The Money In The Game

Hey bruce,

i was wondering about something,,is there much money to be made shooting professionally? Guys like Bender and Duffy and such,do they do this full time,or is this seasonal. I would love to have a job related to the shooting sports. I shoot pretty well,considering that i dont get to shoot much. I would love to shoot professionally if its possible. If it turns out that its not, maybe a job related to shotgun shooting,something along these lines. I am also told that i write very well,may not look it by the way i put together an e-mail,but thats only because i throw these together very quickly. Well ,any help will be appreciated.

Thanks ,


Dear Rich,

Keep your day job. I don’t think that anyone gets rich on their winnings at shotgun events. I don’t care who you are or which shotgun sport you pursue. Over time you may cover expenses, but very, very few are able to do that. But things may be changing. 2014 was the start of the Professional Sporting Clays Association (PSCA), which has a tournament schedule and real prize money.

If you can’t make money on the PSCA tour, you can definitely make a living as a shooting coach. Quite a number of people do. There is more money in coaching than there is in prize money because you don’t win all the shoots that you enter, but all your students pay you. Many of the better shooters mix “prize shooting” and coaching. Some students feel that their coach should also be a winning shooter. There is no question that winning shooters know how to shoot, but unfortunately many of them don’t know how to coach. Bender and Duffy know how to do both.

Lots of people make their living in the shooting industry. Manufacturer’s reps, PR, production, preserves, ranges, publications- that sort of thing. Just be aware that when you turn your hobby into a livelihood, things tend to change. Being on the inside can take the gloss off the sport you love and turn it into work. The gun industry is undergoing some pressure right now. There are opportunities, but there are also risks.

As to writing, I am sure that you write as well as you say you do, but that may not be enough to put bacon in the pan. Writing for outdoor magazines will never make you rich. Even a couple of books won’t fill your fridge with champagne and caviar. My advice is to write for the fun of it and accept whatever money and trips that come with it as pleasant extras.

I have monthly columns in “The Clay Pigeon” and also in “Shooting Sportsman”. I love writing for these people and would do it for free if they didn’t absolutely insist on paying me. I really enjoy meeting the readers at events. Sometimes they act like Dorothy did when Toto pulled the Wizard’s curtain aside and she saw him for what he was. Can’t say I blame them.

Don’t overlook a website. “” has been great fun. I learn more from my readers than they learn from me, trust me on that. And I’m grateful for it too. Feedback from magazine stuff takes months. SR is immediate. I can also do more things on SR since we don’t have as many advertisers for me to offend. Frankly Scarlet, I don’t give a damn.

As in any part of the publishing business, there are some neat side benefits. As a writer for shotgun magazines, I get to take occasional trips here and there to write about stuff. I’ve made shooting trips to Spain, Argentina and South Dakota that I definitely couldn’t have done on my own. Where appropriate, I also take my best pal, my wife. She’s a heck of a shot. Check out my article on driven partridge in the current Sept/Oct issue of “Shooting Sportsman” and you’ll see a few photos of her shooting.

Also, there is the gear aspect. As a gun reviewer I get a new gun each and every month. It’s just on loan and I have to give it back, but I’m sort of a techno-geek and love to mess with new stuff. Of course, this means that I am always shooting some new gun, not my own, so my shooting has sunk to the point where I can’t hit a barn from the inside. That’s the price you pay.

In all I feel that the gun writing recompense in cash, kind and satisfaction is well worth the effort. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t do it.

I guess that the bottom line is that there is no reason you shouldn’t start writing about your favorite sport of shooting. Pick some magazines you like and write their editorial offices requesting their editorial guide lines. Read through the magazines and write some stories that fit their format. Give them what they want to print, not necessarily what you want to write. Ethical purity comes later. Send them on in and see what happens. If one magazine doesn’t take it, send it to another. You never know. If they don’t take one article, write another and try again. You’ll learn a lot doing the articles even if you don’t get any takers.

But when you do get published, that’s a rush. There’s your name in print for all the world to see. It just doesn’t get any better. Just remember- do it for the fun. Anything extra is just a bonus. That way you never lose.

Best regards,

Bruce Buck
The Technoid writing for Shotgun Report, LLC
(Often in error. Never in doubt.)

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