Sporting Clays
Sporting clays is a form of clay pigeon shooting. Described as “golf with a shotgun”, the sport
differs from trap and skeet shooting in that:
1. It is often considered to be more difficult than trap or skeet.
2. It involves shooting clay targets at multiple locations (called stations).
3. Unlike trap and skeet, which are games of repeatable target presentations, sporting
clays targets are thrown in a great variety of trajectories, angles, speeds, elevations
and distances.
The original idea behind sporting clays was to create an experience that more closely
reflects actual hunting conditions. Whereas top-tier trap and skeet professionals may have
hit ratings nearing 100%, the best sporting clay shooters hit their targets only about 83% to
95% of the time.


Although the sport is challenging, it is quite popular with novice shooters and ordinary
hunters. While many shooters opt for expensive double-barreled shotguns, the game is
equally enjoyable with an inexpensive pump-action shotgun or autoloading
(semiautomatic) shotgun.
Safety is an important part of sporting clays. Proper ear and eye protection and firearms
safety procedures are required to be followed at all times while on a course (WW RULES)
A typical course will consist of 10–18 stations, each station having a pair of clay-throwing
machines, called traps. Varying numbers of clay pairs are shot at each station, with the total
shots on a typical course adding up to 50 or 100 (two or four boxes of shells, respectively).
Advanced shooters have the clays thrown as simultaneous pairs (called true pairs in most
of the US), while novice or intermediate shooters can opt for the clays to be thrown
(the second clay launched on the report of the shooter’s gun, hence the name report pair).
Targets are thrown at different angles and speeds; sometimes across the shooter’s view
(crossers), towards the shooter (in-comers), away from the shooter (out-goers), or straight up
in the air (often called “teals”).
The shots are intended to simulate hunting for quail, grouse, pheasant, pigeon, or other
game. Many courses have traps which throw targets from tall towers simulating high-flying
ducks or geese. Some courses have targets that roll and bounce along the ground to
simulate rabbits. There are also targets, called ‘battues’, that loop in the air — this does
not simulate any particular animal, but it is usually a challenging target.
The speed at which a trap throws a clay can also be controlled by the course setter, and
many of the traps are made to be relocatable on the course. Therefore, the configuration
of a sporting clays course (trap location, clay trajectory, and speed of the clay) can easily
be changed, allowing various levels of difficulty and a multitude of layouts.


Skeet Shooting
Skeet shooting is one of the three major types of competitive shotgun shooting at targets (the
others are trap shooting and Sporting Clays). There are several types of Skeet, including one
with Olympic status (often called Olympic Skeet or International Skeet), and many with only
national recognition.
Skeet is a recreational and competitive activity where participants attempt to break clay
disks flung into the air at high speed from a variety of angles. For the American version of
the game, the clay discs are 4 5/16 inches (109.54mm) in diameter, 1 1/8 inches (28.57mm)
thick, and fly a distance of 60 yards (+/- 2 yards). The international version of skeet uses a
target that is slightly larger in diameter (110mm vs 109.54mm), thinner in cross section
(25mm vs. 28.57mm), and has a thicker dome center, making it harder to break.
International targets are also thrown a longer distance from similar heights (over 70 yards),
resulting in a faster target speed……
The firearm of choice for this task is usually a high quality, double-barreled over and
under shotgun with 28/30 inch barrels and open chokes. Some gun shops refer to this type
of shotgun as a skeet gun. Alternatively a sporting gun or a trap gun are sometimes used.
These have longer barrels up to 34 inch and tighter choke. Many shooters of American
skeet and other national versions still use inexpensive semi-auto and pump action
shotguns with great success. The use of clay targets replaced the more traditional target
of live birds, as a cheaper, more humane and more reliable alternative, one reason
they are also called
clay pigeons.
The event is in part meant to simulate the action of bird hunting. The shooter shoots
from eight positions on a semicircle with a radius of 21 yards (19 m), and an 8th position
halfway between stations 1 and 7. There are two houses that hold devices known as
“traps” that launch the targets, one at each corner of the semicircle. The traps launch
the targets to a point 15 feet above ground and 18 feet outside of station 8. One trap
launches targets from 10 feet above the ground (“high” house) and the other launches
it from 3 feet above ground (“low” house). At stations 1 and 2 the shooter shoots at
single targets launched from the high house and then the low house, then shoots a
double where the two targets are launched simultaneously but shooting the high house
target first. At stations 3, 4, and 5 the shooter shoots at single targets launched from the
high house and then the low house. At stations 6 and 7 the shooter shoots at single
targets launched from the high house and then the low house, then shoots a double,
shooting the low house target first then the high house target.
At station 8 the shooter shoots one high target and one low target. The shooter must
re-shoot his first missed target, or if no targets are missed, must shoot his 25th shell
at the low house station 8. This 25th shot was once referred to as the shooter’s option
as he was able to take it where he preferred. Now, to speed up rounds in competition,
the shooter must shoot the low 8 twice for a perfect score.
Skeet was invented by Charles Davies, an avid grouse hunter, in the 1920s as a sport
called Clock Shooting. The original course was a circle with a radius of 25 yards with
its circumference marked off like the face of a clock and a trap set at the 12 o’clock
position. The practice of shooting from all directions had to cease, however, when a
chicken farm started next door. The game evolved to its current setup by 1923 when
one of the shooters, William Harnden Foster, solved the problem by placing a second
trap at the 6 o’clock position and cutting the course in half. Foster quickly noticed the
appeal of this kind of competition shooting, and set out to make it a national sport. T
he game was introduced in the February 1926 issue of
National Sportsman and Hunting
and Fishing
magazines and a prize of 100 dollars was offered to anyone who could come
up with a name for the new sport. The winning entry was “skeet” chosen by Gertrude Hurlbutt.
During World War II, skeet was used in the American military to teach gunners the principle
of leading and timing on a flying target.
Olympic Skeet
Olympic and International Skeet is one of the ISSF shooting events. It has had Olympic
status since 1968, and, until 1992, was open to both sexes. After that year, all ISSF events
have been open to only one sex, and so females were disallowed to compete in the Olympic
Skeet competitions. This was somewhat controversial because the 1992 Olympic Champion
was a woman, Zhang Shan of China. However, women had their own World Championships,
and in 2000, a female Skeet event was introduced to the Olympic program.
In Olympic Skeet, there is a random delay of between 0 to 3 seconds after the shooter
has called for the target. Also, the shooter must hold his gun so that the gun butt is at
mid-torso level until the target appears.
Another difference with American Skeet is that the sequence to complete the 25
targets in a round of Olympic Skeet requires shooters to shoot at doubles, not only in
stations 1, 2, 6, and 7, as in American Skeet, but also on 3, 4, and 5. This includes a
reverse double (low house first) on station 4. This last double was introduced in the
sequence starting in 2005.