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Thimbleby Estate

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What to wear for clay shooting!

Here at Thimbleby Shooting Ground we welcome clay shooters with all levels of skill, from beginners who have never held a shotgun before to seasoned guns perfecting their craft. One thing that everyone who picks up a shotgun to aim at a clay pigeon has in common is that picking the right attire will help them have a more successful and enjoyable day. That’s why in this blog we’re guiding you through what to wear to ensure comfort and safety on the shooting ground and boost your chances of success. We’ll look at the very basic kit you’ll need for clay shooting and some options for different seasons or if you start taking the sport more seriously.

Headwear, ear and eye protection

Ear protection is vital when you’re firing a shotgun or standing near to someone else who is shooting. To protect your hearing, you must wear ear plugs or ear defenders when you’re on the shooting ground. Those who shoot more regularly may choose to invest in a pair of smart Active8 ear defenders from Swatcom which ensure you can still hear people speaking around you while effectively blocking out the report of your shotgun. You can try on and buy these in the retail area of our clubhouse if you think they might suit you!

Along with ear protection, eye protection is also required whenever you’re on a stand on the shooting ground here at Thimbleby. That’s because flying fragments of clay could seriously damage your eyes, so make sure you have safety glasses, sunglasses or specialist clay shooting glasses. If you get involved in sport shooting you might choose to have different lenses for varying light and conditions, to give yourself the best chance of success…

Finally, headwear such as a baseball cap is a great addition to your outfit for several reasons. Fragments of the clay pigeons can occasionally catch the breeze and end up landing near the guns. A baseball cap adds an extra layer of protection from bruises and cuts should that happen, especially for those without much hair on their head! The peak is also useful on sunny days when the bright sunlight can dazzle and stop you tracking the flight of the clays as easily.

Clothing for clay shooting

Your shooting attire will need to vary with the seasons, just like any other outdoor equipment. In summer, we’d always choose lightweight, breathable clothing that allows you to swing the gun – and don’t forget sunscreen too! Winter calls for layers to keep warm, with a focus on waterproof and windproof outer layers – and again, make sure you can move freely in your kit. Don’t wear very baggy clothing or padded coats or vests, especially when you’re learning, as they make it much harder to mount the gun effectively! Be wary of large and drapey scarves for the same reason – consider a thin snood instead. And always (and most definitely in North Yorkshire!) be prepared for rain with waterproof gear and quick-drying fabrics.

If you decide to spend more time clay shooting or competing, you might decide to try a clay shooting vest. These are available in a range of materials, from tweed to lightweight mesh, and have roomy pockets for toting lots of cartridges with you (and different glasses/lenses if you’re taking things very seriously) and some thin recoil padding on the shoulder and chest area. We sell a range of clay shooting clothing and vests, including technical tweeds and other waterproof and windproof fabrics, so why not pop in and take a look?

Footwear for clay shooting

The footwear you decide to wear will depend on the terrain and weather. Our shooting ground has gravel paths and good footing on the stands, but it can get wet underfoot in winter. Other grounds might have stands that are on grass, mud or the bottom of a wet, steep valley, and require boots with a good tread. In the summer months then lightweight boots or trainers are great for dry days.

There are some types of footwear to avoid if you want to get the most out of a lesson or time on the shooting ground. No flip-flops, sliders or sandals, as you could slip around in them when you need to have a stable footing. We advise against heels as you want to be able to slightly move your feet to adjust your stance and balance easily as you move your upper body to follow a clay.

Clay shooting accessories

There’s a handful of other items that you might want to add to your clay shooting kit bag over time. For example, there are technical gloves that can enhance grip and protect your hands in very wet or cold weather. We stock a range in the clubhouse including MacWet gloves, which are very popular with our customers. You might decide to invest in a cartridge bag to tote your ammunition around in, and again we have a range to browse. Many people decide to match their cartridge bag to a gun slip when they have their own shotgun, and we stock some beautiful sets, including some with bespoke leather colours, from Coleman Baines.

Dressing correctly for clay shooting will help you relax and be able to make the most of a lesson or self-caddied session. Why not visit our retail space at Thimbleby Shooting Ground’s clubhouse to browse our selection of country clothing, shooting vests, accessories and footwear? And if you’re ready to shop for your own gun, our gunroom features a variety of shotguns available for browsing, with demo sessions offered on our shooting ground. Our expert team is here to help you find the perfect gear for your clay shooting adventures, whatever level you shoot at!