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Planning Retirement Online

Out of the box - Clay pigeon shooting

                                  August 2009


This is our regular OUT OF THE BOX feature where we give suggestions on different things to try.      

If you have tried something unusual or different, tell us all about it - and send in a photograph as well if you can – so that we can share your experiences with others.



This month……

Clay pigeon shooting

clay pigeon shootingThe very word shooting has powerful connotations – terrorism, wars, violence are just some of the things that come to mind.

Then there is the shooting for food and sport, much bigger in America than here.

However, one type of shooting is perfect for everyone, and that is clay pigeon shooting. Here you get all the fun and challenge of aiming at a fast moving target without any of the downsides.

Actually it is a lot more than fun. Clay pigeon shooting in the UK is certainly a popular and pleasurable pastime for many; but for others it is also a very serious sport involving top equipment, dedicated training and competitions at very high levels.

One of the great things about clay pigeon shooting is that it can be taken up by 9 to 90 year olds, both men and women, and it is also quite easy to start.

There are clubs all over Britain who will welcome you, explain what it is all about and also give you some early tuition and let you “have a go” before you decide really to become involved.

You will learn that any type of shotgun up to 12 gauge is capable of being used to shoot clay pigeons. Owning and possessing a shotgun means you need a certificate, a police inspected storage facility and other requirements. Newcomers to the sport can borrow guns at the club without the need for a licence. That way, they can find out if the sport is for them before investing in a gun and the accompanying required security.

Once you have a gun, then a clay pigeon, or a clay target, is fired up and you take aim and try and hit it. There is lots involved in this, including speedy reflexes and excellent co-ordination, so it very good for older people to help keep them alert and on their toes.

Guns of course make a noise, and ear protection is vital. Muffs or ear plugs are usually worn at all times when shooting or near others who are shooting. Eyes also need to be protected, glasses protect your eyes from stray pieces of broken clay and also from falling lead or any gun malfunctions.

Once you become involved, then many people like to enter competitions as an extra challenge. The sport is regulated by the CPSA, the Clay Pigeon Shooting Association. To do well, one not only has to be accurate but also incredibly consistent. There are competitions at all levels including for veterans, and also different types of competitions.

You don’t need to be particularly physically fit to take part in clay pigeon shooting, although you do need to be able to handle the gun properly of course and good eyesight, with or without correction is key.

If you think it could be for you, the best starting point is to log onto and find your nearest club. Most of them usually run open days and there will always be someone you can talk to about starting in this sport.

And who knows? – perhaps this is the activity you have been looking for – see you at the Olympic Games!!!

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