ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

What is Trapshooting?

Updated on December 1, 2016

Trapshooting is an outdoor sport in which a gunner shoots at a catapulted target. A 12-gage shotgun is the customary weapon. The object is to break the target, which is extremely brittle. It usually is made of river silt and pitch, but by tradition is called a clay target, "bird" or "pigeon".

Targets may be released one or two at a time, one in singles competition and two in doubles. In singles, one target is sent aloft at the command "pull" from the gunner, who has his gun at the shoulder position when he gives the command. In doubles, two targets are released simultaneously and are fired at successively by one gunner. The angle at which the targets are thrown varies from shot to shot.

In a tournament, five gunners at a time take positions 3 yards apart on firing lines 16 to 27 yards behind a low structure called a traphouse. This house is for the protection of the person loading targets on to the device that sends them into the air. After all five gunners have fired five rounds each, they change places. Each, except the one on the extreme right, takes the place of the one who had been to his right. The gunner who had been on the extreme right takes the place of the one who had been at the extreme left. Competition ranges from 25 to 200 targets.

Tournaments sanctioned by the Amateur Trap-shooting Association of America (ATA), the governing body of the sport in the United States, include championships in singles, doubles, handicap, and all-around events. There are championships for men, women, professionals, juniors, sub-juniors, and teams. In singles and doubles competition, all gunners fire from the 16-yard line. In handicap events, the gunners fire from 18 to 27 yards, depending on ratings given by the ATA. The top prize in the United States is the Grand American Handicap championship. This is the major event at the annual tournament held at the ATA's trapshooting setup at Vandalia, Ohio.

Skeet (derived from a Scandinavian word meaning "shoot") is a popular form of trapshooting dating from about 1910. The same equipment- shotguns, traps, and saucer-shaped targets-is used, but two traps are mounted facing each other at the ends of a semicircle. The contestants take turns shooting from different positions on the arc of the semicircle, giving variety to each shot and making it more like live shooting.

History of Trapshooting

Trapshooting was devised in England in the latter part of the 18th century by hunters who had been deprived of their sport by the encroachment of private landowners on public property. Originally, live birds were used. These were placed in traps in the ground and released at a signal from the shooter. The sport derives its name from these early traps. As the supply of birds diminished with restrictions on hunting grounds and the increased use of firearms, experiments were made with inanimate targets and devices for hurling them into the air. A glass ball was introduced by Charles Portlock of Boston, Mass., in 1866. Clay targets also were used in the 1860's, but these proved too hard to break. In 1880 an Englishman named McCaskey created a target made of river silt and pitch that had just the breaking quality desired by trapshooters. Basically, the same composition is used today.

The first known mention of trapshooting as a sport occurs in an English publication, Shooting Magazine, issued in 1793, which calls trapshooting a "well established recreation." The earliest mention of it in the United States is in the records of the Sportsman's Club of Cincinnati, Ohio, for the year 1831. The Long Island Club was formed in 1840, and soon after the New York Sportsman's Club was organized. The sport's first governing body in the United States was the Interstate Association of Trapshooters, and the first Grand American Handicap shoot was conducted on the association's Long Island land. In 1900 the Interstate Association was succeeded by the American Trapshooting Association. In 1924 this association, which was controlled by manufacturers of guns and ammunition, was succeeded by the ATA, a completely amateur group, which continues to be the controlling body. From 1900 to the mid-1960's the number of trapshooters in the United States increased from about 3,000 to more than 100,000.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)