Sporting Clay Shooting 101
of Shotguns: There are several different types of shotguns but the three
most frequently used on sporting clays are:
A gun with one barrel in which after you shoot the first shell you must “pump”
the forearm of the gun to cycle the next shell into the chamber for the next
shot. Pump guns work fine for non-competitive fun shooting. Once you start to
get more competitive you might want to change to a semi-auto or an over and
under so that you can shoot the second shot quicker.
*Semi –Auto: A gun with one barrel
that will feed the second shell into the chamber automatically after the first
shell is shot.
*Over and Under: A shotgun that has two
barrels one situated over the other one. After loading two shells into the two
chambers the gun will be able to shot twice with two pulls of the trigger.
Gauges: Gauge basically refers to a specific size
chamber of the gun and then the specific size shell that fits that gun. Most
used gages for sporting clays are 12 and 20. Yet for recreational shooters who
do not own a 12 or 20 gauge gun, a 16, 28 or 410 can be used. A 12 gauge is a
bigger shell that fits into a bigger chamber gun where a 410 fit the smallest
size: Shot refers to the pellets that are in the shell. The lower the
number, the bigger the size of the shot. The largest size shot you can use on a
sporting clays course is 7.5. The shot size for shooting at clay targets range
from 7.5 to 9. As a new shooter the size of the shot does not matter a lot.
Ask the advice of the gun club.
Chokes: Chokes are the constriction at the end of
the barrel that will make the shot come out either in a large open ball
(cylinder choke) or a long tight ball (full choke). There are about 6 choke
sizes in between these two. Some guns come with a fix choke that is built into
the barrel and cannot be change. Other gun comes with removable chokes that can
be changed when needed. A cylinder (open) choke is used at close targets where
the full choke is used at very far away targets. Other chokes are used in
between these. Again as a new shooter don’t get too overwhelm as to what choke
to use. You can ask the advice of the gun club.
Safety is the biggest concern for the gun club and the shooters. If you
follow all of the safety rules you will have a safe and fun time.
1. Always treat a gun as if it was
2. Always point the muzzle of your gun in a safe direction.
3. Unless you are in the stand ready to shoot, always have the action of your
gun open and unloaded.
4. When loading your gun have your gun in-between the stand’s uprights so it
will be pointed in a safe direction.
5. Use eye and ear protection.
6. Stay on the path and shoot only from the stands
7. No alcohol beverage before or during shooting.
Sporting Clays Club:
A club can be private, where you will need a membership to shoot. A
combination of private and public, where you can have a membership and have
membership privileges or you can shoot there without a membership. There are
also public clubs were no memberships are needed or offered.
Depending on the club you go to, you may have a trapper
that will go out with you and “throw” your targets for you as you move through
the stations. At other clubs you may “throw” all of your own targets by pushing
buttons for each other and keeping track of your own score and how much you
shoot. A third type of club you may attend is a club that has all electronic
counters and pullers. At these clubs they will give you a “key card” that you
will put in a device at each stand.
of a Sporting Clays Course:
The sporting clays course is similar to a golf course as to having different
stations/holes. At each station the traps will be in different arrangements so
that each station the targets will come out different. There will be between 10
to 15 stations on a hundred target course. Each station will have a shooting
stand, one to three traps, a “menu” (a sign that says how many to shoot and what
order). Then depending on where you are, the station may also have table/bench,
buttons to throw the targets, or a device to plug in your shooting key to throw
Shooting Sporting Clays:
When you arrive at the first station the first shooter can get in the stand and
see where the targets are coming from. You throw one “view” pair of targets for
the first shooter to see. The other shooters will see where they are coming
from while watching the first shooter. The menu in front will say what order you
are to shoot the targets. Singles: where you throw only one target. True Pair:
you throw both targets at the same time. Report pair: you throw one target
first then on the “report” (sound of the gun) you throw the second. Once you
have seen the targets you load your gun with only two shells, call “pull” and
the trapper throws the targets as described on the menu. Once you have shot the
number of pairs on the menu, make sure the action of the gun is open and empty
and leave the stand. After the first shooter leaves the stand the next shooter
shoots the menu. Once all of the shooters of the squad have shot, then you move
on to the next station.
Always follow safety rules
Do not eject your empty shells from over and under out on other people. Put
them in trash cans.
Let other shooters shoot through
Do not crowd the stand when someone else is shooting
Be aware of the shooting order and be ready when it is your turn
Be quite when other people are shooting. This includes when driving past in a
Don’t throw multiple “view” targets at a station and pay for any extra targets
#1 Be safe and have fun