SKEET

Squads of five shooters fire from each of eight shooting stations arranged around a semi-circle. There is no guesswork as to which house the target will come from and what path it will take. The high house target starts from a point 10-feet above the ground and the low house target from a point up to 3-feet above the ground.

The following target sequence is standard in a round of skeet:

Stations 1 and 2: High house single; Low house single; High house/Low house pair.

Stations 3, 4 and 5: High house single; Low house single.

Stations 6 and 7: High house single; Low house single; Low house/High house pair.

Station 8: High house single; Low house single.

The 25th shot, completing the round, is taken at the time of the first miss, or with 24 consecutive broken targets, the 25th may be taken from any position on the field.

Do not rush on doubles or you may get confused as to which target to break first. Always shoot the target moving away from you first, then break the incoming target.

Competitive skeet is shot with different gauge shotguns. As the gauge gets smaller, the difficulty naturally increases and scores get lower.

National Shooting Sports Foundation research indicates that the average shooter breaks 11 out of 25 targets in his first try at skeet and gradually improves through the high teens into the low 20's. A perfect 25 is a reasonable goal for the novice skeet shooter. Skeet can be shot for practice or as a registered event. To shoot registered targets you must be a member of the National Skeet Shooting Association.

EQUIPMENT

Firearms: Skeet shooting is done with 12, 20 and 28 gauge and 410 bore shotguns. Avid skeet shooters favor short barreled guns with open chokes.

Ammunition: Virtually all skeet shooting is done with shotshells loaded with #9 shot. For 12 gauge events, shotshells carry 3 drams equivalent of powder and 1- 1/8 ounce of shot.

HISTORY

The work "skeet" is derived from the Scandanavian word for "shoot". Credit for naming the game goes to Gertrude Hurlbutt, a Daytona, Montana housewife, who in 1926 won a contest for naming the new game. Among the thousands of entries in the contest were "Bang" and "Bye Bye Blackbird".

Charles E. Davies, an Andover, Massachusetts businessman and avid grouse hunter, is recognized as the inventor of the skeet game as we know it. A perfectionist by nature, Davies sought to improve his wingshooting by duplicating the target angles he had missed in the grouse covert. As time passed and Davies became more adept at shooting from the various angles, he decided to set up a regular sequence of shots that would duplicate all the angles he might encounter in the field. The result, "clock-shooting" was introduced in 1915. A circle with a 25-yard radius was measured off and shooting positions were set at each hour of the clock. The trap was situated at 12 o'clock and targets thrown over 6 o'clock. Two shots were taken at each position, beginning at 12 o'clock and making a complete circuit of the course for a total of 24 shots.

The 25th shot was an incomer taken from the center of the circle. Over this course, a score of 15 out of 25 was considered excellent.

In 1923, the radius of the circle was reduced to 20 yards and scores improved. That same year, by a strange happenstance, the circle concept was cut in half and the current semi-circle field was adopted. A hen farm built in an adjoining field made it necessary to cut out all angle shots which were fired in that direction. This was solved by placing a second trap at 6 o'clock which threw targets over 12. By going only halfway around the circle, and shooting one target from each trap, all the angles were preserved and the hen farm went unpeppered. Also, when the second trap was added, the original trap at 12 o'clock was elevated about 10 feet in the air to more truly simulate a bird in flight. The trap at 6 o'clock was left at ground level to simulate a flushing bird.

Because no guns or ammunition were designed specifically for skeet in the early years, scores remained fairly low. The first shooter credited with breaking 25 straight was H. M. Jackson, Jr. of Garner, North Carolina.

Prior to a mechanical trap situated behind Station 4, it was common for trap boys to release targets by hand from inside both houses. Because it was often difficult to determine which trapper a shooter was calling a target from, a practice at Lordship, Connecticut solved the problem whereby a shooter called "pull" for the high house target and "mark" for the low house.

The first National Skeet Championship was held in 1935 with L. S. Pratt of Indianapolis the winner. A 14-year-old boy, Dick Shaughnessy of St. Louis, captured the second title with a score of 248 out of a possible 250.

During World War II, skeet played an important role in training aerial gunners since skeet target closely resembled the flight paths of enemy planes and shooting at them taught "lead".

Article provided by NSSF web site: www.nssf.org