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Clay Target Shooting with Go Shooting Victoria | My Honest Review
Up until this weekend, I’d never shot a gun, let alone a clay target.
It remained on my bucket list staring back at me with eager anticipation:
“SHOOT A GUN!”
But in Australia, there are only a few places that allow you to shoot a gun as an unlicensed member of the public:
- Clay Target Shooting
- The occasional gun range or club that offers beginner experiences
This weekend, I partnered with Go Shooting in Werribee (Victoria) to experience, first hand, what it’s like to go clay target shooting in Victoria.
And boy-oh-boy was it fun!
In this article, I’m going to share the outcome of my experience with hopes that it’ll encourage you to give it a go and support this awesome Victorian-based business.
But first, let’s talk about clay target shooting in more detail.
What is Clay Target Shooting?
Clay target shooting, also known by some as clay pigeon shooting, is a shooting sport that involves using a firearm (eg. shotgun) to shoot at special flying targets.
Back in the day, this sport often involved shooting live pigeons (hence its original name), however these days clay or asphalt targets are used.
Clay targets were actually introduced back in 1875, and a further bill was passed in 1921 to make shooting birds from traps illegal (British parliament)
Being an animal lover myself, I very much prefer this.
Here is a video of my experience clay target shooting for the first time.
My Experience Clay Target Shooting in Victoria (With Go Shooting)
So how did I find it?
Well, all I can say is that it was freaking FUN!
The team at Go Shooting were a fantastic bunch of people. Their clear direction and ongoing encouragement made everyone feel:
- Welcome and
- Relaxed throughout the day
Lauryn and Laetisha, made the experience even more enjoyable with their entertaining dry sense of humour, skillful shooting abilities and light-hearted competition.
Who Is Go Shooting?
Go Shooting was formed in 1999 by two of the most well-known clay target shooters in the world:
- Russell Mark – Olympic Gold Medallist and ‘Best in History in Olympic Double Trap’ and
- Lauryn Mark – Triple-Commonwealth Games Gold Medallist and dual Olympian.
Talk about a power couple!
They have both accumulated impressive achievements over the years including:
- Competing in 6 Olympic Games (Russell)
- Thirty-nine open Australian Championships (Russell)
- Setting an all-time Australian Record in 1992 for the most clay targets hit in succession without missing: 1,177 targets in a row – wow!!
- Competing in 2 Olympic Games (Lauryn)
- Making history by becoming the youngest competitor EVER to win the United States Open Women’s Skeet Championship (Lauryn)
- Winning the team and individual Gold Medals in the 2002 Commonwealth Games (Lauryn)
Together, they have been running clay target shooting adventures for over twenty years and pride themselves on providing:
- An understanding of clay target shooting and how it works
- Coaching sessions for all levels of shooters in a variety of disciplines
- A memorable experience that everyone can enjoy no matter your experience
How Can I “Have a Go” at Clay Target Shooting?
If you’ve never done clay target shooting in Victoria before, there is a package made perfectly for you.
It’s called the “Have a Go” package.
(See what I did there…)
This package is the perfect experience if you want:
- To try clay target shooting for the first time
- The guidance of an expert instructor to teach you how it’s done
- To hit a target in a fun environment without pressure
I’m definitely not a coordinated person, yet I managed to hit 5 targets!
If I can do it, you can too.
How Does the Session Unfold?
After arriving at the venue, you’ll be allocated to your group and will proceed to the relevant firing gates for instruction.
There, the coaches provide a quick safety briefing and insight into how the shot guns work. They also spend time with each individual shooter to show them how to hold a gun properly and aim at a target.
I found this part of the experience extremely valuable as it really helped me to build my confidence.
Particularly given I had NO IDEA what I was doing!
At the first few gates, you’ll get the chance to warm up with 10 beginner targets.
This is great practice for what’s to come…
3) The Competition
After you’ve had some time to practice, you’ll commence the 20-target competition between others in your group.
This will give you the chance to hit:
- 8 singles (a single target released) and
- 6 doubles (two targets being released one after the other from separate locations).
Now, before you panic at the idea of being in competition, don’t worry. Despite the name, it’s all just a bit of fun.
If you’re incredibly uncoordinated like me, you may even have some additional targets thrown in.
Is Clay Shooting Hard?
I must admit, some of the targets were fast and challenging. There were some that I couldn’t even see once released, let alone hit.
However, most of the targets can be shot by beginners, especially after some practice and practical instruction from the coaches.
If you do manage to hit the more advanced targets, let me know.
I love hearing about your success stories!
What to Bring When Clay Target Shooting in Victoria?
When doing the “Have a Go” Package, there is very little that you need to bring.
All equipment, ammunition, targets, and safety gear are provided. Pretty cool ey!
In terms of clothing, you will want to ensure that you dress appropriately with warm comfortable clothes and closed toed shoes.
We went in April, and it was freezing at the Werribee venue. Mostly because of the amount of wind they get there.
I was very glad to have packed my puff jacket with me!
A Summary of What to Bring:
- Sunscreen (if going in Summer)
- Any corrective lenses you need to wear to see things at a distance
- Warm Jacket (Eg. a Puff Jacket)
- Comfortable closed-toed shoes
- Camouflage gear (for obvious reasons…) or
- Thongs (Flip-flops for the Americans out there)
How Much Does it Cost?
The price of clay target shooting in Victoria does vary depending on where you go. With Go Shooting, the prices are as follows.
For the Werribee and Redcliffe venues cost:
- $149 for Adults
- $125 for Kids (12-17 years old)
For the Yarra Valley venue is a bit more pricey at:
- $249 for all ages
Additional Things to Know:
Based off my personal experience, here are some tips you should know as a first-timer:
1) Getting There
When driving to the Werribee venue, DO NOT put the venue address into your Sat Nav. Especially, if coming from Melbourne.
Instead, drive directly to Werribee and once in Werribee, enter the venue address.
There seems to be an issue with sat navigation apps, where the suggested route tries to drive you through a river/creek.
Despite the directions, this creek is not passable in a standard vehicle.
If you go this way accidentally, you may have to add an additional 30 minute detour to your trip to get to the right location.
2) Pack Warm Clothes
As I mentioned earlier, the Werribee venue can get very windy.
This can leave you feeling cold, especially in the evening as the sun goes down.
I’m not sure about the other venues, but either way, I recommend packing a warm Winter jacket as a back up.
3) Look for the Figure 8
On the day, they’ll teach you about the importance of lining up small circular nodes on the gun barrel. Doing so helps to improve your aim and increase your chance of hitting the target.
Which of course, we all want!
The key tip is to position the gun (and your face) in a way that the 2 small nodes create a figure 8 when lined on top of each other.
If this makes absolutely no sense, don’t worry, they will explain it in more detail on the day.
4) Avoid a Cartridge to the Face
Funnily enough, I copped a bullet cartridge to the face.
It didn’t hurt, other than the aches I felt in my stomach from laughing so much after it happened. Lauryn felt bad and apologised multiple times, but I thought it was hilarious.
So, how did it happen?
Well, when you shoot a bullet, the empty cartridge is flicked out from the back of the shotgun and replaced with a new one.
If you’re positioned right behind the gun (like I was), it’s easy to get in the way.
5) No Firearm License Required
No firearms licence or previous shooting experience is required as they cater to all levels of ability
There is an age limit of 12+ though.
6) Zero Tolerance for Alcohol or Drugs
Go Shooting enforces a strict ZERO BLOOD ALCOHOL & DRUG policy. No alcohol or drugs are to be consumed before or during the activity.
If you are thought to be under the influence, you will not be able to hold or handle a gun.
At most venues, there is a bar on site. Therefore, you can enjoy a cheeky beverage after the activity if that tickles your fancy.
7) Mainly Held on the Weekend
The “Have a Go” Clay Target Shooting experience is usually held on the weekend (Saturdays and Sundays) between 9am-2:30pm. Times can vary depending on the day.
The experience goes for approximately 2.5 hours.
Ready to Get Started?
Unsure if the “Have a Go” Package is right for you?
If you’re unsure of whether the “Have a Go” experience is right for you, then listen up!
Go Shooting also provides a smaller package called the “Discover” package.
The “Discover” package is great for first-time shooters who want to try clay target shooting but with a smaller budget.
Similar to the “Have a Go” package, you’ll get:
- A full safety briefing
- The opportunity to warm up with 10 single targets
- A fun 10-target competition
- All equipment, ammunition, targets and safety gear included
The main downside compared to the “Have a Go” package is that you:
- Don’t get to shoot as many targets (only 20 compared to 30)
- Don’t get as much flexibility when it comes to dates (Usually only held once a month)
In summary, my first experience clay target shooting in Victoria was fantastic.
I had a very safe and fun experience with Go Shooting, so can confidently recommend them to you if clay target shooting is something you’re interested in trying.