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Trap shooting is one of three sports in the arena of clay pigeon shooting -- a fun way to practice moving target acquisition with a shotgun. Sporting clays and skeet shooting are other variations of the same activity. The clay disc or "pigeon" gets its name, because in earlier times, real passenger pigeons were used in the sport because of an abundant population. The pigeons were released from a cage known as a "trap." As of 2011, clay pigeons are thrown via a trap thrower. Often, the force of the throwing arm is set too high, and it can cause the clay pigeon to break. Adjusting and stabilizing the thrower will reduce possible clay breaks.
Mount the thrower securely onto a table, or flat weighted surface. Depending on what type of thrower you have, this can be done several ways. Some methods include mounting the thrower to a board with pre-drilled bolt holes that are used to secure the thrower to a table. Another method is to bolt, or clamp the thrower directly to a table. This is completely up to your personal preference, how you mount the thrower, but it must be mounted to a solid surface, otherwise it will be unsafe, unstable, and cause the clays to break.
Set the let off speed or torque, to the lowest setting possible. Due to the variety of throwers on the market, this is done in several ways. Some are adjustable to a variety of numerous settings, and some only have a couple of settings. Consult your instruction manual for specific setting instructions.
Set the clay pigeon in the thrower, and test it. With the thrower setting at its lowest let-off strength, the clay won't fly very far, but you'll be able to see if anything else, besides the arm, is causing the clay to break -- such as a poorly seated clay.
Increase the throwing power in small increments, until you reach a powerful enough throwing speed for quality target shooting -- and the clays are still staying in tact. Mark your settings, and enjoy your trap shooting.
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