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Sporting Clays Terminology

5-Stand – A sporting clays game in which shooters rotate between 5 stands positioned adjacent to one another on a compact course, taking 5 shots at each stand. Targets are released from 8 machines according to sequence menus posted at each stand. The game consists of 25 shots. It is an entertaining, fast-moving game that allows for maximum interaction between shooters and is ideal for groups of 5 to 15 people. The game of 5-stand is also an NSCA competitive event.

Broken Bird – A target that comes out of the thrower already broken.

Chandelle – a target that arches like a rainbow.

Controller – The device that commands the thrower to release targets at the push of a button.

Counter – The RFID chip card that is inserted into the clip on the controller in order to activate it. The counter counts the number of targets that are thrown.

Dead/Lost – Clays that are thrown into the air and not broken because the shooter missed their shot.

Dust – Dusting a target means the shot hits the target but only results in dust coming from it; the target is not actually broken. Technically, it is a miss because a visible piece of the target must come off to count as a hit.

Ear Protection – Either foam ear plugs or muffs that cover the ear area, preventing potential hearing damage caused by the firing of shotguns.

Eye Protection – Any form of eyewear (such as sunglasses, safety goggles, or prescription lenses) that cover the immediate eye area and prevent any debris from entering one’s eyes.

FITASC – An international form of sporting clays (part of the ‘Federation Internationale de Tir Aux Sportives de Chasse’ based in France) in which shooters fire from three “pegs,” or shooting locations. A combination of singles and pairs is thrown at each peg for a game total of 25 targets for the course, called a “parcour.” The shooter cannot shoulder the gun until the target is visible. FITASC is a refereed competition.

Lead – The substance that some shotgun shell pellets are made out of. Steel is also commonly used. The major differences between the two are that steel is less dense than lead and steel pellets weigh about one-third less than lead pellets of the same size.

No Bird – A target that does not come out of the thrower due to a machine malfunction.

Pull! – The command given by the shooter for a target to be released. Historically, a trapper went from station to station with a shooter to physically “pull” a mechanical lever to release the target on this command; this is now accomplished by pushing a button to trigger target release from automated machines.

Punch Up/Punch – To move to a higher NSCA class. A certain number of punches is required to punch up.

Range – Another term for the sporting clays course, where active shooting of clay targets with a shotgun takes place.

Report Pair – Used in sporting clays, targets are released consecutively. The shooters calls “Pull!” for release of the first target. The second target is released when the shot taken at the first target is heard (on “report” of the gun).

Round – 100 targets for sporting clays; 25 targets for 5-stand.

Show Pair – One target from each machine thrown to demonstrate the target presentation before the shooter is actually shooting his turn.

Single – The term for one target thrown all by itself, with no pair.

Skeet –A shotgun sport in which targets thrown from two different machines cross one another in the air, one high and one low. Shooters shoot from each of seven stations arranged in a semi-circle. This game consists of 25 shots – 17 singles and 8 doubles.

Solo Delay – A setting on the controller that allows a single shooter to throw targets by utilizing an approximate 3-second delay between the push of the button and the target being thrown.

Sporting Clay/Target/Bird/Clay Pigeon – These are all synonyms for the clay target being shot. Targets are usually made of a combination of pitch and lime and come in a variety of sizes, colors, and shapes that are used for different purposes.

  • Standard – This dome-shaped target is 108mm in diameter and is used for trap, skeet, and sporting clays. Its steady flight simulates a bird’s steady flight pattern.
  • Rabbit – This target is the same size as the Standard but has a special tougher rim to allow it to bounce along the ground on edge to simulate a rabbit. It can also be thrown as a chandelle.
  • Midi – This 90mm target is slightly smaller than the Standard, creating an optical illusion of being farther away than it actually is.
  • Mini – This 60mm target departs the machine at a fast rate but slows quickly due to its lighter weight.
  • Battue – This target is the same size as the Standard but is thin and flat instead of dome shaped. Its design causes it to fly faster through the air and roll as it falls.

Sporting Clays – This shotgun sport is often referred to as “golf with a shotgun” as shooters move through 10 different stations, shooting five pairs at each station. Target presentations vary between stations. This variety makes sporting clays the most realistic simulation of bird hunting. It also makes it fun and challenging for recreational and competitive shooters. The game consists of 100 shots.

Squad – The group of individuals with whom you are shooting. For instance, if you come shooting with 2 friends, the 3 of you make up a squad.

Stand – Another term for the cage from which you shoot clays.

Teal – a target that moves straight up away from the stand, stalls at the top, and comes straight down.

Thrower/Trap – The automated machine that throws the target to be shot into the air.

Trap – A shotgun sport in which targets travel away from the shooter at various angles. All are thrown from a single machine. Shooters shoot five shots from each of five stations arranged in a semi-circle. This game consists of 25 shots.

True Pair – Used in sporting clays, targets are released from both throwers at the same time.


Shotgun Terminology

Bead – A round bead at the top of the end of the barrel that may be used as an aiming device. The bead is usually not used when shooting sporting clays because a shooter is usually most successful when keeping both eyes open and focused on the moving target.

Choke – A constriction at the end of a shotgun barrel that determines how wide or narrow the shot pattern is as it leaves the gun.

Over-Under – A double-barreled shotgun with one barrel positioned on top of the other. Each barrel holds one shot shell. The break action is opened to reload.

Pump Action – A single-barreled shotgun in which a sliding mechanism is pumped back and forth to eject an expended shell from the chamber and load a new one. Pump action shotguns vary in the number of shells that can be placed in the magazine, but only two shells may be loaded for sporting clays.

Rib – A raised plane above the barrel of a shotgun.

Safety – A mechanism to prevent accidental discharge of a firearm. The safety should always remain engaged until the shooter is ready to shoot.

Semi-Automatic – A single-barreled shotgun that shoots only one shell per trigger pull but automatically reloads after a shell is fired. Semi-automatic shotguns vary in the number of shells that can be placed in the magazine, but only two shells may be loaded for sporting clays.

Side-By-Side – A double-barreled shotgun with one barrel positioned beside the other. Each barrel holds one shot shell. The break action is opened to reload.


Shot Shell Terminology

Bore – The inside diameter of the barrel.

Brass Head – the bottom of the shell that holds the primer.

Case/Hull – The plastic or paper casing holding the shot and gun powder.

Dram Equivalent – A measurement of how much gun powder is in the case/hull, thus indicating how powerful the ammunition is.

Gauge – A description of the size of the gun’s bore. It reflects the number of same-diameter lead pellets that equal 1 pound. The larger the number, the smaller the bore; therefore, a 12-gauge shotgun has a larger barrel than a 20-gauge shotgun.

High Brass – The brass head of the shell that is taller and thicker to withstand the higher pressure of magnum loads (not allowed in sporting clays).

Length – The length of the shotgun shell. A longer shell corresponds to more pellets and more energy.

Magnum Load – A 3-1/2 or greater dram equivalent of gun powder (not allowed in sporting clays).

Ounce – The total weight of the pellets.

Powder Charge – The gun powder within the cartridge that expands when ignited to eject the shot.

Primer – The small cup that contains a flammable substance that ignites the powder charge.

Shell – A loaded (unfired) shotgun ammunition round (i.e., the hull, primer, gun powder, wad, and shot assembled together).

Shot – The pellets fired from a shotgun barrel.

Shot size – The diameter of individual pellets.

Wad – The paper or plastic that separates the powder charge from the shot.