Handicap System

Dear Technoid:

I have to shoot a 28 ga, due to health problems. I was interested in your handicap system but don’t understand it. Here is your quote……..

“I worked out a handicap for sub-gauge guns at our 100 bird shoots: 16=3, 20=5, 28=10, 410=20, pump or SxS +5. If the course is a close one, the 410 has a chance, but it has yet to produce a winner. We do have a couple of hotshots with model 42 .410 pumps that have come close, but the best subgauge is usually a 28 or 20, even though their handicaps are less.”

Will you explain what it means, ie 28= 10, what does that mean ??? Thanks for your help,


Here’s what my subgauge handicaps mean in English.

In a 100 bird shoot, the 16 gauge gets an extra 3 birds added to his raw score. If he breaks 75 birds out of the 100, the 3 bird handicap is added to his 75 to make it 78 total. The same goes with the 20 gauge adding 5 birds, the 28 adding 10 and the 410 adding 20.

If someone shoots a pump or side by side, they get an additional 5 birds added to what ever handicap they have. Example: if a 410 shooter is using a pump gun, he would get the 20 bird gauge handicap and also a 5 bird pump handicap. If he shot a 55 on the 100 bird course, his total would be 55+20+5= 70.

I want to mention here that these handicaps were developed when I was shooting with the Connecticut Travelers. They shoot tough courses, not easy ones. These handicap numbers have often been criticized for being too much or not enough. Please, feel free to use whatever numbers work for your courses. These numbers aren’t written in stone. You might well want to adjust the handicaps for the type of courses and difficulty level which you shoot in your area.

And do remember that the handicaps not only reflect the size of the shotload used in the gauge, but also the fact that the subgauge guns are often lighter and less adapted to clay targets than the 12 gauge guns are. Often, but not always.

We did find that the handicaps encouraged people to come out with their favorite subgauge guns. That made the club shoots more fun for everyone.

Best regards,
Bruce Buck
Shotgun Report’s Technoid

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