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Location: Kitchener-Waterloo, ON
Joined: 07/10/2006
Posts: 129
shooting clay targets question

I was shooting on the weekend with someone who had never shot clays before. I'm no expert I just shoot a few to stay in shape and for fun. I was having a hard time giving any advice, she was missing most of them and I could see where the wad was going in relation to the target, but even when it went where I thought it wasn't breaking. Where should it be??? I couldn't see it when I hit the targets, the wad was lost in the cloud of clay.

Any advice is appreciated
thanks

WesternHunter's picture
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Joined: 05/05/2006
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shooting clay targets question

Trying to determine how close you are by where the wad is flying to is a bad way to gauge it. Air resistance affects the wad much different that it does the shot. Also the fact that she was missing most of the clays is a sure bet that it's because this was her first time. Keep taking her to the range, she'll get the hang of it soon.

Tell you friend to keep her cheek firm on the comb, line up the front bead so that she sees it sit on top of the reciever, keep both eyes open and focused on the clay, the muzzle should always be ahead of the clay target before pulling the trigger, and follow through once she pulls the trigger, and keep her head down on the comb while following through. Once she gets that down then get her into the habit of leaning into it forward.

Again the muzzle needs to be ahead of target and stay ahead while pulling the trigger. Rising clay, put the muzzle above it. Falling clay, put the muzzle below it. Left or Right clay, move the muzzle ahead of it. How much ahead depends on distance, muzzle velocity, and speed of target. Good luck.

Don Fischer's picture
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Location: Antelope, Ore
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shooting clay targets question

If you watch close, the shot pattern looks like a hoard of knats.

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Location: Kitchener-Waterloo, ON
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shooting clay targets question

Thanks for the replies. I forgot to say, close to the end of shooting we discovered her left eye is dominant, but she is right handed. I wasn't sure if this affected shooting with a shotgun because both eyes are open.
Any input on this would be appreciated
thanks

WesternHunter's picture
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shooting clay targets question

Well that makes things a bit more interesting, as it will affect what eye is looking down the barrel, even though both eyes are open.

A shotgun shooter wil see two images of the barrel as he/she looks down it with both eyes open. In this case her dominant left eye will see the true image of the barrel. Have her alternate closing one eye then the other so that she can determine which image is the true image. Once the true image is determined, she can now discern the two when both eyes are focused at the clay.

Another thing that may help where you guys can practice in your home. I recently read about this in a magazine, either Field and Stream or Outdoor Life, can't remember. It talked about fitting a mini maglite into the muzzle of a 12 ga barrel and using the projected light spot on the wall or ceiling to use as a reference point when mounting your gun with both eyes open looking at a distant target. The spot projected now becomes an improvised distant target to train your eye on. If you do decide to try this you need to be mindful of gun safety. MAKE SURE THAT YOUR SHOTGUN IS UNLOADED AND ALL AMMUNITION IS STORED AWAY BEFORE DOING THIS. Hope this helps.

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Location: Yukon
Joined: 07/11/2007
Posts: 107
shooting clay targets question

I've taught a few first timers and I generally set the trap for straight away shots from post 3 (I'm assuming it's trap)

practise raising the gun up to the bird in a nice smooth motion with no shell.

generally, when the front bead is just touching the bottom of that bird they can pull the trigger and nail it...

move the shooter to either station 2 or 4 for a bit of an angle...1 and 5 for more

cheek on the stock...eye on the rock...

you can tell pretty quick if a shooter is lifting their head

the wad would not tell you much at all

(if you shoot trap in a heavy downpour of rain you can see the shot hitting the rain...it's pretty cool)

WesternHunter's picture
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shooting clay targets question

You make a good point Taku about shooters lifting their head off the stock too early. I think that many times that is the main reason shooters miss the target. It's important to follow through once the trigger is pulled.

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Location: Yukon
Joined: 07/11/2007
Posts: 107
shooting clay targets question

ya, if your head comes up you won't hit much

not only that, for new shooters, if their head comes up, the gun is no longer set right and even the small trap loads can kick a youngster to the point where they are not having much fun....couple of knocks on the cheek bone will make many a 12 year old sit down and think about what other sports they might try.

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shooting clay targets question

I was taught to follow the target/Bird all the way to the ground or till it was out of range for follow up shots keeping cheek to stock the whole time. Of course my Dad operated a Skeet Range so I had lots of practice !!

Another good method to help with lead distances is to shoot with water as a back drop, a pond, lake or something like that. Lets you see exactlly where your shots are going and how far off you might be. This is of course with the warning that you know what is down range or across the body of water that you are shooting into.

Don Fischer's picture
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shooting clay targets question

I think that the problem with picking your head up to soon is what stops the barrel from following thru. It's following thru with the swing thats important. But when you pick up your head, you instinctively stop the barrel. Them you usually shoot behind the birI used to practice in the living room. I'd swing the MTY, probably best that way, gun along the line where the wall and cieling meet. Slap the tirgger as you go past the corner and don't stop the gun when you do. You would be surpised how many people stop the gun soon as the shot is fired.

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one thing to remember

One more thing to throw into the mix and try to remember when shooting trap or skeet is that your point of aim needs to change based on the load that you are shooting.  Some shells produce a much faster velocity than others.  One load may hit the bird when you hold your point of aim on the bird.  Another load may require you to lead the bird by as much as a foot.  That is a huge difference in how many birds you break if you don't adjust for it when you change the brand of ammunition or the reloading recipe in the shells that you are using.  I'm shooting up a batch of shells that are mixed within the same box, so my scores are absolutely terrible, but I am having a lot of fun and I'd rather use these shells up while missing clay targets than when I am shooting at real birds anyday!

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