Q: One clay target I struggle with is a dropping teal. Can you give me a few pointers that might help?

A: In general it’s usually easier to break this target on the way up when it’s still got some power to it, rather than when falling back to earth. In short, a rising clay takes a much more consistent line to one that’s dropping, and as such should be easier to shoot.

Of course a helpful wind blowing the bird back towards the shooting stand might make it easier to break as it falls, but if the wind drops or changes, then so will the descent of the clay. Because of this it is usually better to shoot it on the way up, or just before it reaches its peak.

Don’t look or hold the muzzles of the gun too close to the trap house as the target will be up and away before you see it clearly, forcing you to chase it with a speeding gun. Danger now is a miss over the top.

Instead, give yourself time to break it comfortably by addressing the muzzles to a point mid-way between where you will first see the clay, and where you will break it. If you should miss it with the first barrel and have to shoot it with the second as it drops, do not keep the stock in the shoulder and try to ‘track’ the bird. It’s always easier to bring the gun up to a mark than down on one so drop the stock from the shoulder slightly and keep the clay above the barrel. Now move the gun downward, and pull the trigger. In this way you keep the clay in full view and give it forward allowance automatically – something you can’t do by mounting above it then trying to get underneath.