Clay Target Shooting and Shotgun Games


At a skeet or trap range, you will load only when you are standing on the station and only when it is your turn to shoot. Never from station to station with a shell in the chamber, it doesn't matter whether or not the action is open.
Wear eye and ear protection.
The action of your shotgun must be open when not on the station shooting.
If shooting an autoloader in trap be considerate of others. Ejected shells can be a nuisance and a distraction to the shooter next to you. The use of a shell catcher is advisable.
Wait until the end of the round to pick up any ejected shells that may have fallen on the ground. Watch you muzzle, the action of your shotgun must open unless it is your turn to shoot.

Always shut off an electric trap and kick out the target on the plate before loading targets into it.
Don't let some so called expert tell you that it is okay to load an electric trap machine while it is running. If it is triggered, the throwing arm on the machine can break your arm and the carousel on a large machine has enough torque to wrench your arm from your shoulder should you be so unfortunate as to have your hand in it while it is moving.


A skeet field has two buildings facing each other forty yards apart Arrayed in a semi circle having a radius of 20 yards are 7 shooting positions with an eighth position, halfway between the two houses.

The building on the left is called the high house, the building on the right is the low house. The high house has an aperture 10 feet from the ground through which a machine throws a target to the left of the low house. The low house has an aperture 3 1/2 feet from the ground through which a machine throws a target to the right of the high house house.

Skeet Terms

A "single" is a single target thrown from one of the houses Example "A high house single"
A "double" is when targets are thrown from both houses simultaneously.
A "round" of skeet is 25 targets
A squad refers to the group of participants in round of skeet on a field. Usually this would be a maximum of 5 shooters, six if you are all good friends

The general practice is for squad members to shoot in the same order at each station. This is mandatory in a scored match.

The basic rules are when it is your turn you will stand on the station. Both feet must be at least touching the boundry of the station. A word about the "option" If you broke all the targets thrown on all eight stations then you would have expended 24 shells and would have one cartridge left over. You would then fire at another low house single on station eight. If you broke that target then you would have shot a "straight". However if you missed a target earlier in the round then you would retake that first missed shot using your option. A note on safety. The action of your gun must be open anytime you are not one station ready to shoot so that your fellow squad members can see that the shotgun is unloaded. You will not load you shotgun until you are on station and you will load no more than two shells taking care to point the shotgun down range.

The first target thrown on station one is a single target from the high house. Since at station one, the high house aperture is almost directly overhead it is best to start with the gun elevated at a steep angle. When you are ready, call for the target. Most people shout "Pull !" to call for targets but almost any utterance will do even grunting.

The second target will be a low house single. Many people make the mistake of trying to shoot this target too soon instead of letting it come to them and shooting just slightly in front of the target.

You will then reload you shotgun with two shells. When you are ready a double will then be thrown.

The basic rule in shooting doubles in skeet is that you shoot at the target thrown from the closest house first and then fire at the second target if you have time. In this case the high house is closer to station one so you would shoot the high house target first.

Basic Sequence of targets Station 1 High, Low, Double
Station 2 High, Low, Double
Station 3 High, Low
Station 4 High, Low
Station 5 High, Low
Station 6 High, Low, Double
Station 7 High, Low, Double
Station 8 Facing the high house shooter will fire at a high house single
Station 8 Facing the low house shooter will fire at a low house single

Though the word "Pull!" is most commonly used, some shooters will use the word "Bird" or may merely grunt. A hold over from the days when targets throwers were operated by people in the high and low houses, shooters would call *#34;pull" (High House) or "mark" (Low House) depending on which target that they wanted thrown.

Spreader Loads

Here is an interesting bit of trivia.
In the days before changeable choke tubes became commonplace, skeet was often shot with one's field gun which likely would be choked tighter than Improved Cylinder. It became customary for ammunition manufacturers to include two specially marked spreader cartridges in each box of skeet loads for use on Station 8. These loads were usually constructed by separating the shot within the cartridge into layers with thin disks of card. The common practice was for the shooter to take out of the box at the beginning of the round and store them in the two shell loops on his shooting vest or coat.


Trap was created to mimic a hunting situation in which there are multiple hunters flushing birds as they walk through a field.

Of course, it does not perfectly mimic the situation since target direction varies only on a horizontal plane and there is very little walking.

A modern trap field consists a curved line of 5 positions called stations facing a small building in the ground called a trap house. A target thrower inside the trap house that is mounted at ground level throws targets through an aperture away from the firing line in an upward trajectory. To vary the direction in which the targets are thrown, a motorized trap machine pivots on its axis moving from left to right and back again in an arc of 90 degrees several times a minute. The angle at which the target travels away from the shooter will depend where the trap machine was in its cycle when it was triggered. Targets may be thrown to the right, to the left or may travel straight away from the firing line.

Shooting a round of 16 yard trap.

The stations are 16 yards away and are numbered from one to five starting on the left.
To start each person in the squad takes a position on a station. The first person standing on the lowest number station, usually station one will begin each rotation in the round. That shooter will call for a target by shouting "pull!", and shoot at the target after it is thrown.
The next person to the right will call for a target and fire at the target thrown and so on until each shooter on the squad has fired at a target.
It will then be the first shooters turn again.
This sequence will be maintained throughout the round. When each shooter has fired at five targets on their respective stations they will then rotate to the next station on the right.
The shooter on station 5 will move to station 1.
When everyone has fired at 5 targets on each of the five stations then the round is done.

Dimensions of the Standard Clay Target

The standard clay target used for trap and skeet is disk in the shape of a very shallow bowl. Weighing 3.5 ounces, it measures 4.5 inches in diameter and is 1.0625 inches high. Generally they are colored orange but they may also be obtained in yellow or white. Most often these targets composed of asphalt pitch and ground limestone.