Common Shooting Terms

After fielding several questions of my students this past week in their quest to shoot in the circuit shoot, I began to realize that many of the common terms that most experienced shooters take for granted are a foreign language to shooters who come from the ranks of the youth leagues.  One example of lack of understanding came when back when Hermitage Farms held the latest FITASC tournament.  First, most kids want to know what is FITASC, and one of my kids who did shoot the event played the HOA option…………….Now the upper echelon shooters probably appreciated her donation but she obviously had zero chance of competing with them for money…………So the following is an attempt to give explanation and definition to the shooting terms we commonly employ.



This is a shoot where the target fees of 4 cents to the National Organization [NSCA] and 3 cents a target is paid to the State organization [SCSCA]  These scores are posted locally but are tracked on the NSCA website under a shooters registration number.  Monies collected in target fees are employed at the State level to promote the Sporting clays by the State Organization…[SC Sporting Clays Association]



This is a collection of shooters who shoot in rotation at a sporting clays station…usually squads are limited to 5 members and can be of various classes or concurrents.  Many times these shooters will shoot most all events together but will accept another shooter on occasion.



This is a registered shoot within the state of SC where shooters are given points for placing in their class.  100 points are given for first in class, 90 for second, 80 for third, etc…akin to NASCAR…Monies are paid out of a portion of the shoot fee and channeled into an end year first through tenth payday for shooters who have the most points.  This year there are 10 circuit shoots at 8 different clubs and shooter points are only counted for 6 of the shoots allowing participants to miss a few shoots or drop their lowest score over the six that must be counted…in addition 10 participation points are added for showing up.



Is an English version of the clays game shot with a low gun on three different stations [pegs] and some five to eight traps with varying degrees of difficulty.  In general the targets are a little more complex and in general longer.



This is usually a set of five stations that employ from 5 to 8 traps and which a shooter shoots five shots from each until at the end he [or her] has shot a box of 25…Often used as a warm up exercise but can be made a competiton.



This is a class of shooter that begins in E class and progresses with experience and wins upward through d, c, b, a, aa, and to Master Class.  Upward mobility through the classes is obtained by winning or placing in individual events.



Concurrents are categories that shooters are placed in to compete or measure themselves against their peers....Examples are ladies divisions which breaks out all ladies regardless of age, subjunior that breaks out all shooters under the age of 15, junior that is made up of shooters between 16 and 21.  Then there are Veterans who are over age 55 and less than 65, Super Veterans who are over 65 but less than 70 and Senior Super Veterans who are over 75. 



In general most shoots have an option that allows a shooter to “bet on himself” the money going into a pot separate from the shoot.  He is essentially betting against others who choose to play the option.  HOA option is betting against others that feel they will be the highest shooter at the event.  Back to class options are again the shooter feeling he can win his class against other bettors in his class.  (I feel that if you don’t have the confidence to play back to class you don’t have the confidence to shoot the event)



Is where the regular classes are suspended and the field split by scores; usually three ways so that there are three tiers of shooters…..example:  you have 60  shooters so 1st winner is number one with the highest total score…….Shooter 21 is another winner…..and number 41 is the third winner……….This is truly shooting against your scoring peers with a lot depending on luck……….Most fun shoots and charity shoots are scored with this system.



This is where you show up for a registered shoot and are allowed to go on the course after 9 o’clock and be finished prior 2 or sometime 3 o’clock in Summer hours. 



This is where everyone shows up at one time for a particular rotation and after attending a safety briefing (mostly done for youth events or corporate type shoots where novices are in need of a briefing or a major event where there are high numbers and start stations are assigned for efficiency of movement along the course.  The shooting starts via a three shot blast or air horn of three blasts or an assigned time.  Most big shoots utilize three rotation start times…say 9, then 11, then 2……..and if it’s a two day shoot you must choose two different start times or rotations.



This is an event that is usually held at a larger shoot that is competed by shooters shooting 20 gauge, 28 gauge, and 410 caliber shotguns.  Typically the targets are closer and set softer in the subgauge courses.  Shooters who enter these events are only shooting against others with guns of their gauge.



This is an event where only shotguns with barrels side by side are employed.

These are a few of the common terms and all of the rules associated are to be found at the NSCA website.


If further information or explanation is needed or desired, please contact one of the SC Sporting Clays officers or board members on the SC Sporting Clays Association website.