Free Mount Starting Position For Sporting Clays

Dear Technoid,

I’m not familiar with the “free mount” position for sporting clays. Could you please clarify the meaning of the term?

Thanks again,


Dear Joe,

Glad to. “Free mount” in sporting clays simply means that the shooter may hold the gun in any safe position when calling for the target. He can hold it to his shoulder like a trap shooter if he wishes or at his waist like an International Skeet shooter. Anywhere he wants, just as long as it is safe.

The British went to the free mount starting postion a few years ago after using the “armpit” rule (like ours) for many, many years. Scores did not change very much at all. Many people are worried that going to the free mount means that everyone will shoot a mounted gun like American style trap or skeet and turn the game into mere mechanics. Nothing could be further from the truth.

As the Brits immediately found out, most shots are still best taken with the gun in the usual “armpit”, or at least off the face, position. Trap style shots and other going away types sometimes respond best to mounted gun, sometimes not. Generally, using a fully mounted gun was found to be a disadvantage, not a help.

Since January 1, 1997 sporting clays as shot in the US permits you to start with the gun in any position that you wish. This brings us up to the British standard and should keep us on an even playing field in world competition. Who woulda thunk it.

Bruce Buck
Shotgun Report’s Technoid

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