Homemade "Clay Targets" for Shotgun Practice
Charles Askins, a country boy, with no clay targets to shoot at, got his first lessons in pass shooting by means of an arrow-shaped piece of wood known as a dart. The dart is driven by means of a short stick, similar to the rod of a fly fisherman, though not so long and limber. This rod has a short, strong line with a knot in the end which engages with a notch cut into the dart about one third the way from the point, the dart being cast by means of an overhead swing the same as in throwing a fly. Our dart can be made o flight, cheap wood, from three to five feet long, with a large, flat head and a broad shank. It can be sent a distance of one hundred fifty yards, with a velocity in the beginning of its flight higher than that attained by any bird.
The object is to strike the broad head of the dart and if the charge falls back anywhere else along its length the novice knows that he has not made sufficient allowance for speed and distance. When thrown rapidly the flight of this projectile is practically level, neither does it lose velocity as quickly as an artificial clay bird. The dart can be thrown at any desired angle except straight away from the gun.
Practice with the dart is especially good training for flight shooting at waterfowl, and the young man who has become expert in striking the head of a shaft traveling a hundred and fifty feet a second will have little trouble in connecting with ducks or any bird of similar flight. Of course you will need an assistant to throw the dart for you.
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