MIT SCA LogoSporting Clays Association

What is sporting clays?

The MIT Sporting Clays Association (MIT SCA) is a student group dedicated to the three main shotgun shooting sports - trap, skeet, and sporting clays. Our mission is to educate new shooters in the safe practice of shotgun shooting disciplines, improve skills to a competitive level, and to cultivate a lifelong interest in shooting.

Range practice is generally conducted biweekly at the Minute Man Sportsman's Club, about 30 minutes away from campus near Burlington, MA. We practice year-round and participate in a number of intercollegiate shooting competitions throughout the year. The club is open to MIT undergraduates, graduate students, and alumni.

If you would like to learn more about the club or are interested in coming out to shoot with us, please let us know!

Additionally, the club can arrange shoots for your lab, group, or student organization. Please contact us for more information if you are interested in an event like this.


In trap, the shooting is done from five adjacent positions in a crescent-shaped formation 16 or more yards behind the "trap." Shooting is done in rotation with the person in number one position firing first and so on. Each person fires at an individual target. After each has fired five shots from a particular position on the crescent, all move one station to the right until everyone on the squad has fired from all five positions for a total of 25 shots. The trap squad consists of five people or less.

The "trap" is concealed in a low house in front of the shooting stations. Clay targets are thrown from the house at various angles unknown to the shooter. The targets are thrown away from the "trap" 48-52 yards and in any direction within a 44 degree arc. The arc is centered on the "trap" and station 3.

As in skeet, the objective in trap shooting is the breaking of a fast moving clay target. The targets used in trap are the same as those used in skeet. Beyond these factors, however, the two sports are markedly different.

Unlike skeet, trap contains an element of the unpredictable. Because the shooter can never guess which angle the target will follow, it is impossible to use a cut and dried formula in determining proper leads. The principles of lead, swing, and follow-through are applicable to all forms of shotgun shooting. In trap, just as in skeet, no follow-through after firing is certain to cause a miss. Good stance and proper gun mounting are equally essential to the trapshooter.


The skeet field is laid out on a semi-circle (or half "clock") with eight stations for shooting. Seven stations are positioned at equal distances on the perimeter of the "clock" with the eighth in the middle on a line between position one and seven.

High targets are thrown from station one at one end of the semi-circle; low targets from station seven at the other end. The trap houses at station one and seven are called the "high house" and "low house." Targets are always thrown in the same pattern of flight, but the angle of the shot varies because the shooter changes position as the skeet squad moves from station to station. Two targets are shot from each of the eight stations, one from each house. Doubles, where targets are thrown simultaneously from both houses, are also shot at stations 1, 2, 6, and 7.

Sporting Clays

Sporting Clays is a challenging clay target game designed to simulate field shooting. On a Sporting Clays course, shooters are presented with a wide variety of targets that duplicate the flight path of gamebirds, such as flushing, crossing, incoming and other angling shots.

Courses are laid out in natural surroundings and typically include 10-14 shooting "stations" with shooters moving from one station to the next to complete the course. Each "station" presents shooters with a different type of shot. At a "grouse station," for example, shooters might face flushing "birds" that zip in and out of the trees. At a "decoying duck" station, incoming targets may float in toward the shooter.

Most courses make use of natural features such as woods and ponds to create a realistic setting for each type of shot. At any "station," targets may be thrown as singles, simultaneous pairs, following pairs (one target right after the other), or report pairs (the second target launched at the sound of the gun being fired at the first).

To further challenge shooters, target size may vary from the standard trap/skeet clay bird to the smaller "midi" and "mini" targets, or a flat disc shaped "battue" target. There are even special "rabbit" targets that are thrown on end and skitter across the ground.