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Secrets of successful clayshooting

Want to improve your hit rate? Browse through the tips below

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Clay pigeon shooting tips

Let’s start by looking at the mechanics of clayshooting. Because when it comes down to it, you are really trying your best to arrange a collision between your shot and the clay.

Thinking about shot speed

The first of the clay pigeon shooting tips I’m going to give you is a way to judge shot speed.

Imaging the bird is crossing in front of you, through the kill zone, at 40 miles an hour.

The target is moving at 58.6 feet per second. The shot is moving at 1000 feet per second.

The distance from stand to clay is 100 feet.

Which means that the shot is going to cross 100 feet in a tenth of a second. Which is pretty fast.

But the clay is also moving forward.

Which is why if you shoot at a clay you’ll always miss behind.

The basic principle

Instead, the muzzles of your shotgun must be ahead of the bird when you pull the trigger, to allow the clay to run into the stream of shot.


Muzzle angles

It’s simpler to talk about the angle of the muzzles, relative to the position of the bird, as we squeeze the trigger – rather than the perceived distance the barrels are ahead of the target. Something the image below explains clearly.

Clay pigeon muzzle angles

No matter what the distance is between the gun and the bird, the angle remains constant.

A clay pigeon shooting tip. Imagine a clock face and think of the gun barrels as the hour hand. Saying “shoot at two o’clock” will help you remember.

Don’t stop your swing

Keep the gun moving after pulling the trigger. Stopping your swing is one of the most common reasons for missing clay targets.

clay pigeon shooting tips

If you stop the gun you’ll almost certainly miss behind. So one of the key clay pigeon shooting tips is – don’t stop your swing.


This article was originally written is 2014 and is kept updated.