A Brief History of Clay Target Shooting
In the second half of the nineteenth century shooting live pigeons, starlings and sparrows became popular. The birds were released by remote control from collapsible boxes called traps. Shooters were closely handicapped on their known shooting ability. This was done by a “yardage” where the not so good shooters stood closer to the traps and the shooters who won and took the prize stakes (which were often very high – sometimes thousands of pounds) shot further away from the traps.
In 1866 in an effort to reproduce this and allow preparation and training time before a real game shoot a new game called “glass ball” shooting was developed in England by a gentleman called Charles Portlock of Boston. The first competitive shoots began in 1867 in the Boston area. Unfortunately the game was not too successful, as the traps used at the time only threw the glass balls straight into the air. The glass ball matches were not like today’s clay target tournament where several hundred participants competed against each other. The glass ball matches were between two shooters or by one shooter attempting to break as many glass balls as he could in a set time period, sometimes running for days. By1870 there had been many attempts to produce artificial targets and machines to throw them. Glass balls, plain or stuffed with feathers, brass balls, small metal propellers and many other weird and wonderfully shaped targets had all been tried and found lacking. 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 clay target tournaments that we are accustomed to did not take place until after 1880 and the development of the clay target by George Ligowsky in 1880. Ligowsky watched some youths skimming clam shells across the water in America and this gave him the idea of the saucer-shaped clay target. These original targets were made from clay and fired in brick kilns. Because they were baked hard they were not easy to break with the 1.25 oz shot used at the time. Fred Kimble then developed his “Peoria Blackbirds” in 1884, a disk made from black asphaltum material which was lighter and more brittle than the common clay target. It was said to rise faster , sweep better and break easier than the original fired clays.
The first British Open Sporting Championship was held in London in 1927 when a creative genius, Emile Laporte invented the first hand throwing device, called the “Hand Trap” . The early 1980’s saw the development of automatic traps that could be powered by 12volt batteries. This gave shooting grounds the ability to position traps more realistically and Sporting Clays took off.
Modern clay targets are made from a mixture of lime and pitch. There is an assortment of targets that vary in diameter and thickness, all are circular. The targets are given names such as minis, midis, battues, rabbits and chondelles. These targets are all used for Sporting Clays. Clay targets may vary in colour but black is still the most used colour. All targets are thrown from 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 which helps to maintain a reasonably stable flight trajectory for at least the first 50m.
EPISKOPI GARRISON GUN CLUB CYPRUS
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