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Trap shooting


Trap shooting is one of three popular forms of shooting at clay targets. Some shoot trap for sport, while others simply enjoy the practice during off-season. In some ways, trap shooting is a replacement for when the game was played with live pigeons. The main difference between trap and skeet shooting is that targets are released from only one house.

American trap shooting is broken into three different categories: 16 yard singles, 16 yard doubles and a handicap which is shot between the 19th and 27th yard. In singles, players get one shot at each of the five targets while standing 16 yards away. The handicap works the same way, only you are 19 to 27 feet away.

The rules of trap shooting are simple, and vary slightly depending on the version of the game you are playing. Usually you are only allowed one shot per target round unless you are playing doubles, and must stand 16 yards away from the trap house, unless you are playing with a handicap.

Trap Shooting Games

Annie Oakley – Annies are where 3 shooters mount their guns, the first calls for the bird and shoots. If she/he hits, no one else can shoot and she/he is safe. If the first shooter misses, the second shooter shoots. If she/he hits, that knocks the 1st shooter out. If she/he misses, the third shooter shoots. If she/he hits, he knocks the 1st two out. If all three miss, all are safe. If the 1st shooter shoots and misses, the second shooter breaks and the 3rd shooter shoots, shooter 1 and 3 are out. For the next round, the second shooter shoots first at the next target, with the 3rd and 4th backing on that target…and so on. Remember, if any person shoots and breaks, and the shooter after him shoots, the shooter who shot at the dead target is out. If you go to 5 shooters at once and the 1st four miss, the 5th shooter is shooting at a target close to hitting the ground. Thrilling and usually causes a roar from the group. Lots of fun!!!


One Tie / All Tie – If any two shooters tie with the high score…all shooters tie, regardless of score, and have to give $ into the pot to buy back in. Shoot until one shooter breaks the high score by her/himself, or high scores decide to split. If you have 20 shooters on the line with a $2.00 buy back, you can see the pot gets big quickly without any individual spending alot to participate. One ties should be shot from past the 27 after a few “ties” or it will get boring. Start anywhere and work your way back.


Dove Target Game – All birds coming from one trap and setting 8-10 shooters around the one trap (using adjacent trap positions, in a follow the leader format. Hit & Move, or 3 Misses & Move, with one box of shells. Whoever goes the farthest. Out, back and out wins bragging rights for the night or you can play for a pot. Some shots are 60-70 yards!


Handicap doubles – Shoot 2 yards closer than your yardage. AA 27 AA shoot from 27. New shooters or non ATA registered shooters shoot from 20 yds or ” known ability ” applies. This is a riot. You can also play this with a backup shooter and knock out people as you go.


Oscillating Doubles – Have a pat trap, set it up to throw doubles and then turn on the oscillation.


Straight Race – 5 targets each individual, top scores shoot off for first, second high shoot off for second. Two man protection=3 targets each, same shoot off. Three man protection=3 targets each, same shoot off. The unidentified one you mention is a “Piece Shoot”. One tie, all tie=leader shoots 3 from a position he chooses and each in turn do the same. If any two shooters tie, all are tied and shooting resumes with each adding money to the pot and the second shooter in line leading with the previous leader last.


Slider / Adjustable Yardage – You start out on the 20 yard line and that’s as close to the trap as you can get. Then, it’s kind of like normal trap, only when you break a bird, you move back one yard. But if you miss a bird, you move forward 2 yards (no further than the 20 though). The object is to basically get all the way back to the 27, and stay there for the entire time. For safety, if we start getting more than 2 yards apart, the closer people have to walk back and forth.


Annie Oakley (with one box of shells) – When you get “knocked” you go to the end of the line. remember that you still have to shoot even when at the end of the line. The guy with shells left over at the end wins. Usually the guy at the head of the pack. Set the trap height all the way up and the spring on kill and wide angles. Start at the 19 shoot one target move back 2 yards. When you get to the 27 change stations and shoot and move up 2 yards and follow that. Make the guys shoot handicap and make them swap guns to start. You have to be really careful about this one with someone shooting someone else’s gun.

Trap shooting tips


  • Stand correctly
  • Wear light colored glasses
  • Look at top of the trap house / Don’t look around
  • Don’t move the gun until you see the target
  • Don’t create unnecessary variables. Be consistent with your equipment
  • Practice shooting 5 rounds at a time
  • Think positive thoughts
  • Be Hydrated

Find some additional tips in our forum.

Are You a Trap Shooter?

This is just the start of our Trap Shooting info, check out additional shooting hints and tips in our forum.

The best Trap Shooting information comes from the guys who have been shooting for years. If you have some great tips, hints, or thoughts on shooting, please share them with everyone in our forum. Also, tell us about your trap club! Share anything you want in the forum!