In the 19th cent. the sport of rifle shooting became increasingly popular in England and in the United States, where the National Rifle Association (NRA) was formed (1871) to standardize the rules for rifle marksmanship. Matches were arranged and trophies offered. Pistol and revolver events were added in 1900. Shooting events have been included in the Olympic games since 1896; separate men's and women's events were established in 1984.
Among the Olympic events are pistol shooting at 50 m (164 ft), rifle shooting at 300 m (984 ft), trapshooting and skeet, and small-bore rifle shooting. NRA-sponsored tournaments are divided into sections for small-bore rifles, high-power rifles, pistols, and revolvers. In small-bore rifle shooting the targets range in distance from 50 ft to 200 yd (15.24-182.88 m), and in pistol and revolver shooting from 50 ft to 50 yd (15.24-45.72 m). For long-range rifle marksmanship, targets from 200 to 1,000 yd (182.88-914.4 m) are used. A shooting target is made of black-on-white cardboard and is composed of a bullseye (black) and several concentric circles. Competitors shoot from four positions with the rifle—prone, sitting, kneeling, and standing. Matches in which competing teams exchange scores by telegraphic and postal facilities are common.
Trapshooting with shotguns began in England in the 19th cent. To simulate the flight of game birds, "clay pigeons" (originally made of clay but now molded of silt and pitch in the shape of saucers) are hurled from a mechanical contrivance (the trap). The distance between the shooter and the target varies from 16 to 25 yd (14.63-22.86 m); a 12-gauge gun is preferred. Trapshooting was adopted in the United States in the late 19th cent., and in 1900 the American Trapshooting Association was organized. Annual championship matches are held at Vandalia, Ohio.
Skeet, in its early years called "round the clock" shooting, was devised (1910) by C. E. Davies of Andover, Mass. The name, chosen in a magazine contest, is an old Scandinavian form of the word shoot. Two trapshooting devices hurl "pigeons" at and over each other from 40 yd (36.58 m) apart. The marksman shoots at the moving target from different stations on the perimeter of a semicircle connecting the traps. Guns used are 12-, 16-, 20-, and 28-gauge and .410 bore. In skeet matches 25 "pigeons" are thrown, of which 8 are hurled in pairs.
See J. Lugs, A History of Shooting (1968); S. Slahor et al., Shooting Guide for Beginners (1986); W. S. Jarrett, ed., Shooter's Bible (1989).
Shooting sport using moving targets. Marksmen use shotguns to shoot at clay targets (pigeons) hurled into the air by spring devices called traps. It differs from trapshooting in that skeet traps are set at two points on the field and targets may be thrown diagonally across the shooter's field of vision. Skeet shooting has been an Olympic event since 1968.
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Entry into Earth's atmosphere of multiple meteoroids (see meteor), traveling in parallel paths, usually spread over several hours or days. Most meteor showers come from matter released during passage of a comet through the inner solar system, and they recur annually as Earth crosses the comet's orbital path. Meteor showers are usually named for a constellation (e.g., Leonid for Leo) or star in their direction of origin. Most showers are visible as a few dozen meteors per hour, but occasionally Earth crosses an especially dense concentration of meteoroids, as in the great Leonid meteor shower of 1833, in which hundreds of thousands of meteors were seen in one night all over North America.
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Streak of light in the sky that results when a particle or small chunk of stony or metallic matter from space enters Earth's atmosphere and is vapourized by friction. The term is sometimes applied to the falling object itself, properly called a meteoroid. Most meteoroids, traveling at five times the speed of sound or more, burn up in the upper atmosphere, but a large one may survive its fiery plunge and reach the surface as a solid body (meteorite). Seealso meteor shower.
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Sport of gun marksmanship. It typically involves firing at targets with rifles, pistols, and shotguns. World championship competitions are held for the small-bore rifle, free rifle, centre-fire pistol, free pistol, rapid-fire pistol, air rifle, air pistol, and shotgun. Shooting has been an Olympic sport since the modern games began in 1896; women's events were established in 1984. Seealso skeet shooting; trapshooting.
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Shooting is the act or process of firing rifles, shotguns or other projectile weapons such as bows or crossbows. Even the firing of artillery, rockets and missiles can be called shooting. A person who specializes in shooting is a marksman. Shooting can take place in a shooting range or in the field in hunting, in shooting sports or in combat.
The utmost consideration, and one which takes precedence over everything else, is gun safety. Like many activities such as mountain climbing, skiing, or sky-diving, there is an element of danger involved. And especially here, this danger demands a sober understanding and respect for firearms and the specific rules for the safe handling of them. This is compounded by the fact that the danger can easily extend beyond the participants – a stray bullet can injure or kill people other than those actually firing or handling the arms involved.
Shooting obviously also has uses in warfare such as sniping and close quarters battle, self-defense, crime, gun violence and law enforcement. Duels were sometimes held using guns. Shooting without an actual target has applications such as celebratory gunfire, 21-gun salute or firing starting pistols, incapable of releasing actual bullets.