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Sporting Clays is one of the fastest growing shooting sports in the world. It has the excitement of hunting with the advantage of reliable targets. Sporting Clays courses are set in natural settings to simulate the hunting of grouse, ducks, pheasants, quail, woodcock and even rabbits. Courses are designed to take advantage of the lay of the land.

The advantage of shooting at targets from unspecified angles and presentations has long been recognized as a better way to prepare for hunting than sports that present targets from known locations at the same angles and speeds.

Sporting Clays requires starting from a "low gun" position. The butt of the gun has to be below the shoulder while waiting for the release of the targets. That is closer to a hunting position than having the gun mounted in preparation for the target.

Targets are released singly or in pairs, with "true pairs", "report pairs" and "following pairs.  True pairs are two targets launched at the same time. Report pairs are two targets where the second target is launched at the sound of the gun firing at the first target. Following pairs are where the second target is launched at the officials discretion after the first target. Sporting clays uses four different sized targets. The Standard 108mm target, midi targets that are 90mm, and mini targets that are 60mm.  There is also a rabbit target with a reinforced edge.

Most Sporting Clays courses have 10 to 15 stations. People can go through the stations as singles, but groups are more common. Targets are often presented once so that people will know where the targets are coming from and can plan their shot. About six to ten targets are presented at each station.  One course of shooting is usually 100 targets, but 50 target courses are also common. Shooters are required to wear ear and eye protection.

Any shotgun that can fire two shots is usable for Sporting Clays.  Over/under shotguns and semi-autos are the favorites, but people can do well with pumps.  Shotguns that have two barrels offer an instant choice of chokes.  It is easy to retain your hulls from double barrel guns. Autoloaders can soften recoil. Most shooters use 12 or 20 gauge guns, but smaller gauges are acceptable.  12 gauge shells are limited to 1 1/8 ounce loads, 20 guage to 7/8 ounce loads.  The most common shot sizes are 7 1/2 and 8 shot.  Larger shot sizes are often forbidden, to prevent overshooting of shot fall zones.  Fiocchi 7.5 Sporting Dynamics loads are a popular choice.

If you are looking for a way to sharpen your shooting skills for the field, to have a good time shooting without hunting, or to compete, Sporting Clays may be the answer.


Greetings!!!  This week, we’re going to highlight “felt recoil”.  Recoil effects your shooting in several ways.  For me, excessive recoil causes my head to rise off the comb of the stock, thus I will shoot over the top of the target.  It also causes fatigue and shortens my shooting day.  There is also additional muzzle rise that extends the time to acquire the second bird in a pair.

As we know, recoil is an unavoidable evil in shooting however there are ways it can be reduced.  For you folks that shoot an over / under shotgun, there are several recoil reduction systems on the market.  Semi-automatic shotguns thru their operation can reduce recoil and there are attachments that can be used as well.

The quickest and easiest way to solve this challenge is using ammunition that is designed to result in less felt recoil while still provide exceptional performance.  That ammo is Fiocchi.

For the recreational shooter or competitive shooter in practice sessions, the Shooting Dynamics line of products is right for you.  Whether 1 oz. 1170 fps, 1200 fps, or 1250 fps, these loads really destroy targets without beating you up.  The Shooting Dynamics line also offers 1 1/8 oz. loads at 1165 fps, 1200 fps, and 1250 fps.  No one wants to stop shooting because there are tired.

When it’s time for the tournament, we recommend our Exacta line.  These loads utilize superior components that just like their relative, the Shooting Dynamics, have the same attention to reducing recoil.  Either the 1 oz. 1250 fps Little Rino or the 1 1/8 oz. 1250 fps White Rino, meets the task.  These loads are used by the top shooters such as Anthony Matarese Jr. (reigning World English Sporting Clays Champion) or Diane Sorantino who has more National and World Titles than I can count.

To sum it up, if you want superior performance and less felt recoil, give the Shooting Dynamics or Exacta line shells a try.  Ask your local range or retailer for the best shotgun ammo, Fiocchi.  For more information, go to .




Defending Your Home


Security lights, upgraded locks, valuables put away and alarm system installed you’ve made your home a hard target.  Although these steps deter and slow break-ins they don’t stop them.  According to the FBI more than 4,300 burglaries happened per day in 2015 (FBI, 2017).  This alarming statistic was actually a reduction from previous years.  Unfortunately, we must be prepared to defend ourselves and our loved ones within our homes. 


Having a plan that is clearly understood by all members of the family is crucial.  What that plan is and how it is formed depends partially on the tools you plan to use.  Handgun, Shotgun, Carbine, or pistol-caliber carbines (PCC), they each have their merits and drawbacks.  This article does not cover all angles, but is meant to help initiate thoughts and consideration when making your choice.


Text Box: For a House Gun forget concealability and choose for capacity and control-ability.


Handgun:  The smallest and most portable of the options.  Handguns are the least-powerful option; a compromise we make for portability and concealability.  Handguns are easy to control and store.  Unlike selecting a handgun for daily carry a house gun doesn’t need to be small.  Full-sized handguns offer more capacity and easier controllability.  Maneuverability is also an advantage with a handgun though the shorter sight radius can reduce accuracy.


Shotgun:  Shotguns offer the largest selection of ammunition choices and reliable models can be purchased for less than other options.  The very nature of scatterguns that makes it easy to hit a target with devastating force also makes it possible to have projectiles miss the target and head elsewhere in the house.  Length hampers maneuverability and magazine capacity is limited.


Carbine:  High-power and high capacity is an attraction to carbines, but that same power can easily mean over-penetrating hits and misses that can rip through walls and harm loved-ones in another room or even neighbors.  Liability is a huge risk with carbine use.


Text Box: 1The Author's House gun offers high capacity, no flash, low noise, and ease of control.

Pistol-Caliber Carbines:  The resurgence of the pistol-caliber carbine has been with many good reasons.  PCCs offer the control and capacity of a standard carbine, but in a handgun caliber which generally costs less to practice with than a standard carbine.  With a pistol caliber, such as 9mm or .45acp, ammunition variety goes up along with controllability while recoil goes down. 

Whatever your choice of tool, the paramount variable is ammunition selection.  With luck, you won’t have to fire a single round in self-defense, but if you do it needs to be reliable and safe.  Practice with ammunition similar in performance to your defensive ammunition and practice often.

“Graham Baates” is a pen name used by a 15-year active Army veteran who spent most of his time in the tactical side of the Intelligence community including tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. Post-Army Graham spent some time in the 3-Gun circuit before becoming a full-time NRA Certified defensive handgun instructor and now works as an industry writer while curating a YouTube channel and blog on the side. Visit Graham on Youtube .



High birds are the quintessential expression of the wing shooting art, demanding mental discipline, masterful technique, specialized equipment and humility. The high curling bird is the most difficult game bird shot and one great shot is more rewarding than a dozen straight-aways. This recognition drenched my mind as I stepped into the shooter’s cage to begin a European-style pheasant shoot at Oak Creek Sporting Clays Club in Brainard, Nebraska. Oak Creek is a full-service shooting club, boasting two sporting clays courses, skeet, trap and a rifle/handgun range.


It was a perfect morning to uncase the shotgun and prepare for a luscious dinner. The weather was temperate, the sky a pale blue slab dotted with cotton-candy clouds. The meticulously orchestrated shoot featured ten shooting stations arranged in a circle of a quarter mile in diameter with a tower in the center from which the birds would be released. About twenty guns attended the event. Each shooter or pair of guns shot for ten minutes at each station and then, at the sounding of the traditional hunter’s horn, rotated to the next, giving each participant the benefits of the best positions.


Thick stands of sixty-foot hardwood and pine trees obscured the release of the birds, which did not become visible until high overhead. While some pheasant flew low like missiles, most pheasant went high, some to cloud-tickling altitudes. The birds were challenging, with perhaps fifty percent flying past the guns unscathed.


Birds were immediately retrieved by ardent dogs, leaping through brush and foliage like porpoises over waves, their tails wagging like a musician’s metronome. In my gorgeous Beretta SO 3 EEL I shot Fiocchi Golden Pheasant loads with number 6 shot. A well-place shot dropped the bird like an anchor. Closing my eyes and opening my imagination, visions of the great Edwardian shoots at Elveden, Holkham and Sandringham flooded my mind. This European format event was set up by Terry Kriz, an owner of the club and a wonderful man who has become a dear friend. Oak Creek did this shoot right.


Please visit the facility on the web and, better yet, in person.


Michael Sabbeth is a lawyer and writer in Denver, Colorado. See his book The Good, The Bad & The Difference: How to Talk with Children About Values. Available at



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