Clay Pigeon Shooting
Clay pigeon shooting is the art of shooting with a hunting rifle at special flying targets known as clay pigeons or clay targets.
Clay Shooting, which dates back to 1831 still retains many phrases from its historical “Live Bird Shooting” past when real birds, such as pigeons, were released from a trap which was positioned in front of a shooter. This practice developed into shooting Glass Balls filled with powder or feathers in an attempt to create a standard of the targets, therefore to make the competition uniform. The glass balls were eventually replaced with ceramic disks which allowed a longer flight and flight paths similar to an actual bird flying.
The sport of clay pigeon shooting is perfect for people of both genders and all ages giving them the opportunity to participate in various competitions which range from local to provincial, national and international competitions. The sport is included in the Olympic Games being a sport of great physical skill and mental ability.
Clay pigeon shooting has many forms of competition called disciplines. These can be divided into three main groups: Trap, Skeet and Sporting:
Single targets are thrown from one or more traps situated some 15 m in front of the shooter, and are generally going away from the firing point at varying speeds, angles and elevations. The shooter doesn’t know which pigeon will be launched when he gives the signal: “pull”.
The stand has 5 shooting posts and the participants take turns at all the posts until the end of the 25 pigeons thrown in a round.
Double trap is a relatively new trap form, Olympic since 1996 (from 2008 it has Olympic status only for men), where two targets are thrown simultaneously but at slightly different angles from the station three bank of machines. The target speed is about 80 km/h (50 mph), very close to the one of ATA doubles.
The only unique item in that the targets are released with a variable delay up to 1 second. This was instituted to minimize the practice of spot-shooting the first target.
Targets are thrown by one or by two from 2 towers of different heights which are situated some 40 meters apart at opposite ends of a semicircular arc where there are 7 shooting positions. The 8th shooting position is situated between the two towers. The targets are thrown at set trajectories and speeds.
The Sporting discipline is relatively new in Romania and has the most followers among this sport’s enthusiasts. While the other disciplines only use standard targets, in Sporting almost anything goes. Targets are thrown in a great variety of trajectories, angles, speeds, elevations and distances and the discipline was originally devised in order to simulate live quarry shooting, hence some of the names commonly used on sporting stands: springing teal, driven pheasant, bolting rabbit, crossing pigeon, dropping duck, etc.
This discipline can have an infinite variety of ‘stands’. English sporting is the most popular form of clay shooting in the UK and a course or competition will feature a given number of stands each of which has a predetermined number of targets, all traveling along the same path and at the same speeds, either as by one or by two.
Each stand will feature a different type of target; e.g., crosser, driven, quartering, etc.
A Standard clay pigeon is an upside-down saucer shaped disk, 110 mm in diameter and made from a mixture of Calcium Carbonate (limestone) and pitch. Clays come in several shapes, sizes and colours in order to allow a wide variety of targets to be thrown against both light and dark backgrounds.
Clay Pigeons Traps:
Clay pigeons are thrown into the air to produce a flying target by a machine known as a trap. A trap can fling a clay out to a distance of up to 120 meters.
The participants usually pre-mount the gun into their shoulder and the target is released when the shooter calls “pull” or gives some similar vocal indication that he is ready.
Clay pigeon shooting is performed with a shotgun. The type of shotgun used is often a matter of taste and affected by local laws as well as the governing body of the sport in competitive cases.
Most clay shooters use Over and Under Double Barreled Shotguns – a gun with two barrels mounted one above the other, although the more traditional Side by Side Shotgun is also used.
Most clay shooters use a shotgun with a barrel diameter of around 18.5 mm. This is known as a 12 bore or 12-gauge shotgun.
Smaller diameter guns are also used (16 or 20 gauge) as these are lighter in weight (often suitable for younger or smaller framed shooters).