Clay Sports

Make a loud noise and break something.

There is something instinctive, even primal, about the satisfaction of seeing a clay target smash after a perfect shot. The smaller the pieces, the bigger the rush. That squirt of dopamine that tells your brain you just experienced a perfect moment.

On January 18, 2011 Randolph Engineering introduced a shooting-glasses lens advertised as five to six times more impact resistant than standard polycarbonate now widely used by their military and law enforcement clients. Armed with a 12-gauge semi-auto and a box of 1⅛-ounce target loads, we set out to personally verify Randolph Engineering’s boosted safety claim.

 

Skeet Shotguns

The standard skeet gun is an over/under break action that has screw-in chokes. This configuration is available in just about any gauge from the smallest .410 to the largest 12-gauge.

Some shooters prefer to use a semi-automatic for skeet, also with screw-in chokes.

Either configuration works fine. The most important aspect of a good skeet gun is not the number of barrels it has or its action: it’s the balance and feel of the gun that allows you make smooth swings to hit the crossing targets of most skeet stations.

Skeet

Unless you’re in a squad with highly ranked shooters who consider 24 out of 25 a miserable failure, skeet is a great sport for mixing, mingling and shooting.

Cheerful support, gratuitous advice and a few off-color jokes are the earmarks of a happy day of casual shooting on the skeet field…made all the better by a perfect 25.

How about a big, juicy Beretta Burger?

Or maybe a spicy Krieghoff Crabcake Sandwich is more to your liking.

Want something with a little more roughage? You can always order the Shotgun House Salad with lots of greens and homemade dressing.

These are some of the menu selections from The Grille at the Sporting Clays Lodge of the Seven Springs Mountain Lodge in Seven Springs, Pennsylvania. You can chow down in the classic chalet setting or grab a table on the 7,000-square-foot deck with a dazzling view of the valley below.

What is the biggest problem Todd Bender sees with 75% of the skeet shooters he coaches?

You might think it’s a shoddy gun mount, an ill-fitting stock or a chronic flinch.

In fact, after 20 years of coaching and dominating competitive skeet shooting, Todd believes that many clays shooters crash and burn from acute eye fatigue.

I sat across the picnic table from shotgun instructor extraordinaire, Gil Ash, as he drew a simple diagram on the yellow legal pad between us. At first it looked like ripples emanating out, but then he started adding numbers to the curved lines until he finally turned around the pad to face me.

Here in Colorado Springs, a bright and unseasonably warm February afternoon boasted clear skies and no wind — perfect for a clays-shooting session with USA Shooting team members, skeet whiz Amber English and her trap colleagues Dakotah Richardson and Collin Wietfeldt. We also caught up with team trap shooter Kelsey Zauhar.

"Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door" is attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson. "Necessity is the mother of invention" is a phrase that was to become a metaphor about the power of innovation.

How many times has this happened to you?

After a successful sporting-clays lesson, the very next time you shoot with friends, step into the station supremely confident, drop two shells into your shotgun, exercise your pre-shot routine and call pull, everything you’ve learned during that hard-earned, one-hour session has gone out the window as you watch the target continue its trajectory unmolested — a scenario that repeats itself over and over during a day of intensifying frustration.

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Irwin Greenstein
Publisher
Shotgun Life

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Thomasville, GA 31758
Phone: 229-236-1632

igreenstein@shotgunlife.com