Pics of the Day: The Breaking of a Clay

I had the pleasure of attending the SCTP Florida Shoot today where nine southeastern colleges gathered to compete in three clay disciplines: trap, skeet and wobble trap. I caught this sequence from one of Clemson University’s squads.

Pull!

Pull! Note target leaving the bunker…

Target Acquisition

Target acquisition…

Gun is moving and about to cross the anticipated path of the target...

Gun is moving and about to cross the anticipated path of the target…

Boom! Note in ascending order the wad, lead shot cloud and clay in it's last moments.

Boom! Note in ascending order the wad, lead shot cloud and clay in it’s last moments.

Target destroyed!

Target destroyed!

How To Get Started Trap Shooting

Trap Shooting-1-2
Recently, I wrote The Rookie’s Introduction to Clay Shooting to help new folks get a handle on what the various clay shooting sports are all about.

Now, let’s get serious and take a look at how to get started.

Although you can start your clay target shooting career in any of the primary disciplines – trap, skeet or sporting clays, I might encourage new shotgun shooters to take a run at trap shooting first. It’s not a hard and fast rule, just an opinion from some guy on the internet. (That would be me.)

Here’s why I tend to favor starting with trap shooting first. Because I did. But seriously, while my first foray into the shotgun sports was on the trap field, it was by pure coincidence and not a result of deliberate effort. That turned out to be a good thing.

Here’s why.

In American Trap, you shoot at targets moving away from you at predictable angles. This means they’re easier to hit – especially for beginners. In the singles version of trap, you only get one shot at each target.

At the big regional and national competitions, you will see top shooters hit several hundred targets without a single miss. The competition might only be 200 targets total, but when the tie breakers start, competitors might shoot hundreds more targets before someone misses.

Lest you think becoming a trap shooting expert is easy, think about the mental voodoo games your brain does when you’ve hit 20, 50 or even 100 targets in a row. There’s some serious jinxing going on about hitting the next one. The top trap shooters are absolute masters when it comes to handling pressure and keeping focus on one thing only – the next target. People describe a trap competition as 200 consecutive one-shot competitions.

We’re getting ahead of ourselves talking about serious trap competition, but I only mention that as an illustration. It’s easy to get “sorta good” quickly. After a couple of rounds, with some basic instruction, you’ll be breaking more targets than you miss. That’s satisfying and will keep you coming back for more.

Read the rest at Beretta USA!
Be sure to check out our latest book, The Rookie’s Guide to Guns and Shooting, Handgun Edition 2nd Edition 2014. It’s available in print and Kindle format at Amazon:

The Rookie's Guide to Guns and Shooting, Handgun Edition

The Rookie’s Guide to Guns and Shooting, Handgun Edition

Students with Guns!

Some of the Team Clemson shooters just finishing a round.

Some of the Team Clemson shooters just finishing a round.

So, a history major, a veterinarian and a sorority girl walk into a gun range…

If there was a politician in the mix, this might sound like the beginning of a corny joke. Well, it’s not. And it’s actually been going on for 45 years now.

What is it? Welcome to the Collegiate Scholastic Clay Target Program. That’s right. Students with guns!

The Scholastic Clay Target Program (SCTP), is part of the Scholastic Shooting Sports Foundation (SSSF). And all of those are under the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) umbrella. Yes, there are a lot of acronyms at play, but if something has an acronym, it must be really important, right?

The Scholastic Shooting Sports Foundation exists to encourage youth development through safe and responsible shooting sports. You may not know it, but students from elementary, junior high, high school and colleges all over the country join local teams, practice and compete on a regular basis. Right now, there are two primary shooting disciplines – shotgun and pistol. The Scholastic Clay Target Program is focused on a blend of clay target shooting sports including trap, skeet andsporting clays. The Scholastic Pistol Program gets students into speed shooting at steel plate targets. Sound familiar? Think Steel Challenge.

College students from across the country have recently completed practiced, traveled and competed in the highlight of the year – the Collegiate National Clay Target Championship. Run by the Association of College Unions International (ACUI), this year’s event took place in San Antonio, TX March 26 through March 30. In case you’re wondering, Overall Team winners for Divisions 1, 2 and 3 were Lindenwood University, Fort Hays State University and Hillsdale College respectively.

Read the rest at Beretta USA!

Students Not Expelled For Playing With Guns

Lots of guns? Yes.

Expulsions and/or Suspensions? No.

“L” shaped Pop-Tarts? I’m not sure, but if there were, no one had a meltdown over it.

What universe am I in? That would be the Jacksonville Skeet and Trap Club in Jacksonville, Florida for the Southeast Collegiate Invitational Shoot.

Students shooting guns everywhere! Panic? No. Respect, determination and safety? Plenty of that to go around.

Students shooting guns everywhere! Panic? No. Respect, determination and safety? Plenty of that to go around. Clemson shooter Libbie Sabo busts some skeet.

Dozens and dozens of college students competed from institutions including Clemson University, Jacksonville University, Florida State, University of Florida, University of Kentucky, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, Stetson, Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College and Emmanuel College. If your school was there and I missed it, my apologies – shooters were everywhere.

This is what a clump of lead pellets flying at 1,200 feet per second looks like. Mad photography skills? Nah, I just got lucky!

This is what a clump of lead pellets flying at 1,200 feet per second looks like. Mad photography skills? Nah, I just got lucky!

The event was a mixed discipline format with every shooter completing 50 targets each of trap, skeet and wobble trap.

Another lucky shot! Mine, not the shooter's. Note the breaking clay upper right.

Another lucky shot! Mine, not the shooter’s. Hunter Baughman’s shot was all skill. Note the breaking clay upper right.

These competitors are a fine example to all. I don’t think I’ve been called “sir” so many times since my last arrest.

The agony of De-Miss.

The agony of De-Miss. Collin Clemons expresses some frustration on behalf of the team.

Rivalries? Sure. Even though the Florida State / Clemson football game started about three hours after this event, I hardly saw any fist fights between the two squads.

And a 25-straight celebration.

And a 25-straight celebration.

One of the neat things about the shotgun sports is that men and women compete together. Some events specify mens and ladies winners, but everyone shares the same field. The ladies shown here were taking names. A word of advice – don’t make any side bets against them.

This is a shotgun technique called "intense focus."

This is a shotgun technique called “intense focus.” Don’t interrupt Clemson shooter Cat Blankenship when she’s working.

Generally, with this many schools, each potentially fielding multiple squads, the meet is an all day affair. In the event of ties, a shoot off is held to determine the winners. First one to miss a target is out.

There sure are a lot of Team Clemson photos here. That's my prerogative as I've got two students there.

There sure are a lot of Team Clemson photos here. Hey, that’s my prerogative as I’ve got two students there.

 

Strictly business.

Strictly business. Alex McHale moves to station two.

 

One of the best things about these events is the respect, and pride evident everywhere.

One of the best things about these events is the respect and pride evident everywhere.

 

I believe this is an example of the rigorous pre-round concentration exercise used by many of the competitors.

I believe this is an example of the rigorous pre-round concentration exercise used by many of the competitors. Zach Wyatt is concentrating really, really, hard.

 

These fine young American students are all neat and tidy when it comes to picking up spend shells.

These fine young American students are all neat and tidy when it comes to picking up spent shells.

 

Another successful round.

Another successful round.

 

Just one of the wobble trap fields racked up over 3,000 targets thrown by the end of the day.

Just one of the wobble trap fields racked up over 3,000 targets thrown by the end of the day.

 

Gearing up a tie-breaker shoot off.

Gearing up for a tie-breaker shoot off.

 

University of Kentucky versus University of Florida for the mens trap individual title.

University of Kentucky versus University of Florida for the mens trap individual title.

 

The high overall individual shooters from University of Florida and host school Jacksonville University.

The high overall individual shooters Alex Rennert from University of Florida and Shelby Lopresto from host school Jacksonville University.

 

Team Clemson took top team honors.

Team Clemson took top team honors.

Low Country Young Guns

Low Country Young Guns Youth Trap Shooting Team

Low Country Young Guns Youth Trap Shooting Team

Check out todays youth getting involved in the shooting sports!

visit lowcountryyoungguns.com for more.

To find a youth shooting team near you, see the Scholastic Clay Target Program web site at www.nssf.org/sctp

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