Composition of Clay Pigeons

Traditional Pigeons

    Most clay pigeon targets consist of petroleum-based hot pitch and milled limestone. These two ingredients are hot-molded together. Limestone makes up 60 to 80 percent of the target; the remainder is pitch.

Nontoxic Pigeons

    Newer pigeon designs are made from nontoxic ingredients including plaster, calcium bicarbonate, fly ash and heavy spar. These are not biodegradable, but they are not as harmful to the environment as traditional clay pigeon designs.

Biodegradable Pigeons

    Patents for biodegradable "clay" pigeons include simple, edible ingredients, such as sugar, birdseed and water. Grain is a possible substitute for birdseed.


    Composition of clay pigeons must be firm enough for the targets to remain intact when they are shipped, stored, loaded and thrown into the air. The targets, however, must also be fragile enough to break when they are struck by a small number of pellets from a shotgun blast.

About the Author

Jacob Buckenmeyer began writing professionally in 2005. His work has been published in "The Western Front," "Klipsun" magazine, "The Planet" magazine, "Catholic News Service" and various other websites and newspapers. Buckenmeyer has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Western Washington University.