Scholastic Clay Target Nationals

Shooting USA - Scholastic Clay Target Nationals

This time on Shooting USA we're in Sparta, Illinois with the next generation of clay shooters. It's the Scholastic Clay Target Program's national championships, when the emphasis is on team work.




30-05-3It is the most successful shooting program for youngsters in the country. More than 30-thousand school-aged shot-gunners compete in the Scholastic Clay Target Program and each year hundreds of them pile into their parents’ S-U-Vs and head to Southern Illinois for the national championships of the Scholastic Clay Target Program.



The Program has expanded since the beginning, when teams only shot Trap.  Now the choices for competition include all of the American Shotgun Sports – Trap, Skeet and Sporting Clays. But unlike the adults shooting in competition, SCTP competition is a team sport.



30-05-5Nearly 500 squads are in Sparta to compete in their sports as 5 member teams.  Only the team score counts in the overall standings. That’s part of the plan at the club level and at the National Championships of the Scholastic Clay Target Program at the World Recreation and Shooting Complex. The emphasis is on team-work, team support, and teaching much more than just shotgun skills.


Related Links

Mike Irvine’s Duck Tech – Decoy Strategy

30-05-6Something I don’t think a lot of duck hunters realize, is you actually want to put your decoys where you don’t want the ducks to go.  Use them as an attraction, but leave an open hole of water, that’s the actual place the ducks are going to try to land, of course in front of your shooting lane, and this is all determined by the wind direction.  

Setup for a perfect wind, but if the wind changes, well then a great hunt can be ruined if the ducks don’t have the right spot to land.  So you have to recognize a change in the wind and know how to adjust your decoys for it.

There is no doubt we are in the right place for birds. The skies of full of mallards circling over our heads and buzzing through the decoys. We have the perfect setup for the hunt. The decoys are laid out in a U or V formation, the layout blinds are hidden in wild grass along the northern leg of decoys.  The flapping wing motion decoys are in between the two legs of decoys on the western side of the open hole. With the mornings west wind this was an ideal setup but we’ve run into a problem. The wind has shifted more to the south and the ducks are lighting out of range. 

30-05-7To fix this, we took the northern leg of our U formation of decoys and placed them in the southwest corner of the spread.  Then brought the far leg of decoys closer to the layout blinds and angled them towards the southwest. That created an open hole for incoming ducks.

The motion decoys are relocated to the northwest corner and are only about 20 yards in front of our blinds, the range we want for shooting. And the adjustment pays off. The ducks are decoying perfectly. In fact, the new setup has them  coming in by the hundreds.  A sight so stunning nobody wants to take a shot.  We’re all enjoying the show!

Few hunters have seen a such a show. The ducks keep funneling down out of the sky and in front of our guns!  That was great!  What a nice bunch!

I have to admit that was one of the best duck hunts I’ve ever been on, and you saw how fast it changed.  We had a great start, lost our wind, made the adjustment, and had an outstanding finish. 

Now the same rules apply, whether your out in the field or here in the water, it’s all about the direction of the wind.  So if the wind changes, see it, recognize it, and adjust your decoys, and that’s this weeks Duck Tech Tip.

Shooting USA - Movie Guns

SI30-05-1We're sighting in on Hollywood guns. You've seen the movies. Now meet the firearms and the owner working behind the scenes.

Every shooting fan has a favorite film.  Likely one that did an excellent job portraying guns in historically and technically accurate ways. Then there are movies that are  pretty much “shoot-‘em-ups”.  Even those can be firearms accurate. And when they are realistic it’s because someone is working behind the scenes, providing Hollywood filmmakers with the firepower and the advice on being real.

SI30-05-2Gary Harper likes to say he is in the entertainment business. We found Gary and his guns at End of Trail where he was helping some shooters’ dreams come true with a chance to shoot his Gatling Guns, or to fire his Krupp’s Howitzer.

But live events are just one of the ways Gary works in the entertainment business. Gary Harper is also an armorer, a consultant who rents firearms to Hollywood directors and then tells them how to use them properly. An armorer helps film makers create gunfights and battles that are historically and technically accurate. Gary also provides the movie makers the right guns for the job.


Gary Harper’s Website


History’s Guns – The Kentucky Long Rifle



From early flintlocks to modern rifles, firearms have fed us, protected us, and secured our freedoms.





And few guns have shaped American history more than the Kentucky Long rifle that’s now one of History’s Guns.

Tennessee Long Hunters



Pro Tip – The Math for Angle Shooting



The Army's USAMU Service Rifle Team explains the math involved in shooting up hill or down and how to calculate the effect of gravity on your bullet.  See the new Pro Tips.



Angle Shooting Gear


The Slope Doper 

Gauge the angle and read the cosine by placing the Slope Doper on your barrel or receiver.   $19.95 plus Shipping 

Slope Doper Website



Angle Cosine Indicator

Mounts to your scope to provide instant cosine read out for your calculations.

From Sniper Tools   $109.95 

Sniper Tools Website



Bushnell Scout 1000 Arc

Calculates range and automatically calculates for the angle of the shot.  Works to 1,000 yards in Rifle Mode. Also calculates arrow flight in Bow Mode.

$250 from Bushnell

Bushnell Website


Wade Bourne’s Hunting Tips – Curing the Magnum Flinch

SI30-05-6You know, when you’re deer hunting you usually get only one shot. And you have to be on target to take that animal efficiently. Now then, being on target that one important time involves two critical elements.  The first thing obviously is your rifle has to be sighted in. You have to spend time at the range to get it where you line up the crosshair on the target and execute a good shot. The bullet is going to go where the crosshairs are.

Now, the second thing,  to execute a good shot, you have to practice the fundamentals of proper shooting.

One problem a lot of hunters and a lot of shooters have when shooting a centerfire rifle is flinch. Flinch is what its name implies. You anticipate the recoil. You anticipate that punch in the shoulder. So at the point of squeezing or pressing the trigger, you flinch a little bit and this pulls your rifle off alignment.

SI30-05-7Here’s how to recognize if you have flinch and how to control it. Take a friend to the range with you. Let him load your rifle. Sometimes he’s going to give you a rifle without a round in it. Other times he’s going to give you a rifle with a live round. You’re not going to know, don’t watch when he loads.

Then you go through the fundamentals of executing the shot. If he gives you a rifle without a live round and you squeeze and flinch a little bit then you know you’ve got it.

What do you do then? You have to start concentrating and make sure to stay down on your rifle, press that trigger. Learn to concentrate and execute that good shot, and you’ll be on target every time.


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