Clay Pigeon Shooting Lessons


Reading clay targets

We see many people who adore clay pigeon shooting only performing as average shooters and this is caused by not knowing your target. Often by the time you have ‘learnt’ the target you are several clays down which can seriously affect you score. If you are on a fifty ‘bird’ shoot and you miss two targets on each of the five stands then you will be shorting at a success rate of 80%. If you are missing three targets on every stand then your percentage drops to 70% and so it continues and this affects your clay shooting scores. So why not book some clay pigeon shooting lessons today. 

Resolving this problem quickly and efficiently?

The first thing we must learn is how to watch a target. What flight line does the clay target follow and really analysis it progression from the trap to where you can first identify the target clearly through to the break point whilst the target is still under power as it will be following a typically consistent trajectory. If the clay runs out of power, then gravity will take over and the target can often become harder to break as more variables come into play.   

We need to watch the target to determine a break point, we need to check our stance and how we address it. We need free movement to swing without rolling our shoulders, etc. We need enough ability to start our swing, move through the target, pull the trigger and most importantly have enough body rotation left so we can continue the swing along the target flight line.   Clay targets are deceptive by nature, often a going away flat target will often appear just as I have described it, but, it is more likely to be moving from left to right or vice versa as well. You will often see the A Class shooters standing behind the shooting point watching another shooter call for the target and you will see them pointing with their finger as the ‘pick up’ point through to the break point. Why do they do this. They establish flight line knowledge!   

Many shooters, after establishing the ‘pick up’ point (where you first see the target clearly) will have the muzzles of the gun facing here and wait to see the target at this point, but the issue here is now their reaction time and the physical speed needed to get onto the target, often resulting in swinging too fast through the target and missing. Once we know the ‘pick up’ point , lets focus on a something to mark this as a fixed point such as a tree branch or something fixed in the horizon, so you start with your eyes fixed here every time. Think about your stance and the shooting technique you intend to use on the target before you call for it. Start with your muzzles at the break point and then swing back to the ‘pick up’ point and you should be ready and focused to hit the clay target.    


Determine your break-point

Find your visual pick-up point where the target first comes into clear focus

Work out your muzzle pick-up point, your reaction time

Know the line of the target, where it’s coming from and what it’s doing, and don’t let the background trick you.       

In the shooting cage

Stand well balanced at the point of break - Remember to adopt a good shooting stance

Mount your gun towards the break point, and re-check gun mount and stance

With the gun still in the shoulder, wind back to the muzzle pick-up point (drop the gun out of the shoulder now if you’re shooting gun-down

Focus into the visual pickup point and call 'pull'. Be  ready and plan your shot