"Proving its power and speed, a loaded shotgun is a fine match for a clay disk, whizzing through the air like a spooked pheasant, or pigeon (simulated game). The question is, are you quick enough to shatter the clay saucer into splintering pieces, or will it land with a disappointing thud somewhere in front of you? Clay shooting is an excellent sport for both amateur and professional shooters alike."
Zoom zoooom echos a dished clay disk as it bursts out of the shooting machines. A deep silence fills the space between the fixated onlookers followed by a large crack and pop from a fired shotgun. These sounds to a first-time clay shooter are unforgettable. Clay courses can be anything from a single thrower, to 8 or more machines with more shooting options than imaginable. Some lunge with great force and bounce across the ground like a spooked hare, while others pan swiftly up and lazily away, completing an undramatic wave in the skyline. However the clay shooting range is set up, it is a great tool to train all reflexes; getting the hunter prepared for the real work out in the field for similar moving winged or fur game. Clay shooting can also introduce a hunter their new shotgun, creating a confident rhythm of load, calculate, and fire. It looks easier than it is, with many clays presenting a broadside target to the shooter for only fractions of a second before descending into a shattered pile of dirt. Don't think your years of spending time in front of the tv playing “Duck Hunter” will get you ready for this sport; a shotgun pointed at a flying clay saucer is a far cry from a remote control!
Though guns may vary, depending on shooter’s preference a double-barreled, over and under shotgun is typical. Pump-action and semi-automatic shotgun styles are also preferred and 12, 20, 28 and .410 gauge shells are almost exclusively used in clay shooting.