Clay Shooting

Skeet, Trap and Sporting Clays: The Differences

For a beginner or newbie in shooting sports they may confused with a few term usually used by clay shooters. First of all, what is Clay pigeon shooting? The sport of shooting clay is basically to shoot a moving clay pigeon using a shotgun and trying to break down as much clay as they can. The trajectory of the clay is produced by the throwing machine. Clay pigeon thrower is a vital device in shooting sports and is becoming trendy today.

The shooter is using a real pigeons at that time where the bird was placed under hats or in traps before released. As time goes by, the use of clay was introduced as a replacement for live pigeons. Indeed, one of the names for the targets used in shooting games is clay pigeons.

For those who new to the shotgun world, they would start gone out with buddies and shot at a single clay thrown into the air by hand. After a while, I bet they will like to move toward a bit more sophistication in organized shooting.

Many newbies went to shooting parks that accommodate various shooting games facilities and have ammunition, shotgun rentals on location. But most of them do not knowing that Trap, Skeet, and Sporting Clays shooting are totally a different kind of shooting style.

There may be someone at the shooting range that are so kind and will explain the differences between these styles and targets and what would be the best for Shotgun newbies. For those who are not so lucky to have someone explaining to them, here is a brief description about the variety of shooting sport.

Skeet, trap, and sporting clays are three very different games. I can describe those 3 shooting games as easy, hard and very hard and please keep in mind that it has nothing to do with the gun you use.


Skeet you have clays that fly at you away from you and crossing in both directions. In skeet you get a target from high house on the left and targets from a low house on the right. the targets are always thrown the same trajectory from either houses. The difference being you move in a semi-circle starting at the high house and move towards the low house every few shots (8 stations in all).


Trap is a little different, you stand in one place and the clays are launched from a station below you out away from you. You are shooting at things as they fly away from you. There are 5 stations in almost a 1/4 circle around the trap machine. A round of trap is also 25 birds, 5 from each station.

The birds are thrown at an approximately 45 degree spread from the center of the machine. The trap machine oscillates left and right randomly – you don’t know where the target will be going when you call.

Sporting clays

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.

Imagine golf with a shotgun. You walk around to different locations shooting at clays that do all sorts of things like fly through the air at various angles and speeds, roll along the ground, etc. mimicking various game hunting situations.

Trap, Skeet, and Sporting Clays are all fun to shoot. Everyone has their favorite game I’m quite sure. These are good games to have some very good camaraderie with friends and also new friends whom you will get to know. They were designed to make you more familiar with your shotgun by the time hunting season rolled around. Some guys only shoot clay pigeons and have never actually hunted but I would like to think they are in the minority.

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