It's the one that many shooters fear most, says Tony Bracci
If there was ever a target that makes a clayshooter moan and groan it’s the rabbit. As soon as they realize the next target is going to roll along the floor the excuses start and you have talked yourself into missing.
Here are a few helpful hints to get you on form with rabbit targets
A rabbit clay is the same diameter as a standard clay (110mm), but is made with thicker edges to help withstand the rigours of rolling along the floor and thinner in the middle. A rabbit presented edge on is a tough target – if at all possible take it when you can see it side on.
Mount – get it right
The mount can be a problem area. As with any target presented below the horizon, your body position and hold points need to be adjusted accordingly. Set yourself up with feet pointing to where you are going to take the shot and then wind back to your hold point. Mount the gun as if you were going to shoot a target in the air, then bend forward from your waist to get the gun on the right line. This can feel excessive but it’s needed to get the head, gun and body into the right position. Once in the right position, you can dismount and be ready to call for your target.
Lead: How much?
Mount to the target, keeping a line just under it. Rabbits are often missed over the top so keep your target in sight as you swing. The speed of a rabbit is often overestimated by shooters. Remember it won’t often be going all that fast because of the rolling resistance from the ground. This can be made worse by grass and standing water, making the target slow very quickly.
Missing in front can sometimes throw up a cloud of dust and dirt only for a rabbit to appear out of the debris and be misread as a miss behind.
Top tips for rabbit clay targets
- Make sure your feet are pointing where you’re going to shoot
- Keep the target in sight, drawing a line underneath it
- Make sure your upper torso is at the right angle to mount the gun
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If you have to deal with a bouncing rabbit or if it happens to bounce just as you go to shoot you have to prepare yourself mentally for one of two options. One, shoot it in the air. If it’s a high bounce it could even be an advantage.
Think positively. If it is in the air it won’t bounce again! Option two, do you have enough time and space for it to bounce and then settle back down? Remember if you do have time it will be slowing down.