About Skeet Shooting

Shooting Sports

Skeet shooting is one of the three major sports of competitive clay target shooting sports with a shotgun. The other primary shooting sports are trap shooting and sporting clays. They are distinguished roughly as follows:
• In trap shooting, the targets are launched from a single “house” or machine, generally away from the shooter.
• In skeet shooting, targets are launched from two “houses” in somewhat “sideways” paths that intersect in front of the shooter.
• Sporting clays includes a more complex course, with many launch points.
The layout of trapshooting field differs from that of a skeet field and/or a sporting clays course. There are variations of events within each shooting sport group.

History of Skeet Shooting 

In 1920, a handful of bird hunters, who were looking for a way to improve their wing shooting skills, developed ‘Shooting Around the Clock’. All was well until the neighbor of C.E. Davies who’s land the game’s field was on, moved a flock of chickens right into the spot which was constantly showered with shot from the field. The men rearranged the field just enough to cut the range in half so all the shot went away from the chickens in the field next door, but still keeping all of the flight patterns that the first field offered.

What had just begun as practice naturally turned into a game. When all of the rules and procedures were clearly mapped out, they presented the game to the public and offered a $100 prize to the person who could come up with the best name for the game. Mrs. Gertrude Hurlbutt won, with the name, “skeet” which is said to be derived from the Norwegian word for “shoot” (skyte).

American Skeet

For the American version of skeet, the clay targets are about four inches (109.54 mm) in diameter and about one inch (28.58 mm) thick, and fly a distance of 62 yards.

The event is in part meant to simulate the action of bird hunting. The shooter shoots from seven positions on a semicircle with a radius of 21 yards (19 m), and an eighth position halfway between stations 1 and 7. There are two houses that hold devices known as “traps” that launch the targets, one at each corner of the semicircle. The traps launch the targets to a point 15 feet above ground and 18 feet outside of station 8. One trap launches targets from 10 feet above the ground (“high” house) and the other launches it from 3 feet above ground (“low” house).

At stations 1 and 2 the shooter shoots at single targets launched from the high house and then the low house, then shoots a double where the two targets are launched simultaneously but shooting the high house target first. At stations 3, 4, and 5 the shooter shoots at single targets launched from the high house and then the low house. At stations 6 and 7 the shooter shoots at single targets launched from the high house and then the low house, then shoots a double, shooting the low house target first then the high house target. At station 8 the shooter shoots one high target and one low target.

The shooter must then re-shoot his first missed target or, if no targets are missed, must shoot his 25th shell at the low house station 8. This 25th shot was once referred to as the shooter’s option, as he was able to take it where he preferred.

Olympic Skeet

International is a variation of American Skeet and is the style shot in the Olympics. It has an eight-station format like American Skeet but with faster targets thrown at 72 meters (78.73 yards). The shooter is required to hold the butt of the gun at hip level until the target is seen, which may be delayed for up to three seconds after the target is called for.

With her victory in women’s skeet shooting at the 2012 London Olympic games, Kim Rhode became the first American to medal in five successive Olympic games. Her prior Olympic medals were for trap shooting in 1996, 2000 and 2004 and for skeet shooting in 2008.

Shooting Range

All League events occur at a shooting range (often referred to as a “gun club”) that provides the proper skeet-shooting field that includes shooting stations and a High and Low House.

Equipment & Gear

The firearm of choice for this task is usually a shotgun with 26- to 30-inch barrels and very open chokes. Often, shooters will choose an improved cylinder choke (one with a tighter pattern) or a skeet choke (one with a wider pattern), but this is a matter of preference. Some gun shops refer to this type of shotgun as a skeet gun. Alternatively a sporting gun or a trap gun is sometimes used. These have longer barrels (up to 34 inches) and tighter choke. Many shooters of American skeet and other national versions typically use semi-automatic, over-and-under, or pump-action shotguns.

Athletes are also required to wear proper eye and ear protection while on any part of the shooting range. Each athlete will also promote a positive image by wearing appropriate attire during all shooting events.

Typically ammunition used is:
12 gauge: 1-1/8oz, #9 or #8
20 gauge: 7/8 oz., #9 or #8
No more than 1,200 fps

Events

A round of Skeet involves one box of 25 shotgun shells per shooter, which will be fired at eight stations, the usually concrete pads on which each shooter stands to take his turn. Normally, no more than five shooters, called a squad, are involved in a single round of skeet at one time. The shooters begin a round at Station 1 in front of the High House and progress around the arc to Station 7 in front of the Low House, ending at Station 8 exactly in the middle between the two houses.

Skeet-fieldSkeet Field

The skeet range has a High House on the left and Low House on the right, each housing a trap machine which throws the targets from their windows at a 17-degree angle from the base cord across the target crossing point, which is 18 feet straight out from the center of Station 8. Each house sits three feet outside the circle, exactly at the rear of the shooting pads of Stations 1 and 7.

Event Preparation

Each shooter will have all the equipment and ammunition necessary to complete the round each time they occupy a shooting station. All guns must be carried open and unloaded when moving to the starting station. Test firing of a shotgun is not allowed.

Getting Ready

 At the moment the shooter calls and until the target appears, the shooter must stand in the “READY” position including:
• Both feet entirely within the shooting station area.
• Holding the gun with both hands.

Event Start

 Upon a “START” command from the scorekeeper, each shooter, in turn, will:
• Take proper shooting position.
• Load shells.
• Close the action on the gun.
• Clearly call “PULL” or some other command for the target.
• Shoot at the target(s).
• Scorekeeper does not comment when a target is “HIT”
• Scorekeeper will say “LOST” out loud when a target is missed.
• Discharge empty shells.
• Wait for next turn.

Target shooting sequences at each station:

Stations 1 and 2: High House single, shot first; Low House single; High and Low House doubles, with the High House shot taken first. (Four shots at each of the two stations.)

Stations 3 through 5: High House single, shot first; Low House single. (Two shots at each of the three stations.)

Stations 6 and 7: High House single, shot first; Low House single; High and Low House doubles, with the Low House shot taken first. (Four shots at each of the two stations.)

Station 8: High House single, shot first; Low House single. If by now the shooter has missed no targets, the 25th shot is taken at the Low House.

Optional shot: This, which would be the 25th shell for a shooter who has missed no shots through Station 8, is taken for a second try at the first target missed at any station.

At every station the High House shot is taken first except on doubles at Stations 6 and 7, when you shoot the Low House target before the High House.

Safety & Etiquette

When you’re not on a station getting ready to shoot, always keep the receiver of your gun open.

Do not load your gun until you’re on a station and it’s your turn to shoot.

Completion of round

Upon the completion of a round, the scorekeeper will declare “OUT”. Shooters will be notified of their scores, make their shotguns safe, and carry the gun in the approved manner and exit the station.

Scoring

After the event is completed, the coach submits all athlete scores to the League. On Saturday at 9 p.m., all scores are calculated and published on the website.