How to hit the rabbit clay target
It's the one that many shooters fear most, says Tony Bracci
The dreaded rabbit clay target. It’s the one that most shooters dread and come unstuck by. You’ll hear clayshooters moan and groan about one as they walk to the stand. Then the excuses start and they’re talking themselves into missing as the elusive rabbit rolls along the floor.
So what’s the technique with the rabbit clay target? Read on and I’ll help you to nail it.
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
Getting better at rabbit targets.
A rabbit clay is the same diameter as a standard clay (110mm), but is made with thicker edges to make it more robust rolling along the floor and thinner in the middle.
Take a rabbit when you can see it side on – it’s tough to hit when it’s presented edge on.
Work on your gun mount
Your gun mount can be problematic. 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 a bit much but it’s necessary 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.
What about lead?
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.
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Sean Ponting of Widdington Shoot has pretty much been there and got the T-shirt as far as Sporting and FITASC clayshooting goes. He has had 20 years…
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.