DTL Rules


It is the responsibility of all shotgun users to behave in a safe manner at all times.

Treat every gun as if it is loaded.

Carried guns must be open and empty at all times except when on the shooting stand and it is your turn to shoot.

When the gun is closed keep the muzzle pointed down-range at all times.

In the event of a misfire or malfunction the gun muzzle must be kept pointing safely down-range. Hand the gun to the Referee with the muzzle still pointing down-range.

When “clearing” guns ( which will be permitted on your first layout only) never shoot at the ground or near the traphouse.


“DTL”, as it is called, first appeared in Great Britain when the “Inanimate Bird Shooting Association” was formed in 1892. It proved extremely popular and was even shot under floodlights in the early 30’s at the White City Stadium. It is the longest running clay shooting international discipline.

It is usually the type of clay shooting that new clubs first install and many newcomers to the sport of clay pigeon shooting first try.


The background for a Down-the-Line layout should be a major consideration. It is difficult to follow the flight of a target thrown in the direction of nearby trees or buildings and this should be remembered when choosing the site. A flat open field, with the trap set pointing north-east to avoid sunray interference, provides the ideal setting for Down-the-Line shooting. A minimum “Danger Zone” of 300 yards in front of each trap is necessary, based on the assumption that the regulation cartridge load will not be exceeded.

For a standard layout the five firing marks should be set in an arc of 16 yards radius from the trap, 3 yards apart, with the centre of No.3 firing mark in line with a straight away target (zero angled).

When more than one layout is installed there should be at least 40 yards between each trap.

A combination of Skeet and Down-the-Line facilities can be obtained in the one layout by installing the DTL trap midway between the two Skeet traphouses. This makes an ideal and neat setting when the two forms of shooting are to be incorporated.

The club house or marquee should be erected at a distance sufficient to prevent conversation disturbing the competitors.

i) When all is ready and correct the Referee shall call “Line Ready”.

ii) Competitors may then load with 2 cartridges, but all guns must remain open.

Note:- Those using semi automatics. Must keep the bolt to the chamber open, but a cartridge may be loaded into the magazine.

The first competitor only shall adopt a shooting stance (see GUN POSITION) (Section 13) and when ready call “Pull” or some other word of command.

Whereupon the Puller (unless acoustic release is in use), who shall be behind the line of shooters, shall immediately release a target.

The first shooter may shoot at this target in flight with one or two shots. The resulting score is recorded.

If the competitor scores a “kill” with the first shot the competitor shall be awarded 3 points, if the competitor scores a “kill” with the second shot the competitor shall be awarded 2 points. If the competitor fails to “kill” the target with either shot, the target shall be called “LOST” and no points shall be awarded. (see SCORING) (Section 28).

2nd and Subsequent Shooters

i) Provided that a “NO BIRD” has not been called and the Referee has announced the result of the shot, the shooter on the second firing mark may then follow the same procedure, followed afterwards by the third shooter and repeated for Nos.4 and 5.

After No.5 has shot, No.1 shall again call for a target and this sequence is followed by all the shooters in the squad until the required number of targets have been shot at.

Each competitor shall shoot at each firing mark:-

a) In a 10 bird stage – 2 targets
b) In a 15 bird stage – 3 targets
c) In a 20 bird stage – 4 targets
d) In a 25 bird stage – 5 targets

d) Changing Positions

At such point an audible signal shall be given and the Referee shall call “change!”

i) Each shooter (except No.5) then moves to the firing mark next on the right and No.5 takes the place of No.1.

ii) When walking between firing marks each shooter must ensure that the gun is open.

The shooter leaving No.5 firing mark to take up position No.1 firing mark must move to that position by walking behind the line of shooters with the gun open and empty of cartridges or cases. Particular care must be taken to ensure semi automatic magazine and chambers are completely empty.

e) Re-Starting after Changing

i) When all is in order and all the shooters are again in proper position and ready to shoot, the Referee shall call “Line Ready” and shall do so after each change and before the commencement of shooting.

ii) The No.1 of the squad (after the first move and standing at No.2 firing mark) commences the second round, at the end of which the squad again moves to the right, the No.1 also commences the 3rd and remaining rounds finishing at No.5 firing mark.

f) End of Stage

When all the members of the squad have shot at the required number of targets from each firing mark this will conclude the shooting of this particular stage. At this point the Referee shall call “Unload and check your scores” whereupon all guns shall be opened and emptied of any cartridges or cases.

g) The number of stages in a competition is as follows:-

a) For a 50 bird competition 2 stages of 25 targets
b) For a 75 bird competition 3 stages of 25 targets
c) For a 100 bird competition 4 stages of 25 targets

For competitions of less than 50 birds the organising committee may decide on the number of stages to be shot so long as the equity of the competition is maintained.


a) Cartridge Specification

Maximum bore 12 gauge
Maximum size of shot 2.6mm diameter (No. 6 English) & spherical
Maximum load 28 grams (1 oz.)

The shot pellets may be plated.

b) Home loaded, black powder, incendiary or tracer cartridges are not permitted at registered events or other designated championships and can be prohibited by the Club or Ground organising any other type of event if so desired.

c) Not more than 2 cartridges may be placed in any part of a gun at any one time (see PENALTIES) (Section 21).

d) The Referee or Jury may inspect a competitor’s cartridges at any time without giving a reason.

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