Shooting Disciplines at Headley Clay Pigeon…

compak clay pigeon shooting surrey

Down the Line

Down the line is one of the oldest forms of clay shooting. It is a great entry level discipline for beginners as it highlights the importance of total concentration along with skill and fast reflexes to compete in this sport. You are up against 4 other competitors, all of you with an eye on that “High Gun” tag at the end of the round.

How is Down the Line shot?
A round consists of 25 targets each, rising up and away from the shooter, reaching a final height of 10 feet. The trap is on a fixed pivot and in constant left to right motion allowing clay flight to vary greatly, anywhere within an arc of 44 degrees.

The “Trap House” stands 16 yards in front of the 5 competitors who are lined up left to right, a fixed distance apart from each other, with stand 3 directly in line with the centre of the house, which also hides the trap from view resulting in the shooter having to be quick, accurate and calm as soon as the clay takes to the air!

Each shooter will receive 1 clay each before the opponent to the right takes their turn. Once you have shot at 5 clays each from the same peg, you will be asked to empty shells and move, in which case gun 1 moves to peg 2, peg 2 to peg 3 and so on until you have all shot 5 clays each from all 5 stands.

How is Down the Line scored?
If the clay is broken by your first barrel then you gain 3 points, using your second barrel and getting the shot in means you are awarded 2 points.

A perfect score card would read 75 points, meaning you had shot all 25 clays using only your first barrel. I well up thinking about how long its been since that lovely figure was last on my scorecard!

What is the best gun for Down the Line?
A trap gun is the most suitable for such an event no matter what level you are shooting at. A common set-up would be a ¾ or full choke that is set to shoot slightly higher than centre. This will aid the shooter to put the target inside the pattern, if the clay is positioned slightly above the foresight bead. If the only gun available is a sport, an alternative set-up can be made with a multichoke using the tightest tubes.

What is the best cartridge for Down the Line?
A recommended load of 28gr. would normally consist of size 7 ½ shot using a plastic wad. However an 8 in the first barrel is also a possibility, it’s down to  personal preference. A round will see a competitor shooting stints of length at a quick speed. A load with average recoil will be suitable, and a soft recoil cartridge in the second barrel will allow a quick second shot. High performance 24gr. cartridges have a tighter pattern than the 28gr. and these are intended for international trap.

A shooting tip for Down the Line
To be a team member in this discipline, concentration is the key to success. Keeping a good rhythm and making good use of time is important as mistakes can also affect the performance of other team members.

A safety tip for Down the Line
Always have an unloaded gun when walking between firing positions.

A beginner’s average rating
If a beginner can consistently score at 75% there will be enough evidence to suggest they could go on to improve and reach much higher scores.

An expert’s average rating
Over 90% is reasonable but to compete with the best in the sport, a score above 95% is required.

english sporting clay pigeon shooting surrey

Compak Sporting

As the name suggests, Compak shoots sporting type clays from 5 different pegs with a set layout that stays the same throughout the season.

How is Compak shot? At Headley, the Compak sits on the same footprint as a DTL layout although instead of one going away bird, you are presented with a driven crow, 2 towers, from your left and right shoulders, a high right to left crosser emerging from the tree line and high teal with all shots as singles or on report birds. Very fast and extremely exciting!

How is Compak scored?
The shooter begins with a single bird which they have the option to use both barrels on. The next 4 clays are shot as “on report” birds before the shooter moves on to the next peg and another set of five targets. The round is complete once all five shooters have shot at 25 targets. Please note that “On report” simply means that your second clay is released as soon as you have fired upon your first clay.  “Sim pairs” is short for “Simultaneous pairs” meaning that the moment you call, you should expect to have two clays in the air at the same time.

What is the best gun to use for Compak Sporting?

A suitable sporter would normally consist of a 28″ or 30″ barrel with a multichoke. However a 32″ tube can be more helpful with the more distant clays as it steadies the gun more. A fixed choke gun would normally be choked a quarter or a half. It should be noted that a sport gun has to be very adaptable with it’s movement, improving the handling characteristics to help with the variety of different targets encountered.

What is the best cartridge to use for Compak Sporting?

It would be in the shooter’s best interests to carry a selection of size 7.5 to 8 for mid-long distant targets and size 9 skeet’s cartridges for the close targets. Plastic wads could be beneficial if rules permit. The heaviest load is 28gr. Heavier loads are NOT permitted at Headley!

A shooting tip for Compak Sporting
While on your peg {stand] make sure to watch other competitors. After all single birds have been shot, your opponents last clay will always be your first clay. Study the flight of the targets and order of the pairs to make a mental image for when you take the stand. This should help you with your timing, although don’t completely rely on this picture as the clays may still surprise you. Remember there are only 5 targets. They never change flight paths. It’s you that moves!

A safety tip for Compak Sporting
Always load your gun over the bar in front of you. Leaning out to pick up targets early isn’t recommended.

A beginner’s average rating
A good beginners score would be around 60%. However, after five or six rounds you should be aiming higher.

An expert’s average rating
Anywhere between 22 to 25 clays out of a possible 25 consistently would see you enter the heights associated with the most talented shooters at the club and indeed on the Compak circuit.

down the line clay pigeon shooting surrey

English Sporting

In its early form, English Sporting usually presented the shooter with two different targets. The targets used were normally quartering targets, crossers, driven, overhead, rabbits and springing teal. Today, as the most popular form of clay shooting, English Sporting provides a shooting environment that offers different layouts and a constant challenge.

The targets can be launched as singles or pairs. The pair would consist either of one target, then the second being launched the instant a shot is fired [on report] or both targets fired at the same time [sim pair].

How is English Sporting shot?

An average competition may comprise of around five stands used to shoot around 30 targets. Differing variations allow more targets and stands to be used and in a large competition there may be as many as 12 different stands and 100 targets.

There is no set way of selecting stands and shooters can select in a random order if they wish. However squadding is sometimes popular with fixed shooting times, a pre-determined order relates to what order stands should be used, this is used mainly when shooting in large competitions. The shooter has an option to call for the target with the gun in or out of their shoulder.

How is English Sporting scored?

It is simply a matter of how many targets have been broken and each shooter has the responsibility of carrying their own scorecard. This card is presented to the referee before the shooter takes to a stand.

What is the best gun to use for English Sporting?

A suitable sporter would normally consist of a 28″ or 30″ barrel with a multichoke. However a 32″ tube can be more helpful with the more distant clays as it steadies the gun more. A fixed choke gun would normally be choked a quarter or a half. It should be noted that a sport gun has to be very adaptable with it’s movement, improving the handling characteristics to help with the variety of different targets encountered.

What is the best cartridge to use for English Sporting?

It would be in the shooter’s best interests to carry a selection of size 7.5 to 8 for mid-long distant targets and size 9 skeet’s cartridges for the close targets. Plastic wads could be beneficial if rules permit. The heaviest load is 28gr. Heavier loads are NOT permitted at Headley!

A shooting tip for English Sporting
Whilst queuing at a stand make sure to watch other competitors. Study the flight of the targets and order of simultaneous pairs to make a mental image for when you take the stand. This should help you with your timing, although don’t completely rely on this picture as the clays may still surprise you.

A safety tip for English Sporting
Cages are in place to limit your angle of fire, leaning out to pick up targets early isn’t recommended.

A beginner’s average rating
A good beginner’s score would be around 60%. However, if you are shooting easy club targets you should be aiming higher.

An expert’s average rating
85% and above would see yourself enter the heights associated with the club’s most talented shooters.

Have you always wanted to try clay pigeon shooting but never knew how to go about it?

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