How to start clay pigeon shooting

tir ball-trap


Do you want to start clay pigeon shooting during the off-season ?
David Avril, Solognac tester and clay pigeon shooting, enthusiast, will provide a few tips for beginning clay pigeon shooting and will also explain the different disciplines of the sport.
The practice of clay pigeon shooting during the hunting off-season becomes a particularly effective tool for keeping up your shooting skill.

Portrait of David Avril :

David Avril testeur solognac

- Solognac test user

- Breeder of many-time champion English setters

- Master marksman in Universal Trap and DTL (European trap)

- Six years on the French clay pigeon shooting team

- Many-time French clay pigeon shooting, champion, European Champion, Vice-World Champion


What you need to know about clay pigeon shooting :

Clay pigeon shooting involves shooting at clay targets or moving targets using hunting weapons with unrifled bores. The classic clay target, originally black, has now become mainly orange, but there are white, blue, or green ones. It must be 110 mm in diameter and weigh a maximum of 110 g. There are also specific targets for courses and Compak Sporting called: battue, bourdon, rabbit.
Clay pigeon shooting can be a competitive or a recreational sport. It is done at permanent sites or temporary installations called "fairs", also called "straw bales".
Above all, it is an outdoor activity that can be done at all ages above 12/14 years old, and it offers a variety of different disciplines while still practising with the same type of equipment.
Recreationally, it's based on hay bales on a Sunday in the country, to shoot a few clay targets to benefit municipal associations. Most clay pigeon shooters started out this way or come from the hunting world.
The competition sport is practised exclusively at permanent stands affiliated with the FFBT. It primarily requires the following qualities: concentration, self-control, top physical condition, and of course, perfect visual acuity.
(source: FFBT)


To start clay pigeon shooting :

David gives us the two key points for effectively beginning clay pigeon shooting.

1 - Equipment

The first point before beginning clay pigeon shooting is to equip yourself for your own protection. In fact, safety elements forclay pigeon shooting are more and more required.

Hunting, shooting, and clay pigeon shooting all have one element in common: a lot of noise. This is bad for your hearing; this is why headphones or earplugs are present at all competitions. For your information, a shot from a hunting weapon can reach between 132 - 165 dB, or as much noise as an aeroplane taking off at 100 meters.

Lunettes recommandées

Protective goggles are also common for practising this activity calmly; the glasses' tinted lenses increase the light and allow the targets to be more easily spotted.

As for the weapon, all shotguns are suitable for a recreational practice, but you should know that there are special guns for clay pigeon shooting.
We will differentiate the 3 types of guns for clay pigeon shooting :

Trap shooting shotguns : They have the particular feature of longer barrels with more choke, since the distance for the second shot is often greater than 40 meters. The longer barrels, in addition to being able to reach further targets, have a longer sighting surface.

Course and compak shotguns: for these clay pigeon shootingpractices, occasional shooters will use a shotgun with a 70cm barrel. Regular shooters will prefer a shotgun with a longer barrel.
For the past two years now, the trend is to elongate the barrel to increase the sighting surface.

Skeetshotguns: Since the targets are sometimes less than 10 meters from the shooter, a short-barreled shotgun (under 70 cm) is used. They also need open chokes (1/4 or 1/2).

2 - Learning

David also recommends registering at a shooting school. A shooting school will help you to correct bad habits from hunting.
Poor posture, poor weapon handling, poor shouldering, and finally poor placements - all of these points will be corrected by the instructors at these schools. They will also allow you to discover all of the different clay pigeon shooting practices and their particularities.

For advice on shooting techniques, click here : 11 tips for breaking better