Clay pigeon shooting offers shooters a multitude of possibilities to practise in different environments – but what discipline suits you best? There’s a sport for all!

Clay pigeon shooting is the art of shooting at varying flying targets known as clay pigeons or clay targets with a shotgun.

The sport of clay pigeon shooting offers participants of all ages and genders the opportunity to compete at events which range from local through to provincial, national and international competitions up to and including the Olympic Games – it is known as a sport that requires both physical and mental tenacity.

There are at least 20 different forms of regulated competition called disciplines, although most can roughly be grouped under the main titles of trap, skeet, and sporting.

 

Sporting Clays

Sporting clays simulates the unpredictability of live-quarry shooting, offering an abundant variety of trajectories, angles, speeds, elevations, distances, and target sizes to test even the best of shots. English sporting is by far the most popular with sports largest following.

  • English Sporting
  • International Sporting (FITASC)
  • Super Sporting
  • Sportrap
  • Compak Sporting

 

Skeet

Targets are thrown in singles and doubles from 2 trap houses situated some 40 meters apart, at opposite ends of a semicircular arc on which there are seven shooting positions. The targets are thrown at set trajectories and speeds. The most common disciplines in this particular group:

  • English Skeet
  • Olympic Skeet
  • American Skeet (NSSA)

 

English Skeet – the most popular of the skeet disciplines in the UK

Weapon position is optional pre-mounted or out-of-shoulder when the target is called, the targets are released immediately upon the shooter’s call.

Olympic Skeet

The targets travel at a considerably faster speed, the release of the target can be delayed up to 3 seconds after calling and out-of-shoulder position is compulsory. There is also an eighth shooting station, midway between the two houses.

 

Trap

Targets are thrown either as singles or doubles from one or more traps situated some 15m in front of the shooter and are generally going away from the firing point at varying speeds, angles and elevations. The most common disciplines in this group are:

  • DTL (Down The Line)
  • Double Rise
  • ABT (Automatic Ball Trap)
  • Olympic Trap
  • Double Trap
  • Universal Trench

 

Down The Line (European Trap)

A popular shooting discipline in Trap. Targets are thrown to a distance of 45 to 50 meters at a fixed height of approximately 2.75m, with a horizontal ‘spread’ of up to 22 degrees either side of the center line. Each competitor is to shoot at a single target in turn, but without moving from the stand until they have shot all five targets. They then would all move 1 place to the right, and continue to do so until they have all completed a standard round of 25 birds. Scoring of each target is 3 points for a first barrel kill, 2 points for a second barrel kill and 0 for a miss (maximum 75 points per round). Variations of this discipline are: Single Barrel, Double Rise and Handicap-by-Distance. In this discipline your weapon is to be mounted before the target is released.

 

Olympic Trap

The discipline which forms part of the shooting program at the Olympic Games. A trench in front of the shooting stands, conceals 15 traps arranged in 5 groups of 3. Shooters take turns to shoot at a target each, before moving in a clockwise direction to the next stand in the line. Targets for each shooter are released immediately upon his call and are selected by a shooting scheme that ensures all competitors receive exactly the same target selection, but in an irregular randomised order, from any one of the three traps directly in front of the shooter. In this discipline your weapon is to be mounted before the target is released.

 

Helice (ZZ)

A diverse form of flying target competition, which cannot be called clay shooting as the targets are made of plastic – “Plastic Pigeon Shooting?!”

Plastic propellers holding a detachable center piece are rotated at high speed and released randomly from 1of 5 traps. They fly out  in an irregular way “buzzing” through the air to give the discipline its colloquial name of ZZ. Helice was designed specifically to simulate the old sport of pigeon shooting. This sport is exciting to shoot, but also fiercely competitive, with World and European Championships being held on the continent every year.

 

With a wide variety to choose from, we’ll be focusing in more detail on certain disciplines in the coming weeks – getting tips, instruction and advice from professional shooters across Europe – stay tuned!