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This is the original type of clay pigeon shooting. It began in the 18th century and for decades used live birds. Artificial targets—glass balls and then clay discs—were introduced in the late 1800s. By the first World War, trap shooting had evolved into what is practiced today. Trap is practiced at most shooting facilities in the U.S. It uses a single launcher located in a low trap house to throw clay targets away from shooters standing in a line of five stations. The trap house is in front of this line of shooters. As the game progresses each shooter stands at a station, fires at a series of targets (each presented at different angles), and moves right to the next station.
This is the second oldest type of clay pigeon shooting. It was created in the early 1920s by a grouse hunter looking to sharpen his skills. In 1926, a shooting magazine introduced the sport to America and offered $100 to anyone who could come up with a name for it. "Skeet" was derived from the Norwegian word for "shoot."
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The third major type of clay pigeon shooting and the youngest. Sporting clays was developed in the U.K. and brought to America in 1980. Since then, it has exploded across the nation and has become one of the most popular shooting sports in the country.
Sporting clays is shot on a course made of 10-15 stations. These stations are laid out one after another, like holes on a golf course. Some stations feature one, two, or more clay-pigeon launchers, all throwing targets at different heights and angles. There are no official rules regarding how these launchers must be positioned, so no two sporting clays courses are the same.
Compared to trap and skeet, sporting clays offers the widest variety of hunting-style shots. This makes it a great way to sharpen your skills for the season or to keep them sharp all year.
If you were to put trap, skeet, and sporting clays in a blender, Five Stand would pour out. It features a line of five "stands" for shooters and several launchers arranged in front of the shooters, to their sides, and even behind them. Shooters are presented with five targets at each station, 25 targets in all.
Five stand is more exciting than trap and throws a wider variety of patterns than skeet. It's faster and cheaper than sporting clays. For hunters, it's a great game, giving you the chance to work on shots simulating everything from fleeing rabbits and flushing to quail to ducks dropping into a set of decoys.