How Trap Shooting Scoring Works – A Guide for Beginner Clay Shooters

Shooting singles, doubles or handicap, it might sound confusing for those new in clay pigeon shooting, but it’s really no rocket science. Read on as I explain how trap shooting scoring works, any by the end of it, you will only have to care about shooting the bird.

How to Score Trap Shooting?

Trap shooting simulates the flight of a bird in the form of a 4.25-inch disc flying across the horizon that you must aim at with accuracy and skill. Each target shot adds one point to the score, and each disc that ‘manages to flee’ your reach is a score lost. However, there are several ways in which you may play the sport.

The most notable trap shooting disciplines include:

Trap Shooting Singles

In the singles, the shooter must stand at a distance of 16 yards from the trap. Each shooter must shoot from 5 different positions and is allowed 5 shots per position. This gives the scorer a total of 25 shots in one round.

Trap Shooting Doubles

Not a novice shooter anymore? Try your luck with the doubles instead of singles.

Each clay target heads into the opposite directions, so the shooter must be vigilant and respond quickly. Otherwise, there is a risk of losing the target. Each target carries an individual score of one point to win by hitting the target before it hits the ground.


Trap Shooting Handicap

The peak of trap shooting, the Handicap attaches a handicap to the more able shooter. The more skilled shooter stands farther away from the trap house. The ‘skill’ is gauged by the shooter’s records, and the handicap distance is assigned accordingly.

The most skilled ones have to stand at the 27-yard line. This automatically makes it difficult to score a hit and evens out the ground for healthy competition. The range of distance starts at 19 yards and goes up to 27 yards. Scoring is similar to the other two disciplines.

Trap Shooting Olympics

There is another discipline that is not that common as it is only used in the Olympics. The Olympic discipline carries a grand total of 125 points for the Olympic Skeet. The Olympic Trap also carries a similar 125 points total, whereas the total for Olympic Double-Trap rises to 150.

What is a Good Trap Shooting Score?

Like all sports, scoring is not the ultimate advantage. However, the score keeps individuals motivated and focused.

For singles or a handicap event, the highest possible score is 25 points if 5 shots are aimed from each of the 5 positions.

For doubles, the score doubles to 50 because of 2 targets in each session, and there are a total of 5 such positions.

For novices, a score of 19 or 20 points is considered good. However, if you have spent some time practicing trap shooting, then a 23, 24, or a perfect 25 points will be considered a good score.


How to Keep a Score Sheet?

Keeping an accurate score sheet requires basic knowledge of the sport.

  1. If the hunter hits the disc, it is considered a ‘dead’ target. This is regardless of whether the whole disc was shattered. If the hunter scores a dead target, mark an ‘x’ or ‘l’ (straight line) as a tally mark in the shooter’s score box.
  2. If the hunter fails to hit the target, it will be considered a ‘lost’ target and marked as an ‘O’ (zero).
  3. If the gun is clogged or malfunctions, the incident will be recorded as an ‘F’ (Failure). If there is more than one instance of the gun malfunctioning, then each F will be accompanied by the failure frequency. For example, if the shooter failed to shoot twice, then the score sheet will read ‘2F’. Any such malfunction is followed by another chance. However, if the failure repeats (regardless of the reason), the instance is marked as a ‘Lost.’
  4. If the target is not launched properly for any reason, the instance is wasted and no score is recorded.
  5. To amend an incorrectly entered score, place a strikethrough line on the old score and mention the actual score as a ‘dead’ or a ‘lost’ for clarification.
  6. The total for each shooter is obtained by summing up each column in the shooter’s row and working rightward.

The squad leader signs the score sheet to keep things transparent, and the score sheet stays in his custody until the next trap location. If the squad is at the last trap, then the score sheet is signed and left at the last station from where the club authorities will handle it.



Keeping trap shooting scores can help you and your shooting range buddies stay motivated while keeping the game interesting and fun. I compiled this guide to help you understand how trap shooting scoring works and how to keep the scores. Now you can focus on your game and enjoy it without having doubts about the scoring.