Sporting Clays is a clay pigeon shooting sport. Often described as golf with a shotgun, the
sport differs from Skeet and Trap shooting in that it involves shooting clays at various
locations which are launched at different velocities and angles. The original idea behind
sporting clays was to create an experience that more closely reflects actual hunting conditions.
Whereas top-tier skeet and trap professionals may have hit ratings nearing 100%, the best
sporting clay shooters hit their targets only about 85% of the time.
Although the sport is challenging, it is quite popular with novice shooters and ordinary hunters. While competition shooters opt for expensive double-barreled or autoloading (semiautomatic) shotguns, the game is equally enjoyable with an inexpensive pump-action shotgun.. Naturally, safety is paramount. Proper hearing and eye protection and firearms safety procedures are required while on a course.
Course layout and play
A typical course will consist of 8-14 stations. Charlotte Rifle and Pistol has a 5-Stand Sporting Clays with with 8 positions to throw clay pidgeons. Varying numbers of clay pairs are shot at each station, with the total shots for an outing adding up to 25 ( or one box of shells, respectively). Advanced shooters have the clays thrown as simultaneous pairs, while novice or intermediate shooters can opt for the clays to be thrown on report (the second clay launched on the report of the shooters gun, hence the name report pair). Targets are thrown at different angles and speeds; sometimes across the shooters view (crossers), towards the shooter (incomers), or away from the shooter (outgoers). The shots are intended to simulate hunting for quail, grouse, pheasant, pigeon, or other game. Many courses have traps which throw targets from tall towers simulating high-flying ducks or geese. Some courses have targets that roll and bounce along the ground to simulate rabbits. There are also targets that loop in the air - this does not simulate any particular animal, but it is usually a challenging target.