Should you shoot springing teal targets on the way up or the way down? Clayshooting instructor John Bidwell responds ...

Springing teal targets are thrown at all speeds, angles and distances so it’s not really possible to say how they should be shot. It’s a case of adopting an approach that best suits the target as you find it.

On the other hand I generally prefer to shoot them on the up or just before they get to the peak of their flight because a powered target is one that tends to fly more consistently.

A springing teal target that’s falling to the ground can vary considerably, assuming, of course, it actually comes back to earth in range of the gun!

The way to shoot them as they rise is fairly straightforward and the first rule is to call for the bird with the gun out of the shoulder, and the muzzles held fairly high in relation to the target’s flightpath.

An ideal position is mid-way between where you see the clay clearly and where you want to break it, and that’s just before its apex.

Now for the real secret? In the case of a right-handed shooter the muzzles need to address a point slightly right of the teal’s line so that you can watch the target all the way up and still keep it in view when the gun is fully mounted.

This is an ideal bird to break with maintained lead because you can keep it below the barrels of your moving gun and in sight as you squeeze the trigger.

If, as I suspect, you are pre-mounting the gun and looking too close to the trap for the clay, it will get the ‘jump’ and force you to chase after it with a fast swing.

And if you do catch it there’s a fair chance it will be missed over the top or, because your sight of it is obscured by the mounted gun, you risk stopping the gun to regain visual contact or/and lift your head from the stock to find the bird again.