Terms and Slang for Clay Shooting

A thrilling sport for people of all ages, clay shooting involves shooting flying clay targets using a shotgun. It is safe, exciting, fun, as well as challenging. All you need is a skill that can be improved with practice. While there are many types of clay shooting, trap shooting tends to be the most specific of them. Just like any other game, trap shooting has certain terminologies that you must be aware of before giving it a go. Let’s dig in!

Disciplines and Game Types

skeet shooting

Annie Oakley: 3 shooters take a position at a distance between 20 to 27 yards. The first shooter calls for a bird and aims for it. In case the first shooter hits the target, no one else will shoot; however, if he misses it, the second shooter gets the chance to shoot. If he succeeds in knocking down the bird, the first shooter gets eliminated. Similarly, if he fails, the third shooter gets the turn. In case none of them shoots the target, all three will remain safe.

American Trap: Practiced at various shooting facilities in America, this discipline uses a single trap to release a clay away from five shooters standing in a line. As the game progresses, all five shooters will shoot at five targets from each stand.

Bunker trap: Similar to the American trap, the Bunker trap has five shooters shooting at five different targets from the stands. The only difference is that the machines throw the clay at a different but set angle in front of the shooters.

Doubles: One of the three events in trapshooting, doubles include shooting at two different targets. The shooter standing at a 16-yard distance must fire twice, once at each target that is thrown from the trap house simultaneously.

Down the Line: DTL is a popular variation of trapshooting in Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, the UK, Canada, and France. There are five stands at a distance of 16 yards from the trap house that throws the clays to a distance of 45 to 50 meters. The shooters need to shoot one clay at a time until a round of 25 birds is shot.

Five Stand: The game has five shooters standing at five shooting stands. The shooters are presented with five different targets at each station, with a full round of 25 targets per shooter. There is a new menu of targets at each stand, and the most typical of them includes rabbit, overhead, teal, chandelle, standard skeet high house, low house shots, trap, and an incoming bird.

Handicap: The most prestigious event in trap shooting, handicap has the most skilled shooters that stand further back from the trap house. Based on the shooter’s performance, the competitor shoots the target by standing a minimum of 18 yards and a maximum of 27 yards from the trap house.

High-Over-All: It is a championship based on combining all the target scores in a program. For example, High-Over-All includes 1000 targets over the final six days at the Grand.

Olympic Trap: Olympic trap is similar to the American trap. However, the only difference is that instead of using one launcher, the clay targets are thrown from a line of 15 machines at a different but set angle in front of the shooters.

Protector: The game has a buddy for enlightenment, each standing at 27 yards from the trap house. One calls for the target and fires the shot. If he misses the target, his buddy shoots and, therefore, “protects” him.

Shootoff: A method used for deciding the winner in case of a draw with shooters firing another event.

Singles: It is considered to be the easiest of three disciplines as the shooter has to shoot at only one clay target while standing at a distance of 16 yards from the trap house. The clays are thrown at different angles in front of the shooter. Five shooters are grouped in a squad, and each of them shoots at five targets from a different stand to give them a different view of the target flying through the air.

Skeet Shooting: Created in the 1920s, skeet shooting is the second oldest type of clay pigeon shooting. There are two variations: American and Olympic, and both use a pair of launchers. They are set at two towers with different heights that throw clays at a variety of angles in order to imitate the shots encountered by upland hunters in the field.

Sporting Clays: Sporting clays involve a more complex course made of 10 to 15 stations. The stations may have one or more launchers that throw clay targets at different angles and heights to sharpen your shooting skills for the season.

Trap Shooting: Trapshooting is one of the major disciplines of clay pigeon shooting that began in the 18th century. It has two variations, including American trap and Olympic Trap. Shooters use a shotgun to shoot the clays thrown from the trap house or automatic machines.

Wobble Trap: Wobble trap is a variation of the standard trap with a more variable target flight plan. This is because the trap machine oscillates side by side as well as up and down, making the game more challenging.

Equipment and Accessories

glasses clay shooting

Clay Pigeon: It is a saucer-shaped target made from baked clay. The clay pigeon is thrown in the air as a target for shooting.

Ears (Ear Protection): An ear protection is inserted into the ears to protect them from any damage due to the loudness of gunfire. It can be in the form of a sponge plug or a plastic plug.

Eyes (Glasses): Specialty glasses protect the eyes of shooters and spectators from clay fragments, stray shots, and powder burn. They also help in cutting down the glare, thereby helping the shooters see the clays clearly.

Target: A round-shaped clay pigeon thrown from the trap house to shoot at.

Trap House: A structure placed at 16 yards from the station that keeps the trap machine.

Trap Machine: The machine that houses the targets and launches them into the air

Thrower: Another name for the trap machine. It launches the targets at different angles.

House / Shed (Skeet Shooting): A trap covered by a small shed is known as a house in skeet shooting.

Shooting Vest: A sleeveless jacket with multiple pockets and a leather patch on the shoulder to absorb recoil and keep the gun in place.

Side-by-Side: A type of shotgun having the barrels sit side by side.

Terms of the Game

pigeon clay
Bird: A round clay-disk thrown as a target for trap shooting. It is also another name for the pigeon clay.

Bank: The four field traps where the squads rotate in Singles are called a bank.

Broken Target: A useless clay that comes out of the trap-house broken is a broken target. Whether the shooter hits it or not, it is declared as a “no target.”

Call: It is referred to as the signal from the shooter for the release of the clay target.

Dead: This term refers to the target broken by the shooter.

Dusted: When the target is hit with an open or two pellets but doesn’t break completely, and only a puff of dust is seen, it is known as dusted.

Field: The entire layout of the trap and shooting position is known as the field or trap field.

Lost: When the target fired at is missed completely or only dusted, it is referred to as “lost.”

No-Target/No-Bird: This is a call given by the referee when the target comes out of the trap broken, and the shooter does not have to hit it.

Option Bird: The immediate repeat shot at the first missed target given to shooters is called option bird.

Pair: In doubles shooting, the two targets fired simultaneously is known as a pair.

Pull: Another name for the call, which is a signal given from the shooter for the release of a target.

Puller: The person responsible for releasing the target from the trap house is known as the puller. He does so either by an electric switch or by hand.

Squad: The group of five or fewer shooters who shoot a round of clays together at one trap in the rotation is called a squad.

Swing: The movement of a gun when a shooter shoots is known as swing.

Trap: The machine that propels the target into the air is called a trap.

Stations and Positions

clay shoot station
Station: The place where the shooter will shoot is called a station.

Stand: The positions where the shooters stand and fire shots from is the stand.

High house single: High house targets move from left to right at about 15 feet above the ground.

Low house single: Low house launches a target at about three feet off the ground, moving from right to left.

High house/Low house pair: High house/Low house pair launches the target as doubles.

Back-Yardage: In handicap shooting, the positions at a distance of 24 to 27 yards behind the trophies are known as back-yardage.

Lead (Forward Allowance): The place or the amount of space where you shoot at a flying clay to break it is called a lead.

Range: The place of shooting is known as the range.