Clay Pigeon Shooting

Clay Pigeon Shooting

Article on Clay Pigeon Shooting
courtesy and copyright of Eastnor Castle (Country Sports / Corporate Events)



This is the sport of shooting special flying targets with a shotgun. It evolved from its original roots of live pigeon shooting, through glass balls and feathers up to the present day sport where the “pigeons” are usually made from pitch and chalk.

The “pigeons” are thrown from traps at great speed so they have to be strong enough to withstand that yet at the same time be able to break or fragment easily if hit by shotgun pellets. Hence the actual manufacturing specifications for the “pigeons” are very exact. There are six possible types:

Clay Pigeon Shooting Corporate Events
  1. Standard. 110mm in diameter, 25 to 26 mm thick and weighing 105 grams.
  2. Midi. Diameter reduced to 90 mm
  3. Mini. 60 mm in diameter and 20 mm thick.
  4. Battue, like the standard but very thin to different flight characteristics.
  5. Rabbit. Designed to run fast along the ground.
  6. ZZ. A plastic target with attached propeller to produce a zig zag flight.
Clay trap for Clay Pigeon Shooting

The trap is used to launch the “pigeon”. There are many different mechanisms to launch the pigeon, but all should basically propel it for 100 metres or more. The guns used are standard shotguns, side-by-side, under and over, or single barrel. The maximum bore size is 12.

There are a lot of variations within this sport, the main ones being:

  • Trap shooting - the targets are thrown as singles or doubles from 1 or more traps set 15 metres in front of the shooter. The trajectory is away from the shooter at varying angles, speeds and elevations.
  • Skeet shooting - targets are thrown in singles or double from two traps some 40 metres apart at opposite ends of a semi circle. The trajectories and speeds are fixed.
  • Sporting clays - any target goes; speed, angles and elevation are unpredictable.
  • Helice shooting - similar to trap shooting but the helice has an unpredictable flight.
  • Maze clay pigeon shooting –designed to give a wide variation in launch positions.
  • Laser clay pigeons - the shotguns are disabled and fitted with laser equipment to make this variation safe and suitable for both indoor use and children can also participate.
A recognised Olympic sport, clay pigeon shooting is very popular throughout Britain; it’s even used as a corporate team building activity by many companies and at Eastnor Castle for example there are a variety of sites on the estate where clay pigeon shooting takes place.

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