Three Types of Shotgun Sports You Should Know

If there is one thing I have observed over the years, it is that many women secretly want to learn to shoot a shotgun — and when they do finally get the chance, they love it. If you’ve never shot but are curious about it, tune in this week, because I’m giving all of the details on this fun sport.

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Yesterday I shared 5 Reasons You’ll Love Skeet Shooting, so today I want to talk about skeet shooting’s siblings–trap and sporting clays. You will need to know the difference if you are ever invited to shoot. Trap and sporting clays fall under the same umbrella as skeet, but are a little different.

A Few Basic Concepts about Trap, Skeet, and Sporting Clays

  • All use the same target: a circular domed orange and black disc about the size of a teacup saucer. It is made of clay (hence sometimes called a “clay”) and is biodegradable.

disc

  • A shotgun is the type of gun you use for these sports, because the shots have a much broader spread compared to a pistol or rifle
  • All of these sports can be done at a trap & skeet club or can be done with a simple handheld thrower in the middle of the country
  • The term “club” when used in “trap and skeet club” is not synonymous with “country club”. You do not have to be a member to shoot at most clubs and most clubs are not as fancy as a country club!
  • When the shooter is ready, she shouts “Pull!” and the person accompanying her punches a button to let the target fly out of the machine
  • Skeet and trap are Olympic sports!

Skeet Shooting

In skeet shooting, two small houses flank either end of a skeet field. The house on the left side of the field is called the “High House” because it shoots targets out from a greater height than the house on the right side, which is called the “Low House”. The skeet field is shaped like a fan, with seven stations radiating out from a center station. If the field were a bottom half of a clock, the high house would be at 9 o’clock, the low house at 3 o’clock, and the stations at every hour in between, with the 8th station in the center of the dial.

skeet shooting diagram

Photo credit: Wikipedia

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High house pictured above

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Low House

  • One round = 25 targets
  • One shooter at a time at the station, and once every shooter has a turn you move on to the next station
  • Shoot one house at a time
  • On stations 1, 2, 6, and 7 doubles are shot. “Doubles” is when both targets come out of the house at the same time and you shoot them one at a time without stopping in between.
  • Typically no more than five people participate per round

Trap

In trap, the orange discs fly directly out in front of you from the center of the field, as opposed to flying from side to side in skeet shooting. In this sport, there are only five stations from which you shoot (as opposed to skeet, which has eight.)

  • One round = 25 targets
  • 5 shots per shooter
  • 5 stations, numbered from left to right
  • After your 5 shots are taken at station 1, move down to station 2, and so on

This YouTube video is a good example of trap shooting:

Sporting Clays

This is a lot of fun and perhaps my favorite of the shooting sports! Sporting clays courses are usually spread out through the countryside, and there is a path connecting the different stations. Like in skeet and trap, one person pushes the button to signal the machines to send the clays out into the air, and the other person shoots.

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Sporting clays course at Casa de Campo resort, 2015

  • At each station, load your gun and be ready to shoot, but don’t hold your gun up to your cheek until you see the clay
  • Typically you will go through 50-100 shotgun shells per person
  • Take your shotgun shells and some water with you

The idea of sporting clays is to simulate bird or small game hunting, so if you’re not a hunter but want to experience that challenge in an animal-free way this may be a fun sport for you. Some of the clays go straight up in the air, some straight out in front of you, some bounce along the ground, and every station is different. Most gun clubs switch up the angles of their machines every now and then, so even that changes!

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Granted, this sport is a tad more difficult but I like to think that because it’s more difficult, there’s less pressure to perform. Just have fun with it!

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I hope you enjoy giving these sports a try! If you don’t own a gun, I recommend calling the gun club and asking for private instruction, and it’s possible the instructors will have guns to lend.

Next I will be sharing local gun clubs in your area. Until then, enjoy the following posts from the archives:

 

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