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I have been shotgunning for a few years with my beat up old mossberg 500 with 28 inch barrel. I have never understood what the exact definition of all of these clay shooting terms. When I shoot clays at my local range, they are from a stationary spring loaded launcher that throws up to two clays at a time. I have just purchased my first over/under and am looking for different challenges in sport shooting and would like to understand what all of these terms mean. Thanks.
 

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http://www.remington.com/whatsnew/skeet/skeet.htm

http://www.remington.com/whatsnew/trap/trap.htm

These URL's will get you the basics of trap and skeet.

Five stand is 5 position shooting 5 clays per position from up to 8 different launchers that each has different target presentations. Generally shot Single, Double, Double

Sporting Clays is like hunting having from 7-18(ish) positions and generally shoot 5 clays per station. This is like golf with a shotgun.

Make-a-Break is one elevated position 2 shooters with 2 launchers in front firing going away targets and up to 6 other launchers with increasingly harder presentations as the numbers go up. Always shoot launcher 1 (throwers choice as to which one launches) then one of the other launchers.

http://www.elmfork.com/all_about_the_games.htm
This will give you the basics of all the games
 

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Ok, I have read and understood all of the descriptions of trap, skeet, and sporting clays. The problem is, I still can't identify what I have been doing. When I shoot at my local range, on a hilltop, they have about 10-15 spring loaded launchers that throw clays out over a cliff side to shoot at. Normally this is done with two people. You have the shooter standing right next to the launcher, and a buddy to actuate the launcher when you call for the bird. You don't rotate stations or anything, you just have 10-15 guys out there all calling and shooting at the same time. Is this some version of the above games, or something completely different? Thanks.
 

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Yup, none of the above :D

Most people would call that "manual traps". It's not really a game, in that it's not an organized sport with points, rules, etc. Manual traps are just great for fun and practice.

The term "traps" is sort of generic. It means different things in different contexts sometimes. Don't get confuse the sport of Trap Shooting (5 stations, varying angles) with the a trap machine (the launcher itself), or just the generic term "shooting trap" which often means you're just doing something that involves breaking clay targets.

Hey, by the way, were you at the Los Altos Rod & Gun Club???
 

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Pretty good guess Sander. Must have been my city/state that gave that away. You must be a bay area local yourself. I do most all of my non hunting shooting at that range. One of the cleanest/nicest set up ranges I've been to. Now that I am focusing more on Shotgun shooting, could suggest any other ranges that offer good clay shooting opportunities? Thanks, always good to hear from Local folks.
 

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hey ebnash,

Yeah, as soon as you mentioned shooting off the side of that cliff, I knew which range you were talking about :) You can't beat the view, huh? I was just there this past Sunday.

I can recommend two more ranges to you.

The first is the club I belong to. It's the Pacific Rod & Gun Club at Lake Merced in San Francisco. You probably know that area, but if not, it's near Ocean Beach, not far from the zoo. It may be a bit of a drive for you, but if you're ever in the area...

We have 6 skeet fields and 2 trap ranges. This is where I first learned to shoot clays, and I have to say the best thing about this club is the regulars. Just a bunch of very friendly, helpful guys. Atmosphere is very casual: coffee and donuts in the club house, watermelon on a hot day if you're lucky. At the same time, they're all great shooters, with radically different styles. It's a great learning environment.

All the fields look out over the lake, so the view is great, even on overcast days where you get that nice mist on the water. But, because we're on the lake's edge, you have to shoot non-toxic shot, between #7-#9. A lot of stores don't carry that size in steel shot, but we sell ammo at the club house and if you really get into shooting there, you can order it online for about $6 a box.

I'm there almost every Saturday, so you can look for the guy with a Franchi over-under with a black shell holder on the stock. I'm the only guy who keeps shells mounted on the stock and they like to make fun of me for it :)

The other place you can check out is Coyote Valley Clays. I've actually never been there myself, but I know they have a pretty impressive clay shooting facility. That's where you can try out Sporting Clays (that "golf with a shotgun" game). They also have skeet and trap, I believe, though I hear they just took down their 5-Stand. That's actually right in your neighborhood, though I don't know the exact location. I was once at Kerley's gunshop in Cupertino, and I know it's only about 30 minutes from there. They have a website, too, so you can get all the info there.

Good luck... and don't be afraid to just show up with your shotgun at a range and say you're a total beginner. For whatever reason, shotgunners tend to be remarkably patient and accepting of new shooters. I don't know if you could walk up to a bunch of golfers and just ask for a free lesson and then ask to go along on their next round. But with clays, you really can do just that :)
 

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Sander,
First of all, thanks for the info. Second, can I shoot at your club as a nonmember to see what it's all about? I'd really like to get some exposure to different shooting facilities. If so, do they have a website where I can get somemore info? I will definately be on the look out for you at Los Altos and would like to visit your club in San Francisco. It's only about a 45 min. drive from where I live in San Jose/Cupertino. Again thanks for your advice and info. Hope to see you on the range. I'll be the guy trying not to look like a fool with my brand new Citori. :oops:
 

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Yes, you can absolutely shoot there without being a member. For non-members, skeet is $5/round and a box of steel ammo is $9.

Our website is at http://www.prgc.net/

Let me know if you need any more info :D
 

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Sander,
Quick question. All of my previous shotguns have had fixed chokes and as this is my first exp. with interchangeable chokes, what do you suggest for the manual traps out at Los Altos. Just looking for a starting point.

Thanks again.
 

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Well, it's been my experience that you can use a pretty open choke since those clays don't get very far before you break them.

Last weekend, I was doing fine, even shooting doubles, using my skeet O/U which is choked Cylinder/Cylinder. Like I said, I could even get the second clay just before it dropped behind the trees, which is the farthest shot you have to worry about.

I also shot a few with my Beretta 391 using Improved Cylinder.

So, I think you'll be okay if you use either your Cylinder, or Improved Cylinder choke.
 
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