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Best clay pigeon traps: improve your shooting

Thinking about setting up clay traps on your own land? Here's a list of suggestions

girl clay pigeon shooting

Clayshooting grounds can now reopen in a phased return

If you’re fortunate enough to have some land, then you might consider setting up your own clay trap. (Read “Can I set up clay shooting on my own property?”)
Providing you follow some key safety rules, then you’ll be able to practise your shooting in your own time, maybe introduce a young Shot to shooting or nail a particular tricky shot. With this in mind we’ve created a list of the best clay pigeon traps around. (Read our list of the best clayshooting jackets here.)

We asked Mark Heath, Shooting Times contributor and instructor at the West London Shooting School what he thought about having a clay trap on your own land. He advised: “The pros are that you can practise more routinely to keep your timing and build confidence.”On the cons you just get used to shooting the same targets and break them because you are familiar with them and so find it difficult to adjust to different speed and distances, unless you have the space to move the trap and place it at different heights. Also you can develop bad habits but still hit the target.

“The best use of clay pigeon traps, particularly if your shooting is still developing, is to get the help of an instructor and develop your skills then practise on the trap at home. If the wheels fall off or anger management creeps in go back to your instructor.”Key advice from a professional. So here’s a list of the best clay pigeon shooting traps we’ve found, both manual and automatic, that you can buy online. (You might also like to read how to improve your clayshooting scores.)

Tony Bracci, deputy shooting manager at Bisley, advised: “As with all shooting activities safety is the most important aspect. Ensure you have a 300 yard safety zone in the direction you are shooting in. Do not allow targets or shot to land on ground that’s not yours. If using a manual trap all care should be taken to keep the trapper safe and out of the line of fire. With manual and electric traps an awareness of the trap arm and the damage it can do to things in its path when fired is a must.

“If you feel you have room and can proceed in a safe manner then why not? But spare a thought for your neighbours. It would be advisable to invite them along or at least let them know when you are going to be shooting.
“Make sure everyone shooting knows what is going on and an out ine of the safety rules. Inexperienced participants should be accompanied at all times.
“Try to avoid little Jimmy or Jemima shooting for the first time with uncle John’s 12-bore side-by-side with game cartridges, as you may well put them off shooting for life rather than encouraging them.”

Manual clay traps vs automatic clay traps

The main advantages of the manual trap are their versatility and the variation of clays they can present for not a huge expense. You can throw standard, midi and mini clays off one arm. Simply by moving the clay along the throwing arm you can cover a huge area in front of you. With all manual traps, the closer you place the clay to the pivot point the more power will be transferred to the clay and the further distance it will cover. 
With one decent manual trap you 
will certainly be able to provide 
three Guns with plenty of sport.

Automatic clay traps allow you to practise your shooting on your own, but they do tend to be 
more expensive than manual traps.

Top choice

Pro Matic Pigeon Auto Clay Trap £457.69



Best for beginners

  • Operation: Automatic
  • Capacity: 50 clays
  • Distance: 65m
  • Recocking time: 1.5 seconds
  • Elevation angle: 10° to 30°

This trap has been designed with the novice in mind. You can purchase four of these to dot around your land for a nice amount of variation. They have a capacity of 50 clays and throw a clay 65m. They have a recocking time of 1.5 seconds and elevations of 10° to 30°. They come with a 5m foot release pedal that you can extend if required. You can buy the Pigeon key fob for around £90, which will control the release of the trap at the press of a button. The Promatic Pigeon comes with 
a 12-month warranty.

It makes our top choice because we believe this automatic clay pigeon shooting trap features everything a beginner will need at a reasonable price. Promatic has been producing traps for more than 25 years and has a huge reputation both in the UK and abroad.



Nitehawk Heavy Duty Clay Pigeon Trap Thrower with Foot Pedal, Huge 50m Throw £44.99

Best for simplicity of operation

  • Pedal or hand operated
  • Adjustable height of throw 60/65/70/75cm
  • Strong steel and aluminium frame
  • Maximum throw 50m

This steel and aluminium framed manual trap allows you to choose from four different throwing angles with an adjustable height. The frame provides a sturdy base for accurate throws and a spiked base offers extra stability (or you can mount the trap on a spare tyre).



Nitehawk Clay Pigeon Trap Shooting Manual Target Thrower Training Aid £24.99

Best for low price

  • Strong and sturdy
  • Material: Steel/Aluminium.
  • Secure to ground or add elevation with spare tyre

This manual clay trap allows you to fire targets in singles, stacked or nesting pairs. Adjust the throwing angles to set yourself different challenges. It operates via a quick pull release return spring with a cord. Excellent for perfecting your aim.



VEVOR Automatic Electric 50 Clay Pigeon Shooting Trap Target Thrower With Wheels £201.95

Best for using car power

  • Operation: Automatic
  • Capacity: 50 clays
  • Distance: 80m
  • Recocking time: 2-3 seconds
  • Elevation angle: 30° to 70°

This automatic clay trap is powered by a car battery so you don’t have to have a power source nearby, meaning it can be used in a distant field.  The launch angle  can be adjusted for alternating targets. The feeder tray smoothly transfers clays onto the throwing arm and the trap is wheeled for easy manoeuvring from place to place.



VEVOR Automatic Electric Clay Pigeon Shooting Trap Target Thrower 65-87 yards £237.56

  • Operation: Automatic
  • Capacity: 50 clays
  • Distance: 80m
  • Recocking time: 2-3 seconds
  • Elevation angle: 30° to 70°

Lightweight and easy to move around, this clay trap thrower will allow you to brush up on your skeet shooting whenever you have a chance. It is powered by a car battery and the foot pedal gives you hands-free operation.



Nitehawk Automatic 12v Electric Clay Pigeon Shooting Trap Target Thrower £259.99

Best for convenience

  • Operation: Automatic
  • Capacity: 50 clays
  • Distance: 60-80m
  • Recocking time: 3 seconds

A foot operated pedal powered by a 12v deep cycle battery makes this trap convenient and easy to use.



GDK Black wing clay pigeon trap,2 wheel trolley,wobbler kit,package deal, 12V £599.99

Best for versatility

  • Operation: Automatic
  • Capacity: 50 clays
  • Distance: 65-75m
  • Elevation 0-45°
  • Powered by 12V battery

Black Wing is a starter machine ideal for use by one or two shooters at a time. It will hold 50 clays but is versatile and has a throwing distance of 65-75 metres, at angles anywhere up to 45 degrees using standard clays, with a midi converter available.



GDK Black pheasant pro clay pigeon trap, 260 target, 12v, clay thrower, WP1-160 £799.99


Best for accessories

  • Operation: Automatic
  • Capacity: 160 clays
  • Elevation 0-45°
  • Built-in battery compartment
The smooth and efficient foot pedal release has a 12m cable. Excellent capacity here so that you don’t have to stop and reload frequently, allowing you and your shooting companions to get your eye in without a break.

GDK Black Pheasant 260 Target Clay Pigeon Trap With Abt Wobbler & Trolley 12v £1089.99

Best for clubs/group shooters

  • Operation: Automatic
  • Capacity: 260 clays
  • Elevation 0-45°
  • Built-in battery compartment

The GDK black pheasant pro clay pigeon trap is a perfect all-rounder clay machine. With its fast recock time, and adjustable throwing distance, it is perfect for beginners, intermediate, or advanced clay shooters.

The ABT wobbler kit turns the machine into a simulated game scenario.




  • It is illegal for pellets to cross over a neighbour’s land
  • No shot or broken clays must fall on anyone else’s land around you
  • You cannot shoot over a right of way
  • The distance a shot can travel will alter depending on wind strength and direction
  • Think about noise and whether it will disturb your neighbours
  • Remember you must wear hats, eye protection and ear defenders when shooting clays. (Read our list of best ear defenders.)