Shotgun Sports


Shooting USA - Shotgun Sports

SI-03-1The clay target sports… trap, skeet and sporting clays… These are the shotgun sports and they are great fun… and a great challenge while you’re keeping your skills tuned up for duck season, or pheasant, or dove.

Or maybe you’ll find the challenge of breaking clays in organized competition is the gun game that becomes the new passion for the entire family. The shotgun sports came about as a practical way for hunters to hone their skills before venturing out into the field in pursuit of game. And as with all shooting, practice leads to competition.

Trap Shooting
At a typical shooting club you might start with wobble trap because it’s closer to the shooter… it’s almost all going away from you and it’s an easier shot. With the target thrower mounted on an oscillating base, the targets can appear virtually anywhere in the field, but that’s not the only variable. You have stands on the ground, plus you have steps up to stands on the edge of the house and then you walk up on the top of the house, rotating through the positions after each five shots in a round of 25.

Trap shooting originally came from trapping birds in rail road yards or feed lots or wherever they were a nuisance. And instead of taking them out and releasing them, they would take them out and use them as targets. So you had a box that you would put the bird in. Like everybody says “pull” to see the target now-a-days, they were actually pulling a lever that was connected to the box to release the bird. If the bird got away fine, if he didn’t get away then he was scored as a dead bird. That’s why, in all of the clay target disciplines, you hear people say dead and lost: If the bird gets away then it’s lost, if it falls dead then it’s called dead -- same as with a clay target.

Variations of Trap
There are three variations of Trap, all of which are designed to level the playing field among shooters… as they attempt four rounds of 25 or a total of 100 clay birds. One is the 16 yard line game called singles with five competitors rotating through five shooting positions behind the low trap house in the center.

Handicap is another game for trap shooting that uses more of the spokes on a typical trap field layout. If you are a new shooter or not as proficient, you get to shoot closer to the trap house. If you are a good shooter and you win or shoot high scores, they move you back, so you can shoot anywhere from 18 yards to 27 yards back from the trap house.

Then there’s doubles. Most of the good machines will throw two at a time. Now that’s a whole other event. Now you have got to be able to load two shells in your gun and knock down two birds released at the same time.

Skeet Shooting
The next shotgun sport and arguably the best known is Skeet. This variation has its own set of challenges as the clays cross in front of you from the high and low houses on the side of the range. This is the game that challenges your ability to lead a fast moving bird crossing in front.

Sporting Clays
The shotgun sport which most closely resembles the hunting is Sporting Clays, a series of different challenges as you work your way through the course.

In sporting clays, you’ve got many different targets. You’ll have one springing straight up in the air like a springing teal; you’ll have a bouncing bunny that rolls around on the ground; you’ll have one that flies by fast in front of you, or a long crosser just like a dove way out in a field. A great sport if you want to do something that’s challenging, fun and interesting. It’s a lot like golf – where you have different holes on a golf course that offer you different challenges – sporting clays is the same, but with shotguns.


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