History of Clay Shooting

As our sport continues to expand we should take a little time to consider the origins of what is now one of the most fun sports and leisure activities of today.


For many years the sports men and women of Britain would shoot pheasants and game birds of all varieties, not until as late as the 1860's when glass balls filled with feathers were introduced and a throwing mechanism was invented that worked rather like an animal trap, was shooting available to men and women who could not afford the normal costs of a day out shooting. This type of machine was possibly the first "glass ball trap". Could it be the first coining of the phrase "Ball Trap?"

However with the introduction of the artificial target the sport was opened up to many more enthusiasts who did not have to pay for the expensive "Huntin' and Shootin' Week Ends" and as the end of the nineteenth century loomed the true "clay" target appeared. The Victorians would frequently use these for practise before going onto the estates to shoot the live birds. The simulation of bird flight transferred to a clay target was the first discipline and from early 1900’s "Sporting" was considered as the premiere shooting pass-time and in 1927 there was enough interest throughout the country to hold a British Open Championship.

In recent years "Sporting" has returned to its former exalted position of being the most attended of all the disciplines overtaking the trap disciplines in England; however in Scotland the trap discipline attendances still outnumber the sporting.

Now we use the most sophisticated traps to throw the clays for the competitors who enjoy the facility of multiple disciplines and structured organisations behind them to promote and encourage Clay Shooting even to Olympic standards. The sport can be extremely competitive and through the Governing Body in Scotland, "The Scottish Clay Target Association" competitors can achieve international status in the Commonwealth Games or Olympics.

For those who wish to participate just for fun, it is the ideal sport. Whether at an International Ground or a local club the novice will always find someone to guide them through the first few targets and then coach them onto being more proficient. Clay Target shooting is also one of Scotland's fastest growing sports and many business organisations take advantage of the "Corporate Days" provided by SCTA qualified Instructors at grounds all over Scotland .