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History of Sporting Clays

From the late 1880's until the outbreak of the First World War, pheasant and grouse shooting in England enjoyed a popularity level that had never been seen, or rivalled since.

Unwittingly, the same time period also marked a time of change; the first clay target, a flat disc, appeared between 1883 and 1887. The clay pigeon was then introduced and a direct result came the birth and development of SPORTING CLAYS.

The Victorian and Edwardian hunting parties were legendary - as were the number of birds bagged. The ability to shoot well was a prerequisite (along with social standing) to obtaining an invitation to many of the great estates. Consequently, with clay pigeons it was possible for the first time to tune up with practice and instruction.

It was in 1812 in a London suburb that the first live pigeon-shooting club was born. It was called the "Old Hats Tavern". The old hats were used as boxes in order to launch the pigeons. This was when the expansion of this sport first started.

In 1850 one begins to see meetings of hunters who shot at glass balls thrown by hand. In 1877, an American, Adam Bogardu invented the first catapult in order to launch these glass balls at shooting shows, and the term "Ball Trap" was adopted.

The best known spectacle of the time were undoubtedly those of the very famous William Frederick Cody, better known under the name of "Buffalo Bill". His spectacle "Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show" was a huge success world-wide.

The Shooting Schools in London were at once able to capitalise on the demand and set about the installation of traps and towers that would enable them to simulate flight of game birds. Inevitably, this, in turn with its variety of targets, led to the introduction of a new discipline in its own right. It was given the name of SPORTING, and the first British Open Sporting Championship was held in London in 1927.

Sporting has of course developed hugely since those days and is now by far the most popular clay target discipline in England, though it has only been in the last 10 years that it has really caught on in a big way. For many years it was in the shadow of Trap Shooting.

In France a real revolution was to undergo : a creative genius invented the first hand throwing device, the "Hand Trap" in 1927. That man was Emile Laporte. All targets are thrown from a machine called a trap. The trap is a spring-loaded throwing arm, usually made of metal. Targets can be thrown for distances of up to 135metres. The spinning action of the target is imparted by the trap arm and its running rail that helps to maintain a reasonably stable flight trajectory for at least the first 50m.

Now 90 % of clay pigeon shooters choose Sporting. It is a discipline that can offer so much to so many. It can be pure fun, it can be a test of ability or a competitive challenge. An important thing to remember is that you do not have to get a brilliant score to get a terrific amount of satisfaction from it.

source

Maui Sporting Clays.LLC. PO box 1352, Kihei, Maui. HI. 96753.
T. 808-879-4441  -   F. 808-874-0548  -   E. dave@barnes.it