How Does Scoring Work In Axe Throwing?

How Does Scoring Work In Axe Throwing

Axe throwing is much like archery or darts in that players alternate turns launching projectiles at a bullseye. The closer to the center of the bullseye, the greater the points awarded. Axe throwing is the same. Players take turns throwing axes (or hatchets) at a target, and the player with the most points wins the game. Read on to learn all about scoring in axe throwing.

Basics of Axe Throwing

The professional sport of Axe Throwing revolves around the World Axe Throwing League. Players join the league to learn about Axe Throwing tournaments, tactics, merchandise, and rules. By downloading the WATL (World Axe Throwing League) app, athletes can keep track of their scores, match up with opponents, and remain caught up with the world of Axe Throwing.

After arriving at a tournament or competition, professional axe throwers pull out the WATL app and match with an opponent. Then, each player gets ten throws: five on one side and five on the other. Players must throw the axe in one of two ways:

  1. Held in one hand with the axe’s tip facing the target, overhand or underhand.
  2. Held in both hands with the axe’s tip facing the target.

For a point to count, the throw must meet additional criteria.

  • At least one of the player’s feet must be on the floor when making the throw.
  • The axe must complete one, and only one, full rotation before hitting the target.
  • The player making the throw must be at least 12 ft away from the target. Touching or crossing the 12 ft line results in a foul.
  • The throw must occur no more than 10 seconds after the previous throw; no dilly-dallying.
  • Players can only throw after everybody is safe, far from harm’s way.

Basics of Axe Throwing Scoring

Axe Throwing Scoring

An Axe Throwing official only counts points for the part of the axe lodged inside the target. Any other parts of the axe that visually overlap the target do not count. Additionally, points are scored for a lodged part of the “eye of the axe.” The “eye of the axe” is the sharp edge of the axe that one uses for cutting. If an axe is lodged inside a target, but its eye is not stuck, then points are awarded according to where the axe’s handle would meet the target if it were to go straight through.

When an axe falls on one of the lines on the target, the higher point value is awarded if the axe “breaks” the line. “Breaking” the target’s surface means there is visible wood splintering on both sides of the line the axe landed on. The player is awarded the lower point value if there is no breaking.

The Five Rings

Each target is made up of five rings. Bigger rings lie on the outermost. As the rings get closer to the target, their circumference decreases. Points are awarded for an axe that lodges in each of these rings as follows:

Outermost Ring1 point
2nd Outermost Ring2 points
3rd Outermost Ring3 points
4th Outermost Ring4 points
5th Outermost Ring5 points
Bullseye (a dot inside the 5th Outermost Ring)6 points
Killshot8 points


Killshot points are awarded for throws that hit the small dots lying on the top left and top right of a target, inside the Outermost Ring. Before making a Killshot, a player must speak with the judge and their opponent to confirm they are about to attempt one of the two dots on the top of the target. 

If their Killshot is successful, the player receives eight points. The next time they attempt a Killshot, they must go for the dot they did not hit previously. If the player fails to hit the Killshot, no points are awarded. Players are allowed two Killshots per game. They are allowed an additional Killshot if a drop occurred on one of their previous throws.

Sudden Death

Players must enter a Sudden Death round in the event of a tie after ten throws. During Sudden Death, players can only make Killshots. If both players hit the Killshot, they must both throw again. If they both miss, whoever was closest to hitting their Killshot wins. Sometimes, two throws are so close to call that no measuring tape can differentiate them. In this instance, players must throw again.


How do you score points in axe throwing?

You score points in axe throwing by launching axes (or hatchets) at a target. Players must throw the axe with one or both hands, having the axe’s sharp edge towards the target. Each game consists of ten throws per player. Athletes alternate throwing their axes, attempting to get as close to the bullseye as possible.

How much are targets worth in axe throwing?

Points correspond to what part of the target an axe hits. The Outermost Ring of the target is worth one point. One additional point is awarded for landing an axe in each ring closer to the target’s center. The bullseye is worth five points. Finally, eight points are awarded to players who make a Killshot. Killshots lie on the top right and left of the target on the Outermost Ring, and they must be called before being attempted.