Olympic Trap is one of the ISSF shooting events, introduced to the Olympic program in 1900; the current version was introduced in 1950. In International competitions the course of fire is 125 shots for men and 75 shots for women. There is also a 25-shot final for the top six competitors. The ISSF website is www.issf-shooting.org for more information. B.J. McDaniels has written a series of three articles covering upgrading from American ATA/PITA trap shooting—described in the following section—to Olympic trap (on going from checkers to chess, if you will). They may be found in the shotgun coaches' corner of www.USAShooting.com. Several photos of a bunker facility are shown. Olympic trap is also referred to as International trap or Bunker trap.
The Olympic trench contains 15 fixed-angle machines as opposed to the single oscillating machine used in the American games. The additional machines resolve the fairness issue: as the single machine in the American game is constantly oscillating horizontally, every shooter will receive a different mix of target angle difficulty. For example, on any given station, a shooter can plausibly get all (easier) straight-away targets or all extreme angle (more difficult) targets, thus varying his level of difficulty (fairness) considerably in each round shot compared to what his competitor might receive. What target angle the shooter actually gets is a luck of the draw depending on where the constantly-moving machine was pointing at the time he called for his target. The 15 machine fixed-angle format eliminates this luck of the draw problem, ensuring that all shooters will receive exactly the same targets as all other shooters, hence providing the equal difficulty for all. A computer is used to ensure this occurs with programming to deliver 10 left, 10 right and 5 straight-away targets to each competitor in a randomized sequence. Finally, a microphone release system provides equality in target release times. An Olympic trap facility is designed to provide unequivocally equal opportunity for all.
The process of a round is as follows: There are six shooters, one to each station, with the sixth shooter initially starting at a holding station immediately behind shooter number one. At the beginning of first round of the day, test firing is allowed at the referee's permission. Upon receiving the start signal, the first shooter has 10 seconds to call for his target. After firing at his target, the first shooter waits for the second shooter to complete firing, then moves to station two, with the shooter on station six smoothly moving to station one. This procedure continues through the squad until the completion of the round.
Generally, the round is refereed by a person on the line, behind the shooters. He uses a bicycle-type horn or similar, to signal lost targets. He is assisted by one or two flankers to either side of the bunker who keep score. With modern technology, computer screens are now used both at the bunker and perhaps, in the club house showing the rounds' progress. In major matches, there will be a large, perhaps 1 x 2.5 m (4 x 8 feet) or so board to one side that shows the scoring status clearly to all with large tiles: white to show hits, red to show misses.
The guns may be loaded—but open-actioned—between stations 1 through 5. The gun must be unloaded and open in the walk from station five back to one. The unloading must be done BEFORE the shooter makes the turn to step off station five. This open action requirement alone tends to discourage the use of auto-loading shotguns as it is time consuming to unload if the second shell is not used. Additionally, there are issues of reliability and the loss of the advantage a more open choke of the over-under shotgun type can provide for the first shot.
Since the UIT, now ISSF, mandated the 24 gram (7/8 ounce) shot load effective back in 1991, chokes have tended to become tighter. Often you will see the use of 0.64-0.72 mm (0.025-0.030 inch) for the first barrel and 0.80-1.00 mm (0.032-0.040 inch) for the second. Guns are regulated to shoot dead on or, at most 5-8 cm (2-3 inches) high. Considerable effort is expended to ensure a perfect fit as the relatively high 100 km/h (62 mph) exit speed of the target allows no time for conscious compensation of a poor fit as it so often can occur in the slower 64 km/h (40 mph) exit speed target games of American trap and skeet.
Double Trap is a relatively new Trap form, Olympic since 1996 (from 2008 it has Olympic status only for men), where two targets are thrown simultaneously but at slightly different angles from the station three bank of machines. The target speed is about 80 km/h (50 mph), very close to that of ATA doubles.
The only unique item in that the targets are released with a variable delay up to 1 second. This was instituted to minimize the practice of spot-shooting the first target.
Interestingly, the ISSF has continuously adjusted the difficulties of its disciplines trap, skeet and double trap, to minimize the number of perfect scores, unlike ATA/NSSA where perfect scores are the norm. Missing a single target in a large ATA or NSSA match means the competitor has a limited chance of winning, whereas missing a target in a bunker or International skeet still allows a competitor a good shot at victory.
Thank you John, for your explanation in details, that's the best I've ever seen.
I'd like to add,
1) the International trap targets are twice the angle and hight variations from ATA 3 hole set up, the three traps in front of each station shoots like this: right trap shoots left targets, center trap shoots straight, and left one shoots right targets.
2) that there're no penalty for second shot on the same target.
In my limited experiences, I learn not to calculate the targets, just shoot one at the time, a lost target is not going to ruin the day, because there're no perfect scores among my shooting friends.
John did an excellent job of explaining the game. The only thing I can add is a description of the target settings. International trap targets are set according to one of nine official schemes as laid out in the ISSF rule book.
The target settings for international trap are between a 90 degree arc from a 0* center to 45* left and 45* right. The target heights are set between 1.5m and 3.5m. The targets are required to fly a distance of 76m +/- 1m.
There is no speed setting for International Trap targets. The targets are set by first setting all trap machines to zero degrees. The second step is to determine the height of the target (per the official scheme) as measured 10m from the trap on level ground. So if the setting calls for a 2.0m target you set the trap to cross the 2.0m mark on the height gauge (marked pole) at a distance 10m from the trap. Once target height is set then you confirm the target is flying the required distance to the stake at 76m plus or minus one meter. The Distance stake is also required to be set at level ground (or level with the trap roof, same as the height gauge). You adjust the distance thrown by adding or reducing spring tension. One additional adjustment can be made at this time which is to adjust for curl or to make sure the target flies in a flat trajectory and not in a curving trajectory. The final setting is to adjust the trap to throw the target the required angle.
So you can see that a target set at 1.5m at an angle of 45* is really going to be moving fast and all you will see of the target is a thin edge screaming away at a much deeper angle and a much faster speed than an American Trap target.
International Trap is a very challenging game - try it if you have the opportunity to visit a club with a bunker.