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Did mini-clays get through my shot pattern?

JOHN BIDWELL says: Very few grounds throw this target any more, which is a shame; it can help add to the variety of a shoot. I dare say the wider use of automatic traps has been this little clay’s downfall, but in the days of manual traps it was a common enough encounter. In spite of its size it’s not a difficult one to shoot.

Let me say straight away that your gun’s choking had nothing to do with your misses. Even though this clay’s a small one compared to a standard target, at 30 yards your gun would kill it consistently in the shot string. If you’re worried about gaps in the pattern, use a No. 8 to help fill in the holes.

The thing about a mini is it almost represents an illusion: its size makes it look as if it’s flying faster than it really is, certainly faster than the standards you normally shoot. Truth is, it’s actually slower.

The upshot here is there’s a tendency to shoot in front of this target. True, it might leave the trap arm very quickly but, by the same token, because of its light weight it also slows down sooner than a heavier target, which means it will start to fall as soon as it loses momentum.

Next time you come up against one, try reducing the amount of forward allowance you think it needs and also make sure your gun is underneath its line once it has travelled a reasonable distance. Remember – the farther it goes the more likely it is to be falling when you squeeze the trigger.

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