clay target shooting

As an Olympic gold medalist in shooting sports, I’ve gained a deep understanding of Clay Target Shooting the factors that contribute to success on the range. 

Among these factors, one of the most crucial is the dimension known as “drop” in the stock of a shotgun. In this essay, I’ll explore the concept of drop, its measurement, and its profound implications.

 In this Blog, I’ll explore the concept of drop, its measurement, and its profound implications for achieving precision and accuracy in shooting sports.

Understanding Drop Target Shooting:

Drop, simply put, refers to the distance between the top of the stock and the line of sight when aiming down the barrels of a shotgun. This dimension is measured in millimeters and plays a significant role in determining the point of impact of a shot. It’s important to note that drop is not a one-size-fits-all measurement; it varies depending on individual factors such as head shape, cheekbone structure, and shooting technique.

Measuring Drop:

Clay Target Shooting Techniques

To measure drop accurately, one can run a straightedge from the barrels across the top of the stock. The drop is then measured at two key points: the comb and the heel. The drop at the comb is measured to the front of the stock, while the drop at the heel is measured to the back. The difference between these two measurements determines the overall drop of the stock.

Implications of Drop:

The drop dimension has significant implications for shooting performance, particularly in different disciplines such as trap shooting and sporting clays. In trap shooting, where precise aiming is essential to hit rising targets, a lower drop measurement is typically preferred, around 10 millimeters for traditional trap guns. Sporting and infield guns, on the other hand, may have drop measurements ranging from 20 to 40 millimeters to accommodate different shooting requirements and techniques.

Monte Carlo Stocks and Sight Picture:

Clay target Shooting
Clay target Shooting

Modern trap guns often feature Monte Carlo stocks, characterized by a cutaway at the end and a parallel comb that runs parallel to the barrel. This design influences the sight picture and point of impact, producing a higher point of impact compared to sporting guns with higher drop measurements. Understanding how drop affects the sight picture is crucial for achieving consistent and accurate shooting results.

Adjustable Rib Guns:

clay target shooting
clay target shooting

The prevalence of adjustable rib guns adds another layer of complexity to achieving the perfect drop dimension. While these guns offer flexibility in customization, they also introduce the risk of misalignment between the sight picture and the actual point of impact. Adjusting the rib may result in either shooting too high or too flat, underscoring the importance of understanding how drop influences shooting performance.

Optimizing Shooting Performance:

Clay target Shooting
Clay target Shooting

To optimize shooting performance, shooters must experiment with drop dimensions and practice on the pattern board to fine-tune their sight picture and point of impact. There are no standard drop measurements; it’s a highly personalized aspect of shooting that requires attention to detail and a willingness to adapt to individual preferences and shooting disciplines.


Clay Target Shooting is a critical dimension in the stock of a shotgun that significantly impacts shooting performance. By understanding how drop affects sight picture and point of impact, shooters can optimize their performance and excel in their chosen discipline.

 Experimentation, practice, and a deep understanding of individual preferences are essential for mastering drop and achieving precision and accuracy on the shooting range. 

As shooters continue to explore the nuances of their equipment and techniques, they can elevate their skills and reach new heights of success in shooting sports.

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