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Old December 3, 2000, 01:41 PM   #1
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Since several individuals have asked for an explanation of the different clay target sports, I thought that an introduction to the Olympic disciplines may be in order.

Trap and Skeet as shot in the International and Olympic venue are far different games than their American counterparts. In Olympic competition, shooters are limited to shot loads of 24 grams (about 7/8 oz). Limiting the shot charge makes the game more difficult, or so we are led to believe.

Olympic trap fields are far different in layout , requiring 15 (that's right fifteen) separate trap machines per field. The machines are placed in line in a bunker in groups of three and are fixed as to trajectory, they do not rotate as traps in ATA Trap do. Each set of three machines is set up in a pattern set by the international organization. There are nine different combinations authorized. The firing positions are set up in line, not in a crescent as in ATA Trap. Six shooters make up a squad, five at a time occupy the five shooting positions and the sixth waits behind the left most shooting stand. Each shoter will be presented one target from one of the three traps in front of his shooting position.Shooters rotate after every shot, not after every group of five as in ATA. Shooters are allowed two shots at each target (or "full use of the gun" in international parlance). No penalty is assessed for hits with the second shot. The targets are harder than their american counterparts and are thrown faster. Target angles are more severe than ATA Trap.

Olympic Trap is a difficult game and there are few regulation Olympic trap fields in the US. Most are on Military bases. The expense of maintaining 15 traps is very high. The game is known as Bunker or Trench in the US and has a cult following, mostly in the pacific northwest.

Olympic Skeet uses the same layout as American skeet. However the targets are thrown much faster (up to 110mph) and the targets are the same as Olympic Trap targets. Shooters are limited to 24 gram shot loads as in Olympic trap. The sequence of targets is different, allowing for doubles at stations 3 4 and 5 and eliminating some singles at stations 1,2 6 and 7. There is no option shot in Olympic skeet. The rules require that the butt of the gun remain on the HIP (as in below the waistline) untill the target is visible and the target release can be delayed up to 3.5 sec after it is called for. This is a very difficult game that requires fast reflexes and plenty of practice mounting the gun from the hip.

As you can see the olympic games are made to be very demanding and are a far cry from their American counterparts. If you ever get the chance to shoot the olympic game, do it, it will humble even the best shooters.

Geoff Ross
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Old December 3, 2000, 08:03 PM   #2
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Bunker is a game I haven't tried but would like to. It interests me that the bunker guns I've seen pictures of are all shorter barrels and low ribs, unlike the high rib guns for ATA trap.

Olympic skeet is a game I've tried my hand at and it was a deeply humbling experience. I regularly hit into the 20's on American skeet but I could count the birds I hit on my first round of International with one hand. The second round was a little better but not much. The guys and gals who shoot this game are very, very good.
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