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Does size matter?

After spending the morning roaming the English countryside armed with a 12 bore shotgun (that’s 12 gauge in the US) I can confirm that the clay pigeon population will not be endangered, nor is there any risk to the longevity of your barn door.

My dear brother-in-law thought that it would be good to demonstrate his skills, and to give me a chance to try out his new Beretta over and under shotgun. I was instructed to  what was both fashionable and practical to wear on these occasions, and turned up suitably attired. He was not sure that the inscription on the cap was spelled correctly, but I was allowed to proceed.

It’s been some time since I was allowed to wander around with lethal weaponry; previous arms were a catapult, a long bow, S&W .38, and 12 gauge side-by-side. I was reasonably successful with the first three, but I was never comfortable with the old blunderbuss and buckshot routine. Hence why Little Bro was passing on his skills.


Under instruction – “That way!”

Get the stock up to my shoulder, lean slightly forward to counter the recoil, place my left foot to point to where I’ll be shooting. Oh, keep the damned thing pointing down-range, too.

My wife, in charge of photography, also managed some timely advice, like, “Aim your foot at the target!” I did question brother-in-law as to whether it would be more appropriate to aim the gun towards the clay.

If you have ever been to a clay pigeon/skeet/ball-trap shoot, you’ll know that they have various set-ups to imitate the flight of real birds. At our venue we had Tai-chi sounding things, like;  incoming rook, surprised teal, fleeing duck, loopy pheasant, and crossing rabbit (technically not a bird …). Each required its own technique, and if launched in quick succession, some pretty speedy reactions. I settled for one at a time.


“… or may be that way.”

I wasn’t out for a duck* and managed to hit at least one from each position – whether that was skill or luck is neither here nor there. So, for me, that was a good day – although only few fatalities, there were some very scared, and quite a number of slightly worried, clay pigeons!

*A term used in cricket when one is bowled out without scoring any runs. Cricket is one of those sports that can only be grasped on a hot, sunny afternoon having consumed a few gin and tonics, by which time you’ll nod sagely, and enquire about the off-side rule.

(featured in Inspiration Monday – Doom Merchant)