Going, going… gone – that’s a phrase you don’t hear much nowadays… unless you’re talking about the auction of repossessed houses!

Times are hard at present and when money’s tight those big-bag driven days might now be out of the question… so walked up shooting comes to the fore. And with it, the need to be able to tackle confidently those speedy, going away birds.

– Some of the reasons for missing are psychological. I know you can say this about every type of target, but it’s important to remember this type of bird is just that – a target – just like any other. If your approach to killing it is correct, it shouldn’t really cause major problems.

– Many are down to bad technique; generally aiming at, rather than in front of the bird.

– Often, though, it’s simply a case of lack of practice. So this month we’re in credit-crunch mode – how to make the most of targets that, like our savings, are whizzing away before our eyes!

MARK’S DO’S AND DON’TS

– Don’t aim.

– Don’t rush.

– Don’t cover the flight line of the clay with your muzzles.

– Don’t forget to compensate for any curve of the clay’s flight.

– Do get your stance corect.

– Do mount the gun parallel.

WHY YOU MISS

The reason most going away birds are missed is simple – aiming!

For some reason a lot of shooters presented with this type of target seem to go to pieces… even before they call for the bird.

All technique, style and preparation go out the window. Maybe it’s because the bird looks easy. This entices you into aiming at the bird – (maybe, in your mind, you do this just to make sure you hit it.) Or maybe it’s because the trap is usually close to the stand.

The shooter reckons he can dust the clay almost as soon as he can see it.

Another mistake is to try and cover the target and then fire. This invariably results in missing over the top.

The best approach is always to choose – and stick – to your chosen kill point. In one smooth action bring the gun up, and when the bead on the muzzle is just about to touch the bird, pull the trigger.

If there’s a crosswind, don’t forget to compensate for any slight curve or swing the bird might take – it’s rare that any clay flies dead straight throughout the entire course of its travel.

MARK’S TOP TIP

Swing the gun. When the bead on the muzzle is just about to touch the bird, pull the trigger. Don’t forget to keep the gun moving after you’ve fired.

A TYPICAL TARGET

Assume we’re shooting a straight, going away bird on a sporting layout. Your stance should be comfortable, leaning slightly forward, with the toe of your left foot (assuming you’re right handed) pointing along the line that the clay is going to travel.

The muzzle of your gun should also be pointing in the same direction. If your gun is pointing too far to the left or right, you’ll have to swing onto, as well as through the target to hit it. When you raise the gun to your shoulder try and achieve a single, smooth movement – using both your hands – don’t let the trigger hand do all the work.

Aim to keep the gun parallel all the time. If the muzzles of the gun are initially too high they can obscure your view of the clay as it leaves the trap. Alternatively, if they are held too low, you’ll probably end up playing catch-up with the clay resulting in a rushed shot.

Remember, you need to be able to see the bird at all times. When the bead touches the bird pull the trigger.

AND FINALLY

As a final word on going away birds, you can often be presented with this target as the second shot of a pair.

Apart from maybe having to alter your foot position slightly, everything else remains the same: Don’t panic, get the second pick-up point clear in your mind, choose your kill point, don’t cover the line of the bird or lose sight of it, come up with the gun and shoot.