Clay pigeon shooting is a hugely popular activity for corporate events and team building events, big weekender parties and all kinds of other occasions including stag and hen weekends. It’s a fun sport, which can be enjoyed by anyone aged 14 and over and even a complete novice can get to grips with a little guidance through their first few shots…
During the nineteenth century, the sport of game shooting really took off. Shooting parties hosted at great estates throughout the UK became events to be seen at. The only way to bag an invite to the best parties was to be of excellent social standing and preferably an excellent shot, so consequently the Victorians and Edwardians spent a great deal of time practicing prior to attending an event.
Needless to say one way to do this was to shoot clays. During the 1800’s the first clay targets were developed, leading to the introduction of clay pigeons. These clay targets simulated bird flight, making them ideal for anyone wishing to refine their shooting skills.
Clay pigeon shooting is an activity that can be arranged for you during your stay at several of our Big Houses including Tone Dale House, Berry House and Widcombe Grange. In fact, at the latter two properties we can even arrange for you to do this activity on site.
When participating in this activity, you will receive guidance from a fully trained instructor who will assist you in grasping the basics so that you can achieve the best possible shots and get the most from your experience. You will soon get the hang of it; ready for some competitive fun with the rest of your group! Watching a clay you’ve just shot explode in a shower of fragments for the first time is a brilliant feeling.
If you want a bit of a head start on your pals then swot up with a few useful pointers by reading our handy guide. Get a few tricks up your sleeve, then lull your mates into a false sense of security by making out that you do not have the first clue about what you are doing!
Our little guide will get you started on the right foot…
- Perfect Your Stance
Talking about feet… getting your footing right will help you to maintain your balance, which is an essential part of becoming a good shot. If you shoot with your right hand, your left foot will be your leading foot (and vice versa) so work out which foot is your leading foot and make sure that this foot is always pointed in the direction you are shooting.
Place the majority of your weight on your leading foot and keep your feet spaced at a shoulders width apart for optimum balance.
- Don’t Make The Mistake Of Aiming Directly At The Clay
This is the most common mistake made by beginners, but to have a chance of hitting the clay, you must aim slightly ahead of it. It takes time for your cartridge to reach the area you have shot at, so it is all about perfecting your timing and anticipating where the clay will be.
Focus on the spot where your eye first sees the clay and concentrate on the arch of its movement, this way you will soon suss out the best place to aim.
- Learn To Trust Your Dominant Eye
To find out which eye is dominant:
- Extend your arms and make a triangle using your index fingers and thumbs.
- Focus on a stationary object, looking through this triangle with both eyes.
- Close your right eye, if the object remains in view you are left eye dominant
- If the object remains in view when you close your left eye, you are right eye dominant.
- Positioning Your Gun
You need to feel both balanced and comfortable prior to taking your shot and the trick to this is finding the ideal position for your gun. Place the butt of the gun into the groove between your chest and shoulder and then rest your cheek comfortably on the stock.
In this snug position, you prevent the gun from kicking back when you fire it, which is important because this could result in a bruised shoulder or cheek.
- Remember To Follow Through
Just as in many other sports, when clay pigeon shooting it is important to follow through with your movement so that after the shot, your movement continues smoothly. This smooth movement will help you to maintain the best possible control over the gun, which will ultimately improve your shot.
Big House Activities
This activity is always an absolute blast (excuse the pun!) and armed with our top tips, you are bound to do really well at it and get a brilliant score! But remember; don’t tell your friends that you had a few tips from us. Shhh….
Find out more about the range of activities available by checking out the activities page on our website. There is something for everyone!