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Everything you need to know about Clay Pigeon Shooting

Everything you need to know about Clay Pigeon Shooting

Categories: Things To Try

Never held a 12 bore? Don’t know your Battue from your Mini target? Think “Skeet Shooting” is a video your friend Barry used to have under his mattress? Think again and welcome to the exciting world of Clay pigeon shooting.

Granted, chances are you won’t need to know any of this stuff if you choose clays as a stag weekend activity, but you just never know who you might impress with this knowledge and if you’re at work, reading this is better than calculating those Excel formulas right?

So, let’s start this lesson and I promise I’ll keep it short and sweet. In olden days, you could compete to shoot pigeons, which I wouldn’t mind bringing back as a sport hosted in town centres up and down the country…outside bakeries. However, gone are those glorious days, along with wearing fur, clubbing baby seals, slavery, putting children in mines and smoking in pubs. How very civilised we are now.

So with no flying rats to kill but still with a burning desire to shoot things for sport, we invented clay pigeon shooting which is also known by it’s other catchy name “inanimate bird shooting”. To make the participants feel as though they were still killing things, they kept the same names. The clay is still sometimes referred to as a “bird” and a hit is also known as a “kill”.

So, what’s it all about? Well you stand with a shotgun whilst a machine (“the Trap”) fires clay targets into the air. Depending on the skill or the game, different targets of varying sizes are used. Sometimes more than one target is fired and if you get them both, that’s a good feeling.

Skeet shooting is where two traps 40 metres apart fire clays at the same time at different angles and speeds. All you need to really know is that there is the English and American Skeet discipline and best of all, there is a discipline that exists called the “Olympic Skeet”. We already knew that at the Stag Company, and one of the guys already holds the Skeeting Gold Medal of 08…His girlfriend is very very proud.

So let’s not forget the guns! For this sport you will need a shotgun and a 12 bore is the maximum that’s allowed. (This is about 0.729 inches diameter for those who really need to know). You’ll be firing cartridges at your target and depending on the gun given to you to use, could expect a bit of a kick. To avoid stumbling backwards and embarrassing yourself make sure the gun is firmly tucked into your shoulder. Any room for movement there and you could end up looking like a girl in front of the guys. Not good.

Some other useful tips are to lean into the gun as you fire to counteract the kickback, and try to keep your weight on your back foot. For shooting, try and aim a little higher and in front of the clay as it’s coming up, and if it’s coming down, then just a little bit below it so it falls into your shot.

Obviously we can’t guarantee you’ll hit anything (though most people, even total beginners do) but we’re pretty sure you’ll have a fantastic time if you choose this activity and shooting is pretty addictive, you might not want to leave.


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