Shotgun Shooting Information Troop Meetings Main Event

Related Advancement and Awards


ShotgunThis month’s meeting plans ideas assume that you have access to unloaded shotguns and dummy ammunition. If your meeting place does not allow guns, these sessions may need to take place at a different location. Be sure to check the firearms policies of the proposed venue. An instructor must be present.

Contact Your Local Council Shooting Sports Committee to:

  • Reserve the shooting sports venues at your council camp properties.
  • Find a gun club or other facility that will host your unit.
  • Seek a certified NRA certification as a Shotgun Instructor or Range Safety Officer.

From the Guide to Safe Scouting: The Boy Scouts of America adheres to its longstanding policy of teaching its youth and adult members the safe, responsible, intelligent handling, care, and use of firearms, air rifles, BB guns, and archery equipment in planned, carefully managed, and supervised programs.

The BSA National Shooting Sports Manual includes all of the information you will need pertaining to permitted guns used at each level of Scouting, the required range supervision, and the training that Scouts must have for each activity.

National Rifle Association Rules for Safe Gun Handling

—> Note to the Leader

Shotgun Parts


The fundamentals below form the foundation of successful shooting. Using them correctly and consistently every time provides successful shooting whether you are a beginner or an expert.

Shooting position (stance) – Your shooting position must be relaxed and comfortable. Do not strain your muscles. Plant your feet firmly on the ground about shoulder width apart. Your front knee should be bent slightly while your back leg remains straight. This position provides proper balance and the ability to move.

Shot preparation (gun-ready position) – This is the position you hold while waiting for the target to appear. Maintain your basic shooting stance, with your trigger hand placed on the grip of the stock and your nontrigger hand at about the middle of the shotgun forearm. The grip of both hands should be firm, but not so tight as to create strain. The rear position of the stock is positioned along the front side of your ribs. The muzzle is placed slightly below the expected flight path of the target. Both eyes should be open and focused in the area where you expect the target will first appear.

Swing to target – On first seeing the target, quickly move your gun and body as a single unit in a smooth movement toward the target, raising the gun into the correct firing position. To achieve this position:
• Keep your eyes focused on the target at all times.
• Position your face firmly against the stock.
• Bring the trigger hand elbow into position about level with the shoulders.
• Place the butt of the stock against the shoulder. With correct gun fit, the barrel will be aligned in front of your dominant eye and with the target. Note: Unlike lining up the sights of a rifle, sighting is more of a pointing motion with your shotgun.

Trigger PullTrigger pull – This should take place at the instant when, looking at the moving target, you see your gun’s muzzle touch it. Timing and reflex are essential; your pull must be quick and crisp, but be careful not to jerk the gun.

Follow ThroughFollow-through – Except for targets flying absolutely straightaway from the shooter, the shotgun muzzle must move through the target. The trigger is pulled while the shotgun is moving, and the gun must continue to move after the shot is fired. (Stopping the motion of the gun after touching the target is the most common cause of misses by beginning shotgunners.) The shotgun must remain welded to your body, especially the cheek.

Skeet – In skeet shooting, targets are cast away from the shooters at various angles. Targets can cross, come straight toward you, or move away from you. Shooters stand in a semicircular field with multiple stations, and they move from one station to the next. Targets are thrown by two machines. The “high house” launches targets from a point high off the ground. The “low house” launches targets from somewhere around waist level. From each station, the shooter shoots one target from each house. Positions 1, 2, 6, and 7 include “doubles” where targets are thrown from the high and low houses simultaneously, and the shooter fires two shots. The 25th shot is fired when a shooter scores the first miss.


Trap – In trap shooting with multiple shooters, they stand in a slight semicircular line, side by side, as moving targets are launched from a partially underground bunker. Targets are thrown 16 yards in front of the primary shooting line at about 42 mph and in a consistent vertical angle to simulate wild birds flying away from a hunter. The targets are cast in random directions within a 45 degree side-to-side
arc relative to the shooters.

A squad of five shooters competes in a round with each shooter starting at one of five stations, or posts. Shooters alternate shots until each shooter has fired at five targets from their starting position. Shooters shift one position to the right until they have shot at each station.

ClaySporting Clays – In sporting clays, each shot is different. A typical course includes 10 to 15 stations winding through woods and fields. Machines launch clays from each station at unpredictable angles, sometimes sending two targets at once to simulate a “true pair” of birds—or a “report pair,” which would occur if a bird were flushed upon hearing the first shot. Other clays may fly straight toward you from a clump of bushes or roll across the ground to simulate a rabbit on the run.

Five Stand – In five stand shooting, there are more crossing and flying patterns than skeet, and it is faster and less expensive than sporting clays. The clays are thrown from six to eight different launchers placed to the left, right, or straight ahead of the five shooting stations, or even from behind the shooter. Each shooter gets five target “presentations” at each station for a round of 25 shots. As an alternative, try playing Scouting clays, a modified five stand game where the focus is on going-away targets at less than 20 degrees; a wobble trap might be added in front of the shooter.

Resources and References

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Shotgun Shooting Information Troop Meetings Main Event