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Old January 28, 2010, 02:26 PM   #1
jg0001
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Sporting Clays, Skeet, Trap... what's the difference?

Sporting Clays, Skeet, Trap... what's the difference?

Help a newbie out, please. What's the key difference and what attracts you to one over the other?
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Old January 28, 2010, 02:29 PM   #2
RUT
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Google is your friend.
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Old January 28, 2010, 02:48 PM   #3
Technosavant
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Short short version:

Trap: One thrower, the shooters remain behind the house (in one of five stations), the angle and elevation of the bird thrown will vary, usually one bird at a time.

Skeet: Two throwers, the shooters move around a semicircle between the houses. Trajectories (angle, elevation, speed) of the birds from the respective houses are fixed. As you move around the 8 stations, the shots change because the shooter moves.

Sporting Clays: Is across a large field, you walk to various stations, at each station there are a few different types of targets. Some run low (like rabbits) others higher and faster (like birds).

5-stand: Like Sporting Clays and Trap. You have a few stations spaced closely together like trap, but there's a bunch of clay throwers, each throwing a different kind of target. Kind of like Sporting Clays without all the walking/space required.
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Old January 28, 2010, 02:53 PM   #4
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Rut, I hear ya, but Google wouldn't answer the 2nd part of the inquiry:
"...what attracts you to one over the other?"
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Old January 28, 2010, 03:24 PM   #5
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There are subtle differences - In American trap and skeet the object is not to miss any. In 5-stand and sporting, the objective is to try and hit as many as you can. There is a difference in those perspectives.

Trap targets are always rising and going away, Skeet targets are thrown on a very specific line of flight. %-stand, sporting and FITASC use whatever terrain and ideas the target setter can come up with - no two layouts are ever the same, targets at good courses are changed frequently and the presentations can be a varied as you can imagine.

I prefer FITASC first - it is the most challenging, with sporting clays second and 5-stand third. I like the variety of target combinations that test gun speed, the ability to read the target flight and determine what it is doing, and the challenge of breaking them.

Last edited by oneounceload; January 28, 2010 at 07:25 PM.
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Old January 28, 2010, 04:38 PM   #6
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They each require different disciplines.

Trap has little movement left to right / or less movement than Skeet. But the difficulty is different in Continental Trap ( bird is faster, angles are wider and higher ) and you can load 2 shells. In Trap - as you improve - you move back from the 16 yard line - to the 27 yard line. Its mostly a 12ga game.

Skeet - more left to right movement / bigger difference in number of shots required as you move from stations 1 - 8 on the semi-circle of the field. Degree of difficulty goes up / as you go from 12ga - to 20ga, 28ga or .410 .. Its more sociable than Trap / on the Trap line, everyone should be dead quiet on the firing line. There is more interaction on a skeet squad.

Sporting Clays - walk thru the woods, etc - maybe a 10 or 15 station course --- incomers, crossers, outgoing targets, rabbits rolling on ground ... More variety / more interaction between shooters / more difficult / usually a 12ga game / but some shoots will have a 20ga, 28ga or .410 event as well.

What attracts me to each / different guns, different feel on shots, different venues .... I shoot all 3 / but not too much Trap ....
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Old January 28, 2010, 04:51 PM   #7
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jg0001, I think I can help you. To the casual observer, the shooting sports look pretty much the same: a target is tossed and it's either broken, or not. Yet, the games are quite different. Skeet and clays and 5-stand demand a more dynamic shooting style where trap requires more precision. Consequently, you'll generally see an older crowd shooting trap.

There's the economic factor. This applies to the shooter as well as the gun club. Trap is the most economical facility to provide since it requires only one machine and less land area. Think of sporting clays as golf with a shotgun -- a nice sporting clays facility represents a considerable investment and the shooting fees will be higher, per target, than trap and Skeet.

There's also the equipment factor. For shooting simple trap singles, almost any gun gun can be adapted and you don't need a gun that will provide a quick second shot. Trap is the only game where the pump shooter won't be disadvantaged. For the other sports, O/U guns are pretty standard. You can use an auto-loader for Skeet; however, for clays or 5-stand you'll probably want an O/U to give you the ability to shoot different chokes. For competition Skeet, you'll need to shoot four gauges (.410, 28, 20 and 12), this is an added expense.

There's also the social aspect. Skeet and clays are shot as teams with each member shooting in sequence with the support of the others. Trap and 5-stand are shot five abreast with little interaction between the shooters. Because of this, Skeet and clays are shot at a more leisurely pace than 5-stand and trap. Consequently, there's a lot more social interaction between Skeet and clays shooters. I've seen trap and 5-stand squads shoot a 100 targets with very interaction between the shooters -- it's an every man for himself kind of attitude. With Skeet and clays it more of a team effort. Five-stand may appeal to the younger shooters, with Skeet and clays to a little older and affluent shooters.

For most folks, it doesn't take too long for the new shooter to find out which of the games is best suited to his shooting abilities and personality.

Hope this helps.
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Old January 28, 2010, 06:18 PM   #8
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Personally,I like sporting clays better b/c target presentation is changed up and the trajectorys are similar to game birds. Most courses change location of the house several times a week. I think of it like golf. trap and skeet is like the driving range that prepares you for what may happen on the golf course (sporting clays). That is just the way I see it. All are fun but with the different shot presentations, sporting clays won't be as repetitive.

Hope this Helps!
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Old January 28, 2010, 06:32 PM   #9
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A little different angle on this question.
Trap is the most repetetive of the three. All straight away shots.
Skeet changes things up some. Same course every time. Shooter moves around a calibrated course.
Sporting clays is by far the toughest of the three. Different course almost every week. Target presentation, speed, angle, type, size, terrain, location, lighting, background change constantly.
Success is measured in different ways.
Trap success is running 100 straight.
Skeet success is running 25 straight.
Clays success is running 50 straight.
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Old January 28, 2010, 07:39 PM   #10
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To add some more food for thought:

Most trap and skeet tournaments have a slew of folks finishing with perfect scores and thus they need shoot-offs to determine a winner.

While I have seen shoot-offs in sporting clay tournaments, there aren't any perfect scores. IIRC, the number of perfect scores in a registered tournament can be counted on one hand.

If you want one of the best clay target challenges, try the FITASC version of sporting clays. Along with box pigeons, helice, and bunker....FITASC presents the shooters with the utmost challenges of speed and angles.
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Old January 28, 2010, 08:58 PM   #11
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Skeet=crossers, Trap=away birds, and everything else is a combination of the two.
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Old January 29, 2010, 07:49 AM   #12
Morgoroth
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How much space do I need to set up for trap or skeet on my own?
My Father in Law has some land we deer hunt on and there is a small clearing that I think might have enough room for a thrower but I am not sure.

So what would you guys suggest?
Also, how much of a buffer do you need (ie how far will the pellets go)?
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Old January 29, 2010, 08:26 AM   #13
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Morgoroth,
Check NSSA and ATA for official field requirements. And, you'll need a 300-yard safety zone.
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Old January 29, 2010, 08:58 AM   #14
Morgoroth
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I think I have the buffer covered bc he has a decent amount of land.

Thanks Zippy, but those sights are blocked at work.

I went and measured on google maps and I have about 40 yards of clearing available at the longest point.
It is sort of triangle shaped.

So I guess a better question is, do you guys think that that is enough to work just to try things out.
I have never shot skeet before and I want to try before I go joining a gun club.
A friend has a thrower, etc etc.

Last edited by Morgoroth; January 29, 2010 at 09:06 AM. Reason: Clarity
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Old January 29, 2010, 10:58 AM   #15
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Forty yards is not enough for trap targets, since they fly fifty yards from trap to ground.

You don't need to join a club, necessarily, to shoot trap, skeet, 5-stand, or sporting clays. There are lots of clubs which allow the public to shoot for a per-round fee. You can "try before you buy". It also allows you to check out facilities and the membership. (There is a social aspect to most shooting.)
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Old January 29, 2010, 11:02 AM   #16
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lambertsteeth wrote:
Quote:
Trap is the most repetetive of the three. All straight away shots.
Not to put too fine a point on this, but trap targets are not all straight away shots. A hard left from station one is a straight away from station five, etc., and this is what toughens the game. All targets are going away, but not necessarily straight away. In addition, the birds are launched at random angles, so each station gets a different view.
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Old January 29, 2010, 11:09 AM   #17
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http://www.hunter-ed.com/wa/course/3-12_choke.htm
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Old January 29, 2010, 11:10 AM   #18
Morgoroth
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Yeah, I looked for one that might have public access, but I can't find any around here (Wendell, NC) that are at all close(<1hour).

PS-Noyes, can I assume that is pointing the gun at a 45 deg angle or is it flat out?

Last edited by Morgoroth; January 29, 2010 at 11:12 AM. Reason: PS
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Old January 29, 2010, 11:16 AM   #19
eddyb74
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I've never shot sporting clays, would love to someday.

I've shot trap a handfull of times and do it every once in a while to remind myself why I don't like it.

I shoot skeet because I like the interaction with my fellow shooters. We joke around, help each other, and it is always a great time.

We also like to play "throwers choice" on the last line of the night. Granted there are not alot of choices, but you never know what button is gonna be pushed. It can be pushed as soon as your action is closed. On station 8 you walk from 4 to 8 like you are hunting.
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Old January 29, 2010, 11:36 AM   #20
unkleschilke
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Good one eddy. We do speed skeet sometimes.

Load 4 on 1, get report doubles.
Load 4 on 2, report doubles
Load 2 on 3, 4, 5, doubles
load 5 on 6, report doubles and throwers choice
load 5 on 7, report doubles and throwers choice

Its only 24, but you get an extra shell for your vest.

And yes, pump or auto is preferable. Hard to load a double that fast.
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Old January 29, 2010, 01:47 PM   #21
jg0001
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Wow, thanks all for the informative answers and color on what's what.

When the weather warms up in a few months, I'm going to have to finally put my (one and only for now) shotgun to use (it's a Benelli Supersport, 12ga, 28" barrel, semi-auto -- it's only seen use at an indoor range so far).
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Old January 29, 2010, 01:54 PM   #22
BigJimP
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I have a SuperSport as well - hope you like it / I think its a very good gun.
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Old January 29, 2010, 01:59 PM   #23
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While many gun clubs have membership dues, etc., most are also open to the public - the difference is typically a member gets a reduced rate on targets and supplies from the pro shop. Before you go buy a thrower and take the time to layout a trap or skeet field, you might look into local clubs, go there and explain you're new and ask for help. Most shooters I know are more than glad to help a new person.

Just shot sporting this morning at one of the local courses - we had a small turnout, about 9 or 10 - basically two squads - and everyone gives everyone a hard time when they flub an easy one (all in good natured fun)
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Old January 29, 2010, 02:10 PM   #24
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"Skeet=crossers, Trap=away birds, and everything else is a combination of the two."

Not even close. Sporting offers both those targets, but many other combos, many orders, speeds, types of targets, and in constantly changing orders, lighting, and stand locations/angles.
I've never seen a battue, rabbit, incomer, 30yd crosser, gravity rabbit or teal in skeet or trap.
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Old January 29, 2010, 02:15 PM   #25
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Don't forget the midi's and mini's; shooting on the side of a hill, having overhanging trees and sun light in your eyes, chondelles (GRRRR), and many of the other frisbee-like ones thrown just to mess with your head.
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