5 Things: Sporting Clays Tips I’ve Learned Along the Way

Jul 30, 2021 | Musings of a Rookie | 0 comments

Musings of the Rookie – Sharing the Journey Part 9

Are you still looking for the great secret?  Maybe that Trijicon illuminated sight for when you are shooting sporting clays at night?  The Teflon butt pad that won’t snag on your vest when mounting?  That talisman that aligns your chakra with your break point?  Well, the great secret is that we’ve found about 1,000 great secrets – maybe 10% of which are of any use. 

To guide your quest, I offer five almost completely unrelated things you may want to try – or try again if it’s been a long time.

  1. Wear a hat. I’m not much into hats, but Kevin Cole was kind enough to stay on my case about this – and he’s right.  Warmth and fashion aside, debris has bounced off my hat that likely would have damaged my expensive shooting glasses.  Even more important, when a bird tracks toward the sun in a clear sky, the brim of the hat gives you a better chance at maintaining a visual connection with the target. 
  2. Visit the pattern board. This little gem is often neglected, but truly, should be revisited every time you switch guns, ammunition, accessories like chokes, stock changes or significant changes to your own body form.  The pattern board will tell you stories about Point of Impact (Are you shooting high / low / or off to the side of where you think you are?).  It will also tell stories about your pattern density and distribution at different distances.  You can ask staff or any of Silver Willow’s instructors how to get the most out of your pattern board sessions.  Perhaps we could entice our level 3 instructor, Luther Cutts, to dedicate an article (or a group training session) to the pattern board.
  3. Switch chokes once in a while when it’s called for. I’m one of those guys who rarely does a choke change on the course.  There isn’t much that modified won’t do.  Having said that, a fast moving rabbit at 10 meters, or one of Josh’s screaming distant crosses on the ridge – both warrant the 60 seconds it takes to switch.
  4. Take a lesson. It may seem pricey, but a lesson will improve your shooting more than burning a couple flats of shells practicing doing it wrong.
  5. Try a lighter load.  People used to think that more pellets moving faster was the formula for breaking more targets.  In fact, breaking targets is less about pellet count and ballistics – than it is about shooter mechanics and focus.  You probably aren’t recoil sensitive in the sense of pain, but the impact (pun intended) on your performance, is cumulative.

Rob Ridley