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clay targets & moisture

3456 Views 7 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Anonymous

This may seem dumb, but I don't know much about the manufacture of clay targets and I was curious about something.

We have a little trap shooting league made up of guys from our company and I noticed on our last shoot that almost EVERYONE had a down day. I usually shoot in the low 40's (out of 50) and ended up with 25 total. We just had a very big rainstorm a few days before the shoot. I also remember that one of the earlier shoots we had the same kind of results and I remembered that we had also had a big rain a day or two before that day.

I was wondering if the moisture would have had an effect on the clays? I shoot a 20 ga and had a miserable day, and another guy on my team has a 12 ga with an extra full choke and he was almost unaffected.

Would a big rain cause the clays to become either soft or extra hard?

Again, I'm only curious because we have about 25 guys total and every team was well below their normal averages.

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Yes, weather (humidity) has an effect on clays. They're clay, after all, so they absorb moisture. More moisture gives you a more resilient clay, one that will be "softer", but therefore harder to break because its less brittle.

I don't know any way to gauge the effect, however. Eg, XX% relative humidity over YY days produces a reduction of brittleness by a factor of ZZZ, which means QQQ to shooting results, (but only if you don't get one dry day, which would reduce the effect by III).

Ain't science fun? :)

-- Sam

P.S. There's also the fact that some days it appears to be "in the air" and everyone has a bad day. I won my first "Challenge" at my club with a 37 out of 50, because everyone else was having a worse day than I was. These guys usually shoot in the mid 40s.
With all due respect to SamL, I don't think that clay targets ARE made out of clay. They are made primarily of pitch and resin. It's still possible for moisture to affect them, but if they are kept covered and out of the rain, the effect from the humidity should be very minimal. I would be more inclined to attribute the poor scores to either bad luck or perhaps different lighting conditions. Some days you can just see the targets a lot better than other days.
Ulysses said:
With all due respect to SamL, I don't think that clay targets ARE made out of clay.
Regardless of the material (unless they're steel) I would suspect something as brittle and dry as "clay" targets will behave exactly as I've described with respect to humidity. I have read that moisture, heat, sunlight, and age all effect the "breakability" of targets, and not necessarily to a small degree.

But then again, I was just trying to have some fun... :lol:

-- Sam
Sam's correct, the moisture can be absorbed by the targets. The bios seem even more so than the non-bios. Seems I recall Gil Ash mentioning this in one of his radio shows.

Also, after a rain you may also experience some wind in the area as the high pressure moves into the area that can cause the targets to move arpund a bit, this seems to effect skeet shooters more than the others because they get into a groove of the target coming from the exact same place and travelling the exact same route.
In my experience, a damp clay actually breaks too easily, usually on the trap arm :cry: Did you get a get a lot of no-birds? If not, I doubt the clays were softer due to being damp.

Another factor I'd consider, if the trap got a little rusty from the humidity, it might have slowed the clays down? Is this a mains powered trap or a battery? Getting a slow flying clay is almost worse than getting a slow pull in trap.

Another idea, there is, unfortunately, a lemming instinct in clay shooters - what does that mean?

Ever got to a stand and watched the guys in front of you? They struggle and when you get in the cage you have the same issue? We all let other's performance affect us too much. Could this be what happened at your trap shoot, did the first squad do badly and everyone followed suit?

I am a beleiver in watching THE CLAYS not the shooters when at SC shoots. See what the clay is doing and plan accordingly. The guy who shoots the apir the opposite way to everyone else, usually scores better than the previous shooters?

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That lemming instinct plays out on the trap field too, watch a squad and see what happens after a good run of breaks and one shooter misses.....its a good bet that the next shooter will miss too.
From my understanding the moisture has little if anything to do with the breakability of targets.

In all honesty Trap targets are some of the easiest to break to begin with. I can remember the first time I shot olympic trap our coach tossed one of their targets against a concrete wall and it hit it, fell the the ground and didn't break.

7/8oz loads had no problems breaking those so I don't think any amount of moisture would cause any misses with standard trap clays.

As with all things it's possible if just the right circumstances a wet clay might not break, but it's not going to be to the point where you will see it change one round of scores. Maybe over thousands of targets.
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