View Full Version : First Time at Clays

August 24, 2001, 02:33 AM
Shot at my first clays today. I broke the first one and the last one. In between was a different story. I shot skeet in preparation for my upcoming first dove hunt. I used to hunt quail with my dad, but that was over fifteen years ago. Figured it was high time to practice.

I stood around and watched for a while at the local skeet/trap/sporting clays club. Then, a member was good enough to introduce himself and offer to take me out for a lesson. I shot fifty shells--just enough to start getting better and enough to make me want to go back. We didn't really shoot a standard round of skeet though. He explained the rules and then started me off on some easier shots before we made our way around to the more difficult stations.

On my first box of shells, I broke about a quarter of the targets, but had trouble on crossing shots. Problem? No follow through. After I started following through, I became much more consistent. I also only had a modified choke with me; my shooting partner seemed to think that an improved cylinder would have helped my break more clays.

I used the new Wally World 1100 and experienced about six failures to fire. When I'd load the gun one shell at a time, the breech bolt assembly would not fully chamber the shell. Thus, I'd get an empty click instead of a shot. I hope that this problem is just due to a tight gun and will work itself out in a few more boxes of shells.

Hope to go back out soon and have another go at it.

August 24, 2001, 05:32 AM
Congratulations! Skeet is a good drill and fun too.
Sounds like a "friendly" course. It always helps to have someone walk you thru it. a good coach can teach you alot in a few minutes and further practice takes care of most problems. At the skeet range where I shoot, the range master is a great coach and everybody understands if he suspends the usual regimen to help a new shooter or somebody with a sticky spot in thier technique.
re: the 1100
Are you using the release and letting the bolt fly forward? If so, break-in should solve the FTF. clean and light lube if necessary.
Mod choke is good for practice. Coach says you miss more- shoot better. IC if you want to see more breaks while learning the basics.
Good shooting

Dave McC
August 24, 2001, 05:55 AM
Congrats, Guyon. Enjoy the games, just be aware it's addicting.

If I was competing at skeet, I'd use a Skeet choke. If I were practicing, or just learning the game, I'd go with Modified or Full. One nice thing about overchoking is it's easier to read breaks. This helps one adjust.The tighter choke helps to learn to hold tighter.

If that Walmart special is still malfing after 2-300 rounds of say, 3 dram, 1 1/8 oz loads, then worry. Following Technoid advice, spritz the gas system with CLP also.

August 24, 2001, 07:27 AM
Did you see any of the "mini" targets? These are about 2 1/2 to 3 inches in diameter, and they MOVE when they're launched (I've heard them described as "aspirin moving at light speed"). I've managed to hit them once or twice, but I can't believe that was anything but a fluke on my part.

August 24, 2001, 08:37 AM
I would get a skeet choke to learn the game. First learn the proper leads and follow through before you try to "Read" the breaks. There is nothing like success as soon as possible. Modified is just too tight for some of the close shots (Station 8).

While you are at it, get an IC and Full choke and shoot at some sheets of butcher paper to get an idea how the patterns work at different distances. Some ranges have set ups to do this or they may have a Metal Pattern board you can use. This is a real eye opener and will allow yu to check if the gun shoots where you are pointing.

I would also suggest using #9 shot in a 1 1/8 oz load, this works best at skeet.

Try giving that 1100 a good cleaning and lubrication. It probably only needs a little break in to function properly.

You might try using the Mod choke to shoot a game of two of Trap. The two games are different enough that shooting both will make you a better all around shotgunner.

Once you have run your first round of skeet then give Sporting Clays a try. A good Sporting course is the best practice for hunting.

Warning!!! it is addicting!

Geoff Ross

August 24, 2001, 10:36 AM
Thanks for the responses folks.

Kingcreek: Yes, I am dropping a shell into the chamber and using the latch release to let the bolt fly forward. After it failed to fire a few times, I began to check the bolt handle and had to nudge it forward a few other times to fully chamber the shell.

Dave: Both you and K80Geoff use the term "read breaks". Could you illuminate me a little more?

SDS: No mini targets. I would have freaked if I'd seen one.

K80Geoff: I'll check around for a skeet choke for the 1100. And thanks for the tip on patterning; I plan to do it just as soon as I can scrounge up some butcher paper.

August 24, 2001, 05:42 PM

When I was learning to shoot sporting clays, I was taught to evaluate where I was breaking the target. If you look closely, you can usually see if you're breaking the head or the tale of the target, or smoking it dead center.:) I was also told it's better to shoot the head, i.e. have too much lead than too little.

You might also want to experiment a little with sporting clays even before you commit too much to skeet. I was very discouraged when first shooting skeet with all my misses. Years later, I tried my hand at sporting clays and found I was quite a bit better compared to my early skeet experience.

My instructor told me that some people do better with the instinctive shooting in sporting clays with varied target paths and presentations compared to the the fixed paths and patterns in skeet. With your background in hunting, you may find this the case, too.

Have fun!

Dave McC
August 25, 2001, 10:31 AM
Plnkr has most of it, Guyon. Basically, if a big piece flies off your clay, the shot was on the opposite side. An old thread here gives more details.

Gary H
August 26, 2001, 12:22 AM
My 1100 was having problems with extraction. I heavily Rem-oiled the action for a hundred rounds and that was that. I now shoot it normally lubed and haven't had a repeat. It doesn't eat all hulls. It has some loads that it will not cycle properly. I just don't shoot them.

I'm new to this but have identified my issues to date. Some early lessons: Make sure that your gun fits properly. I shoot with a full choke to help my accuracy. It forces me to get it right. Once I improve I'll open up the choke. I miss the crossing shots because I swing to the target and then stop the barrel. I've been shooting 20 gauge recently and found that any hesitation results in a long shot. Most hesitation, or slow shots, come from my brain working overtime and not shooting naturally. When I shoot without thought and with a fast swing, I break them close in and turn the clays to smoke. I've been going out with my own clay thrower, so I can get off a couple of hundred rounds in short order. When I find an angle that works, I move on to one that doesn't. I must say that low fast crossing shots are still very hard for me to hit. Got to change my shots when the cows come over to check things out.

August 26, 2001, 03:40 AM
Worse thing you can do in wingshooting is think. When you start to think too much you do stupid things like stopping your swing when you slap the trigger. Another boo boo is lifting your head off of the stock.

On long shots I always find it helpfull to exaggerate the follow through, if I keep my mind focused on following through I miss less often.

I have tried every method and find the swing through method works for me. You know like the old duck hunters said, butt belly beak bang!

Think of it as swatting the bird with your barrel.

Cogito ergo non fiero (I think, therefore I miss)

Geoff Ross