Break 25 Straight on the Skeet Field

Breaking Clays

In the game of skeet you know what's coming. Breaking the clays is all about proper form and follow through.

Skeet got its start around 1900 when C.E. Davis, his son Henry and their shooting buddy William Foster adapted trap shooting to practice hitting birds that were incoming or crossing their range. A skeet field is laid out in a semicircle; trap houses are located at the 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock positions. On the left of the field is the high house, which launches the target from 10 feet above the ground at a slight upward angle. To the right, the low house launches targets from 3 feet above the ground at a more abrupt upward angle. The thrower is fixed and the targets take the same path every time. Seven shooting positions are arrayed in a semicircle, with one in the middle of the field. As shooters move through them, they will see incoming, outgoing, and crossing targets. The farthest shot is about 21 yards and the closest is 4 feet. On some stations, targets are thrown simultaneously from both houses. A round of skeet is 25 shells. Any gauge is allowed for a casual round, but in a major match, shooters will be required to shoot with 12-, 20-, and 28-gauges and the .410. Skeet is the only clay shooting game where the flight path of the target is fixed and known in advance—10 feet from station 8 is the 8 post; each trap is set to throw its target directly over it. Skeet is shot from a mounted gun position. With the sustained lead technique, shooters need only learn the lead for each target on each station and then find the body position (natural point of aim, or NPA) and muzzle hold point that lets them apply it consistently to break 25 straight. Here’s how to shoot skeet like a pro.

STATION 1 High House: Take your NPA on the 8 post and elevate the muzzle 45 degrees. When the bird appears above it, swing the barrel down through the target for 6 inches of lead below it, and break it quickly.

Low House: The NPA is on the 8 post, muzzle point is 4 feet outside the house. Acquire the bird but don’t hurry. Veteran shooters should break this target at the same point as during the double presentation. Ride the target to a point 45 degrees to your left. The lead is 1 foot.

Doubles: Follow the same procedure: Take the high house quickly and ride the low house in.

STATION 2 High House: Take your NPA slightly right of the 8 post and bring the muzzle back two-thirds of the way to the house. Get on this target quickly with 2 ½ feet of lead.

Low House: The same as low house 1, but extend the lead to 20 inches.

Doubles: Your strategy here should be the same as at station 1; take the high house fast and ride the low house.

STATION 3 High House: The NPA position is on the 8 post, with the muzzle point halfway back to the house. Lead here should be 3 feet.

Low House: Position is the same as for high house; lead is 3½ feet.

STATION 4 High House: These are direct crossing targets and, at 21 yards, the longest shot you’ll see. NPA is on the 8 post; muzzle halfway back to the house, and 4 feet of lead for each.

Low House: Same as high house.

STATION 5 High House: This house becomes the incomer and gets 3½ feet of lead.

Low House: This is the quartering outgoing target; get on it quickly with 3 feet of lead.

STATION 6 High House: The same gentle incoming target as station 2 with 20 inches of lead.

Low House: NPA is slightly right of the 8 post with the muzzle halfway back to the house. The lead is 2½ feet.

Doubles: The low house becomes the outgoing target in doubles. Shoot fast, the target is quick and rising.

STATION 7 High House: This is the easiest station. The high house is the incomer; ride it to 45 degrees on your right with 1 foot of lead.

Low House: This is the outgoing target. Take your NPA on the 8 post, elevated 30 to 45 degrees. Once you find the right elevation, you can break the low house without moving the gun—the bird will appear right on your muzzle.

Doubles: Break the low house quickly and take your time on the high house.

STATION 8 High House: Forget sustained lead here. The targets here are going to be close and quick, so use the fast swing-through technique. NPA is on the trap house opening with the muzzle 4 feet outside it. Swing rapidly up and through the target, and shoot as soon as you see a hint of daylight between target and muzzle after passing through.

Low House: Take your NPA on the trap opening with the muzzle 3 feet outside the house. Swing up and through and shoot as soon as the muzzle blots out the target. You’ll break this 3 feet from the muzzle.

A round of skeet is 25 shells. So far we’ve only shot 24. To get rid of that 25th, the shooter repeats the shot on the first target they miss. If you get to low house 8 with that shell still in your pocket, you’ll shoot it there. If you’ve never run 25 straight, that second shot on low house 8 can be one of the toughest you’ll ever make.