Types of Clay Pigeons

Written by kristen marquette
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Types of Clay Pigeons
The standard clay pigeon also is used in skeet and trap shooting. (man shooting a bird image by Nickolay Bolshakov from Fotolia.com)

Clay pigeons are flat disclike targets for hunters to practice their shooting skills. As a result of the considerable popularity of pheasant and grouse hunting in the late 1800s, clay pigeons arose between 1883 and 1887 and led to sporting clays, a sport dedicated to shooting clay. Five different types of clay pigeons exist today. The size of a clay pigeon affects how the target performs in the air as well as its visibility to the shooter on the ground.

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Shooters most often use the standard clay pigeon when participating in clay pigeon shooting, skeet shooting and trap shooting. With a 110-millimeter diameter and 25-millimeter height, the Standard clay pigeon provides the shooter the largest clay pigeon target. The colour of a clay pigeon affects the visibility and complexity of the shot. Certain colours blend in with the sky while others will contrast against it. The standard clay pigeon offers the shooter a variety of colour choices—black, orange, red, green, white, pink and blue—to give him options for different shooting conditions, such a bright clear sky or a cloudy dark sky, as well as varying levels of shooting difficulty.


A shooter only uses the midi clay pigeon on a sporting clay pigeon shooting course. The 90-millimeter diameter and 23-millimeter height offers the shooter a smaller target and more difficult shot. To complicate the shooter’s shot even more, the speed and range of the midi clay pigeon can be tricky to determine. Midi clay pigeon comes in two standard colours, black and orange.


The smallest of clay pigeons with a diameter of only 60 millimetres and height of 21 millimetres, the mini clay pigeon performs a slow looping arc while revealing its face the entire time. The shooter only shoots this clay target while on a sporting clay pigeon shooting course. A shooter can purchase the mini clay pigeon in black or orange.


Slightly smaller than the standard clay pigeon with a diameter of 110 millimetres and height of 17 millimetres, the shooter fires at the rabbit clay when it is launched along the ground instead of into the air. This clay target imitates ground game, not fowl. The shooter chooses a black rabbit clay if she wants it to blend in with the brush and orange if she wants it to stand out against the brush.


The battue clay pigeon offers the shooter two different types of shots on a sporting clay course; it can be launched two ways. Launched face up, it provides a fast driven target for the shooter; launched upside down, it gives the shooter a quick arch and only reveals its full face for a moment. The size of the battue clay pigeon is between the standard and midi clay pigeons with a 108-millimeter diameter and a 9-millimeter height. It comes in orange or black.

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