Shotgun Sports

Sporting Clays (NSCA)

Sporting ClaysSporting Clays is often described as "golf with a shotgun" because a typical course includes from 10 to 15 different shooting stations laid out over natural terrain. Unlike trap and skeet which are games of repeatable target presentations, sporting clays simulates the unpredictability of live-quarry shooting, offering a great variety of trajectories, angles, speeds, elevations, distances, and target sizes.

A typical course consists of 10 to 15 stations, with each station presenting targets from one or two machines. Usually 6 to 10 targets are shot at each station by a squad of up to six shooters for a total outing of 50 to 100 targets per person. Targets are thrown as singles and pairs. Numerous hunting conditions can be simulated by combining various speeds and angles with different types of targets.

Throughout a course, the shooters might see targets crossing from either side, coming inward, going outward, flying straight up, rolling on the ground, arcing high in the air, or thrown from towers. The possible target presentations are limited only by safety considerations, the terrain, and the imagination of the course designer. The configuration of the stations is often changed to maintain interest for the shooters and for environmental preservation of the course.

In 1989, the National Sporting Clays Association (NSCA) in San Antonio, Texas, was formed to provide governance and promote Sporting Clays. Today sporting clays is one of the fastest growing sports in America, with more than three million people of all ages participating both competitively and recreationally.

American Trap (ATA)

American TrapThe Amateur Trapshooting Association serves as the governing body for the sport of American style trapshooting. The ATA's mission is to promote and govern the sport throughout the world.

The ATA was founded in 1900 as the American Trapshooting Association and later changed to the Amateur Trapshooting Association in 1923. The ATA is composed of individual members, with two classifications of membership - life and annual. Only life members can hold office within this organization.

The administrative offices and national headquarters are located in Sparta, IL. ATA home grounds are also located in Sparta, IL at the World Shooting and Recreational Complex which hosts the Grand American Championships each August. The 2007 Grand American will mark the 108th year of this notable event.

American Skeet (NSSA)

American SkeetSkeet differs from all other shooting sports, because it was originally developed to improve hunting in the field, and only later, because of its growing popularity, developed into a competitive sport.

Its development was actually brought about because of the industrial revolution sweeping the country during the early 1900′s. Rural areas began growing at incredible speed, into large, sprawling, industrial cities.

Hunters were now finding it necessary to travel longer distances in order to find areas in which to hunt. When they finally arrived, they discovered the game was no longer as plentiful as it once was. Not only were hunters having a harder time finding game, but certain species had already been hunted into extinction. One example is the carrier pigeon.

Some hunters turned to trap shooting to fine tune their hunting abilities. However, this was no help because of the lack of incoming and crossing shots.

In 1920, this problem was finally addressed by Charles Davis of Andover Mass. He was the owner of a dog kennel and an avid hunter. He spent many hours trying to devise a way to improve his field shooting. After trying and discarding many different types of plans he finally settled on an idea based on a field, laid out in a 50 yard circle. He called it "Shooting Around the Clock."

Skeet ShootingAround the circle, he placed 12 shooting stations, with a single trap, located at station 12. Shooters would fire two shots from each station, and one from the center, equaling a box of shells, or 25 shots. This layout provided almost every type of shot a hunter would encounter in the field.

All went well, until the owner of the adjoining property complained of falling shot on his land. To avoid any future problems, Davis cut his shooting circle in half, and put a second trap at the opposite end of his shooting field. This became the birth of the modern day skeet field.

This hunting practice field became so popular; it soon developed into a popular shooting game. Eventually, it was renamed Skeet, which is the Scandinavian word for Shoot. In 1926, the first National Skeet Championships were held, and shortly after, the National Skeet Shooting Association was formed.


FITASCFITASC is an acronym standing for the French words: Fédération Internationale de Tir aux Armes Sportives de Chasse. It is a type of shotgun sport shooting similar to sporting clays, trap and skeet. It involves strategically placed clay target throwers (called traps) set to simulate live game birds/animals- teal, rabbits, pheasant etc. Shooters on each layout or "parcour", shoot in turn at various combinations of single and double clay birds. Each station or "peg" on a parcour will have a menu card that lets the shooter know the sequence of clay birds he or she will be shooting at (i.e. which trap the clay bird will be coming from). The shooters will be presented with 4 or 5 two-shot singles which they will rotate through and then two pair. In Old Style FITASC there are three pegs on each parcour, with 25 shots to a parcour.

Typical targets are a rabbit, chandelle, overhead, trap (outgoing), crossing, teal (launched straight up into the air), and an incoming bird. The targets are shot as singles and as doubles (Double targets can be simultaneous, on report or trailing/following-"rafael" in FITASC terminology). All single targets may be attempted with two shots and are counted as killed with either shot, two shots may also be used to attempt doubles and either target or both may be shot with only those two shots. In other words, a shooter may attempt the first target in a double and upon missing, may continue to shoot that same target for score if broken even though the second target will be lost due to being missed in the double.


5-StandFive Stand is a type of shotgun sport shooting similar to sporting clays, trap and skeet. There are five stations, or stands and six to eight strategically placed clay target throwers(called traps). Shooters shoot in turn at various combinations of clay birds. Each station will have a menu card that lets the shooter know the sequence of clay birds he or she will be shooting at (i.e. which trap the clay bird will be coming from).

Typical five stand targets are a rabbit, chandelle, overhead, standard skeet high house and low house shots, teal (launched straight up into the air), and an incoming bird.


Fur & Feather

Fur and FeatherIn the shotgun shooting sports, "hunting" is often referred to as "fur & feather". Many of the disciplines listed here were developed simply as practice for hunting. Whether you are honing your skills for dove season or planning on the once in a lifetime pheasant hunt, shotgun shooting offers many opportunities at the range and in the field.

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