Sporting clays is a form of clay target shooting, often described as “golf with a shotgun” because a typical course includes 10 to 15 different shooting “stations” laid out over natural terrain.
The game has been played in America for over 100 years and several of today’s target arrangements were known to have been used as early as 1884, and probably earlier.
In 1989, the National Skeet Shooting Association (NSSA) in San Antonio, Texas, formed the National Sporting Clays Association (NSCA) to provide governance and promote Sporting Clays.
Today sporting clays is one of the fastest growing sports in America, with more than three million people (need a source and updated number) of all ages participating both competitively and recreationally.
Common terms for the target flight path are “out-goer”, “incomer”, “teal”, “crosser”, “chondel” and others. Specialty targets that roll on the ground (“rabbits”), leave the machine on edge and turn to show the shooter its face (Battue). Smaller than standard targets (midi and mini) are used in addition to the standard 108mm target. (Link to video – “Learn the Lingo?”)
- Courses should have at least 10 stations.
- Each station should have at least two machines.
- 100 targets on the course is typical.
- A round of 100 targets normally takes 1.5-2.5 hours
- Single target.
- Report pair where one target it launched, then when the shooter fires at it the second one is released (upon the “report” of the gun).
- True Pair, where both targets are thrown at the same time.
- Following pair (seldom used) is where a second target is launched after a pre-determined amount of time (i.e. three second), whether or not the shooter has fired at the first one. This is difficult without an electronic device to ensure the delay is consistent.
- Targets should be mostly standard sporting clays, with a few midi, mini, rabbit, and/or battue.
- Separate events are sometimes offered for sub-gauges (20 gauge, 28 gauge and .410 bore).
- No two stations should have the same target presentation.
Policy and range equipment determine whether a team member (question – or is this “staff person? or range representative?) is required:
- Some ranges have electronic devices to launch targets (card of key system).
- Some have built-in delay for solo shooting.
- Most have counters to track the targets thrown. Some systems count up, some are pre-loaded and count down.
- Some ranges send a team member with each solo or group of shooters to launch the targets.
- All ranges require personnel to keep the course(s) clean, fill the machines, provide safety monitoring, etc.