Championship Clay Busting

An International competitor gives a guided tour through the complex simplicity of breaking one clay – the only way to break 100’s. Competitive clay busting is one of the loneliest games in the world. “What?” you say, “with all my buddies around me?” Yes, they’re there to talk to of your hopes, their fulfillment – or, your excuses! They’re even with you when you’re shooting. But are they really? If they’re serious competitive shooters and not just out for fun with the boys, they, like you, should be in such complete isolation that even if one dropped dead on the line, the only thought of those remaining should still be the next target. Such is the degree of oblivious concentration required on the firing line during your “moments of truth”. An extreme example, I admit, but that detachment is what it takes to be a top clay buster. I have often shot through a day with out knowing that a […]

The Trapshooter And How He Stands

Some champion claybirders spite of their bad form mounting. Our European shows the way to better the fundamentals of good bust ’em well in and worse gun smoothbore editor shooting via stance and style. As in other aspects of life there are many shooters, including some top-flight competitors, who shoot well in spite of having basically bad stances and gun mounting techniques, rather than because of good ones. As the success of each shot is largely determined by these two factors – before you even call for the target – they are of vital importance. Under “normal” conditions such faults can be got away with, but in bad weather, bad visibility, or when heavy competitive pressure is on, these faults can begin to tell – with disastrous results. If, however, you have a firm base in these fundamentals such additional strains will have far less adverse effect. Most new shooters develop their stances and mounting forms in two ways: untrained […]

Fine-Tuning The Perazzi

Author (left) is shown with Daniele Perazzi and Ennio Mattarelli at Perazzi factory in Italy. Behind them is photo of Mattarelli’s 1964 Tokyo Olympics gold medal win. “Italy’s best shotgun” caught my eye in a magazine article I read while I was working in Los Angeles in 1968. Roger Barlow described a high-quality, competition gun, designed purely for ISU Olympic Trap (bunker). I handled one at Pachmayr’s and it felt like a magical shotgun capable of breaking targets all by itself! By coincidence, a few days later, I flew to Milan to shoot a second series of sporting TV commercials for Fiuggi mineral water… and I was on the way to my first Perazzi. Daniele Perazzi, a lithe, smiling, energetic 35-year-old, met me at Brescia station and we were off to tour his kingdom. That was where I watched chunks of wood and metal being transformed into my dream shotgun. I described Daniele then as a “shirt-sleeve dynamo, who appears […]

A Rifleman’s Conversion Kit To Shotgunning

Rifleman (left) holds thumb alongside stock, squeezes trigger with first joint of finger. Shotgunner (right) wraps thumb around grip, finger “pulls” trigger. “Where the hell do you think you’re going?” An angry, but almost more amused voice brought me to my senses and I stopped rapidly: on the 26 yard line at a state trap championship. Now you might reasonably conclude that there’s nothing particularly unusual in that, in fact, there was only one slight irregularity – I was still in my car! I had been completely mesmerized by the confirmation of what my first glance had transmitted to the unbelieving recognition center of my think box: a man was shooting 16 yard clays with a telescopic sight mounted on his pump gun! With true British aplomb, sangfroid and all that sort of thing, in an embarrassing situation, I proceeded to back cooly off the firing line – and almost mowed down the astounded squad of trapshooters – I’d been […]

Up-Tight Overchoking

Most shooters, especially clay busters and live pigeon shooters, are aware of the standard method of assessing choke, but to recapitulate briefly, choke is the degree of constriction between the diameter of the barrel, just beyond the chambers and forcing cones, and the diameter at the muzzle. The resultant patterns produced are graded in terms of the percentage of pellets from the original shot charge, which find their tortuous way on to a sheet of paper forty yards away and into a thirty-inch circle circumscribed upon it. Full choke has 70 percent, improved modified 65, modified 60, improved cylinder 50 percent and cylinder 40 percent. It often is stated erroneously that cylinder indicates a complete lack of constriction. English barrel-chokers found that a barrel totally devoid of choke produces uncontrolled and widely varying patterns. Therefore, almost surreptitiously, they put .003 to .005-inch constriction into the guns of customers, who specified true cylinder. For new scatter gunners, the simplest analogy to […]

The Eyes Have It

Without your eyes in good working order, you’ll not be breaking good scores. Shooters blame guns, shells, gun fit, chokes, pullers, and weather conditions. Maybe it’s your vision that needs training. Without the eyes, you have nothing. Stating the obvious? Of course, but sometimes that’s necessary, especially when it concerns matters like good health and good eyesight. Many of us tend to take it for granted. Over the years I’ve coached shooters who had lost an arm, a hand, fingers or the use of their legs. All were able to overcome their handicaps, with varying degrees of success. Even shooters who had lost their master eye have been able to either switch shoulders or shoot a cross-eyed stock. But a person with severe visual problems is going to find it very difficult to shoot. Our eyes control how, when and where we see the target, where it’s going and how we compute that movement to get the gun moving in […]

Claybirder’s Survival Kit

If spent hull gets stuck in chamber, this hand extractor can be remedy. There is pry on one end to loosen a particulary tough jammed shell. Ever meet a serious trap or skeet shooter who took his gun out of the factory box and shot it as it was – without altering or customizing anything? Not too many, I’ll warrant. As a race, we clay-busters have a passion for endlessly fiddling with our guns, constantly trying to improve them. We are trying to achieve improved performances by adjusting our guns to produce perfect scores. Long ago, I realized that, if I could get the one behind the gun properly adjusted, only then would I be on the road to those perfect scores. But it wasn’t until I began to follow my own advice that half-way decent scores resulted. In Europe, where many guns are custom-fitted, initially there isn’t too much excuse for gun fiddling. The American shooter, relying mainly on mass-produced, standard-dimension […]