The folks at Champion Target know that when it comes to recreational shooting there are few activities more satisfying then breaking clays. While rifle and pistol shooting require the precise application of shooting fundamentals, shotgunning is about allowing instinct to take over to get your bead on target and smash that unsuspecting clay bird. Nothing is more satisfying than busting a clay and seeing tiny quarter-inch fragments pepper the sky. If you are really good, you will be able to score hits “right out of the box” and nearly disintegrate your target, which is commonly referred to as a “duster.”
The only thing that feels better than dusting a clay is dusting clay, after clay, after clay…and for that reason Champion Target has developed the Flash Clay. Flash Clays are a brand new-product for 2019 that reproduces that orange cloud of success with each and every hit through an ingenious little cavity in the center of the bird. This cavity is filled with an orange powder and then closed with a biodegradable sticker, resulting in a standard dimension clay that produces a dramatic effect when shattered.
Eager to try some of these out, we scooped up a few cases and a few buddies and hit the range for an impromptu clay-breakin' session. We brought out the Champion Workhorse clay thrower that we've had for a few years to test how well they fed through electronic machines. (The Workhorse is a lightweight, compact electric trap that runs very easily off of any 12-volt source, such as a car battery or even a jumper pack.) We also brought out some standard clay targets to see if the additional powder and sticker would change the flight path or slow them down. For our session we also tried out Federal’s new lead Top Gun Sporting Clay load, as well as their new lead-free Upland Steel shot shells.
Our test day was an absolute scorcher, 95 degrees in the shade and of course we were set up in direct sunlight. Bright sunlight washes out the normally spectacular contrast that clay targets offer, but the Flash Clays were highly visible, especially when struck. Even when just a few pellets skimmed off the top of a target we saw a spectacular cloud of orange dust float away. The Top Gun sporting loads really cut down the amount of lead that we would normally need on laterally moving targets. We got to a point where we were pulling the trigger with the bead nearly on the clay. Swapping over to the Upland Steel loads we saw nearly identical performance, without having to change chokes. Both loads are similarly priced should you need to explore lead-free options to satisfy local regulations. Federal has been working rigorously to bring the price of their steel offerings down to nearly the same price as their lead counterparts.
Federal’s new affordably priced Upland Steel is loaded with the heavy metal that tastes great and is less filling, satisfying even the peskiest of conservation agencies. (Seriously though, don’t eat these shells, or any for that matter……or tide pods, that’s gotta stop too.)
As an instructor I saw the value in these new clay targets right away, as it allowed me to spend more time concentrating on the shooters’ form and follow-through instead of having to snap my head up and see if they actually broke the clay. The “hang time,” if you will, was substantially longer than that of a traditional clay and everybody around gets to see the break in vivid detail when a new shooter successfully demolishes one. Not only that, but man—what a feeling to see that kind of reaction from a target when you successfully land your first pile of shot on a flying bird!
Before concluding our range day we took the new Flash Clays along with some standard clays to an open sandlot, and just threw a handful of each in a staggered configuration of one standard clay, followed by one flash clay to see where they landed. Using a Nikon rangefinder, we ranged the Workhorse from the center of the pile and confirmed a distance of 49.2 yards. Both brands of clays traveled to a nearly identical point of impact, and the machine didn’t experience a single hiccup as it alternated between both types of clays.
Above all I wanted these clays to produce the advertised dramatic puff of orange “smoke” when struck—and they certainly didn’t disappoint. Second to that my hope was that they would perform exactly as a standard clay, and they absolutely succeeded on that front as well. If you are looking to add a little fun to your family range day, get some amazing pictures or enhance a training session, give them a whirl. At an MSRP of only $19.99 per box of 90 targets it certainly is easy to pull the trigger on them (sorry). Click here to learn more.