Raise your hand if you have ever asked someone if they have shot guns before and they answer no but have shot shotguns. Now put your hand down, because the people around you are puzzled at your actions. This brings a couple things up to ponder. One, why does shooting shotguns not constitute shooting guns? And that shooting shotguns seems to be the most common way to introduce someone to shooting.
Back in July of 2013 I wrote about shotguns. It was inspired because I took a poll on our Facebook of the favorite firearms for one to shoot. Shotguns did not make the list, but they took center stage in my blog.
Now mind you, this blog is about taking someone skeet shooting, but I am just using that as an overall term. I am including shooting trap and skeet, blasting clays on your own and shooting action targets with this. Shooting shotguns in this way still covers all the essentials for safety when handling firearms. It also throws in a bit of more fun as the targets are typically moving.
As Wikipedia would explain, shooting skeet is where the shooter “attempt(s) to break clay disks mechanically flung into the air from two fixed stations at high speed from a variety of angles.” This means there are two places for the clay birds to fly from and is usually going across from the shooter. Trap shooting is a little simpler as it utilizes only one station that throws the targets. These targets also are typically flung so they fly away from the shooter. Action targets (also known as sporting clays) come in a variety of different patterns. They typically mimic the natural patterns that game would travel in. So that could range from how dove, quail, duck, geese or even rabbits would enter and exit a hunter’s zone of fire. These are my favorite.
Shooting clays is also more exciting as it can be a group event and tallied up for scoring (and bragging rights). Also when you hit your target you can see a reaction, whereas paper targets tend to just stay there. It is always impressive to watch someone “dust” a clay, where the whole thing pretty much just dissolves right there in the air. Being able to smoke two targets in one shot always puts a certain kind of grin on one’s face.
Skeet is also a recognized Olympic sport. Currently the greatest nation in the world (us… the U.S.) holds the record for number of medals won at the sport.
But so to take someone you will want to cover the basics. Have eye and ear protection, a proper firearm and plenty of ammunition. Luckily shells are a little bit more economical than shooting other kinds of firearms. Once a new shooter gets the hang of things, you will be impressed with how many shells they will go through. Always emphasize safety and proper shooting though. If you do not hold the shotgun in the proper posture it can have quite painful consequences. The worst thing you can do to a new shooter is let them hurt themselves and be turned away from it forever. Using a 20 gauge can be a great starting place for new shooters. Personally I love shooting 20 gauge. It makes one take better aim and can damage less meat on game taken. Of course there is always something to be said about the effectiveness of a good 12 gauge.
Make sure you go over cleaning the shotgun at the end of the trip. This will instill a good mentality into new shooters that they need to care for their firearms. Plus usually all you need to do is run a pull-through down the barrels and pay a little attention to the mechanical parts.
Oh and did you know that there are scholarships available for skeet shooting and other shooting sports? Look into it!