How to Fix a Hoppe's Clay Bird Thrower

by Matt Foster

Hoppe's ClayKing target thrower uses a spring-loaded, cammed pivot arm to throw clay targets up to 50 yards. The welded steel frame is extremely sturdy, and the main mechanism assembles with standard 1/4-inch bolts. The heart of the action -- the spring -- is prone to weakening and failure with extensive use. Hoppe's no longer manufactures the ClayKing, but many of the devices are still used by shotgun enthusiasts. You can repair a weak spring on your target thrower by replacing it with a commonly available 9-inch door spring.

1. Hold the throwing arm in place with one hand and pull the target thrower's release catch open with the other. Let the throwing arm move forward slowly to the fully extended position, releasing all tension on the spring.

2. Place the ClayKing target thrower on a sturdy work surface. The throwing arm should open to your left, so you can access the left side of the mechanism.

3. Unhook one spring end from the throwing arm. The spring attaches to the rear of the pivot arm mount, under the arm, at the front of the launcher. If you have trouble uncoiling the spring end, use needle-nose pliers to straighten the spring's metal so you can remove it.

4. Unhook the remaining spring end from the frame. The back end of the spring attaches to the rear of the throwing arm support, just beneath the release catch. Use needle-nose pliers to uncoil the spring if you have trouble removing it.

5. Slip one end of the replacement spring through the spring mount hole on the rear of the throwing arm support. Use needle-nose pliers to bend the new spring's loop closed around the mount.

6. Stretch the spring toward the front of the launcher and hook the open end of the spring through the spring mounting hole in the rear of the pivot arm mount. Make sure the spring stays on the left side of the pivot joint. Squeeze the spring coil end-loop closed with needle-nosed pliers.

Items you will need

  • Needle-nose pliers
  • 9-inch door spring


  • Wear eye protection when removing or replacing the spring.

About the Author

Matt Foster has worked for more than 10 years as an online content producer, SEO consultant and Web development manager. Prior to that, he spent 20 years as a newspaper editor, primarily for the NYT Regional Newspaper Group. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and Russian area studies from the University of Georgia.