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How to Get the Most Out of Skeet Shooting

As anyone with a shotgun can attest, sport shooting can be a fun way to spend the afternoon and provide practice and familiarity with the weapon in a controlled situation.

Although they are similar, use the same techniques, and the terms are often used interchangeably, skeet shooting, trap shooting, and sporting clays present different challenges and are distinct sports in which each has their own rules.

Trap shooting involves shooting at clay targets launched at similar heights from different locations. Skeet shooting is about crossing targets launched at different heights, requiring more control of the gun to hit both. Sporting clays has shooters walk to different shooting stations to fire at a wide variety of target angles in different situations.

Semi-automatic and pump shotguns are both great tools, and perfectly sufficient for sport shooting. However, most serious enthusiasts prefer a double barrel break-action gun. Specifically, an over/under shotgun tends to be more accurate than a side by side. The main advantage of the double barrel shotgun is that it allows for two different chokes to be used for the first and second shot as the clays change distance. They also don’t send empty shells flying across the course as a distraction to the other people on the range. A further consideration is that some machines are activated by sound, and can potentially throw an extra clay if a pump shotgun is exceptionally loud.

Like all shooting, accurate shotgun use relies on using proper stance and form when taking the shot. One of the great aspects of sport shooting for practice, rather than firing at a still target, is it forces the shooter to rely on falling into the proper form intuitively as there isn’t time to think about the stance and still hit the moving targets.

Most shotguns allow for minor adjustments to the the pitch and angle of the gun relative to the shooter’s shoulder, along with the the pull length, the distance of the trigger from the shoulder. When the gun is properly set up, the shooter should be able to close their eyes to shoulder it, and the gun will naturally align the barrel and sights in the proper position. Just like shooting a rifle or pistol, when it’s time to take the shot the shooter leans forward, exhales, and smoothly squeezes the trigger without jerking the gun.

Sport shooting isn’t just great practice to become more efficient with a shotgun, it’s also a lot of fun. It’s a chance to earn bragging rights for the proficient shooter, or a chance for the novice to take pride at how much they improve over time. It is both relaxing and a nice form of light exercise, and can be a social activity with friends and family. Regardless of the motivation, anyone who practices sport shooting is going to find a reason to be proud of themselves as they continue to develop their shooting skills.

~ Firearm Daily

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