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Clay Pigeon Tips for Beginners

Clay pigeon shooting is a great way to have fun with a group of friends, and perfect for birthdays, stag-dos and special types of occasions, including corporate events. Here at Donnington Grove, we have our very own shooting facility which is popular with a diverse range of people who are looking for fun, whilst trying a different type of sport.

You can try this even if you haven’t held a rifle before, as we will provide expert help and guidance at all times, and ensure you are in safe hands. Before you visit us for a spot of clay pigeon shooting, read these tips and get off to the best possible start.

Find out which eye is the most dominant

One of the first considerations you will have to make before you try pigeon shooting is which eye is the most dominant. Everybody has one eye that overrides the other, so establish this before you pick up the rifle. It’s easy to determine which of your eyes is stronger. Just focus on some object in the distance, point at it with a finger, and close your left eye. If the object is still at the end of your fingertip, this means you are right eye dominant, and that should be your lead eye. If the object has moved, open your left eye and close the right one whilst keeping your hand in the same position. The object should now be at the end of your finger meaning you are left eye dominant.

Once you know which eye is dominant, you are ready to move to the next stage and that involves holding the gun for the first time.

Establish the correct position for the gun

It’s important to find the right position for the rifle so you can fire it comfortably and make your shots as accurate as possible. Don’t worry about this, our team at Donnington Grove will ensure you are happy and relaxed whilst doing this, and also ensure you can safely mount the rifle into your shoulder. The butt of the rifle should nestle into the groove in your shoulder, and you should hold it there tightly to prevent getting hurt when the gun kicks after it is fired.

You can practice mounting the rifle a few times before the gun is loaded until you feel comfortable and happy with the procedure.

Get comfortable and make sure you are in the right position

Before you even think about firing a shot, it’s a good idea to get as comfortable as possible by adopting a firm standing position. Ideally, this will involve both feet facing the range, and stand with one foot slightly in front of the other. The foot you have facing the furthest forward should be on the opposite side of your trigger finger, and you want to feel balanced with your weight slightly biased towards the leading foot.

Adopt this stance and when you fire the rifle, not only will you remain steady and composed, it should also help you absorb the recoil from the gun, and you won’t feel like you are being pushed backwards.

Focus on the target

This might sound silly, but many people new to clay pigeon shooting have a habit of following the gun barrel or the bead at the end of the barrel, instead of focusing on the clay. The best tip here is to point at the target rather than try to aim at it, and position the barrel slightly in front of the moving target. When the clay disc disappears below the sight, or moves across it, gently squeeze the trigger to give yourself the greatest chance of making an accurate shot.

Practice makes perfect!

A clay pigeon shooting experience is the ideal way to sample the delights of this sport. Obviously, the more you shoot the better you become, and with regular practice, you’ll soon become a bit of an expert. Try a clay pigeon shoot and you’ll be surprised at just how quickly you’ll be hitting clay discs and also be surprised at just how much fun it is. This enjoyable sport is accessible for everyone and you can book a session all year round with us here at Donnington Grove.

Would you like to try clay pigeon shooting? Here at Donnington Grove, we offer clay pigeon shooting in Berkshire throughout the year and custom packages are available on request. For more details, please contact Sean by calling 07999 337732 or email  

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