Yays, Sporting clays!

I got a text from my friend Jason, he is the husband of Amber who is another student on my grad program. I went hunting with them last November. Here is a picture of us all from that trip:

The Great White hunters, and the Lakeratz - November 2014

The Great White hunters, and the Lakeratz – November 2014

He told me he had a day off coming and really wanted to do some shooting. Although I am planning to do some .308 load development I haven’t had a chance to actually produce any loads for testing yet, so I suggested we go clay pigeon shooting.

It’s been maybe two years since I did any clay shooting, and Jason said he has never done any but was keen to so, it was a go.

We went to the Minnesota Horse and Hunt Club which is about 30 minutes south of the cities. They have a great set of sporting clay courses that are spread through a woodland. Each stand has a different arrangement of the traps and sometimes multiple positions to shoot from so there is lots of interesting variation.

The system is quite advanced; they give you a card that you place on a terminal at each stand, it is like a pre-charged payment card that permits a certain number of clays to be launched and you pay at the end when you are finished. Last time I went there we couldn’t complete our round as we lost the light, but they only charged us for the clays we used, so I am in favour of the system.

Jason and I went about mid morning and the place was quiet so we could take our time. Considering he has never shot at a moving target before he did pretty well, hitting 22/50. His performance improved as we progressed through the stands to the point where he was hitting pairs by the end. I scored 33/50.

I was using my Beretta over & under which I had ported a little while ago. This was the first time I had fired more than a few shots from it, so I was interested to see how it felt. The recoil is still robust since the gun is light, but I didn’t feel so much of it on my face so I’m willing to believe the barrel flip has been reduced. I still had a slightly tender spot on my cheek afterwards, but I didn’t notice at the time. It was a hot day and so I was only wearing a light shirt under my vest, thus my shoulder carried the evidence of the day.

Bruised shoulder from sporting clays

Bruised shoulder from sporting clays

Jason was using a pump action shotgun that is quite new and thus a bit stiff. It required a firm action to cycle cleanly, but it will loosen up with use. After he got used to it it didn’t seem to limit him more than any pump would have, and then only on fast pairs where a quick second shot is most necessary.

After we finished we had a beer and something to eat in the restaurant. The place reminds me of a classy golf club, but then sporting clays is sometimes described as golf with a gun, so maybe it should.

After looking at the menu I tried to order a bowl of soup, but was informed that soup is only served in winter. So I ordered the deep fried cheesecake with vanilla ice cream instead, not the healthy option that the soup was meant to be, but good for the soul at least.

A fun day and one that is certain to be repeated.

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