It has been over a year since the updated rule on Doubles or Proof Doubles was proposed and approved by the Board of Directors. You can see the entire Rule III-E Doubles or Proof Doubles at right or see the Rule Book.
This change was made to reduce the inconsistency in how the rule is applied. Let’s start with the definition of a III-A-13 – Dead Target. “A Dead Target is a target from which, in the sole judgement of the referee, a visible piece is observed before the target hits the ground as a result of legally being fired upon.” With that said, on a double or proof double, if two whole targets collide before or after being legally fired at, the referee is prevented from observing the (first) target to the ground, and, therefore, it cannot be ruled as either dead or lost.
Rule III-E-2 now gives the shooter the benefit of the doubt when two whole targets collide on a pair before or after being legally fired at; the correct call is “No Bird, Proof Doubles to establish both birds of the pair.” The rule remains the same in the situations when both targets are broken with one shot (III-E-5-e), or a piece off the first target which was properly broken breaks the second target of a double (III-E-5-h). Both these instances will not be affected and will still be: “First target dead; proof double to determine the results of the second target.” The only change is when two whole targets collide on a pair before or after being legally fired at; and since the first bird could not be observed to the ground, the correct call would be “Nothing established, proof doubles to establish both targets.”