Note: Always consult the Official ATA Rule Book for current rule(s).

To help you make the best use of the basic tools of your trade,
words here are the words that pertain to trapshooting and what they mean.

ALL-AROUND (HAA): championship at the Grand, Satellite Grand's, Zone, State and other major shoots based on the combined scores of the 400 championship targets— 200 singles, 100 doubles and 100 handicap.
AMATEUR: any shooter not classified as an industry representative (see that term). May and usually does shoot for money and other prizes.
ATA: commonly-used abbreviation for Amateur Trapshooting Association, not American Trapshooting Association (one of the predecessor organizations prior to 1923).
AMATEUR TRAPSHOOTING ASSOCIATION: governing body of registered trapshooting in the U.S. and Canada with permanent headquarters at Vandalia, Ohio. To compete in an ATA-regulated event, the shooter must be a member of the Amateur Trapshooting Association. There are two classifications of membership—life and annual. Memberships are available only to individuals, not clubs.
AUTOMATIC OR AUTOLOADER: a variety of repeating or magazine gun in which part of the energy of the first shot is used to recock the gun for the next shot. The trigger must be pulled separately for each shot, so the term automatic is a misnomer but is commonly used rather than autoloader, the correct term.
AVERAGE: the percentage of targets the shooter has hit out of total shot at. Used for handicapping and classifying purposes.
AVERAGE BOOK: yearly book compiled by the ATA listing all singles, handicap and doubles averages of each member who shot during the preceding year. Also lists current state and zone champions and high average leaders in each category for previous year.
BACK-YARDAGE: positions in handicap shooting from 24 to 27 yards behind the traphouse.
BLUE ROCK OR ROCK: the target. Carryover of nomenclature from live-bird shooting, which often used the European blue rock variety of pigeon. Name is used in part of Midwest.
BROKEN TARGET: a) one which comes out of the traphouse in pieces. It is declared "no target" whether the shooter shoots at it or not, and another bird is thrown. It does not count, even if the shooter hits it. b) a whole target which the shooter hits and is scored as dead.
CALL: signal given by shooter for release of target. Usually the word "pull," but any sound will do and may be used.
CARRYOVER: method of deciding ties where shooters’ scores on the next event determine winner after tie in previous race.
CASHIER: the person who takes the entries of the participants, calculates winners, purse winnings, etc.
CHIP: a) verb—to break only a small piece from a target. b) noun— a small piece of the target.
CHOKE: constriction in bore of gun near the muzzle to restrict the spread of shot. Most trap guns are "full choke" and will place 70% of the shot in a 30" circle at 40 yards.
CLASSIFICATION: a system of dividing shooters into classes or groups—based on previous records, ability, etc. — in singles and doubles. From two to six classes may be used. Classification is done by a committee of shooters. AA is highest class; D, or E where used, lowest.
DEAD: the term for a target broken by the shooter. The target must have a piece broken from it by the shot large enough to be visible to the scorer, or the target may be completely reduced to powder by the shot. Term carried over from live-pigeon shooting. The shooter is never said to have scored so many "bullseyes." He might break, bust, smash or powder targets, but he doesn’t "bring them down."
DOUBLE GUN: a gun with two barrels, arranged either side-by-side or over/under.
DOUBLES: one of the three varieties of events in trapshooting. The shooter stands 16 yards from the traphouse and fires twice, once at each of the two targets which are released simultaneously.
DOWN: the number of targets a shooter has lost from a perfect score. If a shooter has 71 dead birds out of 75, he is down four.
DROPPED: refers to missed targets, as "he dropped two."
DUSTED TARGET: a target from which only a puff of dust appears when hit. Not scored as a hit.
DUTCHED PAIR: in doubles, this is a pair in which both targets are missed.
EARNED YARDAGE: the additional yardage a shooter receives for his high handicap scores in specific shoots or for his high average at the end of the year.
EMPTY: a shell casing which has been shot. Collected by some shooters for the purpose of reloading.
ENTRIES: the number of shooters in a specific event.
EVENTS: a) 25 targets in singles or handicap; 10-pair or 15-pair in doubles. b) sometimes the whole competition: i.e., the singles event (of 100 or 200 targets).
FAST PULL: a target released before the shooter calls. Shooter not required to shoot, but result is scored if he does.
FIELD: the trap field; refers to the entire layout of the trap and shooting positions.
FLINCH: a) an involuntary muscular contraction usually resulting in jerking the gun just as it is fired, with a missed target resulting. b) inability to bend the finger to pull the trigger at all.
GAUGE: the size or bore of the shotgun used; almost universally the 12-ga. in trap. A scale of sizes of old origin.
GRAND: the Grand American Tournament. The annual national tournament sponsored by the ATA at its permanent grounds at Vandalia, Ohio, usually the third week in August.
HANDICAP: a) one of the three varieties of events in trapshooting. Single targets are shot at by shooters standing a minimum of 18 and a maximum of 27 yards back of the trap. b) the distance a shooter stands from the trap, which depends on his previous record and known ability.
HANDICAP CARD: a card issued by the ATA and carried by each shooter showing the yardage fr6m which he is to shoot. Shooter must have shot the required minimum of targets before he is assigned a permanent yardage and card. The card is punched to indicate additional yards a shooter earns as provided for in the rule book. A minimum yardage is punched on a temporary card.
HIGH-OVER-ALL: championship based on the combined score of all targets in a program (or the total of the targets in at least the major events). Often preliminary days are not included in this total. At the Grand American, it includes 1,000 targets over the final six days of firing. At other shoots, programs specify events involved.
HULL: the covering and brass base which contain powder and other components of a shotshell.
ILLEGAL TARGETS: targets thrown at distances and angles which do not meet the specifications in the rule book. Shooter allowed to refuse such a target and call for another.
INDUSTRY REPRESENTATIVE OR REP: a shooter who receives compensation for the display or sale of guns, ammunition, targets, etc. In effect, a sales representative of one of those companies. He is not allowed to compete against the amateurs in most events, but there are often special trophies at large shoots for his classification. He may or may not be a good shot. Industry reps spend much of their time at shoots assisting the shoot management in such things as posting scores and setting traps.
INTERNATIONAL TARGETS AND SHOOTING: Olympic shooting. A variety of trap-shooting characterized by the targets being thrown faster (farther), at greater angles and with greater variety of elevation than regular trap. Two shots at each target are allowed. Common in rest of world, especially Europe. In 1962 the ATA established an International target division and now keeps separate records
for registered International-style shooting held in the U.S. and Canada. (ATA division covers both true Olympic-style, over 15-trap trench, and Modified Clay Pigeon, over normal trap with modifications.)
JUNIOR: any shooter who has not reached his or her 18th birthday.
LOAD: a) verb—to place the shell in the gun. b) verb—to place the target on the trap. c) noun—refers to the amount of powder and shot and size of shot in a shell, as 3- 11/8- 8 load (3 drains of powder, 11/8 oz. of size #8 shot).
LOST: the term for a target missed completely or only dusted." Term carried over from live-bird shooting.
LOW-YARDAGE: positions in handicap shooting from 18 through 20 yards from the traphouse.
MALFUNCTION: a term applied only to doubles shooting. It means the failure of the gun to operate properly, thus preventing the firing of the second shot on doubles. There is a limit on the number of malfunctions allowed without penalty.
MARATHON: usually 500 or 1,000 targets of the same kind shot in one day.
MID-YARDAGE: positions in handicap shooting 21 to 23 yards from the traphouse.
MISFIRE: a shell in which the primer fails to fire when struck by the firing pin. Shooter is given another shot, with a limit to the number of misfires allowed without penalty.
NO-BIRD: the call given by the referee when the shooter does not have to fire at a target. Examples: a target that is thrown from the trap broken, an illegal target, etc.
NON-REGISTERED: shoots not scheduled and approved by the ATA or scores shot in practice, in shootoffs or at unregistered shoots.
NON-RESIDENT: any shooter not a resident of the zone or state concerned. Also referred to as out-of-zone or out-of-state. In larger shoots there are often specific awards for non-residents. Program specifies.
NO-TARGET: term which covers a number of instances, all specified in the rule book, in which the shooter is not required to fire at the target nor is the result scored if he does. Another target is allowed. (Same as "No-Bird.")
OPEN TROPHY: one awarded to shooter regardless of residence. Both in-state and out-of-state (applies to zone also) participants eligible.
OUTLAW: an illegal target. One which does not meet the specifications of flight described in the rule book.
OVER/UNDER: a variety of two-barreled gun with one barrel above the other.
PAIR: the two targets thrown simultaneously in doubles shooting.
PATTERN: the spread of the shot and the area which it covers.
PENALTY YARDAGE: the yardage assigned to shooters who have not met minimum-target specifications. Minimum of 25 yards is used at the Grand American; other shoots are governed by local or state handicapping rules.
PIGEON: clay pigeon, the target. Carryover of nomenclature from the shooting of live pigeons.
POST, PEG or POSITION: one of the five positions from which shooters fire.
PRACTICE ROUNDS: non-registered shooting, often at registered shoots, where the gunner shoots for practice.
"PULL": command usually used by shooters to call for a target to be released.
PULLER: the person who releases the target from the trap, either by an electric switch or by hand lever. Often also serves as scorer.
PUMP GUN: a pump. A variety of repeating or magazine gun in which the shooter operates the mechanism (pumps it) after each shot to reload and recock the gun for the next shot.
REGISTERED SHOOTS OR TOURNAMENTS: shoots carrying the official sanction of the ATA and shot under its rules. Scores made in them are recorded in the official records.
RELEASE TRIGGER OR RELAXING TRIGGER: a trigger designed to fire the gun when the pressure on the trigger is released instead of when it is pulled. A common prescription for flinching.
RELOAD: a) noun—a shell which has been reloaded. b) verb—to place component parts in an already-fired shell or new empty case.
RELOADER: a) person who uses his own component parts to load empty shells. b) machine which the shooter uses to reload shells. Sometimes called handloader, and the resulting shell is called a reload or handload.
ROUND: 25 targets in singles or handicap or 25 pair in doubles, as in "a round of practice." Not used to designate a single cartridge as in military terminology.
RULE BOOK: published by the ATA. Gives all rules for shooting and holding registered tournaments, plus other information regarding the ATA organization. Available from the ATA office in Vandalia, Ohio. It is published yearly, and copies are sent to all ATA members.
RUNNER-UP: shooter who wins the second-place trophy in a shoot. Could have tied with the winner and lost the shootoff or could have shot the second-high score.
SCORER: the person who judges whether the target has been broken ("dead") or missed ("lost") and records the result on the score sheet.
SHELL: actually the cartridge casing containing the powder, shot, etc. In common usage, the complete, loaded cartridge used.
SHOOT: a) noun—an entire tournament, as "the shoot lasted four days." b) verb—to fire the gun. c) verb—to participate in a race, as he shot the doubles."
SHOOTOFF: method of deciding ties in which shooters fire another event. In singles and handicap races, shootoffs usually consist of an additional 25 targets, in doubles 10-pair. Process repeated until winners are decided. All-around shootoffs are 20 singles, 10 handicap and five-pair of doubles. H-O-A shootoffs are at all types of targets in proportion to original race. Shootoffs are usually held after all of the scheduled events for the day are completed.
SHOT: the spherical pellets fired at the target. Called chilled shot from the manufacturing process of dropping lead from a tower into cold water. Shot consists of lead hardened by antimony. No. 71 2 and No. 8 shot commonly used, having diameters of .095 and .090 inches respectively. There are about 395 and 460 pellets in a load of these sizes. Shot is never referred to as buckshot or bullets.
SINGLE GUN OR SINGLE: a gun capable of holding only one shell.
SINGLES, 16-YARD SINGLES OR 16-YARD:one of the three varieties of events in trapshooting. Single targets are shot at by shooters standing 16 yards back of the trap. One shot fired at each target.
SLOW PULL: a target released at a noticeable interval after the call "pull" is given. Shooter not required to shoot, but result is scored if he does.
SMOKE: to hit the target so hard it disintegrates into a puff of smoke.
SQUAD: a group of shooters (five or less) who shoot together at one trap and who shoot in rotation
SQUAD SHEET: the score sheet on which is marked the result of each shot fired by every member of the squad on one field. By regulation, it must be a minimum of 12"x36" so that all of the shooters on that field can see their scores without moving from their shooting positions.
STATE SHOOT: the tournament held annually in each state or Canadian province to determine various state champions, etc. The ATA furnishes six trophies bearing the ATA emblem to be awarded to the top shooter in singles, handicap, doubles and all-around, plus to the women’s and junior singles champions.
STATION: same as post, peg or position.
STRAIGHT: the breaking of all the targets in an event, usually 25. Longer straights usually specify the number.
SUB-JUNIOR: where this classification is used, it includes any shooter who has not reached his or her 15th birthday.
TARGET, CLAY TARGET, CLAY PIGEON, BLUE ROCK, ROCK, CLAY: the target shot at in trap or skeet. An inverted saucer-shaped object, generally made of powdered limestone and pitch. Regulations specify it is 4 5/16 in diameter, 11/8 high and weighs 3 1/2 ounces, with an allowable variation of 5% from this latter figure.
TRAP: a) noun—the mechanism used to propel the target. Name derived from the boxes or traps used in live-pigeon shooting. b) noun— term used to designate trapfield, as "Squad 5 is on trap 4." c) verb—to throw the target, as "the club trapped 36,000 targets during the shoot."
TRAP & FIELD: official publication of the ATA. Twelve monthly issues plus the Average Book are published. The only source of registered shoot listings, plus reports on each one. Editorial offices at 1100 Waterway Blvd., Indianapolis, IN. 46202.
TRAP GUN: guns usually used for trapshooting. A specialized item. Usually has longer and straighter stock than a hunting or field grade gun. Often decorated or engraved and fitted with fancy-grade wood in stock and forend. Ventilated rib and recoil pad are standard items.
TRAPBOY: the person who places the target on the trap. Commonly includes all help who operate the trapline.
TRAPHOUSE: a below-ground structure 16 yards in front of station #3 in which is housed the trap, trapboy and a supply of targets. The top of the house is usually about 2 1/2feet higher than ground level.
TRAPSHOOTING: shooting at a clay target released at unexpected angles from a low trap-house directly in front of the shooter.
VETERAN: at the Grand, any competitor who is 65 years of age or older. Different limits often are used at state and other tournaments. Program will specify.
VOICE-PULL: a relatively-new, sonic method of releasing the targets. Microphones are at all five stations on the trap field. When the shooter calls for a target, the sound waves are electronically transmitted via the microphone to the trap so that the targets are immediately and uniformly thrown.  
ZONE: a) one of the five districts into which the ATA divides the United States and Canada. b) one of the districts into which various states divide their territories.
ZONE SHOOTS: tournament sponsored by the ATA in each of its five zones and for which the ATA furnishes the major trophies.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 06 January 2016 15:00