Why would you want to go and shoot clays? Simple! It’s bloody good fun – that’s why! Not to mention, its great practice no matter what your level of experience.
When I was first asked by the NZ distributor, NZ Ammo, to test the Do All Outdoors Clay Cannon, I eagerly agreed; having never shot clays before, I was excited to give it a go. Initially, NZRod&Rifle editor Dave and I were hoping to test this product together – Dave being the experienced shooter and me the novice – but due to busy schedules and family commitments, it ended up that I would write this particular review … and, as it turned out, along with Kate Bryant.
Now, I know what you’re thinking … why’s a person who’s never shot clays before going to review a clay thrower? Good question! Having no expectations coming into this and being free from bias isn’t a bad thing, but I was acutely aware that an experienced shotgunner to assist me would be a great idea.
My experience to date: two scant duck seasons under my belt and a solid day paddock shooting pigeons. I was hoping this history would give me, at the very least, some hand-eye coordination to pull this one off (pun intended).
Bryant Family Assistance
Not yet being a member of my local clay club, I just needed a good location for testing – which, living in a suburban area, I was struggling to find.
Enter, stage left, Kate Bryant, Thrill of the Chase writer, guide, hunter and all-round good sort who had generously offered the use of her family’s farm “anytime”. I jumped at the opportunity to take her up on the offer.
One sunny Friday arvo during the first week of the school holidays provided a slim weather window; so, a few texts later saw me arrive at Kate’s family’s farm with my 8-year-old son, Luca, in tow. There we met Kate’s twin sister, Sarah; her father, Jeff; and later, her mother, Kerry. After talking all things hunting over a few cups of tea and knocking back some tasty muffins, we all walked out to a spot on their property with a perfectly suited platform for testing clays; throw in a fantastic rural backdrop, and what more could you need?
I was thankful that the Bryant family were on hand to help with the testfire and to step in and assist with the shooting as – let’s face it – clays should never be left to just fall out of the sky!
Jeff suggested I be the first shooter, so I reluctantly stepped up for the first clay – and, to my surprise, I even hit the damn thing! After stating that I would quit while I was ahead and using the excuse that I should really be on the thrower, Kate and her family were gracious enough to step up and have a shoot … requiring minimal encouragement from me. They then proceeded to smash 98% of what came out of the thrower!
Jeff did point out that they already had a thrower and were known to have the odd clay shoot … which worked out perfect for this review, as they could comment on the performance of the test product as well.
For the next hour or so, everyone managed a turn on firing the Clay Cannon; Luca also got in on the fun proving that operating the Do All Outdoors Clay Cannon is child’s play.
Shooting clays – as it turns out – is awesome fun and is an activity best shared with friends and family. A great afternoon was had with plenty of banter and hospitality thrown in for good measure.
In our household, clay target shooting can be the cause of many a family feud. Too many people, not enough guns – that’s right, ladies … I do agree with your hubby when he says, “You can never have too many guns!” And someone must always draw the short straw and be on the trap controls or thrower. Well, look no further, because this is the answer we’ve all been looking for!
It soon became apparent that using the Clay Cannon was just as much fun as shooting the birds. In fact, it was harder to get Sarah to share the Cannon than it normally is to get her to share the gun; so, it’s my guarantee that with this contraption, you’ll always have someone chomping at the bit to fling some clays for you. And for the competitive friends out there, your turn on the Cannon gives you the power to ramp up the rivalry and be a little less predictable with the flight path of the clays in comparison to your standard thrower.
The Do All Outdoors Clay Cannon is a handheld, portable clay thrower compatible with mini‑, midi‑ and standard-sized clays; it’s capable of throwing in either single, stacked or nested clay configurations.
An adjustable knob is used to increase speed and tension. Out of the box, it’s a simple matter of attaching the support handle onto one of two available moulded plastic picatinny rails located near the front of the thrower. This can be done on either side for comfort of a left- or right-handed user. A good-sized trigger grip is provided and a plastic trigger with a cross-trigger safety.
To get maximum velocity, we set the spring tensioner on full to get maximum velocity; this is a simple process of turning the tensioner knob clockwise as per the instructions, which recommend 20 turns, or you can use the indicator on the trigger housing as a guide.
Loading the Cannon is a simple process of pulling back the throwing arm to the stop and, when hearing the click as in engages the trigger mechanism to hold its position, applying the safety.
Using standard-sized Promatic clays for the test, we initially loaded up singles, making sure they were placed in the correct position on the throwing arm. There’s a lip located close to the axis point on the throwing arm; just slide the clays up against that and you’re good to go.
The Cannon threw single and nested clays without any issues; the average distances are recorded below.
Single Clay: 38 meters
Double nested: 27 meters
Double stacked: 29 meters
We found the trigger release a bit stiff at first, but in the end, with a little practice, even Luca could operate it. A great tip Jeff discovered was to use your middle finger on your trigger hand as this left your index finger available to support the Cannon.
While testing the Clay Cannon, we wanted to know exactly what it was capable of. Obviously, we started off by sending one bird flying and, as expected, it flew nicely. Then we tried sending two birds to simulate a pair. We stacked two birds, one on top of the other, and came to the conclusion that although they did fly, it required a little higher angle of projection to get them to fly adequately. This didn’t provide much of a challenge, though, as their flight path didn’t spread well and allowed for breaking both birds with your first barrel.
Next up we tried two birds nested – side by side along the throwing arm – which made for a better spread and a little more of a challenge. Third up was three birds, two stacked – sitting on the ridge, nearest the axis of the throwing arm – and then a third bird nested beside them. We established that even with the tension cranked right up, there wasn’t enough strength to throw a good spread with all three birds. I’m aware that for sport shooting, you can only have two shells in the gun, so theoretically, there should be no need for three birds to be thrown at once; however, in simulating real-life situations where multiple birds will likely fly, it makes for good practice, and in all honesty, it satisfied our curiosity.
We also briefly tried sending out a couple of high birds vertically, which wasn’t all too successful. For starters, we had trouble keeping them in the thrower without falling out due to the angle at which we were launching them, and then, when we finally did throw them, they didn’t fly well. We didn’t have any rabbit clays to try, but I’d assume the same issues would present as with throwing high birds in that it’d be hard to keep targets in the thrower without them falling out. Holding the Clay Cannon horizontally (as designed), with either one bird or two birds nested, definitely yielded the best results.
If you’re looking for a handheld portable thrower that throws multiple configurations, can be easily transported and requires zero set-up, then the Do All Outdoors Clay Cannon should be at the top of your list.
This product will provide hours of family fun for both the shooter and the thrower!
One thing to keep in mind is that because the Clay Cannon requires a person to operate it, the thrower won’t be out at the standard 16 yards (or further) ahead of the shooter as is common practice with trap shooting. Therefore, you’ll be shooting at birds that are being launched beside the shooter and hence, probably at a lesser distance than in a competitive setting. Although this isn’t an Olympic-grade thrower, this is a great piece of equipment for an afternoon of fun with friends and family.
Girlfriends of the mad outdoorsman who already has everything – are you stuck on what to get your man for Christmas? Boyfriends who have no idea what gals like/want/need for Christmas – do you want to involve your missus on quality outdoors time but not sure how to rope her into it? Trust me on this one, ladies, this is a sure-fire way to finally get more time on the gun! Look no further … this one has my seal of approval!
A big thank you to Kate Bryant and the Bryant family for their hospitality and the use of their property when testing this product.