SHOTGUNS have a long sporting history that continues to the present day with SSAA Queensland’s various shotgun competitions.
We shoot five shotgun disciplines, all clay target related – Sporting Clays, Five-stand, Tower, Trap, and American Skeet.
Shooting clay targets, also known as clay pigeons, originated the UK in the early 1900’s as a way for English aristocrats to practise their game hunting skills. The targets replicate the flight of game birds such as duck, pheasant, quail and grouse.
Each competitor in the Sporting Clays discipline, also known as Walk-Through or Field And Game to avoid confusion with a similarly-named event, shoots at a course of 25 targets, launched by a referee from a device known as a “trap”. The course layout of this discipline is often situated in tree surroundings with the clay targets thrown out to distances of 40m at various angles simulating game encountered in the field such as running rabbits and springing teals.
Five-stand is similar to Sporting Clays, however, the shooter competes in a shooting frame that limits the movement or swing of the shotgun. The same traps and target as in Sporting Clays are presented to shooters in this event, and Branch competition continues to grow in popularity – particularly at Ranges with space limitations.
Tower is a discipline requiring a high platform to locate the automatic trap. The shooting stand comprises five concrete pads placed in front of the tower frame and shooters face away from the tower as part of the course.
Trap Shooting uses one automatic trap concealed in a bunker, capable of operating at various angles and can throw targets in an arc to the left and right of the centre line. The shooters shoot off pads that are either level with the top of the bunker or one metre below the bunker.
American Skeet is set over eight shooting stands positioned in a semi-circle between two automatic traps facing each other. One trap is located about three metres above the ground and the other is positioned at ground level. As the shooter moves from stand to stand, the angle of the target flight varies.
The most commonly used shotgun for clay target events in Queensland is an Under and Over (UxO) double-barrelled shotgun, so known because the two barrels are positioned one above the other. This configuration allows for both barrels to share the same sighting plane, making for easier target acquisition and more accurate shooting.
Side-by-Side (SxS) shotguns are also often seen. As their name suggests, this type of shotgun has its barrels located next to each other, which creates a lower profile but can make sighting a little more difficult owing to the parallel barrels.
Single-shot and lever-action shotguns are also sometimes used too, but can pose a disadvantage as many events require a rapid second follow-up shot, often within a second of firing the first.
Shooters with shoulder or other appropriate physical issues may be able to use a semi-automatic shotgun for some clay target events. Supporting documentation must be provided with application to use one in an event – in addition to the Category C licence required to own a semi-automatic shotgun in the first place.
While there are a number of very expensive shotguns used for clay shooting, it’s not necessary to spend a lot of money on a high-end firearm. World Championships have been won with the cheapest shotgun available for clay shooters.
The important thing is gun fit; the stock, balance and positioning are just as important as the action and barrel for the competitive clay target shooter.
- Discipline Chairman:
- Rob Cary
- 0427 441 201
* May be shot Subject to Range Approval. Approved firearms must still comply with Qld State Laws & Regulations.
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