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Shooting for Fun

The Exotic World of Sporting Clays Offers Outdoor Settings to Test Your Shooting Skills
Ross Seyfried
From the Print Edition:
Jack Nicholson, Summer 95

(continued from page 3)

This was a world-class station, difficult in the extreme. Six was an exceptional score; zero was common. Walking away from this giant, the best I could do was hope to conquer it some day, swallow my pride and shoot as well as I could for the next 50 birds. It wasn't so bad. After all, there would be other days and other courses.

In fact, there are sporting clays ranges everywhere. These are not dusty, remote outposts but are often right within the confines of major resorts specializing in golf, tennis, skiing or equestrian sports. Mildly exotic locations such as Acapulco, Maui, Vail and Casa de Campo at La Romana in the Dominican Republic (near a Consolidated Cigar factory) all feature sporting clays courses. The current National Sporting Clays Association directory lists ranges in all 50 states, Canada, Mexico, Jamaica and Puerto Rico. Most countries in Europe and the United Kingdom also have one form or another of clay target shooting. The best sources for information relating to ranges, instructors and equipment are the National Sporting Clays Association and Sporting Clays magazine. The magazine comes as part of your annual membership in NSCA, or can be had separately. This dedicated journal lists ranges, tournaments and instructors and has the advertisements that sell the toys. The NSCA headquarters address is: 5931 Roft Road, San Antonio, Texas 78253. Telephone: (800) 877-5338.

Shotgunning is a sport of kings that is accessible to almost everyone, especially cigar smokers. I have not encountered a range where cigars are not welcome. Of course, the aroma of a fired cartridge is a wondrous thing to a sporting clays aficionado, but it's made all the more so by the sweet smell of a great cigar.

Ross Seyfried is a sporting clays enthusiast who has written for various shooting journals.

The Director's Shot

With a subject like shooting sports, so foreign to so many, it seems that a translator would be appropriate. Who better to play the role than writer, director, filmmaker and connoisseur of fine firearms and cigars John Milius (The Wind and the Lion, Apocalypse Now, Conan the Barbarian and Geronimo)?

CA: Your taste in firearms is extraordinary. Do you collect other things?

Milius: No, actually, I don't--possibly excepting cigars. My firearms collection more or less covers all of the collecting bases. They are fine art and history. I smoke my cigars and shoot my guns, even the finest ones. They are art that I can use and enjoy. Fine arms, like the great cigars, are part of the renewed interest in fine, handmade things.

CA: Why would you collect guns? I'm sure that concept is lost on many people.

Milius: People have again realized that these are one of the great triumphs of men. They are truly art. It might take 1,000 man-hours to create the best gun. A gun in many ways is even more precise than a watch. It has to endure the great stress of firing, and it ages with you. When you get something that is so well made, by hand and machine, that it works perfectly, it is as pure in its function as it is in form. Very few things exist like that today. A fine shotgun in heavy use not only will last through your lifetime but through five or six lifetimes.

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