My Clay Shooting Journey by Ben Wells.

Part 2 November 2022: Weekend Highlight

The highlight of my weekend was always my clay shooting lesson at Bisley.  Often they would be booked for 09:00 – a ploy by my Mum to get me out of bed early on a Saturday morning – but it worked and I would be waiting impatiently at the front door, eager to go down to the Grounds.

It’s really interesting with shooting as no matter whether you are new to the sport or have been shooting for years, everyone shoots the same targets. At Bisley there are over 30 stands and the Instructors would let me try a variety of them each week – from straight ahead to overhead. I found myself learning a whole new language – teal, overhead, on report, simultaneous pair, looper, rabbit – and overtime got to understand what each of the target names meant and how to prepare for them.

Position of my Feet

Chris used to focus on my feet – he would often watch my feet when I was shooting rather than the shot I took.  He said that he would know if I was going to hit the target by the position of my feet, even before I squeezed the trigger! I didn’t get it for a while, but he persevered and used to get me to stand with my feet at different angles to help me understand. Over time I learned that having the correct stance kept me balanced and pointing my foot at the angle of the “kill point” would mean that my body would be able to turn in the right position to hit the target. Being left handed for shooting means that it is harder for me to swing right to left as the gun is coming away from my face.

Pre-Mounted or Gun Down

Another thing to learn was whether to shoot pre-mounted or gun down. Being 12 I found it easier to have the gun mounted in my shoulder as it gave me time to think about my position and make sure that I was balanced and my feet pointing the right way. One day I was shooting driven targets and I just couldn’t hit it, no matter how hard I tried. My instructor suggested that I shoot it gun down, and I had no idea what that meant or how to do it.

Practice in between Lessons

I didn’t have my own gun but wanted to be able to practice in between lessons and not just shoot once a week. I remember one of the Instructors telling me how important it is to practice mounting your gun, and doing that for 5 minutes a day could make a huge difference. So I would use a nerf gun and mount it to my face every day! Although it’s not the same it really helped me practice the action of lifting my arms and putting something firmly into my cheek.

My First Win!

As an early Christmas present I attended my first Young Shots day at Bisley, which was a morning of Clay Pigeon Shooting for 10-16 year old’s, and also included the chance to have a few shots of Air Rifle Shooting. What an absolute blast of a day!  Starting with bacon sandwiches we were divided into groups and assigned an instructor. In the morning we would go to different stands and practice shooting at a variety of targets, starting easy with decoy targets and before long shooting at some crossing birds which were much harder.  During the morning our instructor told us there would be a competition.  He said it was just a bit of fun and we shouldn't worry about it, but even so I was determined to do well.  There were about 50 other junior shooters and we shot a 25 target competition......which I WON! Here's a picture of me with my first trophy next to the Christmas tree at Bisley!

Ben Wells Blog - Part 2 Weekend Highlight

My first win at the Bisley Young Shots Day in 2016 age 12!

Ben Wells Blog - Part 2 Weekend Highlight

My first trophy!