Breach Loading Shotgun Rules


Black Powder Breach Loading Shotgun Rules

Range Layout

1.1 Stands should be at the same level as the top of the traphouse.

1.2 Stands should be marked by a ±70cm square or circle.

1.3 The layout of the stands are as per the Lorenzoni layout.

1.4 Whenever possible, an acoustic release clay target launcher will be used.

Clay Launcher

2.1 The point of emergence of the clay target from the traphouse and the approximate point of landing are to be clearly marked in a manner that is visible from all stands.

2.2 The clay launcher should be set to throw centrally with the clay target landing at 60 metres (plus or minus 5 metres) from the point at which the flight of the clay target intersects the level of the stands. The height of the clay target should be 2 metres above stand level at 10 metres forward of this point of intersection.

2.3 A malfunction of the clay launcher should be reported to the Range Officer who should decide whether to change the launcher, to continue, or to stop the event.

2.4 The clay target shall be of the standard type used for Olympic Trap shooting.


3.1 Spectators must be at least three metres behind #3 shooting stand.

3.2 Spectators may not speak to the shooters or assist them in any way.

Range Officer and Arbitrators

4.1 The Range Officer controls the shooting, with the assistance of two or three arbitrators for scoring. These officials are the only people allowed to intervene if a shooter is in difficulties.

4.2 The Arbitrators signal each missed clay target by each raising an arm.

4.3 The Range Officer observes the Arbitrators’ signals and, from the majority if there is a disagreement, clearly calls out the result for all to hear.

4.4 A lost clay must be indicated; either with a hooter or a siren, or by calling out “lost”.

4.5 The range officer does not have to indicate a kill, but may do so by calling out “kill”.

Shooting rules

5.1       Each round to be 25 clay targets in 30 minutes over 5 stands.

5.2       Only one shot may be taken at each clay target.

5.3       Double barrelled guns may be used but with only one barrel loaded at a time.

    1. A misfire has to be indicated by raising the gun, muzzle up, immediately from the shooting position. The Range officer has to be afforded the opportunity to inspect the gun for mechanical     failure. Any tampering with the gun after a misfire will be scored as a lost bird, and the range officer does not have to inspect the gun if the shooter tampered with the gun.
    2. A misfire, due to a un-cocked gun, half cock gun, the safety left on, an unloaded gun or due to the absent mindedness of the shooter, will be scored as a lost bird.
    3. If a misfire is due to the mechanical failure of the gun (other than ignition problems), an allowed extra one clay target will be granted per round (25 clays).
    4. A misfire due to ignition problems, will be scored as a lost bird.

5.6       If a shooters fires before the command ‘Pull’, it will be scored as a miss.

5.7       Prior to the start of each round, one trial clay target will be launched in full view of all the shooters standing on their starting stands.

5.8       If the launcher is repaired or replaced, a further trial bird will be launched as above, with shooters standing on the stand where they will be shooting from next.

5.9       If a clay target is not launched immediately on the command ‘Pull’, the shooter may refuse to shoot without incurring a penalty, but must make his or her actions clear by raising the gun, muzzle pointed up.

5.10     The allocation of stands for each round will be made by shooters drawing lots. Each shooter shall fire his or her first shot in the sequence determined by the draw, but may subsequently fire in any order as soon as ready.

5.11     All shooters must enter the range from behind #3 shooting stand.

5.12     After each shot, shooters will exit the range and queue behind # 3 station before proceeding to the next stand (in an anticlockwise direction).

5.13     Shooters must have the authorization of the Range Officer before calling ‘Pull’.

5.14     Shooting will proceed without interruption unless disrupted by technical difficulties. The Range Officer may stop the shooting due to inclement weather and resume the round later at the point where it was stopped.

5.15     If a shooter is not present when his or her name is called prior to the commencement of a round, the Range Officer will call out the shooter’s name three times within a minute. If there is no response the round will commence regardless and the missing shooter will only be allowed to shoot later if space permits.

5.16     In the case of a severe mechanical breakdown of a gun which cannot be repaired quickly, the shooter must leave his or her round and may only be allowed to complete the remaining round if space is available on a later round. If the gun can be repaired before the end of the round, the competitor may resume shooting with the permission of the Range Officer, but will forfeit any shot not fired within the time limit of that round.3

5.17     After a misfire, a gun may be unloaded or fired away subject to the authorization of the Range Officer, but not at a clay.

5.18     The normal maximum number of shooters to be squadded on a round is five (5). Should it be absolutely essential, this may be increased to a maximum of ten (10), but the time for the round is to be increased by five (5) minutes for each additional shooter.


6.1 Ties for the top three individual places will be determined by shoot-off with the first fault being the loser. Shoot-offs shall comprise:

6.2 One clay target will be shot, starting from their opponents starting stand.

6.3 Should both shooters miss, they will continue the shoot-off on the next stand, in a ant clockwise manner.

6.4 Ties for team scores will be determined by count-back. The winning team is that which has the longest unbroken string of hits from the end, counting back.


7.1       As this is a traditional and cultural shooting discipline, shotguns used should be those that can be classified as “in the spirit of the original” Shotguns may be single barrel, double barrel, combination guns, smoothbore and of any calibre.

    1. The gun should have external hammers, with the following exception: Any gun with internal hammers or internal firing pins may be used provided it is an original, manufactured before 1900, without any nitro proof markings.

7.3       Adjustable choke bores are forbidden.

    1. Slip-on butt pads made of leather or other contemporary material (but not rubber) are permitted. Any other addition to the butt is forbidden.
    2. An ‘Original’ is defined as any original shotgun in unaltered condition. A ‘Replica’ is a newly made reproduction of an antique original.
    3. Shotguns not conforming to the above rules may be used in order to encourage participation, and only under the following conditions:

            a) Only black powder may be used.

            b) The shooter will be handicapped by deducting the difference between 25 and the best top score of a contempary shooter in that round from his score.

          c) The result of this handicap is that a shooter with a modern gun will not be able to score more than any of those participants with contemporary shotguns.

7.10     The use of slings is not permitted.

7.11     Cartridge belts are permitted


8.1       Only factory made black powder is permitted.

8.2       Lead shot size must not exceed 2.5 mm diameter (No 7).

8.3       Loads must not exceed normal Proof Table Service Loads for the calibre of gun up to a maximum of 6.2 grams (96 grain, 3.5 drams) of black powder and 35 grams (540grain, 1¼ oz) of lead shot.

8.4       Plastic Cases are permitted, but must only be used once only with black powder and then discarded.

8.5       Brass cases are permitted, provided only one round is loaded and shot at any one time.

    1. Paper cardboard cases are preferred.
    2. Participants must have at least one extra round available for scrutiny. The range officer may select any one round from a shooter, open it and verify shot size and weight, wad composition and black powder charge.
    3. Loading must be in accordance with contemporary methods and materials except for the above exceptions of plastic and brass cases. Plastic over powder and over shot wads are prohibited.

Shooting Rules

9.1.       Bolt and Lever action shotguns: When walking from the loading tables to the stands and back, shooters must carry their guns with the muzzles pointed upwards. The bolt/action to be open at all times when not on the shooting station, and all rounds removed from in chambers or magazines.

9.2       Top, side or under lever shotguns: The guns must be opened at all times when not on the shooting stands, without any rounds in chambers. A round may only be placed in the gun on the shooting stand, whether the action is opened or not, with the barrel pointed down range.

9.3       Hammer Guns shall only be fully cocked when at the shooting stand and ready to fire.

9.4       The utmost care in handling guns is to be observed at all time.

9.5       When not in use guns should be kept in the racks and must not be touched without the owners’ permission.

9.6       The shooter may only shoot when it is his or her turn to do so, and after the clay target has been released.

9.7       Aiming or shooting at other shooters’ clays is forbidden.

9.8       The shooter may mount the gun in the shoulder or start from the gun down position as preferred before calling ‘Pull’.

9.9       When firing, shooters must stand within the area marked for the stand.

9.10     Safety spectacles and hearing protection must be used when shooting.

9.11     When the shooter is ready to fire he or she may, with the permission of the Range Officer, give the order ‘Pull’. The shooter may also ask ‘Ready?’ but nothing else.

9.12     A clay target will be deemed broken when, after being correctly launched and shot according to the rules, at least one visible part flies away.

9.13     A clay target will be deemed lost and scored zero, if:

9.13.1  it is not broken during flight;

9.13.2  the shooter does not fire because he or she has: – the gun in the safety or half cock position; forgotten to load a round, fired the wrong barrel; not seen the clay target; had a mechanical misfire in excess of the permitted one; or

9.13.3  the shooter touches the lock/bolt/action of the gun before it is checked by the Range Officer following a misfire or technical fault.

9.14     A clay target will be deemed a ‘No bird’ and another clay will be granted to the shooter, whether he or she fired or not if:

a)         the clay breaks on launching;

b)         the flight is not straight, is irregular or is too slow, due to mechanical failure of the clay launcher, but not due to natural elements (wind).

c)         two or more birds are launched together;

d)         the clay is of a different colour to that of preceding clays;

e)         the clay is launched before the order ‘Pull’;

f)          the clay is not launched immediately on the order ‘Pull’, providing the shooter

indicates an intention not to shoot by raising the gun, muzzle pointing up.

g)         if a misfire or default is due to the mechanical breakdown of the gun, the lock or the cock.

h)         if the shooter has obviously been hindered by a third party.


10.1 If the shooter or Team Captain does not agree with the Range Officer over a miss, one of them should immediately lodge a claim by raising one arm and shouting ‘Protest!’ The Range Officer will then suspend shooting, consult with the Arbitrators and give a final decision. The Protest will be entered into the Range Report.

10.2 It shall not be permissible to recover a clay target to check whether or not it is broken.

10.3 If the shooter or Team Captain does not agree with the shooter’s score, one of them should immediately lodge a complaint with the Range Officer who will consult with the Arbitrators and then give a final decision.

10.4 An appeal against a Range Officer’s decision can be lodged in writing with the Arbitration Committee but no appeal can be made over whether a clay was broken or not, as the Range Officer’s decision in this matter is final.

10.5 If a shooter, Team Captain or Championship Official observes something that is contrary to the rules he or she should point the matter out immediately to the Range Officer who should take immediate steps to stop the violation of the rules. If this is not possible a protest may be lodged as above.


11.1 All shooters shall be deemed to know the rules, and must accept beforehand all penalties that may result from violations thereof, or from disobeying the Range Officer’s instructions.

11.2 If a shooter uses a gun or ammunition, which does not comply with the rules, any target hit with that gun or ammunition would be scored as a miss.

11.3 If a violation of the rules is deliberate, the shooter may be disqualified.

11.4 If a shooter hinders another by his or her attitude, conduct or words, the shooter will be warned by the Range Officer. If the offence is repeated the shooter may be penalised by deduction of one or two points from his or her score, as decided appropriate between the Range Officer and the Arbitration Committee.

11.5 A shooter loading or firing a gun before reaching the shooting stand will be committing a severe breach of the safety rules and will be disqualified.


12.1 Smoking is absolutely forbidden on the firing line.

12.2 Firearms may only be loaded when on the shooting stand with the barrel pointing down range.

12.3 All firearms are to be unloaded and placed in a safe position during a ‘Temporary Cease Fire’.

12.4 All firearms are to be unloaded upon the ‘Cease fire’ signal and before retiring from the firing line.

12.5 Ammunition should be kept away from direct sunlight.

12.6 Care should be taken when loading ammunition to ensure that the cartridge length corresponds with the chambers of his or her shotgun barrel.

12.7 The use of safety spectacles, tinted or otherwise, is mandatory. Corrective shooting lenses are permitted.

12.8 The use of hearing protection by shooters and Range Officers is mandatory.

12.9 Original firearms must be in a safe shooting condition.

12.10 Replica arms must be of reliable construction and in a safe shooting condition.

12.11 Loads must never exceed the normal service loads applicable to modern black powder.

12.12 In the event of a misfire the competitor must keep the firearm pointing towards the target for at least one minute. After that it should be kept pointing at the target when possible, before opening the action of the shotgun, and never turned towards another shooter or spectator.

12.13 If an incident or malfunction cannot be cleared by the competitor, he or she must inform the Range Officer before taking further action.

12.14 Spectators must remain at least three metres behind the firing point and remain quiet when shooting is in progress. No one, other than the Range Officers, shall be permitted to speak to competitors during competitions.

12.15 In the event of a loading incident (eg cartridge without powder, dud primers, etc) the shooter should seek the permission of the Range Officer before clearing the firearm.

12.16 Each shooter is responsible for the proper functioning of his or her firearm and equipment.

12.17 Only factory made black powder may be used. No black powder substitute may be used.

12.18 No bulk powder or loading permitted on the range. Only pre-loaded cartridges are to be used.