View Full Version : Some questions about getting into Clay sports

November 23, 2001, 07:41 PM
Hi, myself and a friend are thinking of getting into shooting clays a bit more than casually. Because neither of us has ever done this before there are a few question marks that I was hoping some of you could help me take care of.

I've read up on the differences between Trap, Skeet and Sporting Clays, and am wondering if there is any really that is better to start out on than the others? Or is it usually limited to personal preference and what facilities are near you? Also, there is a Trap range fairly near us, and I'm going to check that place out next week, anything I should be looking for to determine if it is a safe/good range?

The next is on equipment. I shoot a 12 ga. browning BPS and my friend has a 20 ga. Moss 500. Getting new guns is out of the question, but is there anything we can do to our guns to set ourselves up for success? Both our barrels have interchangeable chokes BTW. Also, our current clay thrower is just your basic Hoppes 9 one, it will throw singles well and doubles to an extent. Being so close to Christmas and fancier clay chucker is very attainable. Would this be a worthwhile idea? And what types of advantages would we get out of a fancier one?

On reading breaks, I've got one question. I've read and I'm pretty sure that if you dust it you were right now, and if it breaks into a couple large chunks then whatever direction the swerve off to is what side of your pattern it barely hit by. My question is, if you break it into about 10 or so small pieces, but don't really dust it or nick it, how is that to be interpreted? Was the pattern on but your choke to open at that range, or you hit it just off center but still connected enough to shatter it?

Ammo is our final concern. Right now we just shoot your basic economy loads, but would it be worth our while to pay an extra $1 or $1.50 for Win AA or Rem STS? Also I've read on the forums that you can sell the STS hulls quite easily, if we were to do this how much would it offset the cost of shooting the pricier ammo?

Other than that we are just spending as much time as possible shooting, cause that will make us break more no matter what else we do. Right now we can both shoot about 23 out of 25 on our Hoppes.


Dave McC
November 23, 2001, 10:05 PM
The clay games are addicting as cocaine, just not as debilitating nor illegal. Enjoy...

First, try a few rounds of each discipline and see if any appeal to you more than the others. Trap's probably the cheapest.

And, feel free in using your field gun. Regardless of clay game, it'll help you on game and general wingshooting.

To tell if a range is safe, watch a round or two, looking for safety violations. If they're happening and no one is correcting them, leave. Most ranges I'm familiar with are well run.

Use IC, Cylinder, or Skeet tubes for Skeet and SC,Modified, IM or Full for Trap.

STS hulls go for about $0.04, why not pool your resources and get a reloading setup? A used MEC Jr like I have, a scale, manual and components can be purchased for less than $100. And,using quality components, I can run a box for $2.56 or so. W/o busting a sweat, I can run that box of trap grade reloads in less than 10 minutes.I don't save any money by loading my own, I get to shoot more.

Before you get into this, I suggest patterning your shotguns with load of choice. Ensure the POI is a bit higher than POA, and centered L/R. For all the games, I like about a 60-40 pattern, but most trap shots like a higher hit, and many Skeet and SC shooters a "Flat" shooting gun. BTW, that 60-40 applies to field guns also.

As for clay chuckers, lots of fun can be had with a hand operated one, and some creative flights that give a nice challenge. A step up from that is the Outers',Trius,Hoppe's, etc, and I really cannot give much info on them.


November 23, 2001, 10:21 PM
Adam, just get in there and shoot! If you feel uncomfortable or want to practice go to wallyworld and buy a hand thrower and a case of 100 clays, it will probably total to less than 10 bucks. Go out and take turns throwing and shooting, its a blast! I enjoy all three (actually 4) skeet, trap, clays and five stand.

Any type of shotgun is fine, shoot what you like best. Be aware snobbery does exist on the field..some guys like to show off their 10,000.00 guns. But hey thats cool with me, its a great feeling to show them up with a beat up ol Mossberg or Remington express :)

All are fun, but clays is my favorite, kinda like golf with a shotgun. The reason I like it better is there are more variations in shots. Skeet is hardest when you first start, but after a while you know where to have your gun pointed for the bird and its all about just waiting and shooting, always the same.

You will definately want to get into reloading once your into shooting clays, a hundred rounds will go in the blink of an eye.

Welcome to the sport!


November 24, 2001, 06:39 AM
If using a pump gun you might be better to start with 16 yard trap because it is single shots only. For a beginning shooter, doubles with a pump add one more complication that you probably don't need.

The BPS is a fine shotgun but isn't seen very often on the clay fields probably due to the cumbersome means of loading it compared to a Remington 870. Don't worry about it. Equipment envy is pretty common in the target games and it doesn't matter unless you want to get seriously competitive. Don't worry about scores, style or what the other guy is shooting until you get comfortable with the procedures.

Trap often favors a gun that shoots higher. Most likely your BPS shoots flat as a game gun should. There are several slip/tie on pads that will raise your comb and you might want to try these for trap. Go back to the flat shooting gun for skeet and sporting.

As for reading breaks, I wouldn't worry about it. Best to pattern your gun as Dave suggests to find out where it is shooting.

November 24, 2001, 09:30 AM
With the guns you have Trap is probably the best bet. Using pumps in skeet can be frustrating and in Sporting Clays it will be an adventure.

My Sporting Clays club, which has formalized rules and a handicap system for any guns tht arent 12 ga autos or O/Us, gives Pump gun shooters a handicap of 5 birds per hundred. They have found that over a period of monthly shoots that pump guns are a handicap.

Since Trap only requires one shot (Unless of course you are shooting doubles) there will be no problem worying about the second shot. You will be able to concentrate on the shot.

Besides, Trap ranges are more common than Skeet and SC. Almost every Sportsmen's club has a trap field.

If you intend to get serious, you will be buying different guns.

Dave McC
November 24, 2001, 09:45 AM
As for pumps in the clay games....

Sure, it may make it a bit harder to hit on doubles but, you're not out to get on the All American, are you?

Use your pumps and have a blast.

And, it's amazing how a few rounds of trap doubles, skeet doubles, 5 stand or SC will imporve your ability to cycle that thing PDQ and acquire the next target.

Later on down the road, you may want a different type of action for the games. Right now tho, use watcha got.

And,every now and then I like to take Frankenstein down to a 5 stand or sporting range and make some of the shots the folks with the fancy stuff aren't.

The final determinant of score is the shooter, not the hardware.

November 24, 2001, 09:36 PM
Hmmm, I never really thought as a pump as a HDCP before, of course I've never shot a double barrel or and auto before either. The way my friend and I shoot clays, we just randomly throw in a double here and there to try to catch the other off guard. So when they are thrown it is a total surprise, you just see 2 clay fly but we can hit both 8 out of 10 times. My friend actually rigged a triple while I was looking at the cloud cover while shooting today, and I would of got all 3 if the third hadn't of flown into a bush. But all in all we had a good day. I shot 24 out of 25 which is a new high for me, missing the first shot with a new brand of ammo. But we usually shot around 20 or 21 with our thrower and about 4 surprise doubles in the mix.

As for reloading, I already do it for my handguns and rifle but mostly regard it as a nessicary evil for cheap ammo that still works. I really don't see myself putting more money down on new equipment when shotgun ammo can be had fairly easily.

Thanks for the advise, and you guys got me more pumped than ever to go out and shoot some more. Too bad it gets dark at 4:30 here :eek:.


November 24, 2001, 10:53 PM
Sure, maybe if you're trying to seriously compete for score. No doubt my duty gun would be a handicap in Olympic pistol competition, too.

Is your purpose to 1. get the most points 2. become scary fast and accurate with your gun-of-choice or 3. have fun?

If its 2 or 3, you're good to go.