busting clays

Bust More Clays, Shoot More Birds

Live the Legend |

With summer quickly approaching, there is no better time of year than now to hit the clays course with some friends and begin working on becoming a better wing shot. Whether your end game is more quail, pheasants or ducks in the fall or simply busting more clays every time you step on the skeet range or sporting clays course, shotgunners need to remain mindful of four key principles on their path to more successful shooting.

1. Find a Shotgun That Fits—Most shotguns are made to fit the average-sized shooter as far as length of pull, drop and cast are concerned. To find out what size gun fits you best, meet with a gun fitter at a high end gun shop or a local shooting coach, who can use an adjustable Fit Gun to help you determine the exact measurements of the gun you need. Armed with this information, you can then visit a gunsmith to resize your favorite gun or you can simply buy a new one that offers adjustment or the ability to customize the stock to your requirements.

2. Take A Lesson or Two—We take lessons for almost everything else we seek to become better at, still it’s amazing how many shooters insist on learning through experience and their peers’ advice. Not that experience and practical advice isn’t helpful, but it can also be misleading. Just a few lessons with a coach can accelerate your learning curve by years over self-teaching and set you on a course for better success. Essential gear in today’s training/teaching regimen should include Winchester’s AA TrAAcker shotgun shells, which utilizes colored wads (black or orange depending on conditions) that are visible as they closely track the trajectory of the shell’s shot pattern. This allows both coach and shooter to see and make adjustments to aim, tracking and follow-through.

3. Use The Same Shotgun for Clays & Hunting—Although the shotgun was built on the ideal of being capable of every shooting task, specialized guns and preference for specific tools for the task leads many wingshooters to own a cabinet full of shotguns. But to truly develop a consistency in feel and shooting performance, use the same gun both on the clays course and in the field. Familiarity and repetition breed success.

4. Practice Often—The best shotgunners in the world shoot thousands of rounds a year. Make regular shotgun practice a part of your life this summer season, scheduling, ideally, at least one shooting session each week. Sporting clays probably offers the best simulation of various field presentations of shots at game, however, skeet can do the same with regards to crossing, incoming and outgoing shots, particularly when shooting with a partner for the express purpose of practice. Don’t sweat shooting a full round. Rent the course and spend your shells working on those shots that create the most  problems for you until you have mastered the shot. Then come back the next week and practice it some more!

Photo Courtesy Patrick “Buzz” Hayes