would throw it down and reach for the next one that was handed to him. He had to do this throughout the entire hour without ever slowing down, stopping or taking a break. Even with all of the gun-change interruptions, he still shot 83 percent of the total clays thrown. I was there. I saw it and let me tell you, boys and girls, it was a sight to behold. I would be happy with that on any day at the neighborhood skeet range [grin].

PHOTO 6 Mike Hyde (4)

The final numbers from the epic day showed that 5,265 clays were released, Miller fired 4,402 rounds of Federal 2¾-inch Gold Medal Handicap Trap Load with 11/8 ounces of shot – not a light load – and hit 3,653 targets to make the world record. (MIKE HYDE)

How did all this come to pass?

Glad you asked. As it turns out, and somewhat oddly enough, one does not simply call up Guinness and say, “Hey guys, I shot a couple thousand clay targets the other day, put me down for that record, if you would!”

What had to happen was this: Miller and attorneys from CZ-USA (where Miller is the shotgun product manager and exhibition shooter) worked with representatives from Guinness and the National Sporting Clays Association. During the event, Guinness had to have a representative there to confirm the count and actually present Miller with the official award.

But even before that, Miller got the idea by watching a TV show with his girlfriend Kelly Lindley and her two children, Will and Sydney. The program featured people attempting to break world records. Will told Miller that he should attempt a world record with his shotgun. Miller says he didn’t think much about it at the time, but the idea stuck. This was the beginning of months of planning, testing and building to make the idea and the new dream come true.

It wasn’t easy: Miller soon became the lead engineer for what would become a PHOTO 10completely new idea in clay throwers and synchronization.

The target throwers and the rate at which they launched the clays were a major concern. Too fast and Miller could not focus on the flying target; too slow and there would not be enough time to get all of them broken in an hour. It had to be just right. The rate of fire during the attempt was about four- to six-tenths of a second; about every half of a second a target was being thrown for Miller to shoot. This sequence required 16 Mayville Engineering Company target-throwing machines to work in unison. That is putting some serious lead down range.

When the big day came, the atmosphere of the expectant crowd was
similar to a state fair, except with lots of shotguns. It was almost as if they were waiting for Evel Knievel to jump the Grand Canyon. I thought this was better.

PHOTO 3


The amount of equipment and personnel needed to complete this monumental task included:

PHOTO 2

Thirty CZ shotguns were used to accomplish the world record. They were a mix of CZ 712s and 912s and fitted with two Nordic Component 16-round magazine extensions.

• 30 CZ Model 712 or 912 shotguns;

• 16 MEC target-throwing machines, designed to hold and systematically throw clay targets into the air;

(All of them performed flawlessly during this event.)

• 6,400 clay targets;

• 5,000 shotgun shells;

• 25 to 30 gun bearers and loaders;

• A plethora of volunteers, helpers, friends, family and supporters.


Miller, a more humble guy you may never meet, thanked supporters, friends and family continually during this event.

If I know Miller, he is already working on a new project, and you can bet it involves a shotgun. When you have fire in the belly, you don’t stop when you set a little thing like a world record. ASJ

PHOTO 11 Dave Miller and folks WR

When Miller decided to attempt the world record, he took his idea to Pheasants Forever because he wanted the attempt to be connected to this conservation-based group to help them raise money for their youth shooting programs.

PHOTO 5

Author Larry Case with Dave Miller, clay killer.

 

Author’s note: The Heartland Trap and Wobble Skeet Range near Harrisonville, Mo., hosted this epic event and you couldn’t have found a better or friendlier setting than this neighborhood gun-club atmosphere. Owner Steve Sheerer personally made sure the event was a success for everyone. You can visit them at heartlandtrapandskeet.com.

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April 23rd, 2015 by Danielle Breteau

BREAKING NEWS

World Record SHOOTING Attempt

CZ-USA’s Dave Miller will attempt to shoot a world record number of flying target in one hour.
The initial requirements to succeed:

30 CZ Shotguns
16 Target Throwers
5000 Shotgun Shells
6400 Clay Targets
1 hour
Immense logistics

CZ-USA Pro-staffer Dave Miller spoke to us at the NRA show and gave us an insider view of what it will take make it into the Guinness Book Of World Records.

Miller stated that in order to make the world record, he is attempting to shoot over 3025 flying clay targets in 60 minutes. This will require 16 target throwers to be operating at all times, not to mention an army of people loading and handing him shotguns as needed. The throwers will have to maintain four airborne clay targets each second during the course of fire. Let me repeat that. There will be a steady stream of clay targets shot from 16 throwers wherein four clay targets will be airborne at any given time. This is the level of stress Miller will be facing to make the record. To add insult to injury Miller is going to do this shooting from the hip! (Throwing my clipboard, papers and pen in the air). Whoa! Here is an OODA-loop exercise most mortals would never survive.

When: May 16, 2015 at 8PM CST
Where: Heartland Trap and Wobble Skeet Range in Harrisonville, Mo.
Visit them at: heartlandtrapandwobbleskeet.com

DMCZ

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