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Posted: 2/25/2006 5:20:56 PM EDT
Other than the occasional duck hunt when I was younger, I don't shoot shotguns much and tomorrow I will be shooting clays for the first time ever. I know nothing about the sport and was hoping someone could offer a few newbie tips. All I know is we will be shooting at different stations(?), and a golf cart is involved for traveling between them.

This is a casual get together, but I still don't want to look like complete fool.

Can anyone offer a few basic tips on shooting clays? Keep both eyes open? How long does the clay stay in the air and is a viable target? Will they be going away, across or towards me? Or all three? Is there a basic principle on leading the target? Any special etiquette tips?


Thanks.
Link Posted: 2/25/2006 5:23:19 PM EDT
I would ask the guys you're shooting with for some tips. I was in your shoes a few years ago, and the other shooters were more than helpful to get me on target. Can't really give you much advice, other than to say lead the birds more than you think you should!
Link Posted: 2/25/2006 5:24:35 PM EDT
lead..
fire...
swing thru....

sporting clays rock...the best form of shotgun shooting sports in my opinion. use more open chokes to help your chances..
Link Posted: 2/25/2006 5:25:11 PM EDT
don't stop and shoot, follow the clay in one smooth motion before, during and AFTER you squeeze the trigger. this will spread your shot more, and at the same time help you lead and track the target better
Link Posted: 2/25/2006 5:25:13 PM EDT
If you're shooting Sporting Clays, then the clays will be going in every direction. Lefts, rights, aways, overhead, rabbits (rolling clays that are fast and they bounce).
Link Posted: 2/25/2006 5:25:16 PM EDT
Don't shoot any lawyers! If you do...report it to the press immediately!
Link Posted: 2/25/2006 5:26:23 PM EDT

Can anyone offer a few basic tips on shooting clays?


Try to hit more than you miss.
Link Posted: 2/25/2006 5:26:31 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/25/2006 5:27:19 PM EDT by home_with_kids]
Don't bring a Saiga 12 gauge with an 8 round magazine.


edit: And if you DO shoot any lawyers, for god sake finish the job. for the children.
Link Posted: 2/25/2006 5:26:57 PM EDT

Originally Posted By muddydog:
lead..
fire...
swing thru....

sporting clays rock...the best form of shotgun shooting sports in my opinion. use more open chokes to help your chances..



What he said. The main thing is to remember you're not target shooting a rifle at a stationary target - you need to lead your target as your target is moving.
Link Posted: 2/25/2006 5:26:59 PM EDT
From what i have done they will come from right and left and going away from you. I kept both eyes open and followed the clay for a second or two before i shot. It worked well for me. I must have a slow reaction time but i hit damn near all of them.
Link Posted: 2/25/2006 5:31:34 PM EDT
Thanks for the input!
I will try both-eyes-open and see how that works. I guess I can leave my 11-87P at home, probably won't hit much with 0-buck.

Link Posted: 2/25/2006 5:33:20 PM EDT
It's fun to do, I suck at it so I have no advice.
Link Posted: 2/25/2006 5:34:31 PM EDT
I keep both eyes open to help with depth perception. Keep a solid cheek weld through the whole time, from BEFORE the clay flies to after you break it.

Lead is just something you need to learn through practice. The concept is you put the pellets at the point in space where they will intersect the moving clay. Watch the wad after you shoot. It will give you a decent (not exact, but decent) idea of where your shot went. IF you establish that you are shooting ahead/behind the clay, adjust your lead accordingly.

I shoot with a Mossberg 590 tactical with a speedfeed stock and heatshield. It's funny as all shit to go out there and shoot against guys with $7000 Beretta over unders and do as well as they do (if they suck)

You can't buy skill!

DISCLAIMER: I am not a good clay shooter by any stretch of the imagination. My point is to not be intimidated by anyone because they have an engraved over/under that obviously cost more than the car you took to the range.
Link Posted: 2/25/2006 5:36:48 PM EDT
DONT TAKE CHENEY WITH YOU!!!!!!!!
Link Posted: 2/25/2006 5:37:39 PM EDT

Originally Posted By timothy585:

Will they be going away, across or towards me?



yes
Link Posted: 2/25/2006 5:38:48 PM EDT
My advice involves a course of fire we have at the local range.

The situation is a pair of birds launched at an extremely high angle into the air (around 20+ yards off the ground).

My advice for a shot like this is to wait until the clays have reached their apex of flight. They will appear to be stationary before beginning their fall back to the ground, when they are almost paused at their peak is the best time to dust 'em!
Link Posted: 2/25/2006 5:45:51 PM EDT
Use 3 1/2 " max. turkey loads it is better.

<­BR>

It is the ARFCOM way. You will be able to hit clays further away, yeah that's it.
Link Posted: 2/25/2006 5:47:03 PM EDT
Link Posted: 2/25/2006 5:49:33 PM EDT
which range are u going to be shooting at?
Link Posted: 2/25/2006 5:51:03 PM EDT
well since no one else said it. don't get disappointed. Your about to find out that you have less skill than you thought.
Link Posted: 2/25/2006 5:57:20 PM EDT
Invite Bill Clinton. Ask him to bring the wife!
Link Posted: 2/25/2006 6:03:57 PM EDT

Originally Posted By enigma2y0u:
well since no one else said it. don't get disappointed. Your about to find out that you have less skill than you thought.



+eleventybillion

nothin­g is more humbling than one's first attempt to shoot clays.

If you hit 50%, be VERY proud of yourself
Link Posted: 2/25/2006 6:04:11 PM EDT
Link Posted: 2/25/2006 6:05:59 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Jarhead_22:

All great advice. Sporting clays is a pointing game, not an aiming game. With your cheek stuck to the stock (same place everytime) you should be turning/raising/lowering your body from the waist up all in one piece like a turret. This gives you consistency and makes it a lot easier to actually figure out where the shot should be if you did everything else (lead, swing, trigger...) right.



that brings up a good point. I like to exaggerate my knee bending when I shoot. I keep my feet wide set appart and turn my whole body like a turret as described.
Link Posted: 2/25/2006 6:14:45 PM EDT
he's right..

focus on the clay and not your barrel or bead.
a shotgun is the original point and click instrument.

by focusing on your target and letting your gun swing in relation to it you let the pattern of the shot do the work.

when properly mounted to the shoulder, with your head in the right place. the bead of the shotgun will instinctively follow where you look.

the main problem people have with a shotgun is trying to aim it like a rifle.

this causes delays in the firing process 2 ways:

1- not firing when you should for the best angle of shot.
2- a stop motion..in your swing.
Link Posted: 2/25/2006 8:49:51 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/25/2006 8:51:05 PM EDT by Toolman_556]
Every sportings clays course is different. The shots while similar are never set up exactly the same. basic description on shots and techniques are as follows:
"springing teal" - clays are launched upwards at about 75MPH at angles varying from 45 to 60 degrees. The birds reach a point mid flight moving verticall and horizontally very slowly, then drop like a rock coming down. The longer you wait the more likely the miss
"rabbits" - stand a specialized tough clay on edge, roll it like a barrel ring, it bounces and moves quick. Many shoot low to allow some shot to richchet off the ground and break the bird.
The rest depend on presentation, but your most important thing is don't stop the barrel moving when you shoot. If you do you will be behind it. at the end of flight the motion of the bird will almost always hook it hard one way or the other. It depends on what the presentation is on how to break it best for the shooter. Generaly at least some of the shots are through/around obstacles as trees, etc. Many courses let the first shooter see a pair before shooting it and if you don't shoot first pay attention and decide your prelim plan on where to break the bird. just like in skeet sometimes sooner is better, the bird won't get erratic on you. sometimes a tighter choke tube is beneficial for some shots, but last time I shot clays was with an improved cylinder choke and a modified in the ammo bag. Its almost as addictive as Black Rifle Syndrome.......
Link Posted: 2/25/2006 8:55:03 PM EDT
Go with the meanest looking shotgun you own.
Then outshoot the people with shotguns that cost you half a year's pay.


They love this.
Link Posted: 2/25/2006 8:57:57 PM EDT
Agree with the advice given so far (except the 3 1/2" shells)

Depending upon the course, you may be able to just practice at the targets without keeping careful score. This may be more fun. But be forewarned, you can go through a lot of shells trying to get the flying "teal" or bouncing "rabbit".
Link Posted: 2/26/2006 5:34:30 AM EDT
I shoot a lot of clays (probably over 10,000 rounds last year, and I still suck )
It's very addictive.
most sporting clays courses are 100 birds. Bring at least 5 boxes of shells with you. Only sizes smaller than 7.5 are allowed (shot #7.5, #8, #9). I personally like #8 for the best balance, but lots of people shoot 7.5.
Every station is pairs. Either a true pair (both birds fly at once), a report pair (first bird, on the firing, the 2nd bird goes) or following pair (1st bird flies, followed at any point in time by the 2nd bird, this is a rare setup). Obviously you only load two. You never load more than 2. Actions open when not on station and unloaded when not on station.

You need a lot more lead than you think. Really fast crossers can need 5+ feet of sustained lead. Rabbits are a ton of fun, lead them 1 foot and you'll get them all.

Clays is a game of optical illusions. It will look like it's doing one thing, but you need to sit and think about what it is really doing. For example, tt will look like it's going straight away, but what it's really doing is going left or right. Anyway, always watch the view pair (the first person to shoot at a station gets to watch one pair because the first person is at a big disadvantage, which is why the first person rotates). Always watch other people and as a newbie, people will always suggest where you should be.

Try to miss in front (you need more lead than you think). Don't think about it, just shoot it. You'll do better at first, then drop off as you start thinking about it.

Don't get upset. Sporting Clays is a humbling game. NOBODY gets a perfect 100. Sometimes the winner is a tourament (when admittadley they are set up really hard) might score in the 80's and these are guys who are phenomanal shots). Most people score in teh 30's their first time out. That's a fine score.

Oh yeah, have fun, bring water, stay hydrated and remember, the #1 thing that a shotgunner always brings is an excuse.
Link Posted: 2/26/2006 5:43:03 AM EDT

Originally Posted By timothy585:
Other than the occasional duck hunt when I was younger, I don't shoot shotguns much and tomorrow I will be shooting clays for the first time ever. I know nothing about the sport and was hoping someone could offer a few newbie tips. All I know is we will be shooting at different stations(?), and a golf cart is involved for traveling between them.

This is a casual get together, but I still don't want to look like complete fool.

Can anyone offer a few basic tips on shooting clays? Keep both eyes open? How long does the clay stay in the air and is a viable target? Will they be going away, across or towards me? Or all three? Is there a basic principle on leading the target? Any special etiquette tips?


Thanks.



Timothy, make sure you come back with a range report. I'm headed out for my first sporting clays in a couple weeks. I'll be interested to hear your impressions.

Good luck.
Link Posted: 2/26/2006 5:48:32 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Sylvan:
Three things to remember.
1. Focus on the target NOT THE BEAD. Big change from normal target shooting.
2. Keep your head on the stock.
3. Keep swinging your gun after you pull the trigger. Swing through.

You are going to miss, get over it.

Three ways to shoot clays

Swing through. Start behind the target, pull ahead and pull the trigger just when you pull ahead.
Sustained Lead. Get the proper lead, hold it, pull the trigger while sustaining your swing. Requires the most amount of lead.
Pull ahead. Start at the target, pull ahead and shoot.
Most duck hunters use the swing through. Sounds like you are shooting sporting clays. For short targets, the swing through will be best. For long crossers, the sustained lead should be best.

good luck.



My variation -
1. Focus on the leading edge of the target.
2. Keep your head on the gun. Wood on wood may be one instruction you hear.
3. Keep the gun ahead of the target.

Don't worry much about swing through, sustained lead, and so on your first time out - just, miss, and have fun; the advice above is sound.

Just don't stop your gun, no matter what else happens. If you are focusing on the target, you won't notice the beads on your gun. I think it's helpful to practice focus while waiting your turn to shoot.

I'm over due for a round.

Link Posted: 2/26/2006 6:10:54 PM EDT
Well, I went shooting today, and I have to admit, it was damn fun. A friend loaned me one of his shotguns, a Browning Centori. All in all, the day went pretty well. The different stations were pretty well isolated, each firing lane had alot of trees and brush, not out in an open field, like I was expecting.

Overall, I think I held my own. I shot a 59, definately surprising myself. I hope it wasn't beginners luck, but I will find out next week, as I plan to go again. The shoulder's a little sore, but it was worth it.

Damn fun shooting!
Link Posted: 2/26/2006 6:17:35 PM EDT
Every course will be different, with widely varying percentages of brush, open fields, woods, and so on - that's what makes the game so much fun.

59 is a good score, above average.
Link Posted: 2/26/2006 6:22:18 PM EDT

Originally Posted By muddydog:
lead..
fire...
swing thru....





Exactly. If you miss, odds are good you stopped your gun the moment your brain pulled the trigger.
Link Posted: 2/26/2006 8:42:57 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/26/2006 8:43:12 PM EDT by BridgerNY]
Introduce a new stage:

set some clays out on the ground

one guy drives the golf cart, other shoots
Link Posted: 2/26/2006 8:49:40 PM EDT


Focus on the target. Try to focus the line on the clay where the orange meets the black. Swing with your entire body. Hold the foreend of the gun rather lightly, don't have a death grip. Keep both eyes open. Oh, you WILL suck at it, but you will have fun.


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