A quick explanation for those starting the sport

Did your early clay shooting instruction take place on a ground offering sporting targets suitable for beginners?

On the other hand, it may have taken place on a skeet range. For some reason,  targets from peg two on a skeet layout are great favourites of some instructors.

Different types of competition

No matter where your tuition took place, you will have noticed there are several different types of competition available on the average shooting ground. Here’s a quick guides to the main types you might come across.

George Digweed shooting

The mighty George Digweed shooting English Sporting

English Sporting

In this discipline the aim is to simulate the huge variety of different targets encountered in field shooting.

A typical 100-target competition may be shot over as many as 10 or more stands, each offering a different type of target – going away, incoming, crossing, rising or falling.

Sometimes the targets are presented as simultaneous pairs (two targets in the air together), or ‘pairs on report’, when the trapper releases the second target the moment he hears your first shot.

The physical features of a shooting ground, together with different types of clays travelling at different speeds, help offer almost endless variations. Some targets are presented among trees, and some against backgrounds varying from wooded hillsides, to open skies.

The international version of this discipline is called FITASC Sporting.

shotgun components

Shotgun jargon buster

It’s nice to look at old magazine adverts and think: “Wow, in 1904 I could’ve bought a best London gun for…

down the line trap shooting

A DTL trap at a clay ground

Trap disciplines

There are several of the disciplines known as trap. All have slightly different forms of target presentation and different rules.

But all the trap disciplines have one thing in common. All the targets are going away from the firing position, originating from a trap house about 16 yards in front of the shooter.

Common disciplines are Down the Line (DTL), Ball Trap, and Double Trap.

The Olympic discipline is Olympic Trap, which requires complex layouts not often encountered on UK shooting grounds.

Skeet shooting

Rory Warlow on his way to a bronze for England in the Men’s Skeet during the Commonwealth Games

English Skeet

This is a game of relatively close-range crossing targets, presented from a high tower on the left of the range and a low tower on the right. Shooters take it in turns to shoot from eight different positions (or pegs) set in a semi-circle. There is a set sequence of targets which includes doubles – simultaneous birds in the air from both towers, crossing in the air in front of the shooter.

The Olympic discipline, Olympic Skeet, is broadly similar, but the targets are faster and the rules are slightly different. The US version, American Skeet, is also available on a few UK grounds.