View Full Version : trap or skeet?

June 27, 2012, 10:37 AM
im not nor have i ever been into shooting for sport
mostly it has just been home/self defence
however here of late i have been going to the gun range also i have been reading more ABOUT shooting and less about SURVIVAL i suppose the (gloom and doom is just getting old) i was thinking i would like to maybe get started in shooting more and i dont know the diffrence between trap and skeet. i know a little about clay targets as i did when i was younger but what is trap shooting and how is it difrent from skeet?

June 27, 2012, 11:08 AM
Trap shooting is where you stand behind a trap house (16 yards away or further), and targets are launched away from you on varying angles; skeet is where you move around a half-circle with a high trap house on the left, and a low trap house on the right, and targets are launched (singly or in pairs) from those houses as you move from station to station. Personally, I prefer skeet, because it's faster, and when you get into the swing of things, it can be almost hypnotic. Trap shooters tend to be a little more obsessive/compulsive about things, to the point where I've watched them add or remove SINGLE layers of tape from a stock, on the pretext that that little bit was what made them miss a particular bird. Definitely, give both a try, and see which you prefer. The equipment varies between each, because you want a tight choke and longer barrel for trap, and an open or cylinder choke and a shorter barrel for skeet, but you can get multiple barrels for some guns that will let you do both.

June 27, 2012, 11:14 AM
They are two similar sports with a common clay target. Both were originally developed to sharpen hunting skills and evolved into organized sports. Trap is the older of the games and Skeet was developed to provide a grater variety of target angles. A picture is worth a thousand words, to get an idea about the two different sports, head out to a local T & S club and have a look at how the they are shot. There are also the web sites of the NSSA (http://www.nssa-nsca.org/index.php/nssa-skeet-shooting/) and the ATA (http://www.shootata.com/) as well as youtube videos.

Which you'll prefer has a lot to do with your natural ability and personality. In Skeet, you're shooting mostly crossing shots and trap is all departing shots. If you're old and/or slow, you may prefer trap. Skeet's more social, as the shooters take turns shooting from one of the 8 stations. With trap, each shooter is alone on 1 of 5 stations. Skeet includes 4 pairs of doubles per round and conventional trap is all single shots.

The games can be handicapped to make them more difficult (or more interesting). Skeet is shot with smaller and smaller bore guns. In trap, they increase the distance from the trap from 16 to 27-yards.

The games have been know to include some wagering :rolleyes: more so in trap.

Warning: Trap and/or Skeet can be addicting!

June 27, 2012, 11:40 AM
Here are some brochures from Remington explaining each game and giving pointers on how to be successful:


download the trap and the skeet ones.

Then there is 5-stand, sporting clays and FITASC which have targets more simulated to hunting


340 Weatherby
June 27, 2012, 02:43 PM
Being in Texas, you are in a very shooter-friendly state. There are trap and skeet ranges throughout the state. Your local gun shop that handles field guns should be able to point you in the right direction. We get a lot of guys like you that come out to our skeet range to learn about the sport. They find out that their tactical shotguns are pretty worthless in a hurry. The good part is, they can be trained and their tactical shotguns can usually be converted to field guns with a stock and barrel swap for not a huge amount of money. Welcome to the sport.

340 Weatherby
June 27, 2012, 02:50 PM
Talk to the folks at Briley Manufacturing in Houston. They will point you in the right direction.

June 27, 2012, 10:19 PM
thank all of you for explaining this to me now i only have the issue of my back
how hard is the sport on your body i have had back issues for most of my life and as it stands now i have two bulging disc in my lower back i have several 12 ga shot guns varying types i suppose i would need to get a 20ga if i took this up if and when the doctors fix my back i do however get to the gun range from time to time and shoot my pistols but tire easily but i endure just wish i could shoot my bigger/heaver guns more often

June 27, 2012, 10:46 PM

I shot skeet, trap and sporting clays competitively in the past, not any more but I do take my electric trap out to BLM occasionally and crush some targets.

About the 20 gauge. You will not be gaining much except maybe a competition grade gun. The reason being that, while the recoil may be reduced some, the average 20 gauge gun is much lighter than a 12 gauge, hence just as much recoil. You might want to consider a 28 gauge, much less recoil and is just as effective as a 20 gauge. The 28 gauge ammo is more expensive, but reloading will put the costs in line with 12 and 20.

As for skeet and or trap?

In trap if you are shooting in a squad (up to 5 shooters) you'll be holding your gun at each station for a period of 25 targets (5 shooters, 5 targets each per station) without moving (trap shooters are finicky about moving around on the line).

In skeet, you have to stand on each post for at most 4 targets, only during your turn, the rest of the time you can relax, sit down and rest your back while the other shooters in the squad (as many as 5) take their turn.

Of the two skeet is more social, trap shooters tend to be more focused.
In any event both are a lot of fun.

June 27, 2012, 11:03 PM
Scott, I hear you. I'm between spinal surgeries and have been limited to shooting .22s from a seated position for a while. There some questions you need to ask yourself: How long can you stand (a typical round of skeet takes 20-minutes and a round of trap is about 5-minutes less)? How much rotation do your have (Skeet requires more than trap)? And, how much can you heft (you may want a stick over a stack gun)? With limited mobility, trap is probably your best bet for starters. There are a number of wheelchair competitors in the shotgun sports.

For now, thinking about getting a 20-ga gun is really getting the cart before the horse. What shotgun(s) do you already have?

June 28, 2012, 02:07 AM
Scott, While you stay at your station until all members of you squad have shot 5 times, one shot each after another, you don't necessarily have to hold your gun all that time. I am not sure if it is done with pumps and auto-loaders (what Zippy calls "stick guns") but many rest the muzzle of their over/unders, with their actions open, on their shoe while waiting for their turn to fire. (Many wear a little shoe protector to prevent damaging the top of their shoe.)

June 28, 2012, 03:34 AM
Chris Batha - ClayCoachOnline

Gil Ash - NSSF

Mike Williams - ShootingUK

These fellows have excellent teaching skills, give them a try. Good luck !

June 28, 2012, 10:07 AM
For your back issues, I would stay with the 12 only because of the variety of ammo available. Go with the heaviest gun you can comfortable handle and shoot the lightest loads that work in that gun (O/Us have more leeway with really light loads than semis)

Start slow and work your way up shot-wise. If you can't do an entire round at once, then don't push it - go with whatever your doc says and your body tells you

June 28, 2012, 03:14 PM
There are lots of ways to reduce recoil .....for any gague...

a. use the heaviest gun ...
b. shoot a shell with less shot ( like 7/8 oz in a 12ga ) ...and keep the velocity down to 1150 fps ...or no faster than 1200 fps...
c. gas operated semi-auto shotguns...that absorb a lot of recoil as they cycle.
d. lots of systems ...like GraCoil recoil supression stock systems.../ JS Air Cushion, etc....

new designs in guns ...like the Beretta UGB ....2 shot break open semi-auto..

shooting a 28ga ...
don't go investing in any guns, shells, etc ....until you talk to your doctors...visit your local range a couple of times...have a lot of discussion on what you want to do ...and how to best do it.

June 29, 2012, 03:59 PM
I personally prefer, and suggest Skeet to new clay shooters.

-Replicates field conditions for hunting.
-Personally a Skeet Field "is" a defensive tool for me. Just how raised.

i.e. Before we had the Tueller incident, I was mentored to be on / near station 8, facing the low house and I do mean facing low house where the clay would hit me. (trap machine adjusted to throw clay low, and about my center of mass.
Mentors tossed the bird, because in the real world, one does not call out "pull" when serious happens.

I should mention I am so old, and was mentored to shoot skeet from low gun...

Sending best,

June 30, 2012, 11:50 PM
Both are fun I would try both a few times and see what you like most.

Jim Watson
June 30, 2012, 11:59 PM
20 gauge is ample for Skeet, and you can pick a full size gas operated automatic to keep the recoil manageable. Don't go into volume shooting with a neat little bird gun.

My experience is that if you learn on Trap, it is fairly tough to transition to Skeet.
My observation is that if you learn on Skeet, it is not too hard to transition to Trap.
I recommend at least starting on Skeet. You might stay with it or you might move to trap.
I think you should be pretty good at both Skeet and Trap before going into the novelty presentations of Sporting Clays.