If you’ve never enjoyed clay pigeon shooting or are new to it, no worries. This guide will tell you everything you need to know to get started.
Clay Pigeon Shooting Beginner Tips
Clay pigeon shooting (also called skeet shooting depending on where you’re from) is one of the most loved target-shooting hobbies in the world.
It allows you to improve your accuracy and showcase your marksmanship skills to your friends without actually hunting live birds, which presents its own logistical challenges – for instance, it may not be the right season.
1. Always Use Your Dominant Eye When Shooting
To begin, you’ll need to determine what your dominant eye is and learn to use that eye whenever you’re shooting.
Figuring out your dominant eye is pretty easy – just point at any object on another side of the room and cover one of your eyes.
If you can't see the object, cover the other eye. Observe the difference and your comfort level.
This is important since you’ll shoot with the clay pigeon shotgun braced on the side of your body with your dominant eye. This boosts your accuracy and stability.
2. Learn and Maintain a Correct Stance
Speaking of stability, you’ll need to learn and maintain an excellent shooting stance.
The “stance” in clay pigeon shooting is how you should be standing and holding your weapon when you call for the bird to be launched.
In general, your weight should be on the opposite foot of your dominant side and your toes need to be pointing toward where the bird will take to the sky.
For instance, right-handed shooters will have their left foot in front of them and most of the weight on that foot.
Your shotgun’s stock butt needs to be braced against your shoulder and your cheek needs to be pressed close to the weapon to line up your eye with the target.
Master this stance and learn how to solidify your position and you’ll see tremendous improvements with your accuracy.
3. Remember to Aim Ahead of Your Target
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Shooting a clay pigeon requires you to fire a little bit ahead of your target.
This is because the target is still moving in the instant between when you pull the trigger and the shot hits the clay pigeon.
You’re basically accounting for travel time.
There’s no secret to this. It’s just something you learn to become better at with practice.
But even as a beginner, you can boost your odds of success by recognizing that you’ll need to shoot slightly ahead of the target.
You might also hear this concept referred to as a “forward allowance.”
4. Finish Your Gun’s Swing
In clay pigeon shooting, you’ll swing the barrel of your shotgun around in an arc to follow the target after it’s launched.
You’ll either swing your barrel up or down (try not to do it from side to side).
It’s always a good idea to “follow-through” with your arc the same way a professional golfer would follow through with their swing.
It keeps your motion smooth and helps you track your target to shoot slightly ahead more successfully.
You can pull away after pulling the trigger, but your body might jerk the weapon a little too quickly and throw off your aim.
If you’re a beginner, it’s almost always better to just follow through with the arc of your shotgun.
5. Practice Makes Perfect
Above all, remember that no one becomes a master clay pigeon shooter overnight.
Give it a lot of practice and you’ll see fantastic improvements in no time, especially if you take these tips into consideration!
What issues are you having when you shoot clay pigeons? Share them with us in the comments section!