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Although currently there is not one set of guidelines that all Shooting Houses comply with, the rules listed on this page seem to be the most widely used and accepted rules we have found. There are many types of shoots and rules out there, we invite you send us information on the types of shoots you attend and the rules that are used... our visitors enjoy reading about other shoots and you will give those who are starting a new shoot some different ideas of things to try!


First and foremost, no one walks in front of the shooting line when there's a shell in a gun!  The best way to find that out is to yell "CLEAR?" before you even head in that direction!  If you hear that question and you have a shell in your gun or know that someone else does, don't hesitate! Yell "NO" right back at them and yell it quick!  Let the shooters take their shots and yell "CLEAR?" again!  If you think it's clear, that's when you yell "GOING OUT!", then you hesitate for a few seconds and watch the line to make sure no one is taking aim!   During a match you should have two 'target runners', one to hang 'em and one to pick 'em up.  It should be drilled into their heads that they never run targets until they've made sure there are no live shells in any guns.  Shooters should be told and reminded that after they've taken their shot they should step back from the line so that there is no confusion about who still needs to shoot.  There should be one 'shell man' in sole charge of handing out shells.  The shell man will NOT hand out any shells until he sees that the 'target runners' are back behind the shooting line.  Only the number of shells needed for one round is handed out at a time.... shooters should be standing away from the line so that the 'shell man' may quickly place a shell (or two for dots) only at each post that has a target to shoot (at major events some houses will even load the shells in the guns to make sure no one slips in their own shells!). The 'target runners' and 'shell man' play a major role in keeping your event running smooth.  They should be watching to see when all the targets have been shot so that the next set can be hung, shooters want to shoot, not wait.   If there's a target that hasn't been shot and there doesn't seem to be a shooter on the line for that target then a courtesy call for that target number is appropriate. He shouldn't need more than one reminder that everyone is waiting on him. Shooters should be able to take their time when shooting but they should be on the line when the cards are hung!  When the 'runners' think the targets have all been shot, that's when they yell "CLEAR?" and make sure everyone is done.  This is when they earn their name, 'runners'!  If you're smart, you'll have a 'target runner's tip can' at the judges counter so that the shooters who notice good runners can show their appreciation.


Events held at sporting clubs should be covered by the club's insurance. At this time we don't know of an insurance company that has a policy to cover these types of events. Since state laws differ you should contact local insurance companies for options. Coverage can usually be obtained on an as needed basis so that you only pay for insurance while you are holding an event. Another option might be to have anyone attending your event sign a waiver. Here are two waivers to use for general guidelines. Any waiver you use should be reviewed by an attorney.   Waiver for Adults (PDF)        Waiver for Minors (PDF)
Adobe Reader is required for viewing the waivers. Download - Adobe Reader (windows) Adobe Reader (mac)


You can limit the length of guns depending on what type of guns you're using at you're match. Some places allow any length but do not allow scopes. For stock gun shoots with choke limits, use a gauge to be sure all guns are 'legal' for the event. The main consideration in setting up a shoot is the types of guns your local shooters have. Local shooters are the back bone of any shoot and it's not likely they will all run out and buy a new gun just to be able to shoot at your events!    

OUTLAW 9's : OUTLAW 2-2-10's:
12 GA. *Outlaw Shotgun
Usually 36" or 48" barrel length limit, scopes allowed.
#9 Target Loads.
56' - 58' from trigger line to target.
12 GA. *Outlaw Shotguns
Usually 36" barrel length limit, scopes allowed.
2-2-10 shells (never use these shells in a choke with cutters!).  56' - 58' from trigger line to target
*Outlaw Shotguns : Modified barrels and chokes, no limits other than length!
12 GA. **Stock Shotguns:  32" to 36"  barrel length limits.
Usually limited to stock chokes
 .670/.675/.680.  Shells vary AA, #9, #8 & #7
  Scopes may or may not be allowed.
56 to 90 feet from trigger line to target.
12 GA. **Stock Shotguns: 32- 36" barrel length limits.
Scopes may or may not be allowed.
Limited to stock chokes.
2-2-10 shells (never use these shells in a choke with cutters!).
56 to 90  feet from trigger line to target.
**Stock : original, un-altered factory built barrels and chokes.


Benches or counters (where you shoot from) are typical for Outlaw shoots as the guns are heavy. Usually about 4 ft. high and 3 ft. from front to back allowing a 12 inch wide (left to right) 'post' (shooting area) for each shooter, although most of us wish they were wider!  Length totally depends on the space you have to work with. Some times a simple rail is all you have to rest your gun on.
Targets (cards or boards) are spaced the same as the shooting posts.... go figure!!!  Many places stagger the targets.  Alternating them high and low accommodates more targets and more shooters. Shooters may need to take turns to allow elbow room but the setup works well. Both indoor and outdoor ranges are used. Paper targets very in size and weight from heavy card stock to simple copy paper and cost varies depending on the weight.  Size is typically anywhere between 8 1/2" X 7" to 5" X 5". Some places even use cut 2" X 4" boards as targets. Depending on the type of shoot X's, circles or dots are printed or drawn on the targets. TARGET SAMPLES
Target holders can be either slotted metal racks open at the top to slide the card in or 4 nails (one for each corner of the card) welded to a support, pointy end out, that cards are pushed onto. Distance of the targets from the shooting bench depend on what your your shooting. Movable or portable target holders are excellent, allowing you to host unlimited types of shoots.       Target Holders
Judges should do just that, judge the cards and nothing else.  A table or counter used by the judge should be in plain sight of shooters, it shouldn't be too high or too low. It should be wide enough that everyone isn't  leaning over the judge while he's doing his job, but they should be able to see what the judge is doing. Judges should never hesitate to call a tie. If there is any hesitation or question at all as to who was the closest or took out the most then those cards should be sent back to the line for a shoot off. The judge should never ask for a second opinion, it is his job alone. There are two tools extremely helpful to a Judge, a swing-arm magnifying light and a small measuring magnifier.  Ideally, there should be at least one other person behind the counter who takes care of the sign-up sheets, keeps track of which targets are good, makes up and sends out the targets for the next round.

Target Runner / Shell Man are the back bone or your shoot. If they aren't running, your shooters aren't shooting and nobody is making any money. Runners work best in pairs.  One should remove the shot targets and get them to the judge, the second will be right behind him loading the fresh targets.  When both runners have  cleared the range, the 'shell man'  will pass out the shells, making sure only those posts with targets hanging receive shells.  One of the target runners can also serve as the 'shell man'. See the above 'Safety First' for more details on target runners.

Fair & Honest  is the only way to run a shoot. It is highly suggested that the judge, or anyone that works for the house, does not shoot in events while they are working....... Although there's been many a time that, due to a low turn out, shooters have agreed to allow the judge or it employees to participate. But it should be entirely up to the shooters, otherwise it only raises questions about how fair and honest a shoot is.  Nothing ruins a shoot faster than a question of fairness. Once the rule have been laid down don't change them without prior notice to shooters and getting their opinion!  No one likes it when the rules keep getting changed.

Advertising is minimal, but keeping in touch with your existing shooters is an absolute must.  Keep a sign up sheet where it is easily accessible to shooters so they can leave their name and address to receive your flyers. If they have moved it may remind them to give you a new address. Even though you may plan on having your shoot at specific times you need to let shooters know if you plan a special event or need to make changes later on.  Then of course there is well, what can we say,, YOU found this website didn't you?   It's the quickest, easiest way for shooters to find a place to shoot. It's cheaper advertising for you  than mailing flyers or running an ad in the newspaper!


STOCK MATCH, MEAT SHOOT, GAUGE GUNS - There are usually limits set for the guns, you may need to check to make sure a gun is 'legal. A 20ga shell slipped into the end of the barrel is an easy way to gauge a 12 gauge shotgun for a stock match.. If the shell doesn't fit, the gun goes back to the truck. These events vary the most from one shoot to the next.   'An 'X', a 5" circle or 5" circle with an 'X' in it or through it, a dot the size of a pin head - professional printed, computer or hand drawn and photo copied, scratched into a piece of wood with a nail or razor... any of these are typical targets for a stock shoot.   'X' targets are judged closest to the center of the 'X'. Circles are judged by counting the number of shot in the circle. Circle with an 'X' through it - alternate, one round it's judged as a circle, one round as an 'X' (two targets in one). A dot can be judge by whether it has been completely taken out or just been 'touched'. The more you shooters in a round the better, better profit and better payout. If you only have shooting posts for say 10 shooters, don't be afraid to let a second or third line of shooters shoot in the same round. Let each line shoot and then judge all cards in the same round.

Shooting distance varies greatly but generally is somewhere between 25 and 35 yards. The shells you use may determine yardage shot.  Shells might be #7, 7-1/2, 8 or 9, the cheapest you can find at Walmart or elsewhere.  You must figure the cost of shells in to what shooters must pay to participate.  The going rate is $1.50 to $3 per shot depending on whether it's a meat or money shoot. 
Ties - when you don't have a clear winner! Shooters who tied in a round get another chance. At most matches this is done by hanging new cards for the tie shots. But there are places that use the circle target and just hang the same card... saves on targets if you don't mind counting.
Prizes - bologna, bacon, hams, turkey, chops, steaks, combinations, a side of beef, a whole hog.... you name it we've seen it.  Of course for $3 shots you're not going to want to give away a whole hog unless you have about 100 shooters, and that's not likely. If you have 10 shooters per round at $3 that's $30 minus the cost of shells and targets. The prize should be worth more than the shooter paid for the round.. If you're paying cash prizes figure a flat percentage of 70-8o% depending on your costs.
Fund Raisers - if the event is a fund raiser for charity or a non-profit you should consider contacting local businesses for donations of goods or gift certificates.  Keep in mind that businesses often budget early in the year for donations, the further ahead you can plan - the better! The house may or may not deduct the cost of running the event from the profit donated to charity.

OUTLAW 9 BUDDY ROUNDS AKA Dot Shots, Warm-Ups, Cool Downs, or Big Dots: 
9/16" red dot target at which TWO shots are taken. Cost varies from $3 - $50 per card, but are usually $5 at a regular event and $10 a Super Shoot.
Click here for Sample Targets 
Buddy Rounds :
  True 'Buddy' Rounds use the buddy system. A team of two, one shooter takes the first shot and the other takes the second.
Warm-Up / Cool-Downs :   Warm-Up is shot before regular rounds and Cool-Down is shot after.  
Dot Shots / Big Dots :  9/16" dot targets are used for the entire match and usually consist of only 5 rounds. But most of the time everyone wants to do it all over again!

2-2-10 MATCHES   5/16" red dot targets are used for the entire match. Only one shot is allowed per card (they blow big holes!)
Generally 6 to 10 rounds are shot.
4 FOR 20's One round, each shooter gets four cards for $20. All four cards are judged as one round.
OUTLAW 9 REGULAR ROUNDS AKA Chigger Target, Little Dot:
A target with a red dot about the size of a pin head. One shot is allowed per target.  Cost is the same as Buddy Rounds.  Judging is either Take-Out (completely take out all the red dot in the center) or Touch and Go (red touched by shot).  Usually 10  regular rounds are shot.
Click here for Sample Targets
Named as such because it costs more to enter them.  They normally consist of 6 to10 Regular Rounds, a Warm-Up and a Cool-Down. First, second and sometimes third place should pay, depending on the amount of  money paid in. Trophies or plaques are normally provided by the house for 1st place winners.  At the end of the event a trophy is usually given to the shooter with the most wins.  Another option is to give everyone with a fist place win a shot in a 'trophy round' to determine the overall event or championship winner.

WTA - Winner Take All  is a round shot at the end of the entire event. It's exactly what it says, winner takes the entire purse, house doesn't keep a cut.

CARD LIMITS may be set ( the number of cards you can buy in a round). Buddy Round limit is normally 2 - 5 cards per round.   Regular Round limit is usually 2 cards per round. One of the main complaints from shooters in this area is that allowing shooters to buy extra cards in a round gives those who can afford it an unfair advantage.  It might be wise to mandate some of your events as a 1, 2 or 4 card shoot so that all shooters have the same chance!

PAY OUT Originally, Turkey Shoot winnings were a ham, side of bacon, a turkey, cut of beef, etc.  These days there is quite a variety of meats to win.  It can be a cheap way to bring home the bacon....or very expensive!  There are now a lot of money shoots. If the house supplies the shells, the Pay back is usually 70 - 75% of the total entry fee for each round depending on shell cost.. If the shooters have to buy shells or it's a 'big' shoot (such as a Super Shoot) payback may be as much as 80% .  Each round is settled at the conclusion of that particular round.  1st and 2nd places should be paid if possible.

REMEMBER, there's a whole variety of events out there!!  We'd love to hear about the ones you've been to.  If you've started a new shoot, please let us know how it's going, use the Shooter's Forum to get some input from shooters and other house owners, and by all means give us your information so we can add you to the Shooting House List!

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