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Game Shooting Better

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Briarscratch

If you move your gun significantly faster than a target or a bird, your eyes will move to the barrel.

That part of your post, the whole post really, is very interesting to me. I never really realized that. Thank you for the post.

This alone significantly improved my shooting.

Prior to Dave pointing out my error, I would hold the gun at port arms and then mount.  This caused two fatal errors.  The first was the down/up motion of my muzzle as I mounted.  The second, and worst, was the fact that my eye would go to the barrels as I brought them across my field of vision faster than the bird or target. Inevitably I'd shoot behind because I was more or less aiming the shotgun.  Now, I hold the gun at a more horizontal position below the level of my eyes.  This way I maintain a better visual lock on the target and bring the gun to it, vs. playing catch up.   I've shot more grouse this season than in the previous two combined and I attribute it to this lesson as well as the confidence gained from breaking targets more consistently.  Now, if I get a good look, I generally expect to kill the bird.

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Guest
I have to agree there as that has been a frustration of mine as well...many of the people who have showed me something at the range are pretty good at showing you how to hit high 2 or low 8 at a skeet range (sometimes because that's all they do) but they are not showing you how to simply shoot better--I do not think many of these "lessons" carry over to other clay games like sporting, and certainly not to the field.  I would not call the above shooting instruction though...what PC is talking about is learning the fundamentals of shooting better in ANY situation, first in a controlled situation on a range, and then taking those lessons to less controlled range situations and then transferring those elements of good shooting into the field--that stuff is universal in my admittedly limited experience.

Bosco,

Those people "at the range" who were showing you how to hit something in particular probably are not certified instructors.

Good shooting instructors -- which there are a number of if one looks -- teach fundamentals first, just like in any other sport. It's not where you missed, but rather why you did, and how you correct your fundamentals.

But again, to many of you this stuff is new. But it's material that's been around for a long time, and there's been many good instructors around a long time who've been preaching it.

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bosco mctavitch

Gary, you'd think so but it certainly doesn't seem that way sometimes.  I agree, and that's why I said I don't think of thse focused tips as instruction.  

Unfortunately, in many places there really aren't any qualified instructors without travelling quite a long way, so it's something that I and I think many others have never done simply because it has never been as easy as just signing up for a lesson...an unfortunately the guy at the range who shoots skeet all the time (but isn't an instructor) all too often ends up being the only easily available option.

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Guest

If you move your gun significantly faster than a target or a bird, your eyes will move to the barrel.

That part of your post, the whole post really, is very interesting to me. I never really realized that. Thank you for the post.

Jack Mitchell first discussed that with my friends and I in the early 90's.

He presented it as "your eyes have a strong tendency" to move towards the barrel if it's moving faster than the target.  Human eyes like to lock onto the fastest moving object in their field of vision. Yet, it's something you can many times teach your brain to over come with a strong target focus.

But the point is a very valid one, and is one of the reasons why most competition shooters insert in front of a very fast, long crosser.

And why it's good  to avoid any unneccessary gun movement.

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pathfinder

PC, never considered the gun moving faster than the bird problem. Makes sense. I have studied and practiced Churchills mounting method. He advocates approaching the game[ or shot] with the gun tucked under the armpit, the barrel pointed horizontally inso far as possible. This approach to game[ or a point ] works well in a field or on a target line.

  Most of the places I hunt you couldn't take 2 steps with your gun in this pre- mounted position. Plus, if you had to pivot, your gun would almost certainly hang up on something.

   I have attempted to learn to mount from the port arms position- the gun held vertically fairly close to  the body. For some reason I always lose focus on the bird sometime during the mount. If I re-establish this focus, I usually hit it. But, at birds, I'm usally in too much of a hurry, and shooting at a blur.

   In your post, you allude to coming to some sort of a learned pre-mount position. May I ask what sort of position you use, or advocate? Also, do you think it is possible, to go from port arms to this position, without losing focus on the bird?

   I really would appreciate any thoughts you might have on this subject. I have tried a few things, but have not yet determined a good enough plan to commit to the hours of practice, and the change of mindset to really try this.

   Most of what I have read on this  subject assumes everyone hunts behind a butt[ enlish] , or in a field of waist high cover at most. Those of us who hunt in real brush, are given short shrift, to put it nicely. I have never had the opportunity to question someone who really hunts, and advocates the low gun position.

   So please, thoughts, and/or solutions would be considered and practiced, I can assure you.

                           Thanks  in advance.

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Hunshatt
what kind of dog do you hunt with path?.... it's germain to the gun position

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franchi

Hi All:

   I took a lesson from Dave and it helped me shooting!  I had been coached by a world class skeet shooter who ruined me for game shooting! Dave undid all of the bad things that I had been taught and showed me that connecting with a bird is not that difficult.

  May I point out the main problems that I was doing before Dave's lesson.

                                                Franchi :)

   I was rushing my mount.

   I was shooting too quickly.

   My mount was inconsistent.

   I did not focus on the bird but rather worried about getting a shot off at the bird.

   I hunt over a pointer that gives me a long time to set up my shot so there is no reason for me to rush a shot.

   I was lifting my head off of the stock to see if I had hit the bird.  There is no reason to do this as one can see if he has hit the bird by keeping his head on the stock.

   Dave broke me of this bad habit by having me shoot a second shot to break the small pieces of the same clay pigeon that I had broken with the first shot.

   I will let Dave give you more of his knowledge in another post, but listen to the man as he is a great coach and shooter!

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fuess
PC-  do you subscribe that the unfortunate from outside the tri-state area who cannot take you up on your offer subscribe to the Carlyle tapes, as it sounds to me, you subscribe to some similar philosophies??

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PartridgeCartridge

Anyone wishing to do better would be helped by a number of different shooting systems. Dan's concept is rock solid, but, then again, some don't get it. Digweed is awesome too but many can't match his pull thru. The list can go on and on..

BUT... I'm not trying to help folks here become better clay shooters.

What I am trying to accomplish here is to use carry over methods that translate well into the field. That is no small feat given the unique requirements we, as hunters often face.

Especially Ruff hunters.

I don't try to show them proven techniques as technique falls apart in an aspen cover. Pull away and sustained stuff just doesn't belong there.

But good mounting principles do, as does good eyework and dynamic balance changes.

I'm not offering anything new or even suggesting anything new. I'm just giving folks access to a knowledge base that will, without a doubt, help them to be better upland gunners.

It's about helping old friends and new friends to achieve something that they all desire. Nothing more, nothing less.

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pathfinder
what kind of dog do you hunt with path?.... it's germain to the gun position

I have a 5 yr. old brittany. She's methodical and  sure. Very good on quail and grouse. Also a 3 yr. old gsp. She's just coming into her own this year. Fast and furious. Locks up tight when she manages to point them.

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Cooter Brown

If you move your gun significantly faster than a target or a bird, your eyes will move to the barrel.

That part of your post, the whole post really, is very interesting to me. I never really realized that. Thank you for the post.

This explains a lot--in my mind's eye I can recall misses and good solid hits, and in some of those misses I see where this came into play.

Great post and interesting discussion.

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Kenai
I think those of us attending the UJ midwest get together this summer should try to get PC to attend.  I'd be willing to chip in for his travel expenses....any others?

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SydneyWI

I think those of us attending the UJ midwest get together this summer should try to get PC to attend.  I'd be willing to chip in for his travel expenses....any others?

+1

Great Stuff Dave, wish I had asked you some of this stuff earlier in the season, might have saved me some frustration. You have verbalized exactly what I have been struggling to grasp, thanks!

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