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The targets used for Clay Pigeon Shooting are called 'Clay Pigeons' and most of them come in the shape of an inverted saucer. The clays are made from a mixture of pitch and chalk. This enables them to be launched at high speeds from traps and not break, but are able to be broken with even the smallest of shot from a cartridge.

clay types

Most clay are black but other colours are available to enable shooters to see the target against any background or if the light conditions are poor.

Clays are made to very high and exact specifications with regards to their dimensions and weight.

Types of Clays

Standard - The most commonly used target with a diameter of 11Omm.

Midi - Same shape as a standard but with a diameter of 90mm.

Mini - Smaller than a Midi at only 60mm in diameter.

Battue - A very thin and flat target with a diameter of 100mm which flies fast and drops suddenly.

Rabbit - A flat wheel shaped target with a diameter of 11Omm designed to run along the ground.


A definition of a shotgun is a smooth bore weapon with barrels of a length no shorter than 24 inches.

Although automatic shotguns have become popular in recent years the most used shotgun is the over and under. The over and under has 2 barrels situated one on top of the other, thus giving a better view of the clay during shooting.

semi automaticover and under

The other type is the side by side that has its barrels situated next to each other but can restrict the view on crossing clays.

Side by Side

Most modern shotguns are designed specifically for Clay Pigeon Shooting and can be purchased with either fixed or changeable chokes. Chokes change the pattern of the shot once fired, either making the spread wider or smaller at any given distance.

The size of a shotgun is determined by the bore size. The smallest being a .410 then going up in stages 28 - 20 -16 -12 - 10 and 8 bore being the biggest.  The bore is defined by the number of identical spherical balls of lead that can be made from 1 pound of lead, i.e. 12 identical balls from 1 pound of lead. The diameter of each ball is the internal diameter of a 12 gauge barrel.

The most widely used shotgun by far is the 12 bore. Having said this a great many youngsters and women (not to mention men) are opting to use a 20 bore. A 20 bore is slightly smaller and lighter than its big brother and has less recoil. Some youngsters even go down to a 28 bore.

For C.P.S.A. registered competitions a 12 bore must be used.

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