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GUNS Magazine October 2011 Digital Edition - Page 28
• h O L T B O d I N S O N • More than an entry-level trap gun. ThE TIP-TOP “TOPPER” The H&R Topper is an entry-level trap gun of modest cost, yet is strong on performance. The line is currently made at the Remington factory in Ilion, New York. c oming off the trap line, he was grinning from ear-toear. My shooting partner, alan Fausher, had just shot a perfect first round with H&r’s Topper Trap model. “you know,” he said, “I shoot Perazzi and krieghoff trap guns, but I can’t say they perform any better than this little H&r Topper. yes, it’s too light, not long enough, but it comes up really, really nice. The person who designed this trap gun was a trap shooter. He knew what he was building. can you imagine what a joy it would be for a 12-year old getting their hands on a neat, entry-level trap gun like this?” My thoughts exactly. the annual SHOT Show, I didn’t quite know what to make of it. Twentyfive clays later, I was top man with a clean score, and I immediately became fascinated with the design and thought incorporated into this remarkable and remarkably inexpensive shotgun. Because of production delays, I’ve waited two years to report on the Topper, but the wait’s been worth it. That same day, when Fausher and I were shooting at Tucson’s ultramodern Trap and Skeet Club, avid trap shooting members would come up and say, “Where’d you get that gun?” My response was always, “Would you like to shoot a round with it?” The H&R Topper Trap got a workout that day. The resulting response from seasoned trap shooters changed from highly skeptical to consistently positive. What was interesting was how well this factory, out-of-the-box, single shot fit everyone. Now, less you think an inexpensive single shot can’t be competitive, let me remind the shotgunning clan that a plain, break-open, exposed hammer, single-shot Winchester Model 37 was used to win the 16-yard class championship at the 1938 Grand American. That Model 37 had none of the bells-and-whistles H&R has built into their new Topper Trap. Let’s take a look. The Essence If I had to distill the essence of the Topper’s successful design, it would be in the stocking. Trap shooters are fanatical about proper stock fit and make up the perfect clientele base for a mountain of adjustable combs, buttplates and recoil pads. The single, most critical element of stock design is the line of the comb. The comb establishes the eye-to-comb position of the eye which serves as the rear sight of a shotgun. The slope of the comb is commonly defined by the drop in inches at the nose of the comb and heel of the stock from the line-of-sight established by the top of the barrel or rib. A very common measurement seen on factory field shotguns is a 1-1/2" dropat-comb and 2-1/2" drop-at-heel. Ideally, the top of the comb should position the shooter’s eye to the lineof-sight vertically, and the thickness, contour and taper of the comb and side of the stock should position the eye horizontally. When the Topper Trap gun was first handed to me two years ago on a shoot hosted by Remington during Straight Stock The Topper trap stock features a 1-3/4" drop-at-comb and a 1-3/4" drop-at-heel. In short, the full length of the comb is parallel to the line-ofsight so that wherever the shooter’s cheek is placed along that comb, Alan Fausher was all grins after smoking the first 25 with the Topper. After the round, Fausher observed he couldn’t have performed any better with his Perazzi or Krieghoff. 28 WWW.GUNSMAGAZINE.COM • OCTOBER 2011