View Full Version : Skeet vs. Trap vs. sporting clays

July 6, 2002, 12:18 AM
What's the difference? I understand that sporting clays is like golf with a shotgun (kinda like a putt-putt course).

Dave McC
July 6, 2002, 04:39 AM
Instead of wasting bandwidth trying to describe the differences, I suggest you hit the closest range and see them. Bring your shotgun(s) along.

The Yuppie types zooming around in golf carts are the Sporting Clays shooters.

The guys in flannel shirts dragging their knuckles and eating their dead are skeet shooters.

The old guys sitting between rounds B!tching about everything and everybody are trapshooters...

All in fun...

Also, Jerry Meyer's Clay Target Handbook gives a nice overview and some tips on shooting all the games....

July 6, 2002, 09:22 AM
LOL Dave, don't think I've seen a better description.

As for the differences among the games here's an old thread that covers it:


July 6, 2002, 09:39 AM
Dave pretty well has it right about the attitudes and demeanors of the various groups, but here's a quick rundown on the basics of each game;
- trap is shot by groups of up to 5 people who stand 16 yards or more away from a low-built "trap house". Each shooter stands on a "pad" that's in a line pointing towards the centrre of the trap house, and when a target is launched, it will come out directly in a line away from one of those lines. (The angles are random, chosen by a "wobble" mechanism in the trap). Each shooter calls for a target and gets 1 shot at it, then the next shooter to their right gets their turn. After 5 rounds from one position, everyone switches one position to their right.
- skeet can be shot by more people than trap, but is usually no more than 4 or 5. A skeet field is laid out like half of a clock face, with a "high" house at 9:00 and a "low" house at 3:00; you have 7 shooting pads arranged along the outside of that clock face, with an 8th position in the middle of the field, between the traps. (The traps launch the targets out at an angle, so they don't hit the trap houses.) Each shooter gets a series of targets from each house (one high, one low, and one double), then it's the next shooter's turn. Doubles are only given at stations 1 and 2, and 6 and 7, and each shooter will repeat the shot at their first miss; this gives 25 rounds for a round of skeet.
- sporting clays is meant to more simulate hunting than either trap or skeet, even though both trap and skeet were originally designed to give hunters practice at making shots on game birds. In sporting clays, you get a variety of different-sized targets, travelling at different speeds, in different flight paths. In one station, you might have to shoot at a low target travelling overhead, then at a large "rabbit" running across a clearing in front of you. (Sporting clays is one of the few shotgun games where you're expected to shoot at a moving target on the ground; they simulate rabbits by using a large clay target with a thick rim that is launched sideways and bounces on its rim along a given path.) You might see a station simulating ducks settling onto a pond, or springing teal flying straight up before they fly off.
If you like shotgunning, you owe it to yourself to give each of these games a try.
Stacey C.

Dave R
July 6, 2002, 09:05 PM
Stay away from sporting clays. Too doggone addicting. Don't say you weren't warned...

Jim Watson
July 6, 2002, 10:50 PM
I am a trapshooter and shoot only a little skeet and very occasional sporting clays.
But, if you are just getting started, I reccomend skeet. You get to shoot enough different targets to learn the importance of swing and lead, but with enough repetitions to learn fairly rapidly.
Easy choice on guns, too. Any auto, O/U, or even SxS 12, 16, or 20 gauge with little choke - cylinder, skeet, or improved cylinder - will break any and every skeet target you put it on.

When you are comfortable with that, try some trap. You will need a modified or full choke and if you get serious, a properly stocked trap gun. But that will add the fast away birds and the challenge of random angles, even though within a fairly narrow range. Again, you will get in enough shooting to learn the technique.

Sporting clays is very varied, with many targets over many layouts and backgrounds. It is the current fad, popular and fun, IF you can hit the targets. But the wide variety of target presentations and the slow pace of a round over the large range needed to hold all those layouts make it hard to get the repetitions necessary to build skill. I don't think SC is a good starting place or learning experience unless you have the money and time for extensive training and practice. Easier to learn the basics at skeet and trap; then move on to SC when you know what it takes to hit most targets. Unless, of course, you decide trap or skeet is the game for you and you stay with it to get really good.

July 7, 2002, 01:25 AM
Thanks for all the insight--actually I've shot skeet INFORMALLY in the past (just for practice, not in competition) and did 1 round of Sporting clays a few years ago. Never got into it because I never had the right shotgun. The main reason I asked was because my father purchased a used Remington automatic (1187?) shotgun that was built for shooting skeet. He asked me to take him to my club, thinking I knew everything about shooting...boy was he wrong!

Dave McC
July 7, 2002, 05:05 AM
In that case, Spleen, I suggest you and Dad try out the different games and see which one ringeth thy chimes. Maybe all of them will, I've never met a shotgun game I didn't like.

And each one has it's advantages. Trap teaches precision, skeet teaches a sustained lead method of shooting that's invaluable, and SC/5 stand teaches versatility.

They all improve gun handling because you're handling your shotgun.

Trap calls for a tight choke like IM, SC uses a variety, and skeet demands,uh, skeet chokes.

At the start, use the cheapest load of 8s you can find. After a while, using better ammo will pay off, but you don't need it right now.


July 7, 2002, 03:03 PM
All I have ever shot is Skeet and 5 Stand. I enjoy both. The 5 Stand is more challenging. I would like to try trap some day. My uncle shoots trap and he loves it.
Jim Hall

Dave McC
July 7, 2002, 03:23 PM
When I said I never met a shotgun game I didn't like, I wasn't kidding, Aerod. A limited income and family obligations keep me from enjoying all the games, otherwise I'd be burning up ammo every day. SC on Mondays, Trap with the Geezer League Tuesdays, a little 5 stand on Wednesday, and so on.

Not to mention Dove,Geese,Quail,Ringneck, Woodcock,Mallards,Woodies, etc, to keep me busy until deer season....