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Clayshooting lesson on long, slow crossers

Jonty Wightman, a member of the North of English Shooting team, gives a useful clayshooting lesson. He shows his method for dealing with a pair of long, slow crossers passing from left to right, that looped downwards in front of the shooter - an oak tree's branches adding to the conundrum of when to take them

clayshooting lesson on crossers

Jonty has has been enjoying his Krieghoff Parcours, which he has shot with for about a year and uses ¾ choke in both barrels with No8 shot Gamebore White Gold cartridges. He also offers tuition for gameshooters at the Crabtree Clay Shoot.


Jonty starts with the gun slightly out of his cheek

A clayshooting lesson on crossers

Jonty said: “With this pair of clays
 I would take the rear of the two first. 
This allows me to continue my swing onto the second without stopping. I would normally 
start with the gun slightly 
out of my cheek, pick up 
the clays early and match my gun speed to the speed of 
the clays.



After taking the rear of the two clays first, Jonty swings through to the first without stopping

About half way through their trajectory 
I would mount 
and pull ahead of the first clay, and then take the second clay just before it is starting 
to drop. They are a difficult pair – if 
you mount too soon they can still be 
too far away and travelling fast, leave it 
too late and they dip and accelerate as 
they curl towards the ground – they are 
also obscured by the oak’s branches.

Long slow crossers

The slope of the ground can give the impression they are travelling much faster than they are. It is a fine line between shooting too early or too late. It is important to decide where you are going to break them. Mounting too soon can lead to hesitation and stopping your swing – it needs to be smooth and continuous.


Once he’s picked up the clays, he mounts the gun about halfway through their trajectory

“After pulling ahead 
of the first clay and breaking it, I switch to the second clay, see my lead and fire. It is easy to shoot above these clays, which is something to remember as well. With regard to footwork I would normally be upright with my weight on my lead foot, which would be pointing where I intend to smash the clays. As with all clay shooting, practice is essential for learning how much lead to give, where and when to shoot, and reading what a clay pigeon is doing.”