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Get that grouse – nailing those low, fast targets

Tony Bracci offers some tips to shoot those low, fast targets that could catch you out

grouse clay target shooting

A butt or pit means the target can be presented very low

A low driven target catches more shooters out than you would expect. A fast target simulating grouse, the wild moorland bird, is not only low and fast but, to add to your difficulties, you might find yourself down in a pit or in a grouse butt. This means the target can be presented as low as possible, sometimes only a couple of metres above your head. It can come in any size and at any speed, so how can we make it easier?


clay shooting grouse targets

Start in your normal shooting stance

Hold point – keep it low

Start in your normal shooting stance with your barrels on a low holding point. So often we see shooters starting with barrels up in the air, only to have to move down to the target and then slash back the other way to try to find it.

Shooting grouse clay targets

Keep a low hold point on the horizon

A low hold point on the horizon, where the target comes out, will encourage you to mount the gun smoothly then move the gun in a controlled manner with the target.

grouse shooting clay targets

The target should not be allowed to get too close

Don’t wait – take it early

Another common mistake is to let the target come right in and then try to shoot it directly above your head – perhaps just a couple of yards. At this point your pattern is still tight, resulting in a ball of dust when you are on the money but allowing minimal margin for error.

low fast grouse clay targets

Don’t wait, take it early

Consistently taking the target out in front, where the pattern has had time to develop, should produce better results.

Lead – not too much

Very low driven targets can often be missed in front. You can be surprised how little lead this target might need.
Bearing in mind that a normal sporting shotgun shoots 60% of its payload above the barrel, it is easy to jump in front. Don’t be surprised that on particularly low grouse you can shoot as soon as you connect with the back edge of the target.
As the height of the target increases so does the forward allowance.

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Tony’s checklist for shooting low, fast clay targets

  • Have a low hold point to 
pick target up early
  • Don’t let the target get too close; take it out in front
  • Be careful not to over lead. 
It may be fast but if it’s low it won’t
    need much