The Unofficial NYS Registered Skeet Shooting Guidelines
or “NYS Skeet Shooting for Dummies”
While we named this NYS Registered Skeet Shooting for “Dummies”, there is nothing dumb about wanting to shoot registered Skeet in New York State. It simply seemed to be a reasonable spoof on the “How To” computer program series of books and no offense is meant. Registered Skeet in NYS can be a very rewarding and enjoyable sport. New York State is home to exceptional Skeet shooters and facilities.
Registered Skeet shooting at best is very difficult for the beginner to make sense of and if it hadn’t been for Terry Johnson from Newark Rod & Gun Club, Richard “Radar” Caccamise from the Conesus Lake Sportsman’s Club and a few others, I doubt Rick and I would have ever gotten through the first year. We would like to pay back the sport and NYS as these two have, by trying to make it easier for others who may follow, there by possibly increasing the number of NYS Skeet shooters and supporting the game we so enjoy.
While you will see everything from synthetic stocked Remington 1100’s to engraved Krieghoff K-80’s ( both of which work just fine ), all you need to get started shooting registered skeet is a 12 Ga.( 12 Ga. is recommended ) , 20 Ga., 28 Ga. or .410 bore gun capable of holding two shells ( for doubles), some shells loaded with number eights or nines, a shell pouch, hearing protection, shooting glasses (both mandatory at NSSA events), an understanding of the rules (believe me, learn them first, the referees will appreciate this), a desire to compete, some weekends off, these guidelines and hopefully a friend to drag along, and you can begin the process.
First, locate a club and learn the game and the PROPER rules / Etiquette of Skeet. This is very important to the success and enjoyment of not only you but others. There are many, many clubs in NYS where you can go and learn this game and we are very lucky that this is the case. The NYSSA web site lists those that are member clubs. Many clubs have good shooters that are willing to teach others. There are also professional teachers of the game in NYS. As not to advertise anyone in particular, seek their names out at a club and you will be directed to some World Class Skeet Shooters and certainly some of the best in NYS.
Sooner or later, you will need to join the NSSA ( National Skeet Shooting Association ) and NYSSA ( New York Skeet Shooting Association ) .We are assuming you are a NYS resident. The web site for the NSSA is http://www.mynssa.com/. The web site for the NYSSA is http://www.nyskeet.com/. One option is to join straight up. Dues for the NSSA are $40.00 per year for an individual (this includes a magazine), per year, starting November 1st . Dues for the NYSSA are $10.00 for an individual per year. Other payment options such as life membership etc. are listed on each applicable web site.
The other option is a new one that was not available to us when we started. ONLY by applying at your first registered shoot, can you get a “Complimentary Membership” to the NSSA. This entitles you for one shooting season, to be able to shoot registered targets, get quarterly issues of Skeet Shooting Review magazine, a membership card, rule book, classification card and eligibility for SIAI Gun Floater Insurance.
Next you will need to find your first targets and get signed up. There are a couple ways to do this. Let’s go through them and we will try to explain them as we go.
These are targets thrown one hundred at a time (4 fields of 25) by member clubs of the NSSA for the purpose of establishing averages etc. at a reduced cost. When Rick and I started they were called “Try it, you’ll like it” targets. You need to pay for four rounds of skeet at the club’s rate plus “Daily Fees” of $0.03 to the NSSA and $0.02 to NYSSA. Typically this cost is around $17.00 - $20.00 per hundred total as compared to $40.00 or more per hundred at a registered shoot.
Some people frown on Monthly Targets as they say they do not truly represent the “Competition Environment” of registered skeet and when used to make the required minimums are unjust. If possible once you start your Skeet shooting endeavor and have averages for classes, We suggest you shoot “Registered Events” and not “Monthly Targets”. This is always a topic of discussion and it is possible the NSSA may eventually do away with them, but for now they exist and it’s a good way to get your feet wet. There are no “Options” or “Purses “(To be explained later in Registered Shoots) Monthly targets are listed on the NSSA web site under shoots.
Registered Shoots are the filling in the donuts and the main reason we chose to write these guidelines. They can lead to both the heart pounding shoot-offs of success and therapy sessions with a psychiatrist and your shooting coaches when you struggle. One of the best reasons to join the NYSSA is that with your membership you will get a nice book listing all of the NYS registered shoots and their dates. It will have entry forms for those shoots along with information about the shoots and the entry dates and fees you can expect to pay. Registered shoots typically fall into a couple of sub categories.
Four gun multi day events typically with doubles events on Friday, to one day, one or two gun events, ie. 12 Ga. and Doubles, 20 Ga. and 12 Ga. etc.. Beginners typically do not shoot four gun events and usually would have had to endure the pleasure of the dreaded “Waiting List”. Most four gun shoots give priority to the people who shoot all four guns and even more priority to those having a full squad of four gun shooters. This all is contingent on sending in the entry form when it is due with the appropriate deposit. Registered shoot entry fees are usually around $30.00 - $40.00 per gun, which include daily fees, but no options. You can expect around $8.00 - $10.00 of each entry fee to be returned to class.
In the past NO
As a beginner, your best bet is still the single gun or one day shoot. It is less expensive, doesn’t require guns or tube sets in all four gauges and requires less time. They also are typically smaller shoots where you could be more successful and less prone to a sense of being overwhelmed. These shoots include but are not limited to shoots like Addison ( 12 Ga. and 20 Ga. ) and Victor ( 12 Ga. & Dbls ), both in the Spring, and both of which we highly recommend. Most shoots have lunch available, if not included and are run by the nicest of people. Just be on time, know the rules, the etiquette and don’t expect to sign up at Addison with your score card averages not filled in. (How am I doing Lynn ?)
“Options / Purses etc.”
If there was anything that was the most confusing about registered shoots, it was options, added purses and the terms champ and runner up. Let’s go through each and see if we can make some sense of them for you.
Options, often called Oklahoma Options or 50’s are an added event that typically costs $9.00 and involves splitting the one hundred targets into three fifty target groups. The first fifty ( Box 1 & 2 ) the middle fifty ( Box 2 & 3) and the third fifty ( Box 3 & 4 ) . The object is to run fifty targets. Do that in any or all of those groups of fifty and you’ll get money back. If you can’t run fifty straight on a regular basis, our advice is do not play the options.
Class Purse, is an added money event that is simply an added entry fee that is split by those playing it that are the high places in their class. Example: Three people in your class (say class B) play class purse for $5.00 each. That puts $15.00 in additional class money to be split ONLY by those playing it. If you are high man of those that played the class purse in the class and there is only three of you that played, you probably would win $10.00 and second highest in class would probably get $5.00. You do not have to win the class, but only be the highest finisher that played class purse. Someone not playing the class purse could win the class, and would not be eligible for the added purse. The normal class monies come from standard entry fees and are not affected by added class purse. If you should win your class and also played “Class Purse” you are eligible for monies from both sources. Most times if it is a small shoot and classes are 5 or less, I do not play “Class Purse”. It’s a matter of choice and not required.
Champ & Runner Up are two terms I hope you come to know well, but confused us to death the first year… let us try to explain. In each gun there are a number of people shooting. Let’s just say twenty people in four classes for an example. Five in AA, five in A, five in B and five in C. Of those twenty people at this shoot three of them had one hundred straights. Two from AA and one from A classes. Those three people then would shoot off for the Champ and Runner Up in that gauge. Let’s pretend one shooter from AA wins the shoot-off and the Class A shooter is second. The AA shooter who won the shoot-off now “Comes Out of Class” AA and is crowned “Champ” and is entitled to that money ( usually a portion of the entry fee is set aside from each entry for champ & runner up and is usually more that the class winner. ). The AA shooter that finished third in the shoot-off fails to win either champ or runner-up and is left in AA class to win that being the highest score “In Class” with his one hundred. The class A shooter that took “Runner-Up” also “Comes out of Class” and is given the Runner-Up money. The next highest class A shooter ( ie. 98 ) would win the class A title and money. Then all other ties in classes would be shot off to establish class winners etc. Champ & Runner-Up are the most sought after titles as they mean the most and pay the biggest dividends. They are always settled first if there are ties in the high score. In a four gun shoot there will be four Champs and four Runner-Ups. Champ and Runner-Up are NOT eligible for base class monies, but would be eligible for “Class Purse” if they played it as an option.
HOA & HAA are usually four gun “High over All” (four gun total) and four gun High over All total plus doubles. These can be both included and added money options depending on the shoot. If you are not shooting four guns and or doubles, you would not play these options.
Should you decide to take the plunge, and we hope you will, start in the shallow end of the pool with a single day or single gun shoot. Keep expectations reasonable and goals attainable. NYS offers some exceptional local shoots and the opportunities to shoot “Major” shoots here is relatively common. These include the NYS shoot each year, the Zone 1 shoot every couple of years and even the US Open (hopefully at Rochester Brooks Gun Club again soon). These shoots along with others, are all listed in the top 100 shoots for the entire NSSA schedule and are incredible events to be able to shoot here in your home state. The second year Rick and I shot registered skeet together, we were fortunate to be able to shoot the US Open at Brooks, with the likes of Wayne Mayes and Todd Bender and we actually ran a 200 x 200 in the 20 Ga. Two Man Team event. While I was not ready for a shoot-off against two world class shooters in Mike Schmidt and Stewart McCoin and I missed on the 3rd pair of doubles shooting for the title, it was one of the most exciting things I have ever done and you can do it too.
Skeet shooting can be done for great numbers of years and done well at many levels. At this year’s NYS shoot in the 12 Ga., there was everything from a teenager’s first ever registered one hundred straight to Senior Veteran Bill “BoBo” Bobownik’s patented “Tarzan” yell for who knows what number one hundred straight of his. They all are special.
Good, bad or indifferent winning even a class in the modern game of registered skeet will require you to learn a completely different game. One hundred straights, even in Class C at the NYS Shoot are now common place and the ties are settled by shooting “Doubles” at stations three, four and five. While we will not dwell on this subject as it is involved, seek out someone to properly teach you this aspect of the game as it will be very important later on.
I neglected to mention, you can also participate in Skeet as a referee, which can be rewarding in it’s self. Check the NSSA website for details.
Please, come join us in shooting NYS Registered Skeet and we hope to see you in the shoot-offs soon. Hopefully these guidelines will help make your first season a more pleasant one.
Sam Heusler NSSA # 162135
Rick “AA” Ayers NSSA # 162120