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Clay shooting: How to hit battue clays

Tony Bracci of Bisley looks at battue clays and advises how to approach this testing target

Learning how to hit battue clays is a skill you’ll want to master if you’re going to have the clayshooting technique you’re aiming to achieve.  What marks out battue clays as being different? They’re the same diameter as a standard clay – that is 110mm.

However a battue clay is quite flat – whereas a standard clay is concave and more frisbee-like. A battue clay has a slight dishing on one side but due to its razor-like profile it can cut through the air up to two and a half times faster than a standard clay.

shooting battue clays

The battue is quite flat, unlike a standard clay


shoot battue clays

A battue can be hard to see, so start gun down

shoot battue clays

Battues are fast, so don’t let them catch you

To hit battue clays you’ll need to be fast

As the battue comes off the trap arm, if you can see anything at all it will be a pencil line in the sky. As it travels out it will start to twist on its axis exposing its belly. Depending on which way up you load them they can twist sooner or later.


The battue can be hard to see, not only when edge-on but also as they are so flat that in some light conditions they almost disappear once they’ve turned.

shoot battue clays

You can take the shot as you would a looper

Like a looper

Clever target setters can force you into taking this target in an awkward place as you wait for it to show itself. It never really travels on a straight line, instead twisting and curling. We have to take it as we would a looper. Either moving the gun on its curved line or taking a straight line near the apex and anticipating the drop and forward allowance. Remember the extra speed means it could be travelling a lot faster than a standard Chondel looper.

hit battue clays

Don’t let the battue fill you with dread

shooting battue clays

Cross-section of a battue (left) and standard clay (right)

Know your quarry

A battue is a great target to be set out at a distance because it is hard to see edge-on and suddenly appears. You will have to work hard because of the speed, but even harder if it’s out at a good distance. If set as a quartering target it can be tough waiting for it to show itself, forcing you to take it farther out than you would probably like. It is a great target for a course setter to try to catch you out. But don’t let it fill you with dread, just dig deep and push on. If it doesn’t work, push harder. You may surprise yourself just how much you will have to give.

Top tips to hit battue clays

  • Battues are fast, but don’t hurry your shot
  • Take the target as you would a looper
  • If it doesn’t work, try harder