Shotgun Shooting Merit Badge Pamphlet Shotgun Shooting Merit Badge

Shotgun Shooting


Requirements were REVISED effective January 1, 2014.
A new merit badge pamphlet was issued during 2013.

New text is in bold GREEN underlined Serif text like this sentence.
Deleted portions are struck through RED italic text like this sentence.

To see the requirements, without the changes highlighted, Click here.

For the previous requirements, Click here.


NOTE: The Shotgun Shooting merit badge pamphlet has an apparent long standing editorial error in requirement 2 - OPTION B - item k. In the pamphlet, text from item l is combined with some of the wording from item k. The wording in Boy Scout Requirements is different. We have notified BSA of the problem, and have used the wording from Boy Scout Requirements below.

The text in the pamphlet reads as follows:
"Demonstrate how to clean to clear a muzzleloading shotgun's failure to fire and explain or demonstrate proper correction procedures."

The text in Boy Scout Requirements reads as follows:
"Demonstrate how to clean a muzzle-loading muzzleloading shotgun safely."

  1. Do the following:
    1. Explain why BB and pellet air guns must always be treated with the same respect as firearms.
    2. Describe how you would react if a friend visiting your home asked to see your or your family's firearm(s).
    3. Explain the need for and use and types of eye and hearing protection.
    4. Explain the main points of the laws for owning and using guns in your community and state.
    5. Explain how hunting is related to the wise use of renewable wildlife resources.
    6. Successfully complete a state hunter education course, or obtain a copy of the hunting laws for your state, then do the following:
      1. Explain the main points of hunting laws in your state and give any special laws on the use of guns and ammunition, and
      2. List the kinds of wildlife that can be legally hunted in your state.
    7. Explain to your counselor the proper hygienic guidelines used in shooting.
    8. Identify and explain three shotgun sports. Identify places in your community where you could shoot these sports and explain how you can join or be a part of shooting sports activities.
    9. Give your counselor a list of sources that you could contact for information on firearms and their use.
  2. Do ONE of the following options:

    OPTION A --- SHOTGUN SHOOTING (Modern Shotshell Type)

    1. Identify the principal parts of a shotgun, action types, and how they function.
    2. Identify and demonstrate the rules for safely handling a shotgun.
    3. Identify the parts of a shotgun shell and their functions.
    4. Identify the various gauges of shotguns. Explain which one you would pick for use and why.
    5. Identify and demonstrate the fundamentals of safely shooting a shotgun.
      Explain what a misfire, hangfire, and squib fire are, and explain the procedures to follow in response to each.
    6. Identify and explain each rule for shooting a shotgun safely.
    7. Demonstrate the knowledge, skill and attitude necessary to safely shoot moving targets, using the fundamentals of shotgun shooting.
    8. Identify the materials needed to clean a shotgun.
    9. Demonstrate how to clean a shotgun properly and safely.
    10. Discuss what points you would consider in selecting a shotgun.
    11. Shooting score required. - Hit at least 12 out of 25 targets (48 percent) in two 25-target groups. The two groups need not be shot in consecutive order.
      A minimum of 50 shots must be fired.

    Shooting skill rules:

    • Targets may be thrown by a hand trap, manual mechanical trap, or on any trap or skeet field. Note: If using a hand trap or manual mechanical trap, the trap operator should be at least 5 feet to the right and 3 feet to the rear of the shooter. If throwing left-handed with a hand trap this should be reversed , the trap operator should be at least 5 feet to the left and 3 feet to the rear of the shooter.
    • All targets should be thrown at a reasonable speed and in the same direction.
    • Targets should be generally thrown so as to climb in the air after leaving the trap.
    • Scores may be fired at any time, either in formal competition or in practice.
    • Any gauge shotgun not exceeding 12 gauge may be used.
    • Standard clay targets customarily used for trap and skeet are to be used.
    • Any ammunition, either factory or hand loaded, may be used.
      Only commercially manufactured ammunition may be used. Reloads may not be used in BSA shooting sports programs.
    • Shooters must shoot in rounds of 25. Rounds need not be shot continuously or on the same day (the term "round" refers to a single series of 25 shots).
    • If using a trap field, shoot station 3 with traps set to throw straightaway targets.
    • If using a skeet field, shoot station 7 low house.

    OPTION B --- MUZZLE LOADING SHOTGUN SHOOTING

    1. Discuss a brief history of the development of the muzzle-loading muzzleloading shotgun.
    2. Identify principal parts of percussion and flintlock shotguns and discuss how they function.
    3. Demonstrate and discuss safe handling rules of the rules for safely handling a muzzle-loading muzzleloading shotgun.
    4. Identify the various grades of black powder and their proper and safe use.
    5. Discuss proper safety procedures pertaining to black powder use and storage.
    6. Discuss proper components of a load.
    7. Identify proper procedures and accessories used for safely loading a muzzle-loading muzzleloading shotgun.
    8. Demonstrate the knowledge, skill skills, and attitude necessary to safely shoot a muzzle-loading muzzleloading shotgun on a range, including range procedures. Explain what a misfire, hangfire, and squibfire are, and explain the procedures to follow in response to each.
    9. Shoot a moving target with a muzzle-loading muzzleloading shotgun using the five fundamentals of firing the shot.
    10. Identify the materials needed to clean a muzzle-loading muzzleloading shotgun properly and safely.
    11. Demonstrate how to clean a muzzle-loading muzzleloading shotgun safely.
    12. Identify the causes of a muzzle-loading muzzleloading shotgun's failing failure to fire and explain or demonstrate proper correction preventive procedures.
    13. Discuss what points you would consider in selecting a muzzle-loading muzzleloading shotgun.
    14. Shooting score required. -- Hit at least 5 out of 15 targets in each of two 15-target groups. The two groups need not be shot in consecutive order. A minimum of 30 shots must be fired.

    Shooting skill rules:

    • Targets may be thrown by a hand trap, manual mechanical trap, or on any trap or skeet field. Note: if using a hand trap or manual mechanical trap, the trap operator should be at least 5 feet to the right and 3 feet to the rear of the shooter. If throwing left-handed with a hand trap this should be reversed. , the trap operator should be at least 5 feet to the left and 3 feet to the rear of the shooter.
    • All targets should be thrown at a reasonable speed and in the same direction.
    • Targets should be generally thrown so as to climb in the air after leaving the trap.
    • Scores may be fired at any time, either in formal competition or in practice.
    • Any gauge shotgun not exceeding 10 gauge may be used.
    • Standard clay targets customarily used for trap and skeet are to be used.
    • On a standard trap field, the shooter should be positioned 8 yards behind the trap house. The trap should be set to throw only straightaway targets
    • On a skeet field, shoot station 7 low house.

Shooting Sports Merit Badge Counselor Requirements and Registration

Section 7.0.1.1 Qualifications of Counselors, in the 2013 Guide to Advancement (BSA Publication 33088 - SKU 618673) has specific special qualifications or certifications for either the merit badge counselor or the supervisor of certain activities that may be involved with the Shotgun Shooting Merit Badge, as follows:

Shotgun Shooting. The merit badge counselor is responsible for ensuring that all instruction or other activities involving any handling of firearms or live ammunition is consistent with state and federal law and supervised by a certified NCS shooting sports director or NRA Shotgun Instructor or Coach. Instruction or other activities involving handling muzzle-loading muzzleloading shotguns must be supervised by an NCS shooting sports director or NRA/NMLRA certified muzzle-loading muzzleloading shotgun instructor. Shooting must be supervised by an NRA-certified Range Safety Officer. If instruction and shooting are to occur at the same time, both the RSO and qualified instructor must be present. They may not be the same person. Note that commercial shooting ranges may provide RSOs. See the Guide to Safe Scouting and the BSA National Shooting Sports Manual, No. 420029, for further details on shooting sports.

To qualify as a shooting sports merit badge counselor, a volunteer must:

  • Register annually with the Boy Scouts of America.
  • Be at least 21 years old.
  • Be of good character.
  • Be proficient in the merit badge subject by vocation, avocation, or special training.
  • Be certified by the National Rifle Association as an instructor for the merit badge discipline or be currently certified as a National Camping School shooting sports director with the NRA rifle and shotgun instructor certification. For example, a Rifle Shooting merit badge counselor must be a certified NRA rifle instructor.
  • Be able to work with Scout-age youth.
  • Be approved by the council shooting sports committee.
  • Be currently trained in BSA Youth Protection.

BSA Advancement ID#: 124
Requirements last updated in: 2013
Pamphlet Publication Number: 35948
Pamphlet Stock (SKU) Number: 618655
Pamphlet Revision Date: 2013

Worksheets for use in working on these requirements: Format
Word Format PDF Format

Blanks in this worksheets table appear when we do not have a worksheet for the badge that includes these requirements.


Page updated on: January 20, 2014



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