Ian Hume, a member of Scotland’s Clay Shooting Team, shares his advice for those who are interested in getting started in clay shooting. His recommendations include how to get started, what to wear and how to ensure you are protected.
If you are interested in taking up the sport, then start by researching a local clay shooting club. In East Lothian (where I am based) there aren’t many local open clubs, but there are some near the Scottish Borders such as Selkirk and Bisley. Look at shooting magazines too as these will often list some of the clubs’ open days.
Clothing for Clay Shooting
It’s important to have the right kit for safety as well as your own comfort.
A good set of waterproofs will keep you warm and dry.
Shooting gloves with the trigger finger are an essential if you plan to shoot all year round. In winter, they’ll keep your hands warm and in summer your gloves will hold the gun tighter if your hands start to sweat.
Clay Shooting Equipment
Safety glasses are compulsory for clay shooting, and help to prevent injuries caused by stray pieces of clay.
protect your ears, any damage to your ears can affect your balance – making it pretty difficult to become a good shot! I use moulded ear plugs, which you just touch in and they will stay in all day. These are expensive and easy to lose, so it’s a good idea to choose a bright colour. For a beginner, electronic ear defenders will mean that your hearing is protected while still being able to hear instructions.
Finding the right cartridge is tricky, but once you find a good match for your sport and for the choke system on the gun, stick with it! Otherwise you’ll be trialing cartridges forever as there are thousands on the market. For skeet shooting I’d recommend a number 9.
If you are serious about the sport and want to enjoy it as a hobby then get the gun fitted to you. In the long run you’ll save money as inevitably you’ll end up trying out different guns.