Which is the best to take up first, asks a reader

Q: A gun club near my home does Down The Line (DTL) and Automatic Ball Trap (ABT) shooting. I’m in the process of buying my first gun and would like to know which of these games would be easiest to take up.

A: Before spending any money on a first gun you need to do a bit more homework on the subject of clayshooting and what it involves.

  • There are more than a dozen ‘games’ as you call them, which roughly break down into three categories: Trap, Skeet and Sporting.
  • In the trap section alone there are five different disciplines, of which DTL and ABT are just two.
  • The other categories include two forms of skeet shooting and two main types of Sporting shooting.
  • While you can shoot them all with just one gun, you really need two to cope with the different kinds of clay shooting out there and get the most from it.
  • Sporting is by far the most popular in Britain and a gun designed for this branch of the sport can also be used to very good effect on a skeet range.
  • The trap disciplines demand something a little different to enable you to record consistently high scores – and that’’s why ‘trap guns’ have been specially designed for the purpose.
  • DTL is more suited to someone just starting out in the sport.
  • Get along to your club to introduce yourself, and watch the different disciplines being shot by club members.
  • Don’’t be frightened to ask questions – most shooters will be more than happy to put you in the picture and help you get started.

Q: Do I have to be in the hoop when clay pigeon shooting? 

A: A course designer creates a shooting position and marks it either with a hoop or square to ensure that everybody not only shoots the same targets but does so from level, safe, ground.

Just think what would happen if there were no marked stand or safety cage from which to shoot… competitors would simply end up standing where they liked with no consideration for anyone’s safety!

In fact, depending on the terrain and the type of target being thrown it is sometimes possible to create a bit of an advantage for yourself by taking up a non-central stance within the shooting position.

If such an advantage does exist then good on you for spotting it but don’t push your luck by placing a foot on the hoop to make even more of the opportunity.