A clay pigeon thrower, also known as a skeet thrower, or auto trap, is a machine used to launch clay targets into the air. The best automatic clay pigeon thrower will have a high throwing power, low cycle time, and be able to hold a large number of discs.
The sport of clay pigeon shooting is an activity where participants attempt to shoot clay targets that are flung into the air at high speed. The standard firearm for this sport is usually an ‘over and under’ type double-barreled shotgun, but the machines throwing the targets vary widely (Source).
The machines used to throw clay targets into the air range from handheld, unpowered units, to large, automatic clay pigeon throwers that are battery-powered and capable of launching several clay targets per second. Also, automatic clay pigeon throwers can throw the targets much faster and more consistently than a human can.
Clay pigeon shooting will help you increase your shooting accuracy and improve your hunting success. It also helps you learn to focus, builds physical discipline, and is really fun! Before you buy a clay pigeon thrower, consider the cost, cycle time, and portability. It is also important to consider it’s build quality and throwing speed (Source).
In this review, we will examine the top-rated clay pigeon throwers. All of the machines in this review will be fun to use and perform well, whether you’re wanting to get better at duck hunting, or just want to get into the sport of skeet shooting.
Are Clay Pigeons Made of Clay?
Clay pigeons are targets created to have a shooting practice session. Shotgunners use these small discs for shooting as a hobby or for professional routines.
Furthermore, their composition needs to be sturdy enough for the pigeon throwers to load and throw them without breaking. However, the targets also need to be breakable so that it is easier to shoot using shotgun pellets.
Therefore, you will find some clay targets, comprising of ingredients like water, bird seeds, and sugar. This composition also makes them biodegradable.
However, clay pigeon discs also need to be sturdy enough for a pigeon thrower so that it does not break while it is being propelled in the air.
Besides the clay-based targets, these incorporate limestone and coal-tar pitch. These two are molded together with the help of heat. Most traditional discs use this mixture.
The newer ones comprise of ingredients such as a heavy spar, fly ash, calcium bicarbonate, and plaster. These may not be biodegradable, but they are not toxic either.
Comparing The Best Clay Pigeon Throwers
1. Champion WheelyBird Auto-Feed Trap – The Best Overall
It can hold about 50 targets and can throw them in a straight and consistent path for up 50 to 60 yards. However, it has a recycle time of two seconds between each throw.
Meanwhile, in terms of convenience, you’ll find that the entire assembly process takes about 20 minutes. It doesn’t require any prior knowledge or experience, just some common sense.
- Instruction manual and DVD
- Bolts and nuts
- Plastic wheels
- Clay guide rods
- Swing arm protectors
- Pedal release
- Battery cables
- A good number of clays
- Not compatible with: EasyBird Auto-Feed Oscillating Base, EasyBird Wobbler, and Champion Single Remote Release
- Battery cable is a bit short (3 feet)
2. Do All Outdoors Raven Auto-Feed Trap – The Best Tension Adjustment Feature
Additionally, it comes with a 25-foot cord foot pedal for launching your clay into the sky yourself. Meanwhile, at full strength tension, you can go from the usual 55-yard distance to an impressive 80 yards.
- 50-bird clay stack
- 25-foot pedal cord
- Built-in wheels and handle
- Elegant, black, aluminum swing arm
- Stylish design
- Hand crank for adjusting spring tension
- Fixing the wobbler kit loses the built-in wheel functions
3. Champion Workhorse Auto-Feed Trap –The Quick Assembly
It has a capacity of up to 50 targets, with about 2.5 seconds between each throw. It also offers three different angles to choose from. You can switch between the angles easily just by pulling a pin that adjusts the legs.
Additionally, this hand clay thrower is one of the best when it comes to assembly. All you have to do is attach the legs, bolts and all, and then adjust the spring and you’re ready to go. It only takes minutes.
However, you would have to hook this thrower up to a car battery or a deep-cycle battery for it to work.
- 50-bird clay stack
- 25-foot pedal cord
- Easy assembly
- Not compatible with EasyBird Auto Feed Oscillating Base or EasyBird Wobbler
4. Do All Outdoors Fowl Play Auto-Feed Trap – The Easily Compatible Thrower
Just like the last thrower, this one comes with a long-corded foot pedal, for full control of the launching process. It can throw up to 55 yards per target, with about 2.5 seconds between each one.
Overall, it’s a great clay pigeon thrower that is compatible with several devices and remotes such as the Do-All Outdoors Trap Limo.
- 25-bird clay stack
- 25-foot pedal cord
- Ground spikes
- Ground spikes provide a powerful hold
- Compatible with the Do-All Outdoors Trap Limo
- Compatible with wobbler kits and wireless remote
- Only holds 25 clays
5. Do All Outdoors Double Eagle Auto-Feed Trap – The Largest Capacity
Another great feature it offers is that it lets you choose the number of birds you want per throw, either 1 or 2. Additionally, toggling between single and double targets only takes seconds. Likewise, the same goes for adjusting the different shooting angles you can choose from.
Lastly, this thrower comes with a few safety features like a safety ring that lets you know if you’re within throwing range, too.
- 90-bird clay stack
- 25-foot pedal cord
- 8 stacker poles
- A couple of wrenches
- A mainspring
- Horseshoes to hold your birdcage together
- Four legs
- Can throw 2 birds stacked on top of each other with one arm
- Can throw singles as well
- Compatible with Do-All Outdoors wireless remote
- Safety features
- Not compatible with wobbler kits
What Is the Difference Between an Automatic And a Manual Clay Pigeon Thrower?
The primary difference between an automatic and a manual clay pigeon shooter is the throwing range. Automatic throwers have a battery-driven motor attached to them, which gives the unit more power to propel a pigeon target.
On the other hand, a manual skit shooter needs an individual to hold the device and give the machine a swing to shoot the target in the air. Furthermore, manual shooters also need to be loaded with a target disc every time manually. Whereas, an automatic trap thrower cannot be loaded with a stack of targets.
If you are indulging in a shooting practice session alone, then an automatic clay pigeon thrower would be perfect for you. You just have to turn the machine on and set it to shoot targets on your command.
Automatic shooters come with foot paddles that can be pressed using your foot to trigger the machine and make it throw a skit in the air. On the contrary, a manual one is going to need two people. One will be using the machine to throw the targets in the air, and the other will practice shooting.
Another issue with manual ones is that the force applied to throw the skits is not the same every time. The range of the targets always varies, as they are thrown manually.
However, an automatic one can throw skits at a fixed distance every time. That way, you can practice shooting with a consistent pattern to get better at the game.
How Fast Can a Clay Pigeon Thrower Shoot a Target?
A clay pigeon thrower can have variable speed depending upon a manual shooter or an automated one. However, a typical automatic thrower can fire a target between 1100 and 1300 feet per second.
The machine propels these pigeon targets at a maximum speed of 80 mph. Throwers can vary the position and direction of the target discs, but most professionals can shoot a target within 20 to 50 yards midair.
Occasionally, you might need to take a shot at almost 80 yards. However, the chances of such a shot are not so common. Moreover, clay pigeon throwers, especially the automatic ones, have a spring-loading system that can be adjusted at will.
Even the direction is adjustable to make it shoot a pigeon target at a particular angle in the air for adding more challenge to the shooting experience.
So, the speed of a target depends on the chosen flight path for the clay pigeon disc.
Things You Must Know Before Buying A Clay Pigeon Thrower
The overall build of your clay pigeon thrower is something you can’t take lightly. You obviously want it to be durable and sturdy in order for it to last years, but there are a few other reasons you might not be aware of it.
Nowadays, most clay pigeon throwers you’ll find on the market are automatic. That means that you’ll have to set up all the equipment and everything on the ground. That’s where durability and sturdiness count the most.
If your clay pigeon thrower isn’t strong enough, you’ll find all your shots going off point. It’s kind of like when a sprinkler is broken; you can’t accurately predict where it’s going to shoot.
To that end, you need to look for a thrower that has a sturdy frame. Steel is the best material for this. However, you’ll find that several good choices also come with an aluminum-coated arm swing.
Build quality is important, too, because clay pigeon throwers are meant for outdoor use. That means they have to put up with all kinds of weather, which doesn’t just include snow and rain. Some clay pigeon throwers can be damaged from prolonged sun exposure. Hence, choose the right equipment based on the settings of your activities.
You want a clay pigeon thrower that offers the best performance and features. Make sure there are enough positive ratings to ensure that it really works as advertised. However, keep in mind that higher performance equals greater prices.
For performance, one of the first things you should look at is how many yards the thrower can shoot. Of course, the farther it can throw, the better it is.
Second, be sure to check the efficiency of its motor and its recycle time. A lot of clay pigeon throwers come with cutting-edge, innovative technology that can make the sport so much easier. So, if it’s within your budget, don’t be afraid to try one out.
Convenience is really up to you. It depends on how much time you spend with the clay pigeon thrower. If you’re an avid fan of the sport and you intend on spending some time with the thrower, then convenience is a must.
To that end, you should look for a clay pigeon thrower that is lightweight and portable. You don’t want to end up with back problems, having to carry a heavy thrower around all day.
That being said, don’t sacrifice build quality and durability, just for the sake of having a lightweight thrower. You’ll find a lot of durable yet lightweight clay pigeon throwers on the market, so don’t compromise.
Try to choose the least complicated clay pigeon thrower in terms of assembly. You don’t want to spend hours setting it up. Overall, you want to enjoy yourself and not spend time being annoyed and frustrated.
Likewise, a good thrower should be easy to operate, too.
Angle is a very important factor to consider when buying your clay pigeon thrower. The more it allows you to adjust the angle, the better your game can get. With so many options to choose from, pick a thrower that best suits your style.
Of course, the angle is only important when it comes to automatic clay pigeon throwers. Handheld ones don’t have a set angle because they rely on the thrower themselves to adjust the angle.
The last thing to consider when buying a clay pigeon thrower is the accessories that come with it. It’s always great to know that you’ll be getting a few additional items with your purchase, but you should decide what items are best for you.
Some throwers have battery cables, nuts, bolts, and clay guide rods. These can all be very useful and quite handy. Meanwhile, others even come with foldable chairs to maximize your comfort.
FAQs About Pigeon Clay Throwers
Q: How do you Adjust a Pigeon Clay Thrower?
First, the adjustment knob on the thrower’s side needs to be slackened. After that, you have to level the arm to your preferred elevation. Usually, the targets will fly high when the thrower is tipped back; while it will go low on the opposite angle.
Next, tune the tension nut on the spring according to how fast or slow you want the throws to be. Tighter equals faster, while loose equals slower. However, be careful not to loosen the nut too much: you’ll lose throwing power.
Third, hold the thrower arm firmly. Don’t pull the trigger yet.
Fourth, place a clay target on the thrower arm. Placing it in front will result in the clay flying left while putting it on the back will throw it to the right.
Lastly, you can now start throwing.
Ready To Buy The Best Clay Pigeon Throwers?
You’ve got a lot to think about if you’re going to buy a clay pigeon thrower. With all the different factors to consider for a skeet thrower, it’s only natural to be overwhelmed. After all, you don’t want to spend your money on something that isn’t worth it.
If you’re finding it hard to choose, why not pick one of the five clay throwers on this list? It covers all kinds of features, capacities, and builds. You can choose according to your preference and of course, your budget.
And, while you’re here, check out our detailed review of top-rated blowguns. For another fun activity that you can do during colder seasons, try learning how to snowmobile and get one of these greatest snowmobile lifts.
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