Ask the experts!

It’s that time again for the Clay Shooting Magazine Q&A, so let us know if you have any questions, because we have the experts to answer them!

If you would like to get in touch, then please send your questions to or to our office at Future, Units 1-3, Sugar Brook Court, Aston Road, Bromsgrove, B60 3EX

Guns in hotels

Q: Due to the recent problems over the general licences, my enthusiasm for rough shooting this year has been dampened a little. I hope it will soon be resolved, but in the meantime I intend to concentrate on honing my clay shooting skills.

I shall be travelling around the country attending some of those shooting grounds I always wanted to visit, and I have booked into some nice hotels en route. I have not really done this before, so I want to be clear on what to do with my guns at the hotels. Are there some legal requirements I have to meet regarding their storage?

Stuart Farr says: It’s good to hear that your passion for shooting has sprouted into a different and exciting adventure for this year, and the grounds will undoubtedly appreciate your custom.

As for hotels, if you are staying relatively near to a shooting ground, the chances are that the hotel you have picked will already be geared up to store your guns safely. I suggest you enquire in advance. 

Whatever you do, do not leave your guns in your vehicle overnight, regardless of the security you might think it offers. If the hotel offers a legally compliant cabinet, that will help solve the issue.

However, do make sure the person accepting the guns holds a shotgun certificate. Ask to see it, make a note of the number and place of issue, and ask for a receipt when depositing your guns with them.

If the hotel doesn’t have suitable secure storage, you’ll need to take a security chain with you so you can anchor your gun or guns to a secure point in your room.

When leaving guns in your room, take a key component with you, such as the trigger mechanisms or fore-ends. Be vigilant of risk in and around the venue and above all let common sense prevail. Being a little over-cautious is better than the alternative.

Do I need glasses?

Q: I recently had my eyes tested, and was told I’d benefit from distance glasses. My shooting pals had some prescription glasses from you, and were really impressed. My prescription is R +0.25 L -0.25. Can you tell me what options I have please?

Ed Lyons says: Your prescription you have sent is almost the smallest level that can be prescribed. It shows you have a very minimal degree of long sight in the right eye and an equivalent amount of short sight on the left.

More than 95 per cent of people would see very little benefit from having this corrected, but of course shooters do tend to have higher visual requirements than the general population.

Prescription shooting glasses may be helpful if you shoot from the left shoulder. My advice would be to try out the prescription first in some economical regular glasses.

Then, if you feel it helps, you could explore options for prescription shooting glasses. If you notice little benefit then sticking with your regular protective eyewear will be fine.

Chokes for DTL

Q: Can you help me in deciding what chokes to use for DTL shooting? I’m new to the sport and would like to buy new extended chokes for my gun, as the ones provided aren’t that great. Can you advise what chokes I should use in which barrel – and also which barrel should I be shooting first; at present I fire the top barrel first.

Richard Atkins: Your question is more complicated than it first appears because of the several variables involved.

DTL looks relatively easy, as target speeds are lower and angles less varied than other forms of Trap shooting, but it is harder to master than it may appear.

Changing your chokes may not be the ideal first step. Those supplied with your gun may not look quite so smart as extended chokes, but I suspect they will be perfectly adequate for now.

Extended chokes are easier to change quickly, which makes them popular for Sporting clays where targets can vary dramatically from stand to stand, but that’s not the case with DTL where target distance doesn’t alter much.

The degree of choke you need depends on several things. Key factors include the speed and confidence with which you take your first shot, and the cartridges you use, but as a starting point I would suggest using Half Choke in your first barrel and ¾ Choke in your second barrel.

Those should do all you need even with a decent  budget cartridge – there’s no need for competition grade ammo at this stage.

Firing the bottom barrel first is preferable, as the recoil is straighter back into your shoulder. This tends to feel a fraction smoother and the muzzle rises a little less when you fire, so you are better placed to take a second shot if required.

For what it’s worth, I use a Light Modified (three-eighths) choke in the bottom barrel of my Browning Citori Trap. Before making any big decisions, though, I would recommend going to a decent trap coach who will be able to get you, your gun and, most importantly your technique, sorted to suit DTL.

Getting your stance, gun ready position, focus and target acquisition sorted will have more effect than extended chokes at this stage. Then, when you are hitting most of the targets, you can refine choke and cartridge choice to break a few more!

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