New to clay shooting

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by Lager, Dec 8, 2019.

  1. Lager

    Lager Active Member

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    Ive been shooting competitively for the past 30 years plus in both pistol and rifle or shotgun never had to hit a bird in the air. Last month at our 2 gun shoot we had many thrown targets to hit and shot horribly. I think I hit maybe 2 out of 20 ? Since this was unacceptable, I bought my self some birds and a hand held thrower and enlisted the help of my shooting partner that also couldn't hit a bird in the air to save his life ? I MADE him come to the range today for some practice. Prior to range time, I watched some you tube vids on shooting clays and learned about lead time, distance,followthru and slapping the trigger. The first 20 targets, I barely hit five, but then it started to click. The second box of ammo, the hits started to increase and by the end of my second box. I was able to hit 4 out of four and I was pretty jazzed.My shooting partner still sucked and couldn't hit squat and I sent him home to watch some you tube vids. Since my shotgun isn't the best for this,Mossburg maverick with a 18 inch barrel and no choke ? I learned to watch the thrower so I could pick up the bird flight angle quicker and since I have a short barrel and no choke, take my shot at about 35 yards. Further then that, the bird might move in flight from a weak pellet or I just didn't aim right. Either way, I had a whole lotta fun today. Question, from what Ive read? The Mossburg 500 barrels with its available chokes will fit my Maverick ?
     
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  2. Tucci454

    Tucci454 Active Member

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    What load were you shooting? 8 shot?
     
  3. Lager

    Lager Active Member

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    7.5 to 8 mixed, pretty much same thing..
     
  4. dmarbell

    dmarbell Sensei of Humor Benefactor Charter Life Member

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    A shotgun with no choke might be good out to 35 yards, but not consistently. If you are younger than 50, use your reflexes and take the shot much sooner. You don't aim a shotgun like a rifle. Look at the bird, not the barrel, and take the shot when it looks right.

    If you are trying to measure lead to shoot a clay target, you are looking at the barrel and will miss a lot.
     
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  5. fieldgrade

    fieldgrade resident crank Benefactor Charter Life Member

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    My son used to try to shoot clays with a Maverick 88, 18” cylinder bore like the one you are shooting. I swapped him a Mossberg 500 with the factory 28” barrel and chokes, and his shooting improved.
     
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  6. Lager

    Lager Active Member

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    I think I understand your last sentence, Im still trying to understand what I need to do. I really appreciate your post, this is lot different then everything Ive ever shot at..
     
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  7. Lager

    Lager Active Member

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    Thanks for your reply,, I just ordered a 24 inch barrel with a full set of choke tubes from Optics Planet for $166. Lets call it an early Christmas present to myself ? Offsets the Grandpa socks the kids are going to get me..
     
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  8. Schattenreiter

    Schattenreiter Member Supporting Member

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    He is trying to say look where you want to shoot and shoot where you are looking.
     
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  9. NKD

    NKD Senior Member Benefactor Kimberless Supporting Member

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    Hardest thing for me has been the target focus. Have to kill the habit of getting on the front sight.
    3gun has some thrown clays and I always suck.

    Would like to try more Sporting Clays to get a better feel for it. Plus, it's super fun.
     
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  10. HMP

    HMP Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    My school practices in Salisbury, if you ever want help, let me know.
     
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  11. Lager

    Lager Active Member

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    Might just take you up on your offer, Thank you..Think I need to get this newly ordered barrel in place first..
     
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  12. Cochise

    Cochise New Member

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    This drill will help your brain to understand the vision issue when shooting a moving target using sustained lead where gun speed matches bird speed and the gun always stays in front of the target.

    First, set up 2 spent shot shells 10"-12" apart and go to the other side of the room. Mount the empty gun and point it at the left shell. Then look (focus) on the right shell. The separation (lead) your brain sees is called a right to left sight picture.

    The left shell is where the gun is pointing and the right shell is the bird moving right to left. Do that awhile and then reverse it and point at the right shell and look at the left shell. That's a left to right sight picture.

    The separation is lead but you cannot focus on it or "measure" it. This drill will train your brain to focus on one thing, the bird, and see the gun at the same time. It's about 80% bird and 20% gun. This is the hardest thing a new shotgun shooter must learn.

    Your focal point must be the bird. If you try to measure the lead by focusing on the separation you will, as dmarbell said, "miss a lot". Even worse, if your focus actually shifts to the barrel just prior to taking the shot, the bird will disappear completely and you will stop the gun and miss behind....always.
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2019
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  13. Meckmeister

    Meckmeister Member

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    mfr
     
  14. Button Pusher

    Button Pusher Well-Known Member Benefactor Supporting Member

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  15. Bailey Boat

    Bailey Boat Senior Member Benefactor

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    It's as easy as 1 2 3.... 1. Focus on the bird and it flight path. 2. Mount the gun, see the bird, NOT the barrel 3. Shoot in FRONT of the bird, slap the trigger and keep the gun moving. See the bird break..... Any other thought or actions are detrimental to successfully breaking the bird.

    BUT....... Ya'll can do it any way ya want.....
     
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  16. Lager

    Lager Active Member

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    I sure do appreciate everyone's response's and suggestions. I think I have the theory or procedure down, now I have to put it into practice and that will be this Sunday. I just installed my new vent rib 24 inch barrel and left the improved cyl choke installed and will hopefully learn something and have a good day. The first thing I need to do is to teach my doofus of a shooting partner how to launch a clay bird using a hand held thrower. I find it real easy, but he is not really coordinated and we waste a lot of birds.
     
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  17. Meckmeister

    Meckmeister Member

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    Cochise,

    That's some good info to know.

    What is your favorite choke for trap out to 35-40, modified or others?
     
  18. Bailey Boat

    Bailey Boat Senior Member Benefactor

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    Let me know where your shooting and I'll come throw some for you....
     
  19. christyouthguy

    christyouthguy New Member

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    It's always good to offer credit to persons when we use their ideas. From the Ash's of OSP Shooting Sports:
     
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  20. christyouthguy

    christyouthguy New Member

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    Looks like you are in Salisbury. There are a couple of ranges around you, Rowan Wildlife, Claybreakers, PHA, and Hunting Creek sporting Clays. You should check them out, introduce yourself to folks and go have fun. I don't shoot like I used to, but if you wanted to meet out at Rowan sometime, I'm down there maybe once a month. BailyBoat also has a way of taking in new shooters...

    Disclaimer: just know that clay target shooting is an addictive sport. It has ruined a number of hunters, fisherman, golfers, and budgets!
     
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  21. Cochise

    Cochise New Member

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    I've been teaching this for 20 years and it's 2 shotshells not 3. It was in my Skeet Instructor Certification class, but thank you anyway. Now if I can only remember who first said head on the gun and eye on the bird. I was trying to help someone and never said the drill I suggested was an original idea. In fact I don't have any original ideas. My thanks to Mrs. Breeding, my first grade teacher, for teaching me the alphabet.
     
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  22. OldNascar

    OldNascar Well-Known Member

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    A hard point to remember when shooting a moving target is always miss in front of the target. With luck and a good pellet string the target will be hit. I don't know if there is a exact figure but from my observations 90 per cent of misses come from shooting behind the target, there is no pellet string to make up the difference. Most first time shooters think of a pellet pattern as a flat plane but in actuality the pellets form a cone that can cause strikes by the length of the string being long enough to intersect the target. So, with that said try over leading the target and see if your hits increase, I bet they will.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2019
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  23. Lager

    Lager Active Member

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    Good replies from everyone and I appreciate every one. Looks like my "lame butt shooting partner that throws like a lil gurl" has bought a spring operated thrower. So, this weekend we are going to give it another go. Also enlisted another shooter that cant hit birds worth a squat to come join us at our range, so that just maybe? The next 3 gun match we have, will be able to hit something..
     
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  24. Lager

    Lager Active Member

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    Just got back from a day at the range shooting clays and I used member Dale Flinchum's advise and I have to say, today was a success. The change from the 18 inch cylinder bore barrel to the 24 inch with the improved cylinder was a big help also. Out of 30 shots fired, I think I only missed about 5 so that's quite an improvement. I then started shooting a second shot at the birds that were just wounded and flew off in a different direction and had good success there too. My friends spring operated throw had some troubles with broken birds being thrown and I got tired of waiting for a full bird to shoot? So I shot at the largest shred and that's a mind game in itself. Which target to aim at,,most of the time I was able to tag the shard. This is fun stuff, cant wait till next time..
     
  25. OldNascar

    OldNascar Well-Known Member

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    Go buy a plastic hand thrower and secure it to a 6 foot piece of thick wall PVC pipe. Go slow at first but with practice both by the shooter and thrower one can make once tough shots with boring regularity. At one time a fellowshooter and I had more fun trying to make the other miss a claybird than shooting live game. Just be sure to practice with what you are going to carry on game day. Good luck.
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2019
  26. dmarbell

    dmarbell Sensei of Humor Benefactor Charter Life Member

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    The "shot string" effect is good in theory, but doesn't seem to pan out in practice. The string is more teardrop shaped than conical and has been shown to be about 6-8 feet long. At 800 fps or so, which is the remaining speed at about 30 yards of normal sporting clays loads, a clay bird moving at 66 fps (45 mph) moves about an inch laterally as the shot string passes. I don't feel like doing the math on even a conical shaped elongated pattern, but it would be rare for the shot string to break a bird you had over-lead. You would get more breaks from a few "flyer" shot with over- or under-lead patterns, I would be willing to bet.

    @Cochise might have a different opinion.
     
  27. OldNascar

    OldNascar Well-Known Member

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    Your knowledge is somewhat correct until you try breaking the same number of targets with a .410 as you do with a 12 gauge. Personally I care less about the physics of target hits, the object is to get a novice looking and going in the right direction.
     
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  28. dmarbell

    dmarbell Sensei of Humor Benefactor Charter Life Member

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    I agree with that latter advice. Most misses are behind, and next most are missed over in clays. Absolute most combination misses are over and behind.

    As for the .410 argument, I guess you might be talking about skeet? There are twice as many #9 shot in a 1 oz. 12 gauge load as in #9 1/2 oz. .410 load (obviously). I've never shot .410 so I've never had the need to pattern it. But it would seem to have half the pattern density as 12 gauge at any reasonable distance.

    If we want to start confusing a novice clays shooter beyond discussing shot strings, let's talk about the relative merits of sustained lead, diminishing lead and pull-away. Or better yet, Gebben Miles twelve or so different methods of shooting birds. LOL

    In all seriousness, your advice to try to miss in front is some of the best simple advice you can give a novice shooter. No beginner will start out believing you need 8-9 feet of lead on a 40 yard crosser.
     
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  29. dmarbell

    dmarbell Sensei of Humor Benefactor Charter Life Member

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  30. OldNascar

    OldNascar Well-Known Member

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    My knowledge of shotgunning is barely one step above a beginner but I will pass alone what has been given to me as good advice...nowhere near the ability to discuss Mr. Miles' methods. Now if you need lessons in playing marbles, I'm your man.
     
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