The Montana State Trapshooting Association season has started. ATA registered trap shooting tournaments run from now through early October. Here’s a quick primer for the shotgunner who would like to compete.
There are several disciplines of clay target sports played in the United States; the three most popular are trap, skeet, and sporting clays. Both trap and skeet have two different styles; American and International. The international standards are used in the world championships and the Olympics.
American style trap consists of three disciplines: singles, doubles, and handicap. The Amateur Trapshooting Association (ATA) is the main governing body for the sport, although the Pacific International Trapshooting Association (PITA) has a substantial membership in the Northwest US and Canada. The rules of the two associations are basically the same, so for our purposes we’ll refer to ATA rules when we discuss American trapshooting.
There are 5 shooting stations on a trap field and a full squad consists of 5 individual shooters. A round of singles or handicap consists of 25 targets, while a round of doubles is 50 targets (25 pairs). In a round of trap the squad leader, number one shooter, calls for and fires at a target, a pair in doubles, then the next shooter does the same; this rotation continues until each shooter has fired at 5 targets (5 pair in doubles). Then each shooter moves one station to the right and the fifth shooter moves back to station one. The process is repeated until all shooters have fired at 25 targets. It might sound a bit complicated, but after a round or two, changing stations will be like going on auto-pilot.
The shooting stations are positioned between 16 and 27 yards behind the trap. Both singles and doubles targets are shot from the 16 yard line, while handicap targets are shot from the 19 to 27 yard line. Singles and doubles participants are classified according to their averages, while yardage is earned in the handicap events by scores and wins.
Nearly all trap shooters use 12 gauge guns, although the smaller gauges are legal to use. Shot size and payloads, as well as velocity of the shot charge are regulated (you can’t use a 3 ½ magnum, 2 ounce load of number 2s).
If you are interested in the fun sport of trap shooting try these links:
Trap is an easily accessible, fun sport for the whole family; try it, you’ll like it.
Be safe and good shooting.