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Kemo Sabe

Shooting ZZ Birds

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Kemo Sabe

ZZ's, also known as Helice, is a shotgun game using synthetic birds that are anything but easy to hit.  For those of you who have no experience with them, here's an over view:

 

https://www.google.com/search?source=hp&ei=j8avWqWdG4rn0gKSmLCwBw&q=zz+birds&oq=ZZ+Birds&gs_l=psy-ab.1.0.0l3j0i22i30k1l7.3033.5928.0.14375.8.8.0.0.0.0.160.668.7j1.8.0....0...1.1.64.psy-ab..0.8.667...0i131k1j0i22i10i30k1.0.pYZNw-JXD18

 

ZZ's ( "Zinc Zarata") first came to the US in the late 60s, where it really did get going very well. The machinery and birds at the time just didn't cut it. Between then and more recent times, the game, the plastic birds, and the throwers have improved greatly. And many shooters are now jumping in. 

 

Over the last 6 months, I've become thoughly hooked. Yesterday, a friend and I drove 2 hours each way to a very remote area, where a gentleman has 3 state of the art rings  on his property, overlooking a beautiful lake. Participation was by invite only, and 35 of us had a really great day. 

 

This location has 3 separate rings. The prelim/warm-up is 5 birds at each ring, for a total of 15. I had a pretty good pre-lim, going 4 - 5 - 3 for a 12. The Main is two times through the rings, one before lunch, and one after. I didn't do well before  lunch of BBQ'ed chicken and Caeser Salad, with a 2 - 0 - 4 for a 6. But after lunch, I did really well, with a 3 - 5 - 5, hitting the last 13 in a row for a 13 total. Was second highest. 

 

If you have a chance, give this game a go. It's a bit pricey at $75 to $90 for a 30 bird race that includes a fantastic lunch -- but is well worth it.  Purses are not mandatory. 

 

You'll love it. Especially those of you who say "clays aren't like real birds." 

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dogrunner

Sounds like fun. What score ended up winning ?

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Kemo Sabe

A 28 x 30. 

 

I'm hooked on this sport as much as sporting clays right now. Maybe more. 

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Greg Hartman

It's supposed to be like box bird shooting.  I guess it's closer to the real pigeon ring than anything else, but I don't think it is the same at all.

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rawhide

Look at the United States Helice Assoc.    

 

It can be difficult anytime but especially so  on a windy day (normal here in North Central Texas).   I agree it can  be addictive.   

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Swampy 16

It would be interesting to see those scattered around a hunter clays type of course.

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mart

Wow. I've never seen it or heard of it before but it looks like something on which I could get completely hooked.

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Kemo Sabe
3 hours ago, Greg Hartman said:

It's supposed to be like box bird shooting.  I guess it's closer to the real pigeon ring than anything else, but I don't think it is the same at all.

 

Greg,

 

In my opinion, that with the new machines that throw the "birds", it sure seems  harder than real pigeons. At least,   everyone I've talked to seems to think that. With pigeons, the leading edge is the head. With ZZ's, there's no leading edge, and movements/change of directions are much harder to follow. 

 

Try it sometime with the new equipment. You'll be in for a real treat. 

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Kemo Sabe
3 hours ago, rawhide said:

Look at the United States Helice Assoc.    

 

It can be difficult anytime but especially so  on a windy day (normal here in North Central Texas).   I agree it can  be addictive.   

 

Spot on.

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dogrunner

Never seen a real pigeon hug the ground like a ZZ those are hard to break. Also tough to get a good read on it. 

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Kemo Sabe
1 hour ago, Swampy 16 said:

It would be interesting to see those scattered around a hunter clays type of course.

 

The Martinez Gun Club is a  Trap and Skeet club here in the Bay Area. The recently removed their old Helice machines, and redid the whole operation. Cost was $61,000. Of that, $41,000 was the cost of the 5 machines. Now, these are serious machines that hold 20 plus targets each, rather than just one or two like the old machines. But, that still gives you an idea of the cost. And not knowing which machine is going to spit out the ZZ is part of the challenge. 

 

Sticking one out somewhere in a clays course wouldn't be the same, and would be very costly to the owner. 

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Kemo Sabe
48 minutes ago, mart said:

Wow. I've never seen it or heard of it before but it looks like something on which I could get completely hooked.

 

Yup, it sure is.

 

Hang onto your hat, gun, and wallet!

 

I think this game is going to grow big time. The negative factor is cost, and about $2.00/$2.50 per bird for practice is the usual, $3.00 per bird for a tournament. Still, after you do it, get your butt kicked, and then finally figure it out, you can't wait to go back. My guess is that with time, it's going to be even better.

 

I highly suggest if you have the chance, jump into a 25 or 30 bird race. You'll be hooked in no time. It's a major kick in the ass. 

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Kemo Sabe
34 minutes ago, dogrunner said:

Never seen a real pigeon hug the ground like a ZZ those are hard to break. Also tough to get a good read on it. 

Excellent point.

 

During both of my last two shoots, I've drawn that very low bird coming out of the center machine, where it stays behind the machine and you can't get on it until it's more than half way to the fence, where it just all of a sudden pops up. Both times I drilled it hard, but it flew out over the fence, and is scored as a lost bird.    

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mart

I'm curious. Are the centers a clay target that breaks or a plastic ring that separates from the blades?

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rawhide

It is a white plastic cup, a "witness", and it must fall inside the fence to count.  My best race ever was a 24/25.  On the one that got away, I shot both orange wings off the bird (two shots), but the witness was still in the orange holder as it went over the fence about waist high.  There were jokes about super glue, but it happens.  The next day the wind was high, and things returned to "normal".  I had a couple of 0/5s !  

 

Several years ago in a Club Top Gun tournament we shot about everything the club offers over a long day, skeet, skeet doubles, trap, bunker, five stand,  sporting clays, etc., and of course helice.   The winner (not me!) won by only a few points, and those points were determined by the difference in the wind speeds and directions when he and the second place person shot helice:  a cold front came through just before noon.  

 

On a "normal day",  there is a prevailing wind from the SW strong enough so that a bird rising out of the left side  launcher (out of 5) in our main ring  is caught by the wind and is  rapidly carried toward the fence.  Most of the time the register will fall outside the fence even if one is gets on and hits that target quickly.  On the day mentioned above, the opposite was true.  The wind was strong from the NW.    But such things make it a great challenge.  

 

And regarding the cost of shooting helice, yes skeet (for example) is much less expensive, but hey!, I get more than my money's worth in the adrenaline rush shooting helice compared to a tranquil round of skeet.

 

 

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