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Possible injuries when clay pigeon shooting


Clay pigeon shooting is a popular pastime which is sometimes called clay target shooting. The terminology used in the sport dates back to the pre-1920s, when live pigeons were still used in this sport. There are over 20 different forms of competitions known as ‘disciplines’ – these can be roughly divided into trap, skeet and sporting. The most common is the English sporting discipline, where almost anything goes, with clays launched at a range of speeds and trajectories. Clay ‘pigeons’ are generally the shape of an inverted saucer and are made from a mixture of limestone rock and pitch, allowing them to withstand being launched at speed from traps, but easily broken by shotgun pellets.

Although they’re generally black or orange in colour, they can be other colours such as white or yellow, depending on the light conditions. Clays must conform to set standards with regard to their dimensions and weight, although they can vary in size depending on the type of discipline. It’s important to be aware of possible injuries when clay pigeon shooting which could include being struck in the face by a target or shards from a shattered target.


Types of guns

One of the main risks of possible injuries when clay pigeon shooting is from a shotgun, which is why it is so important to choose the right gun for your needs. The type of gun used is often determined by local laws as well as personal preference, but a specific type of gun may be needed if you are shooting competitively.

Any type of shotgun can be used for clay pigeon shooting, but traditionally over and under and side-by-side shotguns have been the main two types of guns used, although semi-automatics are gaining in popularity.

  • Over and under – these shotguns have two barrels stacked vertically and they usually have one trigger
  • Side-by-side – these guns have two barrels which are set next to each other horizontally rather than vertically – this makes it harder for new shooters to aim
  • Semi-automatics – this type of gun is popular with those new to the sport – it’s relatively lightweight, has quick follow-up shots and reduces recoil
  • Pump-action – this single-barrelled shotgun is not commonly used in Europe. It’s slow and whilst it is mechanically similar to a semi-automatic, it has much harsher recoil, so isn’t ideal for beginners

Single shot shotguns are not popular for clay pigeon shooting for obvious reasons – you can only fire one shot before reloading.


Caring for your gun

Of all the possible injuries when clay pigeon shooting, being injured by a faulty gun could cause the most serious injuries; even a fatality. That’s why it is so important to care for and maintain your shotgun to a safe standard. One of the first things you’ll want to invest in is a gun cleaning kit. This will usually contain gun oil, cleaning patches and a cleaning rod with both wool and metal brushes. Residue and moisture needs to be removed from the gun barrels after use, and your gun needs to stay lubricated as well.


Other equipment

There is a vast range of safety equipment and gear to invest in when you start out clay pigeon shooting. Spending money on the right accessories can protect you from possible injuries when clay pigeon shooting – but what should you spend money on?


Ear defenders

Hearing loss is just one of the possible injuries when clay pigeon shooting – did you know that the sound of a shotgun firing can reach 156 decibels? When you consider that the sound of a jet plane taking off reaches around 140 decibels, it’s easy to see why protecting your hearing is so important. You’ll find many different types of ear defenders but the most commonly seen are headphone-style defenders and rubber or foam ear plugs. Once you’ve been shooting for a while, you might want to invest more money in custom-fit ear plugs, but these aren’t necessary for beginners.


Shooting glasses

As well as protecting your ears whilst shooting, you’ll want to invest in adequate protection for your eyes as eye injuries are one of the most common possible injuries when clay pigeon shooting. Shooting glasses which wrap around the eyes and are made of polycarbonate (which is used in bulletproof glass) are ideal. These will protect you from shards of clay when the target shatters and also protect your eyes from shotgun recoil. Investing in glasses with interchangeable coloured lenses is a good idea if you’re going to be shooting in a variety of lighting conditions.


One possible danger associated with clay pigeon shooting


Have you been injured whilst clay pigeon shooting?

There is no denying that clay pigeon shooting can be a dangerous sport and if you don’t wear the appropriate safety equipment or follow the rules and regulations, you could be injured. Some of the possible injuries when clay pigeon shooting can be very serious indeed, even life changing. But what happens if you have been injured through no fault of your own – and somebody else is to blame? For example perhaps somebody was running with a loaded shotgun and accidentally shot you. Or maybe you have suffered eye injuries from a clay being shattered close to your face. You might find you’re able to claim personal injury compensation if something like this has happened to you. Clubs have a responsibility to keep members safe and ensure that everybody is behaving responsibly, so if you have been injured due to faulty equipment or even other members mucking around, you could have a viable claim.


Making a claim for compensation

You could suffer a wide range of possible injuries when clay pigeon shooting, and no matter how you have been injured, if somebody else is to blame then you can get in touch with Accident Advice Helpline within three years of your accident. We’re here to help you get the compensation you deserve and we have over 15 years’ experience helping members of the public. In fact, when you make a claim with us you know you can trust us as we have been endorsed by our patron, TV personality 0800 689 5659 to find out more about making a no win no fee claim.