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Edict On The Trap Range

When a youngster (in the olden days) and a beginning Trap shooter I asked an old shooter what was expected of me on the Trap line and how I should behave. This is what he said to me:


             "  Keep your gun pointed at the ground and down range

               but be ready to shoot when it's your turn. 

               We don't like to talk out there so keep your     

                mouth closed and mind your own business.

                 We can do our talking when we're done".


Not particularly eloquent but certainly understood. 


Remember --Safety Is  A Shared Responsibility




Edict On The Skeet Field


Skeet has always been a social sport. 

Shooters move around the field as a squad beginning and finishing the round of Skeet together.

Awareness and appreciation of the other squad members is important.


Keeping quiet when people are on the shooting station, remaining behind and out of their side vision while they are on station is appreciated and expected.  Trying to help by "calling their shots" or giving unrequested advice is simply not done.  Ever.


In between shooting stations people talk and the usual banter among shooters is acceptable and fun.  But when the squad lines up in shooting order behind the first shooter (squad leader) talking ceases and shooters stop moving around.


An awareness of gun safety is very important. Shooters may not place a shell in a gun until standing on the shooting station.  All other guns must be pointed down and carried action-open.  The gun muzzle must never swing past the baseline.  Empties are picked up after the round is finished.


There are other rules that make Skeet fun and even more safe.

If you shoot Skeet look up the rules online at NSSA. 

You'll have more fun, shoot better, and stay safe.        


Remember --Safety Is  A Shared Responsibility




How Can I Get The Most From My Shooting Lesson?


The answer to this is deceptively simple.   TAKE NOTES.


Remember --Safety Is  A Shared Responsibility


What Shotgun Shells Should I Buy For Target Shooting?


It can be confusing for new shooters but here are a few thoughts:

Shooting parks allow only three shot sizes - 71/2 ,  8s,  or 9s.

Inexpensive shells for practice sessions will do just fine.

Lead shot is acceptable and commonly used for target shooting practice at most shooting parks.  Check first.

Most shotgun shells come in boxes of 25.

Examine your gun and be sure to buy the shells that fit it.

If there is the slightest doubt talk with the sales person at the store.


Remember --Safety Is  A Shared Responsibility



To Load  or Not To Load.    --    When & How


All guns must be carried with the actions open at all times - a simple but very important safety measure.  But when is it time to load the gun and close the action?


Well - he answer is equally simple.  The gun may be loaded immediately prior to calling for the target and taking the shot.  That means the shooter must first be standing on the shooting station with the gun muzzle pointed down range in a safe direction.  And everything is safe.


Beginning shotgunners out on the Trap range are reminded that they may load ONLY ONE shell into their gun even though the gun is capable of holding more than one shell.


Sometimes you will encounter a delay/problem and the trap machine will not function correctly and you  must wait for a minute or two.  In that case -  open the gun, REMOVE the shell and wait until all is in readiness once more.


Remember - when you walk away from the shooting station the gun must remain open and carried in such a manner that the muzzle does point in an unsafe direction.  This means MUZZLE  DOWN.


Remember --Safety Is  A Shared Responsibility




The  "Call"


"Calling" for the target to be thrown is something all target shooters do without giving it any thought.


Help the person who is pressing the switch and "pulling" the target, and help yourself get a good "pull" by making your call short, precise, and most importantly highly audible.

Use just ONE word or sound.  The word PULL has been used for years and years and works well everywhere. But don't say " ok - pull ".   Remember - just one command will make things easier for everyone. 


Voice activated microphones are often found on Trap ranges these days.  They work the same way but remember that they are sensitive to the human voice and will release a target whenever they "hear" a voice.


Remember --Safety Is  A Shared Responsibility




Shooting Vests      Shell Pouches


Vests are popular and provide big pockets in which to carry shells.

Some vests have a pocket on the back to hold spent hulls.

Almost all vests have some kind of leather pad to keep the gun butt from sliding and to possibly help absorb felt recoil .

Most have mesh panels to make them more comfortable in hot weather.


Shell pouches are made of fabric or leather and are worn around the waist.  Skeet shooters seem to favor shell pouches over vests. Sporting Clays shooters like the vests. 

Either way it's handy to have your shotgun shells easily available when you need them.  Having to fish around in your pocket for a shell makes the whole process more difficult.


Vests or pouches are not expensive items  and will make target shooting more enjoyable.


Remember --Safety Is  A Shared Responsibility

Starting A Youngster In Shotgun Shooting -  How Old?


Sometimes difficult to say - but the process can be rather difficult for both the young shooter and the instructor unless the youngster is at least ten years of age.  And even then only the very basic fundamentals can be put into effective use by the young new shooter.


Attention span , physical ability, the development of finite muscular control , judgement,  and other factors all suggest that ten years is right most of the time - maybe.

Sometimes it's  closer to eleven or twelve years.

Maturation does not occur evenly over the population.


A telephone call to an experienced instructor is the best place to start.  And here's a hint - a light 20 ga, single barrel shotgun may NOT be a good idea for your young soon-to-be hunting partner. 

Take time with this decision.  Later is better than too soon.



It's not unusual to see a shooter drop a shell on the ground when attempting to load the gun. 


Here's a suggestion : When that happens to you ( and it will ) just reach into your pocket or shell pouch and load another. 

Bend down and pick up the fallen shell after you have finished at that shooting station and are ready to safely move on. 


Remember --Safety Is  A Shared Responsibility

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