Looks like the Sporting Clays and 3-5 stand are slowing becoming the top shotgun games in this country replacing conventional Trap and Skeet and there is a good reason why. These games are much more challenging and are harder to to go "straight". 16 yd singles and large bore skeet have turned into "endurance matches" with 100 straights being the norm and shoot-offs lasting several additional rounds as have doubles matches in the upper classifications. These games have been made easier over the years with the reduction in angles, limited flight distance, unlimited alibi's, etc., all in the name of being able to shoot 100 straight.
The Europeans have shot tougher games for years as they are not as concerned with shooting "straights" as we are and when they do, it is a major accomplishment. These are the games that are shot in the olympics and have one of the largest gallery followings of fans, but you wouldn't know it by our television coverage. The shooters are as well known throughout Europe, Russia, and England as our sports figures are to us.
In American trap, you are are starting at the 16 yd. line and go back to the 27 yd line for handicap events with targets being thrown about 33 degrees either side of the center line(used to be 45) with targets coming out at a fixed height of 10'. Trap oscillates and throws the target 55 yds. at a speed of about 45 mph with each shooter shooting 5 targets on each of 5 stations. In International Trap(pit or bunker) you are shooting from approximately 20 yds at a target that is thicker and can come out at a speed of 90+ mph and is thrown a minimum of 70 meters and can come out at a height of anywhere from 1 meter to 3 meters. Most Italian and Spanish bunker ranges throw the target close to 80+ meters. There are 3 traps in front of each shooter and a target can be thrown 45 degrees either side of the center trap. Each shooter fires 1 shot per station and then moves with a round being 25 targets. With the advent of computers, each shooter now gets the same number of target presentations in a 150 bird match as the next so luck is completely removed.
In our game, we allow a 1 1/8 oz. 3 dram load. In bunker, the load is dropped to 7/8 oz of shot but with a 3 1/4 dram powder charge and allowed 2 shots to break the birds. Release is by electronic voice. If you ever get a chance to shoot bunker and think this game is easy, you will probably not even see the first target let alone break it! The closest we have right now is the ATA Wobble Trap that basically gives the same target presentation but at a somewhat slower speed and distance. Hardly any 100 straights are recorded here as compared to conventional trap.
There is also a dress code that is rigidly enforced for these events. Shorts higher than 6" above the knee cap, sleeveless shirts, and shooting in a vest without a shirt are VERBOTEN. Also, don't show up looking like a Nascar driver with patches all over your vest as you will not be allowed to shoot.
Since 1994 in international competition, there have only been 6 shooters in the world to break 125 straight for the qualification round, and NO ONE HAS EVER GONE 150 STRAIGHT! This game is dominated by the Italians and Russians with a US shooter winning every now and then.
In and around Bresica, Italy there are over 15 bunker ranges. In all of the United States, there is only 12.
If you are lucky enough to have a bunker range, use it as you will be hooked. If not, most ranges now have the wobble traps on at least one range.