Tips for Clay Pigeon Shooting
Clay pigeon shooting, or Skeet shooting, is one of the most rewarding and difficult sports to get started in. It takes skill with a firearm, patience, and a lot of practice to retrain yourself from hitting stationary targets to hitting moving targets. Despite the effort it takes to get started, many people find that learning to shoot this way improves their overall marksmanship. Skeet shooting is not just a skill-based solo sport, it’s also a fantastic team sport that you can do with groups of friends or family. It’s extremely fun and can more than easily provide a full weekend worth of fun.
In this article we’ll look at some of the top tips for both getting started as a beginner, and even some tips for the more experienced marksman who wants to improve. There’s plenty of skeet shooting tips for everyone!
Use A good thrower
It all starts with ensuring that you have a good skeet thrower. A decent model can set you back a fair amount in today's market, so ensure you check out reviews and buying guides of good models. Because throwers typically cost a fair amount of money for a higher-end model, you really can't afford to make the wrong choice. If you're looking for assistance purchasing one, then check out our guide to buying the right skeet thrower. Purchase a trap thrower that suits your level and type of shooting, but also has the capability to adapt as you progress in skill level. Throwers are long-term investments and should last you a lifetime, so treat them right.
Stance is everything
Just as when you are shooting at a stationary target, how you position yourself is absolutely key to getting the right shot. You’re going to get a lot of recoil so it’s important not to have a stance that is going to let you be rocked back; you need to ensure that you can take the recoil while maintaining your aim. If you are right-handed, you need to have your left foot forward with your knees slightly bent; if you’re a left-hander, do the opposite. This will allow you to absorb the shock through your knees and keep your aim solid.
Knowing your dominant eye
Just because you are right or left-handed, it doesn’t mean that that is also your dominant eye. It doesn’t help to keep both eyes open when shooting a clay pigeon because you have to track it across your field of vision. Figure out which eye is dominant by picking a spot about 15ft from you and placing your finger directly in line with it. Then close your eyes first left, then right, whichever eye open means the finger doesn’t move from the target is your dominant eye. When shooting, this is the eye to keep open.
Placing the stock
As you know, you’re likely to get hit with recoil, but you also want to make sure you have maneuverability. To make a successful shot, you’ll want to hold the weapon at the ready but not quite lodged into the socket. Keep the stock slightly looser just below the armpit while you track the Skeet, when you have a shot ready, bring the stock up into the shoulder socket and fire. This will allow you to more easily track your target across the sky without being stiff. It’s a great idea to practice this with an unloaded weapon. You can get the hang of shifting the stock into your shoulder and making sure you get the same alignment each time.
Focus on the target, not the sight
Clay pigeon shooting involves not just reflexes, but also split-second timing. The more time you take, the further you have to shoot. By trying to line your sights up with the target, you will make a far more difficult shot. It’s worth “pointing” with your eye on the target directly; this may mean you miss a few when you start, but will make you a much more competent Skeet shooter with a higher success rate. Also, if you are trying t take down two skeet, the time it takes to line up the second shot will almost definitely result in a miss.
Examine your form
You may be a great shooter at stationary targets, but this is a whole different ball-game. You should take the time to evaluate each shot and see where you went right and where you went wrong. The process of reflection will help you make the necessary adjustments. Are you holding your gun too tightly, are you lining up to a different place on each shot, or are you not settling the stock quickly enough? These, and more, can adjust your success rate drastically. No one starts out as an expert, but we can become better uch quicker by taking the time to examine our mistakes and our successes.
The most important tip you can take away from this article is that of safety protocols. You may have been hunting for years, and as such know how to ensure you’re making a safe shot…But it can be very different with fast moving targets. Make sure that you know what height you can drop to without causing potential danger, don’t try for the last second “glory shot.” Also, this is not a sport to be played with people who don’t know basic gun safety; the barrel will be moving and as such the danger area is increased, be aware of it.
Ready To Take Things To The Next Level?
That’s our round up of top tips for improving your clay pigeon shooting skill. With your newly acquired knowledge you should now be able to get out there and compete with your fellow shooters. If you still feel like a novice even after implementing these tips, don’t worry! Clay pigeon shooting is a tricky sport and requires years of practice to become good at. Although we’ve listed some practical types that you can implement to improve your game, we never mentioned the importance of experience!