SKEET AND TRAPSHOOTING by Jerry Pardue

Originally designed to provide practice for field shooting, skeet and trap are now sports in themselves.

Trapshooting was first mentioned in 1793 in an old English magazine, "Sporting Magazine." For many years, in Europe and America, live birds were used as targets, being released from under top hats by jerking the hats off with a string. These shooters were known as the "High Hats Club." Later, boxes were used much the same as top hats.

Toward the end of the nineteenth century public sentiment caused legislation to prevent live bird shoots. Over several years a progression of man-made targets was used. Many variations of glass balls, some filled with feathers, were tried. In 1880, a fat clay bird was used. With little change, this type target is still used today.

Cincinnati had trapshooting in 1831. In June 1900, 74 contestants competed in the first Grand American Handicap Trap Shoot. Since that year, the Grand American has become the largest trap shoot in the world. Every trapshooter wants to attend and win at the Grand. In 1996, approximately 5,000 shooters of all ages competed in the Grand American Handicap, shooting at 100 targets each during one day of shooting. The Grand lasts for some ten days.

The Interstate Trap Shooting Association, formed in 1890, organized and regulated the sport in the United States until 1922. The present Amateur Trapshooting Association (ATA) evolved from these beginnings in 1923. The ATA is headquartered in Vandalia, Ohio, where the Grand American Handicap is held each year. The membership of the ATA in 1977 was more than 48,000.

Skeet shooting is a way of life-exercise for the body, mind, and soul for more than 50,000 members of the National Skeet Shooting Association. Through winter and summer they shoot at millions of targets-breaking most of them-meet new people, and travel across the United States.

It all started on the grounds of the Glen Rock Kennels in the town of Andover, Massachusetts, in 1920. It was there and then that a small group of upland game hunters, including the late C.E. Davies, proprietor of the Glen Rock Kennels, his son Henry W., and the Late William H. Foster, all of Andover, were shooting at clay targets as a means of obtaining wing-shooting practice with their favorite upland guns. Their shooting gradually developed into a regular program that gave each shooter the same series of shots so that the competition, which was inevitable, might be even.

Originally, the arrangement was a complete circle with a twenty-five-yard radius with the circumference marked off like the face of a clock. The trap was set at "12 o'clock" and was set to throw the targets over "6 o'clock." The competitive program consisted of shooting two shots from each of the twelve stations. The shell that was left over from a box was used, first as a stunt, to shoot at an incomer from the center of the circle. This later proved to be a shot offering real snap-shooting practice and has since developed into the plan of station 8 shots of the regulation skeet program.

"Shooting around the clock," as it was informally called, had most of the elements of modern skeet shooting. But a commonplace incident then occurred that had a distinct bearing on the present day program. In "shooting around the clock," shots were fired to all points of the compass, until a neighbor started a chicken farm in a lot adjoining the kennels. That put a stop to shooting in that direction. Foster solved the problem by producing a second trap and placing it at "6 o'clock" so it would throw its target over "twelve o'clock." This gave the shooter the same problems as were found in the original clockface, but reduced the danger area by half.

Noting the appeal of this form of shooting, Foster became convinced that development of the idea could be made nationally acceptable. He therefore set about to complete a shooting program that would contain all the necessary elements of wing-shooting practice and of a competitive sport. Among the additions were the four sets of doubles and the optional shot.

When details of the sport had been worked out and tested and a set of rules had been drawn up, the idea was introduced to the public in the February 1926 issues of both National Sportsman and Hunting and Fishing magazines. At the same time, a prize of $100 was offered for the most appropriate name for the new sport. It was won by Mrs. Gertrude Hurlbutt of Dayton, Montana, who suggested "Skeet," an old Scandinavian form of the word "Shoot." Some 10,000 entries were received in the contest.

The American shooter was apparently ready and waiting for a practical form of wing shooting with the shotgun that would give him an opportunity to test his skill any month of the year on a series of shots similar to those encountered in hunting and, as evidenced by the popularity of skeet shooting today, it has far exceeded the expectations of its sponsors.

As the popularity of the sport grew, the forming of a national skeet shooting association was inevitable. This came about and the first National Championship Shoot was held August 16-31, 1935, at Cleveland, Ohio. The 12 gauge (then called the all gauge) entry in that shoot totaled 113 participants. This tournament became an annual fixture, being rotated around the country, and the last championship under the original association was held at Syracuse in 1942. Skeet then became non-existent during World War II as far as civilian shooters were concerned. Equipment and ammunition became unavailable. Most of the participants had gone to war. Gun clubs ceased to operate and many disappeared completely. However, the government quickly recognized the value of the sport in gunnery training, and all branches of the armed forces relied on skeet to teach servicemen the principle of loading moving targets. Many of the great civilian shooters rushed into the service and most of them were used as instructors.

With the end of the world conflict, a dedicated group of skeet enthusiasts officially brought the sport back to the public with organization and incorporation of the present National Skeet Shooting association in December, 1946. This new association was financed in the beginning by a substantial, nointerest loan from the National Rifle Association. The National Championship Shoot was resumed at Indianapolis in 1946. The home of the NSSA is now in San Antonio, Texas where the National Matches and other large matches are held.

In addition to the regular skeet shooting program of 12, 20, 28 gauge and .410 bore competition, there are the international style and collegiate divisions, both with specifically designed regulations. The international style features the previous low-gun position and variable-timing target release required by NSSA rules up to 1952 Contrasted to the present cheeked gun position, this style is required by the international shooting union, a worldwide shooting organization, and the international olympic committee, producer of the Olympic games, where skeet shooting was first included on the program in 1968.

The Trap and Skeet Shooting courses at Tennessee Tech are offered to present these sports to the beginner and, if interested, carry this person into the advanced stages of competition on a local, state, national, and/or international level.

BEGINNING TRAP AND SKEET

This course is to introduce the student to the safe handling of shotguns, range procedures and basic rules of each sport, reloading ammunition, and shooting both trap and skeet.

The activity fee for the course covers all materials necessary for the class guns, ammunition, reloading components, targets, range, and instruction.

This class meets for one two-hour session each week. The first class meets in a classroom at Tennessee Tech as published in the semister bulletin. All other class meetings will take place at Bend of the River Recreation Area. This is located 10 miles north of Cookeville on Highway 136 (North Washington Avenue.

Handouts will include: a list of terms, definitions, and rules which each student should be familiar with; sample score sheet showing how to score both trap and skeet; list of ATA rules; diagram of trap range; diagram of skeet range; parts of cartridge.

Grading for this course is not based on proficiency at shooting. Although we hope each student has good scores, there is no reasonable, fair way to use scores on the range for your course grade. Three written examinations and participation will be used to determine the letter grade for the course.

 

SKEET

As we see from the history of the sport, skeet shooting is an American invention circa 1920. Although one can shoot by himself, the average skeet squad is composed of five people, each of whom shoots a round of 25 shots.

The skeet field is laid out on a semi-circle (or half "clock") with eight stations for shooting. Seven stations are positioned at equal distances on the perimeter of the "clock" with the eighth in the middle on a line between position one and seven. (Station one would be the numeral twelve on a clock; position seven would be the numeral six.) High targets are thrown from station one at one end of the semi-circle; low targets from station seven at the other end. The trap houses at station one and seven are called the "high house" and "low house." Targets are always thrown in the same pattern of flight, but the angle of the shot varies because the shooter changes position as the skeet squad moves from station to station. Two targets are shot from each of the eight stations. One from each house, and doubles, where targets are thrown simultaneously from both houses, are shot at stations 1, 2, 6, and 7. The twenty-fifth shot is called the "option shot" and is a carry-over from the days when the shooter had a choice of his 25th shot if he hit the first 24. The shooter no longer has any choice of where to take the "option shot."

Before getting into the specifics of shooting trap and skeet, let's look at some basics which are common to shooting any clay target. If you can see the target with either normal eyesight or corrected vision and have average coordination, you can learn to hit a moving target with a shotgun-and will hit the target. The important things to learn in shooting at moving targets are: proper stance, correct gun mounting, the right sight alignment, the need to lead the target, and the importance of swing and follow-through.

Each of these steps will be dealt with in detail in the advanced and competition courses. For the beginning course, we will concentrate on simply getting used to seeing the targets in the prescribed flight, tracking the targets, swing and follow-through. The leads recommended by the instructors for each target in skeet are given below. One must remember that the apparent lead for each shooter may be different from these suggested leads. This is due to each person's unique swing and sight picture. If the suggested lead does not work for you, be prepared to modify according to what you and the instructor think best. The recommended leads are:

Station One: High House-0 lead Low House-1 foot Station Two: High House-0 lead Low House-1 to 1 1/2 feet Station Three: High House-3 to 4 1/2 feet Low House-3 to 4 1/2 feet Station Four: High House-3 to 4 1/2 feet Low House-3 to 4 1/2 feet Station Six: High House-1 foot Low House-0 lead Station Seven: High House-4 to 8 inches Low House-0 lead Station Eight: High House-0 lead, fast swing, catch the target and shoot Low House-0 lead, fast swing, catch the target and shoot

Again, these leads have been developed through our years of teaching. These will not work for every shooter, but you have to begin somewhere. The instructor will be able to adjust each shooter as he is shooting the targets.

 

 

 

 

TRAP

In trap, the shooting is done from five adjacent positions in a crescent-shaped formation 16 or more yards behind the "trap." Shooting is done in rotation with the person in number one position firing first and so on. Each person fires at an individual target. After each has fired five shots from a particular position on the crescent, all move one station to the right until everyone on the squad has fired from all five positions for a total of 25 shots. The trap squad consists of five people or less.

The "trap" is concealed in a low house in front of the shooting stations. Clay targets are thrown from the house at various angles unknown to the shooter. The targets are thrown away from the "trap" 48-52 yards and in any direction within a radius of 44 degrees. The arc is centered on the "trap" and station 3.

As in skeet, the objective in trap shooting is the breaking of a fast moving clay target. The targets used in trap are the same as those used in skeet. Beyond these factors, however, the two sports are markedly different.

Unlike skeet, trap contains an element of the unpredictable. Because the shooter can never guess which angle the target will follow, it is impossible to use a cut and dried formula in determining proper leads. The principles of lead, swing, and follow-through are applicable to all forms of shotgun shooting. In trap, just as in skeet, no follow-through after firing is certain to cause a miss. Good stance and proper gun mounting are equally essential to the trapshooter.

Most trap targets are rising as well as going away from the shooter. Therefore, they require an upward lead in addition to whatever quartering lead may be indicated Remember to establish proper horizontal and vertical lead and continue your swing and follow-through as you fire.

As the new shooter gains experience through practice, he will gradually acquire a conditioned memory image or mental picture, of how far over, right or left to lead every target thrown. It will take time, but eventually, each memory image, neatly tucked away and classified in the mind, will come flashing through with computer speed to match every target angle encountered. Trite but true, practice makes perfect.

COMPETITION TRAP AND SKEET

By this time the student should have a fairly good grasp of the basics of shooting trap and skeet. This course is directed toward getting the student involved in actual competition. The class meets for a one-hour session each week on campus. Shooting times are arranged by the student. One requirement of the course is to attend and participate in at least one registered target competition sometime during the quarter. These are held year-round almost every weekend and transportation is usually easy to obtain.

SHOTGUN INFORMATION

Gauge

The gauge of any shotgun is determined by the inside bore diameter of the barrel. The largest gauge allowed in modern hunting is the 10 gauge. However, the 12 gauge has attained the greatest popularity of all gauges, because of its versatility. It is capable of providing loads nearly equal to 10 gauge, and, of course, recoil is noticeably less. The 16 is a close competitor to the 12 in versatility and has many advocates who will use nothing else. It is an excellent gauge for upland game, and very effective for practically all waterfowl shooting. Most enthusiastic shotgunners seldom go long without a compact little 20 gauge. The "Twenty" has extremely fast handling and pointing characteristics which make it delightful for both the novice and skilled shooter. Improved loads have now made the 20 gauge most suitable for varied types of shooting.

The 28 and .410 gauges also feature exceptional handling ease. However, these two gauges carry some 25 percent fewer pellets than the normal 20 gauge load, and are therefore used primarily by the skilled upland bird hunter or skeet shooter capable of picking up the target at close range.

Every gauge listed has features desirable for specific types of shooting, as well as for specific types of shooters. But, the desire for lighter weight and lighter recoil need not limit a shooter to one gauge. Browning now provides light weight and light recoil in every gauge it makes. This, combined with proper shell selection, can assure pleasant shooting in any gauge. Just select the Browning gun and gauge you like best.

Choke

Choke refers to the amount of constriction in the bore of the shotgun barrel. This choke commences about three inches from the muzzle so that the inside diameter of the barrel at this point is less than at any other point along the tube toward the breech. This constriction slightly squeezes the shot charge mass just before it leaves the gun, tending to keep the shot charge pellets from spreading wildly. The more the constriction, within known limits, the tighter will be the concentration of shot in flight at any given distance.

A cylinder bore has no choke at all. With no constriction in the barrel at any point, the shot flares toward the target in a broad and loosely held mass. At the other extreme is the full choke gun which provides the maximum concentration of shot in flight.

The degree of choke is custornarily measured by the percentage of pellets which hit within a 30-inch circle at 40 yards. In the same gun this percentage may vary slightly, depending on the size of shot, velocity of shot, and amount of shot used. But on the average, the following percentages may be expected in Browning barrels with wide variety of loads available.

Comparable percentages may be expected from the 28 gauge and the .410 gauge at about 35 yards.

Average Browning Percentages Identification 30 Inch Circle

Choke on Barrels at 40 Yards
Full * 65-75%
Improved Modified o- 55-65%
Modified *- 45~55%
Improved Cylinder ** 35-45%
Skeet **S 30-35%
Cylinder *** 25-35%

The degree of choke is often referred to as pattern percentage, or pattern, although pattern includes a slightly broader meaning. Even more important than the percentage of pellets hitting within the prescribed area is the even distribution of the pellets in that area. Within the range for which any particular choke is engineered, the pattern should have no holes as large as the target. For example, it has been determined that five hits of number 5 shot are generally required to kill a duck. Therefore, at the effective range of the gun and cartidge, the pattern should be tight enough that at least five number 6 shots are within the area of a duck's body at any point in the pattern circle.

The choice of choke should be made in relation to the distance at which most targets are to be shot. If the game is generally shot at distances of 40 yards or more, then a tight choke (improved modified or full) is appropriate. A modified choke would give approximately the same pattern density at 35 to 40 yards, improved cylinder 30-35 yards, and so on. Since studies have shown that the great majority of game is shot at ranges under 40 yards, the modified choke is the most generally accepted for all-around shooting conditions.

Barrel Length

It is still assumed by many that the longer the shotgun barrel the farther the gun will shoot, the more effectively it will perform, and the more closely it will pattern.

The facts are, however, whatever the gauge, barrel length has small effect on the velocity of the shot charge. With modern powders, the shot charge reaches maximum velocity after it has traveled a relatively short distance up the barrel bore. (Longer length of barrel does not make the pellets move faster or go farther.) Since the degree of choke controls the pattern of the shot at the target the proper barrel length is entirely a matter of desired weight, balance, and sight radius.

 

 

Barrel Length

It is still assumed by many that the longer the shotgun barrel the farther the gun will shoot, the more effectively it will perform, and the more closely it will pattern.

The facts are, however, whatever the gauge, barrel length has small effect on the velocity of the shot charge. With modern powders, the shot charge reaches maximum velocity after it has traveled a relatively short distance up the barrel bore. (Longer length of barrel does not make the pellets move faster or go farther.) Since the degree of choke controls the pattern of the shot at the target the proper barrel length is entirely a matter of desired weight, balance, and sight radius. The longer 30 or 32 inch barrels add weight at the muzzle for steadiness, and provide a longer sighting plane for the slower, more deliberate swing required to hit more distant targets. The shorter barrels are preferred whenever quickness in getting a gun shouldered, and general ease of maneuverability, are important.

The size of the individual is also a consideration. A small person will likely be more accurate, even for distant targets, with a shorter barrel since the longer barrel may be uncomfortably heavy and slow.

Rib

A rib on the top of the barrel rapidly channels the eye down an uninterrupted sighting plane. A ventilated rib also minimizes heat wave distortion that occurs down the sighting plane when the gun is fired in rapid succession.

Gun Stocks

There are three specific measurements important in any shotgun stock. The measurements, as illustrated below,* are "drop at the comb," "drop at the heel," and "length of pull."

Since exhaustive research and experimentation have shown that these three measurements can greatly affect shotgun shooting success, Browning Arms Company takes special care to meet the most desirable measurements in each stock produced.

A stock that is too long may catch under the arm pit or drag on the lower shoulder. It will feel uncomfortable and awkward, and can markedly delay the fast execution of a shot. On the other hand, the stock that is too short will cause more kick to the shoulder, and hurt the shooter's face as well.

Since shotguns have no rear sights as do rifles, the shotgunner sights along a plane from breech to barrel muzzle to target. In effect, the shooter's eye is the rear sight. Thus the amount of drop at the comb is extremely important in its effect on good or poor shooting. Should the comb be too low, the shooter's eye will be too low when the gun is properly cheeked, and the gun will throw the charge below the mark. If the comb stands too high, the impact of the charge will consistently be above the target. In addition, the

shooter must place his cheek against the comb of the stock at the same spot and in the same manner on each successive shot. Otherwise, the shooter will be erratic, sometimes shooting under his target and sometimes over.

The drop at the heel measurement is just as important to good shooting as is drop at the comb. It contributes a great deal to proper gun alignment, and if excessive, will cause the recoil to be more noticeable. A 15/8 inch drop at the comb, a 21/2 inch drop at the heel will prove correct for at least 95% of the shooters.

For trap and skeet guns it will be observed a straighter stock is provided which means less drop at both the comb and heel. This is because the target is small and generally shot on its rising trajectory. With a straighter stock there is less danger of shooting under the bird -even though the shooter holds dead on without blotting out the bird with the muzzle as the shot is fired.

The shooter of average physical characteristics should use a stock of standard dimensions. The drop at both comb and heel will generally fit well. Any minor adjustment in the length of the stock should come after some shooting has been done.

The Proper Gun

The shotgun you buy should have the characteristics best suited to your physical build and type of shooting you intend to do. In this article is a chart to help the new shooter determine best gauges, etc., for various game. The "Proper Gun" is, of course, a debatable subject since what is best for one shooter, or one species, might not be for another. The recommendations are presented to help the new shooter determine the best gun for him under various circumstances.

Extra Barrels or Variable Choke

By referring to the chart it will be noted that the same gun can be used on various game under varying conditions by changing from one barrel to another of different choke and length. On all Browning automatic shotguns, barrels of the same gauge and model are readily interchangeable. Thus a duck gun can become a skeet gun, or a fine upland game gun, by changing barrels.

Versatility of a gun can also be increased by having one of the several good variable choke devices installed on the end of the barrel. Such a device permits the shooter to switch from one choke to another as shooting conditions require. The resulting patterns, although possibly not quite as good, approximate the desired choke for most purposes. However, one should expect the balance of his gun to be slightly upset because of the added weight of the choking device. It is popular today to use screw in chokes. By simply changing the tube at the end of the barrel , you can carry all the different chokes in one pocket.

SHOTGUNNING HINTS

The suggestions listed below are primarily for the novice hunter. The experienced gun man has already put them into practice. The fundamentals are: correct gun position, proper shooting stance, effective range, and swing.

Correct Gun Position

Place the cheek firmly against the stock in a position that enables you to see the target clearly over the end of the gun. Do not sight down the barrel as in rifle shooting. This causes you to shoot low, and interferes with an unobstructed view of the target in flight.

Keep the head down. Misses are often caused by cheeking the stock, then raising your head to look for the target. Remember that in shotgun shooting, your eye acts as the rear sight. Once on the stock, your cheek should remain there.

Proper Shooting Stance

Face the target. A right-handed shooter should, if possible, point his left foot toward the spot he intends to fire. This will prevent body cramping. Feet should be spread comfortably apart. Lean forward slightly, with the forward knee bent slightly, weight on the forward foot. On angle shots, pivot from the waist. Always keep the gun in motion even after shooting. Follow-through pays off!

Effective Range

Know the range of your gun. Shooting when game is beyond range is a major cause of crippling and loss of game. The type of choke in your gun determines maximum effective range. If you are unsure, pattern-check your gun on large sheets of paper at various ranges. Then hold a decoy, or other gamesized object, against the pellet pattern. This

will show you at what point the shot charge becomes too spotty for effective hits. Compare rocks or other objects that approximate size of the game you will be hunting at various distances. With a little practice you will be able to determine distance almost instantly.

Lead, Swing, Follow-through

When shooting at moving game, especially faster waterfowl in full flight, it is necessary to shoot well ahead of the bird. It would be impossible to make an accurate chart covering all the variables of the bird's speed, distance from shooter, and angle of flight. In addition, a bird can move 5 to 20 feet in the time a hunter can pull the trigger. Only by swinging through the target, determining what appears to be the right amount of lead, and following through after the shot is fired, can consistent success be attained. It has been said that 95 per cent of all misses occur because the shooter stopped the gun when he pulled the trigger.

THE SHOTGUN SHELL

A box of shotgun shells usually lists five specif ications:

Gauge-usually printed as 12 Ga., 16 Ga., 20 Ga., etc.
Length of shell-printed as 2 3/4", 3", etc.
Drams equivalent- printed as 3 1/4/. Drams equiv.
Size of shot-printed as 2, 4, 6, etc.
Ounce of shot-printed as 1 1/8 OZ., etc.

Gauge

It is vitally important to pay particular heed to the possibility of mixing up shells of different gauges. Persons who hunt together with guns of different gauges, as well as the man who owns different gauge guns, should keep shells carefully separate and constantly recheck before entering the field. For example, a 20 gauge shell will slip into a 12 gauge barrel so its rim rests on the forward edge of the forcing cone of the chamber. The shell will not fire and cannot be readily seen. If a preoccupied hunter mistakes failure to fire as a failure to load, he may add a 12 gauge shell into the chamber. The 12 gauge shell will slide into the chamber behind the 20 gauge so smoothly the shooter is completely unaware. Upon firing, the obstruction caused by the 20 gauge shell can cause serious injury.

Length of Shell

All shotgun barrels are chambered to accept shells of specific length. If shorter ones than designated are used, there is no danger. But if a longer shell is chambered, it may result in a dangerous constriction of the shot charge and gas wads as they pass through the forcing cone of the chamber.

The shooter should aiso realize that the size designated on the gun barrel means the length after firing. While a shell marked 2 3/4" may actually measure 2 1/2" with the edges crimped, firing will open them up. That is the length shell the gun must be able to handle.

The owner of a shotgun can use shorter shells, with excellent pattern performance, if a heavier load is not required to do the job. But never load a longer shell into any gun than that which the gun is designed to shoot.

Dram Equivalent

Today's modern smokeless powders produce far greater power, with much less weight, than the old black powders. The black powder shells were measured in drams (1/16th of an ounce) while the smokeless powder shells are designated in drams equivalent. Thus a shotgun shell marked "3 1 /4 dram equiv." contains enough smokeless powder to produce the same power produced by 3 1/4. drams of black powder.

Shotgun powder burns more quickly than rifle powder. With the relatively large bore required by a shotgun, it would be heavy and burdensome if thick barrel walls were used througho ut, as with rifle barrels. Therefore, shotgun shell powders are made to burn more quickly, exerting the greatest energy near the thicker-walled breech. Obviously, shotgun shell handloaders should always take every precaution to use none but the prescribed powders.

Size of Shot

Lower numbered shot, such as 2 and 4, provide the maximum distance and killing power to be used on fox, turkey, geese, and similar game. The higher numbered (and smaller sized) shot such as 6 or 7 1/2, is preferred by most hunters for pheasant. Size 7 1/2 or 8 shot is good for smaller upland game, such as chukar partridge and bobwhite quail, and in trap. Most skeet shooters want more pellets, and therefore use 9s.

Ounces of Shot

The greater the distance from muzzle to target, the wider the shot pattern. Therefore, more pellets are needed for greater pattern density in longer range shooting. Check the chart to see the various ounces available, and the recommended ounces for each species of game. Heavier loads will be required for shooting beyond 45-50 yards. Lighter loads are required to avoid mutilating smaller game at close ranges. Most hunters purchase the heavier loads only when specifically required, since expense is greater.

TRAP SHOOTING ETIQUETTE

1. Make your entry far enough in advance so that the office can properly process it. Clubs want shoots to start on time, but they can't if shooters don't sign up enough in advance so that squadding and record keeping can be done.

2. Be ready when your squad is called and also when it is your turn to shoot in the squad.

3. Do not lean over each time to pick a shell out of a box on the ground or to pick up empties. Have your shells where you don't have to stoop to get them.

4. Do not raise your gun until the shooter ahead of you fires.

5. Remain at your post until the fifth man has fired, then move to the next position. At the end of the round, stand facing the traps until the last man has fired the last shot. If you are leadoff, do not fire until all squad members are in position after each change.

6. Never load your gun before changing positions. When going from position five to position one, turn to the right to avoid bumping guns with the man coming from post four.

7. Load only one shell at a time, except in doubles. Close the gun only when it is your turn to shoot. If a delay occurs, remove the shell.

8. Do not allow ejected shells from your gun to hit or annoy other shooters.

9. Do no unnecessary talking when you are on the firing line. When you are not on the firing line, keep your voice down when you are around other squads which are shooting.

10. Time your shooting to establish rhythm in the squad. Call in a loud clear voice so that there is no confusion about when the puller should respond.

11. Be a sportsman at all times. Be sure your competitors get what is due them, but do not be a target claimer.

12. Observe safety rules. Do not point your gun at another, even if it is unloaded. On the firing line, always keep your gun pointed toward the ground or the traphouse.

13. Shooters are always willing to have you look at their guns, if you ask permission first. Do not pick up another's gun from the gun rack and handle it without asking.

GLOSSARY

Skeet:

Shooting position-Standing with any part of both feet within the boundaries of the shooting station.

Gun position-Any position which is comfortable to the shooter.

"NO BIRD"-Any target thrown for which no score is recorded.

Interference-Any circumstance beyond the shooter's control which unduly affects his opportunity to break any particular target. The sun shall not be considered as interference.

Regular target-A regular target is one that (a) appears within one second after the shooters call (b) passes through a 3-foot diameter hoop 15 feet above the ground at the target crossing point, and (c) must carry from 55 to 65 yards in still air measured from the trap house.

Irregular target-(a) an unbroken target that has not conformed to the definition of a regular target, (b) two targets thrown simultaneously in singles, (c) target thrown broken. Under no circumstances shall the results of firing upon a broken target be scored.

Regular double-A regular target thrown from each traphouse simultaneously.

Irregular double-Either of both targets of a double thrown as irregular.

Proof double-Repeat of a double.

Shooting bounds-Straight out from the traphouses for stations 1 through 7. Between the trap house and the target crossing point for station 8.

Balk-Failure to shoot at a regular target.

Malfunction of gun-Failure of gun to operate or function through no fault of the shooter.

Defective ammunition-Failure of ammunition to fire properly.

"Dead target"-A regular target from which, in the sole judgment of the referee, no visible piece is broken as a result of having been fired upon after being called for by the shooter.

Doubles, first shot, second shot-The first shot shall be the first shot fired. The second shot shall be the second shot fired.

Optional shot-The shot fired after the first 24 shots have been scored dead in any one round (station 8, low house only) or a repeat of the first shot missed.

Skeet squad-A normal skeet squad is composed of 5 shooters. Less than 5 shooters is allowed. For reasons of safety, no more than 6 shooters should be squaded.

Round of skeet-25 shots fired from the 24 positions plus the optional shot. The object being to score the greatest number of dead targets.

Shooting up-The procedure of a late shooter shooting out of turn to catch up with his squad. He will not be permitted to shoot up after the first man in the squad has fired a shot at station two.

Targets only-This term shall apply to shooters who enter an event solely for the purpose of registering targets to obtain initial classification in NSSA.

Scoring-The score in any one round shall be the number of dead targets. An "O" shall be used to designate a lost target. An "X" shall be used to designate a dead target.

Malfunctions-Only two gun malfunctions of any one gun are allowable in the same round. The third and all subsequent malfunctions of the same gun are excessive and scored as lost. However, when more than one person is using the same gun in the same round, each person is permitted two malfunctions. A target shall be repeated for each allowable malfunction.

Guns and loads -

12 gauge and smaller

11/8 oz #9 shot smallest allowed 7 1/2 largest allowed

20 gauge and smaller

7/8 OZ #9 shot smallest allowed 7 1/2 largest allowed

28 gauge and smaller

3/4 OZ #9 shot smallest allowed7 1/2 largest allowed

.410 gauge and smaller

1/2 oz #9 smallest allowed 7 1/2 largest allowed

 

 

Trap

Shooting position-At all stations, the contestant's feet must be behind the firing mark and he must stand with at least one foot on the imaginary line drawn through

the trap and the firing point, or have one foot on each side of the line.

Gun position-Any position which is comfortable to the shooter.

"No target"-Any target thrown for which no score is recorded.

Regular target- In shooting singles the targets shall be thrown (a) between 8 and 12 feet high 10 yards from the trap, (b) shall fly not less than 48 yards nor more than 52 yards in still air, (c) shall appear from the house without a material interval of time, and (d) shall be thrown at some angle between and including a straightaway from station 1 and a straightaway from station 5.

Irregular target-An unbroken target that does not conform to a regular target. Under no circumstance shall the results of firing upon a broken target be scored.

Regular double-In doubles, the recommended method of throwing targets shall be such that a regular right hand target be an approximate straightaway from station 1 and the left hand regular target be an approximate straightaway from station 5. However, no target shall be declared irregular unless it varies more than 25 degrees from these angles.

Irregular double- Either or both targets thrown as irregular targets.

Balk-Failure to shoot at a regular target.

Malfunction of gun-Failure of the gun to function, or work, as it was designed to do, not failure of a shell itself. Malfunction of a gun applies only to a second shot of doubles.

Misfire-Failure of a shell to fire when the primer is struck with the firing pin or when evidence is present that the hammer did fall even though the primer shows no indention.

Dud shell-A shell which lacks a live primer or one in which the primer fires but through failure of the shell or lack of components and which consequently leaves part or all of the charge of shot or wad in the gun. A soft load in which the shot and wad leave the gun barrel is not a dud.

"Dead target"-A regular target that has at least a visible piece broken from it or is completely reduced to dust as a result of being fired upon by the shooter. A dusted target (a target from which there is a puff of dust) but no perceptible piece, is not a broken target.

"Lost target"-A regular target from which in the sole judgment of the referee no visible piece is broken after being called for by the shooter.

There is no optional shot in trap.

Trap squad-A trap squad is normally 5 members. It may be less but never more.

Round of trap-A trap round is 25 shots taken 5 at each of 5 stations. For singles and handicap and a pre-announced number of pairs at each station for doubles.

Scoring-The score in any one round shall be the number of dead targets. A "O" shall be used to designate a lost target and an "X" shall be used to designate a dead target..

Handicap shooting-ATA Handicap system handicaps the shooter by distance from the trap house. Theoretically, shooters' abilities should be reflected in the distance at which they stand. The minimum is 19 yards while the maximum is 27 yards.

Guns and loads-Guns shall be 12 gauge or smaller but no consideration shall be given to the smaller guns. The load shall be no heavier than 3 drams equivalent of powder or 1 1/8 ounces of shot, and a shot size of 7 1/2 or smaller.