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Trap is the most popular shotgun shooting sport in America with some 55,000 active shooters that shoot an estimated 82.5 million registered targets per year. There are three basic types of trapshooting—the 16-yard event, handicap and doubles. Following is a description of each type:


  • 16-yard event: In the 16-yard event, the shooters stand "on the 16-yard line" which is 16 yards behind the trap-house. The trap throws targets that will fly from 48 to 52 yards from the shooter. Most targets are shot when they are about 36 yards from the shooter. Targets are thrown at varying angles within a range of 45 degrees to left or right of straightaway.
  • Handicap: In this event, the shooter stands anywhere from 17 to 27 yards behind the traphouse, depending on his/her previous scores. The better the previous scores, the farther back you are "pushed."
  • Doubles: This event is also shot from the 16-yard line. Unlike the regulation 16-yard and handicap events, a pair of targets are released simultaneously. Double targets follow a set course, usually 35 degrees to left and right of straightaway. The shooter has one shot for each target. A standard round of doubles is 25 "pair" - 50 targets.

Trap shoots may be informal practice events or "Registered Shoots". To shoot registered targets, you must be a member of the Amateur Trapshooting Association (ATA).

In registered trap, your targets are all recorded by the ATA, and you will be placed in different classifications, according to your previous scores. In addition, your average is published each year in the Official ATA Average Book.

National Shooting Sports Foundation research indicates that the average shooter breaks 13 out of 25 targets on the first try at trapshooting and gradually improves through the high teens into the low 20s. A perfect 25 is a reasonable goal for the novice trapshooter.

Firearms: The typical gun for trapshooting is a 12-gauge with full or improved-modified choke and ventilated rib barrel 30-32 inches long. Although many top trap shooters favor over/under shotguns, single barrel, pump and autoloading shotguns are also common. Registered trap is always shot with a 12-gauge shotgun.

Ammunition: The shotshells used in trapshooting may vary slightly with shooters preference and wind conditions. The standard load contains 3 drams equivalent of powder and 1 1/8 ounces of # 71/2, 8 or 81/2 shot. Loads with only 1 ounce of shot are also popular.

Targets: Regulation targets measure not more than 45/16 inches in diameter and 11/8 inches in height, weighing 3-l/2 ounces. They are composed of pitch and clay or limestone, are saucer-shaped and painted black with bright orange or white crowns.


For complete rules and regulations governing trapshooting, contact:
The Amateur Trapshooting Association

601 W. National Road
Vandalia, OH 45377
Tel: (513) 898-4638
Fax: (513) 898-5472

   Quebec Provincial Trap Association
     Marcel Leblond, President



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