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Everything you need to know about down the line (DTL) clay pigeon shooting: presentation and tips

Once the hunting season is over, many hunters turn to clay pigeon shooting in the off-season. This is not surprising, since this discipline combines various skills such as address, precision, and concentration. However, not all clay pigeon shooting enthusiasts are necessarily big or small game hunters: it is indeed an activity in its own right.

Everything you need to know about down the line (DTL) clay pigeon shooting: presentation

Managed by the French Ball Trap Federation and the FITASC (Fédération Internationale de Tir aux Armes Sportives de Chasse), clay pigeon shooting is divided into 4 activities: the Universal Trench, the DTL, the Sporting, and the Compak Sporting. The latter is a combination of the trench and the sporting. Specifically, in the DTL, each shooter has 2 cartridges to hit a clay pigeon. The shot is fired with the gun aimed and raised. Who better to introduce you to this discipline than Maxime Cambier, Decathlonian for 6 years, and responsible for the nature section in the Digne-les-Bains store. He is a former member of the French Compak Sporting clay pigeon shooting team!

#1 DTL in clay pigeon shooting: what are we referring to?

Passionate about clay pigeon shooting since he was 12 years old, Maxime comes from a family of shooters: "I was lucky enough to learn from my father, who was approximately 15 times a member of the French team," explains this enthusiast. "Thanks to his advice and my training, I too had the opportunity to join the French Compak Sporting team several times during my Junior years."

Moreover, in order to prepare for the Compak Sporting competitions, Maxime often took part in the DTL in order to force himself to ensure that his initial shots were successful on elusive targets.

DTL is discipline with the rifle aimed. It is a variation of Universal Trench and Compak Sporting. Indeed, the trench is practiced on five shooting stations arranged in an arc, located 15m from a trap launcher. The latter sends the targets in a limited space of 30° to the right and 30° to the left. In this space, the trajectories are random. The targets are sent at a fixed distance of 55m. DTL (Down The Line) is also a variation of Compak Sporting, where you shoot 5 clay pigeons per station before moving on to the next.

#2 How to succeed in at DTL clay pigeon shooting?

The beauty of this discipline, but also the difference compared to other FFBT events, is the number of points that can be awarded: "when you hit a target on the first shot, you get 3 points, whereas if you hit it on the second shot, you only get 2 points," explains Maxime. The rounds are made up of 25 targets for a maximum possible total of 75 points. According to our shooter, this is a discipline that requires a great deal of rigour and diligence.

To succeed, Maxime explains that there are a number of key points to be mastered, notably "precision and control". It is very important to maintain a high level of control in order to ensure your first shot, which earns you 3 points. You also have to prepare yourself well before each target and take the time to breathe well. It is a sport requiring a great deal of rigour, reflexes, and reflexes in order to progress". As in any activity, training is an essential part of the process.

Moreover, what better than a video to present you our new range of T900 cartridges for clay pigeon shooting!

Clay pigeon shooting - Presentation of our range of 900 clay pigeon shooting cartridges
Clay pigeon shooting cartridge for DTL

#3 Which cartridge should I use for the DTL?

In ball-trap, to perform the DTL, according to Maxime, "ideally, you should use a 76 mm barrel rifle type Universal Trench, if possible with a high 10x10 sighting band (an advantage on elusive targets), and with fairly "open" chokes such as half or 3/4. Indeed, the shooting range is located at 15m, and the targets fall at 55m: the majority of these are therefore hit at 25-30m. In addition, cartridges with a small pellet and a wad favouring medium range shooting are ideally used. In this respect, the T900 Comfort 28g is, in my opinion, an optimal cartridge for this type of shooting." So, regardless of one's level, the shooter can be confident in their shooting with this ammunition.

It is indeed a versatile ammunition, offering an excellent regularity. It features an 8-ply crimp that opens more easily when fired than a 6-ply crimped cartridge. This reduces the recoil factor. Soft, with its 7.5 pellets and its skirt wad, it provides the necessary comfort to ensure your first shot with peace of mind. Velocity: 395 m/s (measured at 2.5m) with + or - 5 m/s and 16mm cap.

#4 Complementary accessories for the practice of DTL in clay pigeon shooting

To enjoy under optimal conditions, safety is an essential consideration. This requires the use of good glasses, ideally with several interchangeable lenses - neutral, yellow, and dark, like the Solognac clay pigeon shooting glasses. According to Maxime, this enables "adapting the colour of the lenses to suit the weather conditions". This way, regardless of the conditions, the targets remain clearly visible. 

For this, "prefer a jacket that guarantees proper ease of movement". Thus, the versatile Solognac blue trap 500 jacket is pleasant and light to wear thanks to its cut-out on the shoulders for a better weight distribution. It also has mesh vents for better breathability. It has several pockets - 4 front pockets, 1 large back pocket, and 1 side pocket with a zipper.

Solognac Comfort T900 clay pigeon shooting cartridges

So, what are you waiting for to take up clay pigeon shooting?

Now you know more about clay pigeon shooting and DTL in general. Practice, concentration, and precision are the key words to master this demanding discipline. Equipped with the best accessories including cartridges, rifle, and clothing, there is no doubt that you will get the maximum score of 75 out of 75 possible points.