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Posted on 10:00am Saturday 25th Aug 2012
Knowing how and where your gun patterns it's lead is very important and should never be over looked if your serious about your shooting. Something that every single shotgun shooter should know is that a shot gun is actually designed to shoot very slightly high if it fits properly. That is to say that only around 40% of the lead (led) shot leaves the barrels in a straight, flat line. The other 60% (70% if a game gun) rises very slightly just above the barrels or at least it should if fitted properly. This is done so that the shooter can actually see the target / bird killed without having to look for it by taking their head off the stock, which will of course end up with a miss, often over the top. As a result you often here an instructor tell you to shoot it's feet off or such like.
This is because if the site picture up the rib is correct when your cheek bone is on the stock, you will have to place the bead/muzzles so that the target just sits on the top of the barrels. That way the 60% will slightly rise and kill the target. If the target is a crosser you will also need to be in front as well of course. Swing through it's feet or start on it's feet before pulling way or following through. Game guns it should be said tend to place their lead 70% above the barrels because they are used to kill live targets so need a little more lead to do the job instantly and humanely......we hope.
Have a shot or two at a pattern plate and see where your gun puts it's lead, some of you will be surprised to find that it's not quite where you think it's going to be. Or you can try shooting at a large cardboard sheet in a field. Mark the centre of the sheet with a black dot about the size of a golf ball, then put your bead on it and shoot it from around 17/18yds. If all is well you should have a pattern that places about 60% just above the black dot and 40% dead central around the black dot. This should be done by shooting pre-mounted and also from out of the shoulder and as quick as you can (instinctively) to find a true reading. If your mount is not yet any good then just do it from the shoulder (pre-mounted) for now. If the shot pattern is anywhere else like over to one side or very high etc, get a qualified coach to have a look at the fit and your mount for you as soon as possible.
Posted on 10:00am Tuesday 14th Aug 2012
Believe it or not the position of your forefinger on the trigger is very important indeed for a smooth, gentle, minimalistic squeeze of the trigger. If you have your finger wrapped around the trigger or even in the first joint, you will find that the amount of movement of the finger you will need to both squeeze and also release the trigger (in order to cock the internal mechanism for second shot) is quite a lot. Too much movement can cause bad timing and inconsistent trigger pulling. The cure for this is to put the first pad of the finger (that's the one with the nail on it) on the trigger, but exactly half way across the finger pad. This will give a lot less movement in the finger and even help towards curing what's known as flinching, where you go to pull the trigger but don't so you have another go, all in an instant. Very frustrating is flinching.
Some guns have an adjustable trigger and may need adjusting to feel right when shooting this way. But it can be done on guns with fixed triggers with a little practice. This trigger technique will also help when you’re having trouble with shooting behind everything as your timing is better because it actually takes time to pull a trigger with your finger wrapped around it. Shooting with a shot gun is very instinctive and your instincts are spot on and you have to trust them when to pull the trigger.
So if you have a lot of extra movement in the pulling of the trigger you’re going to find that you will pull the trigger very slightly later than necessary, resulting in a miss right on the clays/birds tail. If you’re shooting game then it’s fine to have your finger on the trigger guard or the wood above it for safety but practice this finger technique before going into the field or you will have trouble. When Clay Shooting, put the finger pad on the trigger gently before you call PULL.
Posted on 9:00pm Wednesday 8th Aug 2012
We talked in an earlier blog about gunfit. Today I would like to talk about the benefit of an adjustable comb. I am of the opinion that comb height is the most important aspect of a good gunfit. Obviously due to the normal contour of a stock the comb slopes down from the action to the heel (rear top of) the stock. So before we can actually set the comb height we have to cut or lengthen the stock to the optimum length of pull. Once we have done this we can then adjust the comb height by shaving wood off the comb or adding wood or suitable packing such as leather, rubber or moleskin to raise the level of the eye to look along the rib. As I also mentioned earlier it is a total waste of time, money and effort to attempt to get a gun fitting correctly unless we are skilled in the process of correctly mounting our gun to the face. Note I said mounting the gun to the face, NOT sticking the gun to the shoulder and thrusting our head down and forward. WHY?
Try this simple check, mount your gun normally and look down the rib.
How much eye can you see? All of it and some cheek? Your comb is too high.
You can't see down the rib? You can only see the top lever? Your comb is too low and I 'll bet you have been guilty of lifting your head and missing regularly over the top
With an adjustable comb you can dial out all these vagaries of gunmount.
Find a suitable safe place to test your point of impact, if you have access to a pattern plate, fine. Stand 16 yards from the plate or whatever you are shooting at and shoot at a mark set in the middle of the plate. Do it a few times to allow for errors of mounting and then go to the plate and check deviation away from where you aimed. depending on how many inches it is from your point of aim you can alter your comb height or lateral placement as follows:- For every inch high on the plate lower your comb 1/16 of an inch. If you are 3 inches to the left, move your comb 3/16 to the left. Move your comb in the direction you want your shot to go. If you want to lift your shot, lift your comb. As I said an adjustable comb is the best value for money modification as you can effectively alter your stock bend and cast at the turn of an allen key.
Peter Harris is well known in the shooting world and is renowned for his knowledge of guns and gunfitting. Peter is a qualified instructor and can be found on the clay layout and in the game field.
Posted on 6:00pm Friday 20th Jul 2012
When you’re waiting for the clay and about to call pull, focus not so much on the area where you will see the clay first, known as your pick-up point, but on something behind it. It could be a 1/4 mile directly behind the flight path of the target, but focus on it.Do what? I hear you say.I'll explain.The way the muscles work in the eye is that in order for you to focus on a target some 30/40/50 yds away shall we say, the muscles have to make two movements or operations? But in order to focus back to the target from say 1/4 of a mile away only takes one movement/operation.That can have a dramatic effect on the speed in which you focus perfectly on the target.(Hard Focus)The object you focus on in the distance can be just about anything from a tree, a cloud, a cow, a fence post, a dandelion, a thistle, just about anything that is directly behind your pick-up point (The pick-up point is the place that you can first hard focus on the target.)Focusing on the distant object behind your pick-up point...the clay will go through your vision which will automatically latch on to the fastest thing moving it can see i.e. the clay. But the muscles only have one movement now to focus backwards onto it. The result is that you pick-up / focus on the clay about a second earlier which can have an effect that fools you into believing the clay is moving slower, giving you more time to get onto the clay target and shoot it smooothlyAmazing when used on battues as you can see them coming earlier.
Posted on 9:00am Sunday 8th Jul 2012
The place that your muzzles are positioned before calling PULL is absolutely vital to good shooting. Every target has what's known as a pick-up point. The pick-up point is the place that you first focus on the target. You will also have a gun hold point where you need to hold the guns muzzles. That place will be just a little ahead of the pick-up point. The exact place will be from your pick-up point X (times/multiplied) by your reactionary time. That is to say if you look at the pick-up point, call PULL and then bring your finger up to the clay as fast as you can as if mounting the gun, your hold point will be where you managed to put your finger on the clay target. This is where you put your muzzles. But always put them JUST under the flight line of the target, as you should ALWAYS come UP to a target. This way you will never lose sight of the target behind the barrels as it flies over the top of the barrels. If you have the muzzles too high it will cause all sorts of problems with your mount / swing / focus etc as you lose sight of it behind the barrels for a moment.
Posted on 6:00pm Tuesday 3rd Jul 2012
Gunfit by Peter Harris
What will this involve?
By Peter Harris – Instructor and expert on all things technical in the world of shooting.
Posted on 11:05pm Monday 2nd Jul 2012
Listed under: Guest Blogs
Phil Coley talks to Peter Wilson in the new "Top Shot in 2 Minutes" interview.
Posted on 9:00am Sunday 1st Jul 2012
SHOOTING TIP No2
From the second you first see the clay/bird/target you should be totally focussed on that target and nothing else. With your gun at the hold point, your eyes at the pick-up point and your leading foot pointing to your kill point, your all ready to go. From the first instant you see the target you should never take your eyes off that target what ever it may be, not for an instant. You need to stare hard at the target and nothing else at all while swinging. A good way of doing this is to try and read the name on the clay.
Most clays have a makers name written on them, quite literally try to read that name, you won't be able to of course but that's how hard you need to try. If it's a bird, try and stare hard at the beak and nothing else.
Once your swing is under way, never ever look at the guns rib/bead for any reason, it's usually fatal as it will stop or slow your swing for an instant and result in a miss, usually behind the target. Stay hard focussed on the target.