The Armory: TrAAcker Wad Technology for new shooters

EARLY STRUGGLES – Jessica Hovey struggled with tracking her shot early on, resulting in several frustrating outings for the new shooter. TIM E. HOVEY PHOTO

By Tim E. Hovey

Back when I started teaching my daughters to shoot, I had to deal with my youngest being what we called wonky-eyed. Essentially, she shot right-handed, but she was left-eye dominant. Once we corrected the dominance issue, I noticed that she was having a tough time hitting flying clay targets.

Like most new shooters, she was shooting behind the target. I could clearly see the almost transparent wad after her shot and mentioned it to her. She was convinced that she was shooting in front of the target and following through. When I asked if she could see the wad after her shot, she replied “No”!

AA TRAACKER TECHNOLOGY – The new TrAAcker Wad Technology introduced by Winchester has a brighter, darker color and notched petals to keep the wad closer to the shot pattern, making it easier for new shooters to track their shot. WINCHESTER PHOTO

Back in my early teens, when I started trap shooting, I had a similar problem with hitting flying targets. I had been a rifle shooter and quickly realized the two shooting techniques are very different. Back then a friend of mine reloaded his own shotgun rounds and some of the rounds had a darker, more visible wad in them. It didn’t take me long to realize that if I was using the shells with the darker wads, I was able to hit more targets, because I could clearly see where I was missing, and I was able to make adjustments.


Around the same time my daughter Jessica was having issues seeing her shot pattern on clay targets, Winchester released a shotshell that most definitely helped her hit more targets. The ammo company released AA TrAAcker shot shells with Orange TrAAcker Wad Technology. The shells were touted as a training aid for tracking shot leads., and I absolutely knew we had to give them a try

WINCHESTER TRACKER AMMO – Introduced around 2013, this new wad tracking technology helped Jessica actually see where she was shooting and helped her make adjustments on flying targets. TIM E. HOVEY PHOTO

After shopping around, I found a few boxes of the new AA TrAAcker rounds and the following weekend I took both my daughters out for a little shooting session. As always, my oldest shot well and hit almost all the targets I threw. Jessica, however, didn’t do so well.

I started her off with regular shells and she missed three shots in a row. At only thirteen, she quickly became frustrated that she wasn’t shooting anywhere close to as good as her sister. I had her load in three of the AA Winchester TrAAcker rounds. She missed the first shot with the new rounds but connected on the next two.

FIRST HUNT SUCCESS – After dealing with eye dominance issues and tracking her shot, a few shooting sessions using the new Winchester AA TrAAcking ammo helped her zero in her aim and target lead. TIM E. HOVEY PHOTO

Before I could mention the new shells, she commented that she could see where her shot was tracking and saw that she was not shooting in front of the target like she should, but behind it. Over the next hour, she hit over 50% of her targets, far better than previous shoots. Being able to clearly see the brightly colored shotgun shell wad made all the difference in the world for her.

The innovative wad design includes longer notched petals, which stabilizes wad spin and ensures that the wad remains in the center of the shot cloud for optimum tracking. Having something darker and bigger flying in the air toward the target made it far easier for Jessica to see her shot placement and make adjustments for shooting behind the target.

WAD COMPARISON – A smaller, less visible wad (L) compared to the highly visible and brightly colored AA TrAAcker wad on the right. This small change is huge for new shooters trying to get on target. TIM E. HOVEY PHOTO

While I chose the AA TrAAcker in orange to help her track her shooting, Winchester makes the AA TrAAcker in multiple color wads for varying light conditions. The black color is optimum for clear skies, and the blaze orange colored wad is ideal for overcast or dark backdrop conditions. For a casual day out shooting, no matter what color you use, the shooter will be able to track their shot more effectively with the new Winchester AA TrAAcker wads.

If you’re new to trap shooting, or just want to sharpen your wing shooting, I’d recommend grabbing a few boxes of the Winchester AA Tracker shells with the re-designed wad technology. Picking up where your shot placement is and making some very subtle adjustments can make you a more successful shooter.

FIGURED IT OUT – The following season, Jessica was a force during the mourning dove opener. Here she is with a handful of dove she took during a father/daughter hunt. TIM E. HOVEY PHOTO