Starting out clay shooting advice

SimpleSimon

Well-Known Member
Hi all,
I've decided this year to start clay shooting. I've never fired a shotgun before, so it's partly to give me some experience if in the future I get the chance to have a go at live quarry. But I'm hoping that it will become a hobby in its own right as well, especially as my local ground is almost within walking distance. I have no aspirations beyond getting good enough that I could take part in a day's game/vermin shooting without embarrassing myself.
They do a novice "have a go" stand on a Sunday which is cheap and includes cartridges, gun, safety coach, etc. You just have to turn up. Once I've done that and decided whether or not I enjoy it, like the atmosphere, etc, what should be my next step? Is it the norm to take proper lessons or will practice on normal rounds be enough to start me off? Obviously I'm not expecting to be suddenly proficient after 20 targets on the have a go session, but neither do I want to become a champion. Mediocrity will do.
Also, I won't be rushing out to buy a gun, but is there any advice for removing the confusion around chokes, chambers, barrel length, etc? Say I want a general purpose gun that will serve for a round of sporting clays, or a day in a pigeon hide or rough shooting, or maybe even a duck/goose flight, is there such a thing? Can it be had for under £250 second hand?

Advice warmly welcomed as always, please forgive my naivety!
 

jcampbellsmith

Well-Known Member
As with a rifle, shotgun fit is important. Secondly, before you get in too deep, work out which eye is your master eye. If your eye and hand don't match, you need to think long and hard about which shoulder to shoot off before starting to shoot.

Have fun.

JCS
 

Hornet 6

Well-Known Member
work out which eye is your master eye. If your eye and hand don't match, you need to think long and hard about which shoulder to shoot off before starting to shoot.
Best advice so far.
Can you buy a suitable gun for £250, yes you can.
Lessons are the best way forward, and take them before buying a gun.

Neil. :)
 

SimpleSimon

Well-Known Member
Hmm, looks like I'm cross-dominant, which is a shame as I'm way too right hand dominant to try and shoot off my left side. My left hand has the dexterity of an elephant's foot...
 

Essex stalker

Well-Known Member
As you are just starting a shooting instructor may well try and get you to shoot from the left shoulder assuming your right handed but left eye dominant. If you cant its not the end of the world, shoot right handed and just close your left eye at the last minute to check. Works for me
 

nun_hunter

Well-Known Member
I'm right handed but left eye dominant and like you have no hope of shooting left hand. I found one of the easyhit or bird buster fibre optic sights helped. They're not magic but definitely help.
 

Essex stalker

Well-Known Member
Be careful with the fibre optic sights, I used one for a while as I have the same problem however I found that after a while you start to unintentionally focus on the sight rather than on the bird or clay. I took mine off and just close left eye
 

Alistair

Well-Known Member
After you have had a go on the try stand I would suggest a visit to Brierley Guns. They have a website with directions and it is just around the back of Merry Hill shopping centre. They will have a decent selection of second hand stuff for reasonable money, although probably not as cheap as on here and can get advice on choke and barrel length. They also do days for beginners at a reasonably local clay ground that covers gun fit, safety, etiquette and coaching. It's not cheap, but I found it really useful when I first started. Otherwise, you can borrow a gun at Kinver after you are signed off on the beginners stand and the 60 bird shoot is then £15 plus cartridges. As for buying your own gun, the norm will be a multi choke 28'' or 30'' barrel over under with 2 3/4'' or 3'' chambers (3'' may be better if you want to shoot geese), although fixed choke may be cheaper and I do virtually all my shooting with 1/4 and 1/2. If you want to have a go at the course, I will be there on the 25th from around 9.30am so you are welcome to join me and borrow my gun. As for cross dominance I'm afraid I don't really know as I am right hand right eye, but you could just try closing an eye, or otherwise look into one of those day glo ribs as I'm told they help.
Alistair
ps, no I'm not stalking you (no pun intended) I seem to recall you pm'ed me about something and Kinver came up as a local ground.
 

CRUMPY

Well-Known Member
As Alistair said, get yourself up Cross Gun Club, see Terry and ask about some lessons, they do private ones, and see how you go from there, I've his mobile no. if you want to give him a ring, don't start worrying about guns, chokes, barrel lengths and prices for the time being, just see if you like it first
Crumpy
 

Heym SR20

Well-Known Member
Get some good instruction, and forget any similarities to a rifle. Two distinct styles / approaches to shotgun shooting:

Target / competition. Here the focus is on shooting very consistently at targets that go in a consistent way. Trap shooting and skeet predominate and sort of thing you see at the Olympics. Often shot from a gun-up position (trap) and a pretty precise aim is taken. A lot of consistency techniques now in sporting clay shooting and in the game field. The trigger hand is the major hand and does the aiming.

Game shooting / and to some extent Sporting Clays - classic English style - here you not be so consistent but it's a style that allows you hit birds flying in all directions. Gun starts with butt low, you watch the bird and gun is fired as it mounts. This is much more akin to hitting a ball with a cricket bat. Key hand is the fore hand and this is one points at and follows the target. And important that both eyes are kept open so as to judge distance etc. All the back hand does is lift the butt and slap the trigger. Side by sides mostly have straight stocks, not because they look elegant, but quite deliberately so you can't take a firm grip with you trigger hand.

I shoot the game style and cross dominance really doesn't matter here as long as you shoot off the side of your leading eye. I am left eye dominant and shoot off my left shoulder, but right handed. That's the way I was taught. I don't have a huge level of feeling in my left hand thanks to an accident, but I still shoot well as long as I don't think about it. I like this style as it works for me, and I only shoot clays to get my eye in.

When choosing an instructor think carefully about the style you are after as different instructors are very different.
 

paul o'

Well-Known Member
good advice ref: a day with Carl He is a very good shooter and would be my choice if i needed to get hands on training ,he will find out all your bad bits and put you on the right track but with that said then find a club that will let you just shoot incomers to start then move on to all the other types of clays ,taught lost's of lads that have been to a local clay shoot that are fed up and feel they can't hit jack only to find that its just due to them trying to run before they can walk ,clay are't birds but good practice for birds ie mount, swing , blah blah. if you wish just get a clay chucker and go out with a mate and try on your own ,what ever your choice you don't need to spend ££££ to find a shot gun but buying a fence pole is't always the best way to go, try find an M/C then you can play at using skeet or full ? you may just use 1/4 1/2 at all but you have that choice .
atvb
above all enjoy it
 

Gunner223

Well-Known Member
I believe Carl has his own shooting ground now over stratford upon avon way , so not that far from your area
 

nun_hunter

Well-Known Member
Simon how did you work out that your cross dominant??

Nutty
The easiest way is to focus on something (doesn't matter as long as it is at lease a couple of metres away) with both eyes open then point at it with a finger. now remain looking at the object and close one eye then open it and close the other eye. You will find that with one eye open your finger will remain pointing at the object, but with the other eye open your finger will be pointing off. The eye that remains in line with your finger is the dominant one. If like me you're unluckily cross dominant then your left eye will be dominant but you will be right handed.

It is possible that you may be dominant in neither eye and so both will be slightly out when winking but with both eyes open it should be fine.
 

SimpleSimon

Well-Known Member
Thanks for the input folks. Alistair, I'll have a look at Brierley Guns, didn't know they were there!
Thanks for your offer on the 25th, very helpful but I'm unfortunately working the early morning. Same problem we had when you offered me a look at air rifles, I think. But you're right, I'm only down the road from Kinver.

I'll go ahead and have a go on the novice stand one Sunday and then look at booking lessons as that's what most of you have suggested.

Nutty, I found my eye dominance by making a "triangle" of the fingers and thumbs of both hands, outstretched in fron't of me. Then looked at an object through the triangle and closed eyes alternately. It stayed in the frame when I closed my right eye. BUT, if I concentrate hard when I focus I seem to be able to shift focus to my right eye. Weird. I also find that if I just use one hand, it always gives the impression that the opposite eye is dominant.
 

Kalahari

Well-Known Member
Learn to shoot off the left shoulder if you are left eye dominant. It is less difficult than you think and will enable your brain to "see" rifle shooting and shotgun shooting as completely separate and not interfere with each other.

Best wishes,

David.
 

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