A pro shooter for 20 years, sporting clays expert Cory Kruse boasts quite the shooting resume, with prestigious accomplishments such as winning the 2018 U.S. Open Sporting Clays Championship, 2019 World Sporting Champion and a five-time Texas State Champion. Learn what he keeps in his range bag.
What are your very first memories of handling a firearm?
I don’t know my age, but it must have been a little too young. I remember stealing my older brother’s pellet gun and shooting my mom’s pots and pans—indoors. Just because it sounded cool. Things were just different back then.
The gun was a Daisy Power Line 880. I could get one pump in easier than I could cock a Red Ryder. However, if BB guns don’t count, then a Winchester pump .22 LR was my first gunpowder burning cartridge. It was my Grandpa’s and I learned to hit flying Coke cans with it.
Tell us how you got your start in competitive shooting.
My first competition was with my Dad in 1997. He finally let me compete in a local event with him after being his caddy on sporting-clays courses and carrying his bag for a year. I won my division and kept the ball rolling since then.
What firearms and other gear do you use for competitive shooting?
For competition I shoot my beautiful Blaser F3, 12-gauge with 32-inch barrels. They are choked and ported by Rhino Chokes. My custom stock was fitted by my buddy Larry Feland and cut out by Tommy Shurley out of Austin, TX.
My ammunition is Aguila 1-ounce, 1,275 fps competition loads. It pulverizes clays and birds. This combination of shotgun, ammunition, chokes and stock has been a pivotal part of my recent successes.
With wife Catherine and daughter Claire.
Tell us about your range bag and what you carry in it besides your firearms.
Honestly, I just use a backpack to carry all my gear. It allows for easy access to everything. In it I carry rain gear, Rhino Chokes, ESP Hearing Protection, Pilla Eyewear, a red Laporte Dream Team Castellani Shooting Vest, some Pedialyte packs, a bottle of water and some O’Keefes Workin Hands lotion for grip on the gun. I have super dry and callused hands—the O’Keefes helps a ton.
What do you do in your free time?
I’m severely addicted to bow hunting. I love it. But I don’t have much free time between being a husband, father, full-time salesman for C&G Boats and a pro shooter.
Any tips for new shooters?
Find an accomplished professional coach in your area, or even look one up and travel to them. They will drastically shorten the time spent learning the game, saving you both time and money. Sporting clays is such a fun and fast-growing sport. Get lessons and compound your entertainment.