Shoot the Breeze

February 10, 2023

Written by James Williams, Range Safety Officer

Shotguns are multi-purpose pieces of equipment that can be used for a variety of outdoor activities. Hunting, self-defense, and competition are some of the main uses with this style of firearm. Within competition shotgun sports, machines are used to throw orange clay targets that are also called “birds”. The shooter says “Pull!” which signals they are ready for their bird to be thrown. Here at Liberty Mountain Gun Club, we have three main games we offer. These games include trap, skeet, and five stand.


The game of trap involves one machine located in front of five shooters. The shooters are oriented in a horizontal line, equally spaced out. The machine will be directly in front of the middle shooter. The machine rotates 22 degrees to the left or right randomly before every bird is thrown. The shooters go one at a time starting at the left and moving right. Once the last shooter has gone, the first shooter on the left goes again. This process is done five times. After those five shots, everyone moves one station to the right. The person on the far right rotates all the way around to the left. The game ends when everyone has taken five shots at every station.


Skeet is a game involving two machines, the one on the left being ten feet off the ground while the one on the right is three and a half feet off the ground. Each throws a single bird 15 feet over the center of the field. The field is shaped like a half circle with a machine at each end facing each other, slightly angled out. Starting at the left, shooters will have the “high house” machine directly above them. The shooter will shoot one high house, then one low house, followed by a “double”. A double is when both machines throw at the same time. The shooter will always shoot the bird going away from them first, then intercept the one coming towards them. After those four shots, the shooter moves to the next station in the half circle and shoots the same order of birds. Skeet has a total of eight stations. Stations three, four, and five only shoot a single high house and then a single low house. Stations six and seven shoot the original set of high house, low house, then double. This time, however, the low house will be shot first. The final station is eight which is directly between and inline of the two machines. The shooter faces the high house and aims roughly two feet off the edge of the building. The bird should be shot before getting overhead of the shooter. Finally, the shooter turns around and does the same for low house. Skeet technically only has 24 shots taken. The 25th shell is used as an “option” where the shooter gets to retry the first bird they miss.

Five Stand

There are five stands in the game of five stand. The inventor of the game openly admitted he could not come up with a more creative name. Regulation five stand has six to eight machines. These machines vary in flight path ranging from realistic looking bird flight patterns to clays rolling along the ground on its edge to simulate a rabbit. Each stand has a card labeled “single”, “report”, and “true” with associated numbers or letters next to them. A single bird will be thrown by itself. A report pair is when the first bird is shot, the second bird is thrown. A true pair is when both birds are thrown at the same time. When looking out into the field, machines will be labeled with a number or letter. Those numbers or letters are how you know which birds will be thrown for you. The shooting order is that each shooter goes down the line shooting their single. Once the fifth shooter shoots, the first shooter now does their report pair. The process continues to true pairs. Once everyone has shot their true pair, shooters rotate like they would in trap moving one station to the right. The game of five stand was designed by an Olympic trap shooter to teach youth how to hunt waterfowl and has since turned into my personal favorite game. I love that wherever you shoot five stand, every field is different!