View Full Version : Clay or Feathers?

roy reali
November 30, 2010, 08:42 AM
What do you think is harder to hit with a shotgun, clay targets or feathered targets? Is it possible to be good at one and not so good at the other?

November 30, 2010, 10:01 AM
Roy, by "feathered targets" do you mean pigeon shooting or wild bird hunting?

Dave McC
November 30, 2010, 10:13 AM
Depends. By clays, do you mean Low House 1 at skeet, trap singles, or a gnarly, dropping, crossing Mini on a sporting course that's the equivalent of the back 9 at Pebble Beach?

By birds, do you mean Giant Canadas in the dekes at 35 yards(Most of which I hit) or a late season Dove at that range but moving at 65 MPH( Many of which I miss) or a covey of Bob Whites at 20 with about a second before they're behind something( which I do OK on)?

November 30, 2010, 10:32 AM
too many different perspectives .....

Target presentations on sporting clays, Trap from the 16 yard line vs 27 yard line, Continental Trap ( wider angles, and faster ), Trap Doubles, Wobble Skeet, Intl Skeet, American Skeet - with a 12ga, 20ga or 28ga vs .410 .....are all challenging in their own way ....

what is good out of 25 targets ..... 24's and 25's / 23 avg / 22 avg ...???

Birds are challenging too ....even as big and as slow as Pheasants are ...if I'm walking a sugar beet field where my size 14 feet don't fit between the rows ...birds always get up when I have one foot cockeyed ...and one where I'm on my toes ....

but in general - good shooters / usually have a shotgun that fits them well - and they can shoot. Shooters that can't shoot in the 23's - 24's out of 25 in clay games / aren't usually good wing shooters either..... ( low 20's in sporting clays is a pretty good score or 80 of 100 or so ) depending on course.....

so ....too many perspectives...

November 30, 2010, 10:36 AM
Clays are much more predictable about their direction and speed. Once you figure out how to hit a clay from a certain position it is much easier.

When hunting, the number of angles, and speeds the birds take are infinite. Not to mention live birds ability to suddenly change direction when they spot you or after the shooting starts.

Shooting clays is a great way to be a better hunter. You will likely never get enough experience only hunting.

November 30, 2010, 10:49 AM
Depends on the "feathers".planted quail over dogs is much easier than a challenging sporting course, yet grouse in tight coverts is the opposite. Certain clay games are easier to do well compared to others - the challenge then becomes the ability to run straight scores repetitively.

November 30, 2010, 11:31 AM
Occasionally I've run into a person that says they're a great wing shooter - but says they can't get the hang of shooting clays ....maybe its the club atmosphere they don't like, maybe they don't get the adreneline rush, who knows. Some of them are great shooters - they just don't get out much / and with more time on the "clay" games they'd be very good clay shooters too.

But sometimes when I see them shoot clays ....there are so many flaws in their fundamentals ....( bad mount, pushing gun away from their face, no follow thru, shoulders rolling in an arc ...) that I wonder how they hit anything. I wonder how good they really are in the field / because to show a lot of fundamental flaws on a clays course - where you have good vision of the target, feet are always on flat ground, in really optimal conditions - and have swing flaws tells me they really aren't that good in the field either.

Same thing on clays - some clay shooters say they shoot in the 20's ( but they seem to count funny :D ) its more like the best 25 out of 30 ...?? / or its really scores like 16's / then a 22 / then a 21 / then an 18 ....and they clearly don't shoot in the 20's ....with a 77 out of 100. Maybe its practice / maybe they just don't keep count and wish they shot better ...who knows..

But many bird hunters - in reality - don't shoot much / they like hunting and they go 5 or 6 times a season ( maybe shoot 100 shells total ) ....and they shoot 6 or 8 boxes of shells at clays to "warm up" for the season.

Shotgunning for me / is something I need to practice ( and if I don't, it'll show up when I go hunting too )...and the older I get / the more I need the repetition or it gets really ugly.... but on either side / there are shooters / and there are talkers ...( but a good shooter is usually a good shooter / or somebody is shading the truth a little ) ...

November 30, 2010, 12:08 PM
I'm reminded of the story when Pax and Lynn, both 1st team All-Americans, go after ducks. The guide/boat-boy is unhappy because he's had nothing but new shooters and his boat is behind in the weekly pool. Just as he's telling Lynn that the ducks he's eying are too difficult a shot, Lynn's 1100 brings down three for three. The guide perks up, thinking his chances are improving, and announces, "Wow, that's some shooting! You must be the world champion!"
Lynn just nods his head towards Pax and says, "Nope, he is."

November 30, 2010, 09:04 PM
Im and avid clay shooter and bird hunter. and without a doubt, its wild birds. You dont get show birds, time to prepare, and they dont fly predictable flight paths. Youre often in bad weather, and adverse lighting. No comparison really.
There is nothing that can substitue a wild covey rise in thick cover or a teal with the wind behind him coming out of the rising sun.

roy reali
November 30, 2010, 09:09 PM
How many of you have connected with a bird on a difficult shot with the only witness being your dog?

A/C Guy
November 30, 2010, 09:34 PM
How many of you have connected with a bird on a difficult shot with the only witness being your dog?My dogs are my biggest critics. I get the "You missed THAT?!?!?!" look from them every time we hunt. But they still love me.

November 30, 2010, 09:44 PM
Sporting clays was developed as training for hunting ! A good SC course is changed on a regular basis so it's not always the same .Shooting at more than one range is helpfull too.

November 30, 2010, 09:56 PM
I think when the snow geese cup their wings and start dumping air over the decoys that is about the best shooting in the entire world. I hunt with some guys from Iowa whenever I get the chance to and that's about as fun as it gets.

.300 Weatherby Mag
November 30, 2010, 09:58 PM
A clay does not engage in evasive manuevers or aerobatics when it spots you :D...

My dogs are my biggest critics. I get the "You missed THAT?!?!?!" look from them every time we hunt. But they still love me.

A friend of mine has a black lab that will growl at you every time you miss a duck... Sitting in the blind with that dog diving you the evil eye is hilarious..

December 1, 2010, 10:58 AM
As noted previously there are too many different variations among clays and live birds to make a definite statement on which is "harder."

There is more flexibility and discretion with hunting. You can shoot more than once at a single target and you can pass on birds that are too far or otherwise unshootable. Clays meanwhile are more predictable, not self powered and affected by the laws of gravity but you are expected to shoot once and only once at all of them.

A good shooter is a good shooter. I regard with some skepticism the claims of a guy who is not doing well at clays but insists he's a great duck shooter. I've seen people who claim this but watching them shoot targets it becomes pretty obvious they have no idea what they are doing. The ducks are probably safe.

In my experience someone who is a good sporting clays or skeet shooter will usually acquit himself reasonably well on live game particularly if they are used to shooting gun down. The dedicated trapshooter however tends to take longer to adjust because they are used to a narrower range of presentations.