25/25 in clay shooting, a step-by-step strategy – 3. shoot around the clock!

Published on 31 October 2021
Author: Massimo Vallini
Advice Shooters Clay shooting
Continuation and end of our series of articles dedicated to shooting sports. The series “Objective 25/25 in ball shooting, a step by step strategy” aims to give you advices (in 3 articles) to help you improve your swing and your shots and to get 25/25 during your next competitions or ball shooting sessions.

Skeet as the best training

Reminder of the skeet shooting step

Skeet is the most popular clay pigeon discipline in Europe and the “swing” of the shooting movement is excellent preparation for hunting. Even the shotgun, after all, is not too different: 71 cm (28 inch) barrels moderately choked, and not too “straight” stock.

It has been an Olympic discipline since 1968 and includes eight stations, located along a semicircle with a radius of 19.20 meters, at the ends of which the traps are placed, in two houses, one high on the left, called Pull, and one low right, called Mark.

One shot per plate only

You have to load and fire a single shot for each target and two shots for the doubles (released simultaneously from the two cabins), depending on the station you are on. Know the height and direction of the targets, which are always thrown by the traps in the same way and must always cross in the same area with a diameter of 0,91 cm, situated 5,49 meters above the ground, in front of station 8.

Even in front of the mirror!

An automatic movement

At the beginning it is not easy at all, and it is better to “dry-fire” raising the shotgun up to the shoulder. Even in front of the mirror! The movement then becomes automatic, even if the style is personal. Just be able to stay in perfect balance.

The element of difficulty is represented by the different positions of the shooter in respect to the traps and by the delay of the launch, which can vary from zero to three seconds from the call. The greatest difficulties are faced in the central stations (3-4-5), where the angles are different.

The body oriented towards the point of impact

On each station, you must turn your body towards the point where the target is to be hit: the feet and legs must be positioned in such a way as to favor the essential rotation movement of the torso. You must keep your feet apart, depending on your height, from 25 to 35 cm: the tip of the left foot pointing towards the center (vice versa for left-handers), the body slightly “unbalanced” forward for two thirds of the weight. The legs are slightly bent. In the waiting position, the stock must be “in contact with the body” at a height corresponding horizontally to that of the end of the elbow.

Analysis of the start of the clay targets

At each station the Pull shot is fired first except on doubles at stations 6 and 7, when you shoot at the Mark target before the Pull. It is necessary to distinguish between the “outgoing” targets (the Pulls: those that, from stations 1 to 4, go from left to right; the Marks, those that from stations 4 to 7 go from right to left) which must be hit in the center and “incoming” targets (all the others), to be hit at 3/4 of the field to memorize a firing time that is the same also in doublets. It is important to always remain relaxed to speed up the movement: in just 6-7 tenths of a second you have to evaluate the target, follow it, lead it and shoot.

Two methods

The maintained advance

The technique called “maintained lead” consists of firing at the target with the barrels as soon as the target is passed: it is a fast shot, but frequently susceptible to error.

The swing through

Instead, it is better to follow the target with the barrels, just overtake it and lead it, then shoot while continuing to rotate on the trunk for a very short time: it is the so-called “swing through” shot. The action is looser, more “continuous”, less susceptible to error.

Continuing the movement

Of course, you have to swing the shotgun in the same horizontal plane as the target, otherwise you will shoot above or below the target and miss it. Without follow-through, that is, without accompanying the movement of the body, regardless of the speed advantage, you will almost certainly miss the clay because you will have stopped the barrels …

What are your favourite techniques for optimising your shot?