Up and away with the Trapmaster
Elliot Roberts and friends have great fun and some challenging sport with the new portable clay trap produced by Danish company Nordic Clays
With the game season over and spring upon us it is time to hang up your tweeds and look forward to warmer days ahead and perhaps the opportunity to visit some of the country’s many fine shooting grounds to smash some clays and hone your skills.
Clay shooting is and always will be a great way to socialise, get outdoors and indulge in some light-hearted and, perhaps, not so light-hearted competition. But if access to a shooting ground is not straightforward or the cost of going with a larger group on a simulated day prohibitive, there could be a low-key solution.
I recently discovered what I believe is an innovative new product from Copenhagen-based Nordic Clays. The Trapmaster is a portable, versatile and compact clay thrower, ideal for practising your technique for the next game season or having an impromptu clay shoot with friends. I had the opportunity to get out with a few of mine and put the Trapmaster through its paces to see if it was just another fad or a potential game changer for shooters.
A closer look
The Trapmaster shares the appearance of a hunting lamp, but don’t let that fool you. This compact device delivers some immensely challenging and thrilling throws. The first thing to note is the packaging. The Trapmaster is housed in a sturdy ABS case with a moulded foam lining containing the thrower itself and its accessories. In the box is one Trapmaster, an instruction manual, carry strap and multiple chargers (including a car charger).
The design of the Trapmaster is clean, solid and intuitively straightforward to operate. I also took delivery of a few boxes of the company’s uniquely designed biodegradable clays and a clay magazine, offering easy over the shoulder carrying of additional clays when out and about.
The Trapmaster is turned on with a large button at the base of the device and to the rear are several speed settings offering nine different velocities. To the front of the launcher is a trigger, which is pressed to initiate the launch with the clays rotating until they reach the adequate speed before being released. There is also a battery indicator on the back of the launcher that offers green, amber and red lighting to inform on the charge status of the battery.
The clays themselves reminded me somewhat of the Helice clays. They are made up of multiple rings held together by six blades and are available in both black and bright orange. There is a hole in the centre of the clays for you to slot them into the launcher ready to be released. They clays are flat in design and I was concerned they may be quite brittle given their construction, but they are rigid and despite being knocked about in transit and out in the field, we didn’t have any breakages.
In the field
We took the Trapmaster out with a few Guns and had the opportunity to really put this launcher through its paces and see what it could produce. I was thankful for the addition of the carry case and clay magazine, although weighing in at only 2kg it is very lightweight.
The Trapmaster can be loaded with single or double clays, so we lined up and started firing off doubles with some standard going away birds. We went straight in with the highest speed setting and I think it took us all by surprise at the acceleration of the clays and the heights achieved. The advertised speed of the clays is up to 37mph with a range of up to 100m but with a strong Scottish wind behind us and being slightly elevated, we were achieving much more than this with a few clays being recorded closer to the 180m mark.
Having a handheld thrower allowed us the opportunity to constantly change direction, trajectory and speed of the clays providing a great variety of targets to the guns. The design of the clays also meant that unlike conventional clays, they don’t always follow a set trajectory. We noticed the clays bobbing and turning providing a more lifelike, natural feel to the shooting. Rather than being flung like in conventional traps, the Trapmaster rotates the clays at a high speed before releasing them and letting the bio-clay blades do the rest.
In each box of targets there are 196 clays priced at £46.00 (roughly 23p per clay). We rattled through a couple of boxes in no time, some driven targets, fast crossers, low-flying targets, springing teal and any other combinations we could come up with. We also used more cartridges than we dared to count.
What we like
The primary selling point of the Trapmaster is its portability, versatility and therefore ease of use. I had everything I needed for a few hours of clay shooting with friends in the footwell of my car and once on site you don’t need a trailer or multiple sets of hands to move it and set it up. It gives you the freedom to go anywhere, anytime and test yourself in various environments.
The ability to throw two clays at a time and constantly change the trajectory and speed is also something that entry level clay traps don’t often offer. You have the ability to throw different targets every time and you have some of the most lifelike and challenging targets you will get from a clay launcher, especially one in a similar price bracket.
The Trapmaster has a built-in battery that comes with a mains powered charging cable. I struggled to find much that I didn’t like about the Trapmaster, it was a wholly enjoyable device to use and provided all the Guns with hours of entertainment. Given the design I think that perhaps it could have a combi-drill style battery set-up with interchangeable batteries allowing you to carry a spare. Maybe this is something that could be added in the future? That said, we were out for a good few hours and went through nearly 400 clays and there was still juice in the launcher, so it is a minor gripe. Given the fact the Trapmaster also comes with a car charger means that you can always top up the battery on the go.
I have seen photos and videos of the Trapmaster online but nothing quite shows off how great this piece of kit really is. I was really impressed with the build quality along with the speeds, heights and variety of targets we could achieve; it certainly offers some of the most lifelike targets you could ask for. At £710 (including VAT) it is competitively priced, considering a clay trap in a similar price bracket wouldn’t offer half the benefits, features or entertainment that the Trapmaster does. Nordic Clays actually offers 10% off your first order when signing up to its newsletter too.
There is currently no UK distributor for the Trapmaster, so you have to order them directly along with the boxes of clays at nordicclays.com. The shipping times were really fast so I have no reservations about being able to get hold of extra clays, and after using the Trapmaster and seeing how much potential it has I will certainly be needing to order plenty more clays.