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Page last updated at 09:50 GMT, Monday, 6 March 2006
Guide to shooting

Shotgun guide

Shooting events at the Olympics and Commonwealth Games fall into three general categories.

Competitors shoot with either rifles, pistols or shotguns.

The guns come in many different shapes and sizes, and the type of target also varies from event to event.


In clay target, shooters aim at flying discs fired from mechanical traps.

The clay, or target, are shaped like an inverted saucer and made of coal tar pitch and chalk with a diameter of 111mm (4in).

After the shooter calls "pull", the clay or clays are released and must be shot down before they land.

Major international competitions consist of qualification and final rounds. Final round and qualifying scores are added together to determine the winner.


Clay Target shooting can be broadly split into three categories - Trap, Skeet and Sporting.

Trap and Skeet are both performed at the Commonwealths and Olympics, while Sporting involves shooting at targets designed to simulate those found in nature.

Trap: Five banks of three traps with different heights and angles sits within a trench 15m away from the shooter.

Heights range from 1-4m and the shooter does not know which of the three traps in front of them will release the target.

The shooter moves through a series of five adjacent shooting stations and gets two shots at each target.

The targets are launched from an underground bunker to a minimum distance of 75m away, and at speeds of up to 80mph.

The men's event is five rounds of 25 shots over two days. Women shoot three rounds of 25 in one day.

The top six go through to a 25-target final round, when only one shot can be fired at each target.

Skeet: Competitors move through a semi-circular range featuring eight shooting stations. Targets are released from separate traps (high and low house) and the shooter gets one shot at each target.

Single or double targets are thrown for at least 65m from the high station or low station house on either side of the range. The targets travel at speeds of up to 55mph.

The men's event is five rounds of 25 shots over two days. Women shoot three rounds of 25. The top six go through to a 25-targets final round.

Double trap: Two targets are released simultaneously at different heights and angles from the centre bank of traps, with competitors getting one shot at each target.

There are five adjacent shooting stations, with competitors shooting at targets released at speeds of up to 50mph.

The match consists of 150 targets, shot in three rounds of 50 on each day. The top six go through to a final of 50 targets for men and 40 for women.


Competitors commonly use 12-bore shotguns which fire cartridges containing small pellets.

Trap: These guns are the heaviest and have the longest barrels. They have a single trigger which permits the firing of two shots extremely rapidly. They fire 2.6mm pellets. The weight of the gun helps to absorb the recoil when firing two shots in quick succession.

Skeet: Guns have a medium weight with shorter barrels allowing the shooter to make fast movements and quick changes of direction. They fire small 2mm pellets.

Double trap: The guns used are very similar to those used in trap, but the pellets have a wider spread.


There are thousands of shooting clubs and ranges in the UK.

Most clubs welcome anyone wanting to learn or to develop their shooting skills.

The first place to try is the Clay Pigeon Shooting Association website, which has everything you need for starting out.

The British Shooting Sports Council website covers all shooting disciplines.

The International Shooting Sport Federation has good information covering the sport across the world.

The National Shooting Centre is based in Bisley, England, and covers all disciplines. Its website has details on courses and plenty of contacts and links.

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