Shotgun Trap & Skeet Field





The following is a description of skeet shooting from the National Skeet Shooting Association:

Click image for a much more technical skeet field map

History of Skeet

In 1920 in the town of Andover, Massachusetts, a small group of upland game hunters took to shooting clay targets as a means of practicing their wing shooting. As friendly rivalries started to develop amongst the group, a uniform series of shots was developed to keep the competition fair and even for all. It was from this crude beginning that the modern day version of skeet shooting developed into what is now an international sport practiced by hunters and non-hunters alike.

Skeet has developed into much more than just an aid to better wing shooting or a substitute for hunting. It is now a competitive sport equaled by few in universal appeal. Matches are conducted for all gun gauges, against others of like ability. Competition is held for four gauges of shotguns, 12, 20, 28 and .410, though many people never use more than one.

All About The Game Of Skeet Shooting

Skeet has developed into much more than just an aid to better wing shooting or a substitute for hunting. It is now a competitive sport equaled by few in universal appeal. Matches are conducted for all gun gauges, against others of like ability. While many skeet shooters never feel the need to own or use more that one gauge of shotgun a registered skeet competition typically features the most popular three gauges, 12, 20, 28 and the .410 bore (so named because it represents the bore diameter of the shot gun and not the gauge).

The “Gauge” of a shotgun is a measurement whose origins date back to the days of black powder guns. It was common for people to cast their own ammunition in those days and how many rounds a pound of lead would produce was the gauge used to determine what you were buying in a gun. A 12 gauge meant that you could produce 12 round lead balls (rounds) the same size as the bore of your gun from a pound of lead. In 28 gauge you would get 28 rounds from the same pound of lead.

The rules allow for the use of any gauge 12 or smaller for shooting 12 gauge events. Examples of 12 gauge events would be league shooting recreational shooting and the 12 gauge or “all bore” event at a registered skeet shoot.

Guns – There are a wide variety of guns available in all gauges. Several manufacturers produce “Pump” shotguns in all 3 gauges and the 410 bore. In addition to pump guns it is possible to buy semi automatic, side by side and over / under shotguns in 12, 20, 28 and .410. Our records indicate most people shoot skeet using either a semi automatic or an over / under. Guns must be capable of firing two shots since four sets of doubles are included in the regulation 25-shot round. In addition, competitive Doubles events are offered at many tournaments. The gun may be a double barrel (side-by-side or over-and-under), a pump gun or a semi-automatic, depending on the shooter’s preference. Major manufactures offer specially made skeet guns, and you should consult them or a good gunsmith before buying a shotgun for skeet. Details such as weight, choke, drop and pitch and fit of the gun vary with shooters. It is actually better to try out several guns, all types if possible, before buying.

The pump gun – is operated by moving the forearm in a rearward motion, followed by a forward motion. This action unlocks the breechblock, extracts and ejects the fired shot shell, transfers a live shell from the magazine to the chamber and re-locks the breechblock.”

The semi automatic – is so named because all you do is pull the trigger and the gun takes care of ejecting the spent shell and chambering the new one all on its own. There are two basic types of automatic shotguns. 1) the gas-operated and 2) the recoil-operated. As you might guess the basic difference is whether or not the expanding gases from the shot shell are used as part of the cycling process of the gun. Gas-operated Shotguns tend to have less recoil while recoil-operated guns tend to jam less.

The Over / Under – again a double barrel shotgun but with the barrels one above (or below) the other. These are available in 12 gauge suitable for tube sets or with interchangeable barrels to change the gauge or as a dedicated gun in the gauge of your choice.

Ammunition – there is a wide variety of ammunition available to today’s sportsman. For the purposes of Skeet we need to concern ourselves with the 4 kinds used in competition. The rules stipulate that shot shells not be longer that 2 and 3/4 inches (except the 410 in which case 2 and 1/2 is the maximum). The general specifications for skeet shells are outline below.

Shot Shell Characteristics 12 Gauge 20 Gauge 28 Gauge .410 Bore
Weight Ounces 1 1/8 oz. 7/8 oz 3/4 oz 1/2 oz
Weight Grains 492 383 328 219
Shot Size 9 9 9 9
Shot Diameter .08 .08 .08 .08
Approximate No. of Pellets 658 512 366 293

Click here to download the NSSA 2004 Rule book PDF File, 300Kb

Jay S Director Trap & Skeet

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