Re: Tips for wing shooting and pointing a shotgun?
HERE IS AN EXCERPT FROM THAT OLDER ARTICLE I PUT UP THE OTHER DAY:
Grouse are hard to hit because they almost always surprise you, because they are in range for only a couple of seconds, and because a shotgun doesn't point as naturally as your finger. You can't do much about the first two problems, so to improve your grouse shooting, you have to make the shotgun an extension of your pointing instinct. Some practical suggestions:
•Focus: While hunting, keep your eyes focused on the middle distance. When a bird gets up, watch it, not the gun. Use your unfocused, almost subliminal view of the barrel as a pointing aid while you devote 98 percent of your attention to the bird.
•Gently, gently: Bring the gun to your face, not your face to the gun. When you mount your shotgun to shoot, push it slightly forward, track the moving target with the muzzle, and then bring the stock gently up to your face and shoulder just before you shoot.
•Get fit: A shotgun "fits" fairly well when you bring it to your shoulder and find that the eye on that side is above the centerline of the gun, with the barrel's top rib appearing level and on the same plane as the eye. The gun will then shoot where you look. <span style="color: #FFFF33">If the rib seems to be slanting uphill, the top of the stock is lifting your shooting eye too high and the gun will shoot high.</span> If the stock is too low, you won't see the rib at all and your gun will shoot low. It's OK if a grouse gun shoots a little high, but a low-shooting gun is a disaster. A low stock can be built up with stick-on rubber pads.
<span style="color: #FFFF33"> I can see the rib on my O/U would I be wise to try and pattern this by trying to shoot instinctively/pointing. What can be done so I am not seeing the rib of the gun. It appears to have a higher rib.</span>
•Be ready: In the field, carry your gun with its muzzle at eye level and hold the stock against your right rib cage with your right forearm (or vice-versa for left-handers). The barrels should be angled out about 45 degrees from the front of your body, and at a 45 degree upward angle.
•Be binocular: If possible, learn to shoot with both eyes open. To find out if you can be a "two-eyed" shooter, make a half-inch circle with your thumb and forefinger. With both eyes open, concentrate on a small object about 20 yards away. Keeping both eyes open, extend your arm to its full length and center the object in the circle. Now move your hand slowly back to your face, keeping both eyes open and the object centered in the circle. The eye that the circle naturally comes to is your dominant eye, the one your brain uses to point at things. If your dominant eye is on the same side as your shooting shoulder, you're in luck. Two-eyed shooting should be fairly easy for you. But if you shoot from the right shoulder and have a left dominant eye, you'll have to learn to close your left eye as you mount the gun, letting your right eye do all the work – and vice-versa for left-handers.
•Follow the leader: If you are right-handed, your left hand grips the forestock of the gun, and is called the "leading hand." When a grouse flushes, you'll hear it before you see it. Your body will instinctively turn toward the sound and, when you see the bird, your leading hand will point the gun near it, usually just behind it. As you move the gun to the bird, the stock will come up to your shoulder almost automatically.
•Swing through: A moving target must be shot with a moving gun. Once you've learned to mount the gun smoothly, instinct will bring it up right behind the bird. Swing through the bird, fire when the gun passes it, and keep swinging along the bird's projected line of flight. Keep your cheek firmly on the stock until well after the shot is fired.
<span style="color: #FFFF00">I think this will be the biggest barrier for me. I could see me wanting to point in front of the bird and shoot and hope he flys into it.</span>
This "swing-through" method gets the gun moving faster than the bird. Your eyes and hearing find the bird in the air, your instinct points the gun just behind it, and your conscious mind sweeps the gun through the bird to fire at the place where it is going to be a fraction of a second later. Don't worry about how far you have to "lead" the bird. Just remember this sequence: behind–beak–bang.
<span style="color: #FFFF00">Looks like it is more about the mechanics of allowing your left arm to go to the bird, while mounting, and your eyes meeting with your arms, swing through and fire. To be honest, some of the birds I have missed, I had about 1500 thoughts going through my mid at the same time and whiff every time. Seems you are better off just picking up the gun and trusting your instincts.</span>
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