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Discussion Starter #1
Okay, I have to figure out what the heck is going on with my shooting. Years ago when I had my Labrador & hunted upland all the time I was actually a good shot. I had pretty much stopped small game hunting for several years after my Labrador died but now I have a young Drahthaar and I'm serious about it again. However now if seems like I can't hit anything and I've been trying different things like shooting with one eye closed as well as both eyes open. I'm left handed but right eye dominant and wear glasses. I'm trying to figure out how exactly I should be seeing the front bead when I mount my gun because I see it two different ways depending upon whether one or both eyes are open. I can't tell you how many shots I had on Saturday and I missed them all. I need to figure this out because my dog deserves better for all his effort.

Should I hit a trap range to try to figure it out? Do they offer pro services at these places? I'm also considering getting fitted for a shotgun so I have a better idea what I should be shooting? (I plan to get a classic SxS or O/U at some point.) I'd appreciate any good suggestions.
 

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The first thing you need to do is shoot with both eyes open. Closing an eye limits yourfield of view and makes people aim which makes them stop their gun and shoot behind the target. I would hazzard a guess you are either lifting your head or stopping your swing. You should get someone who is a good shotgun shooter or a coach to watch you shoot to determine what you are doing wrong but the 2 I mentioned are far and away the most common mistakes. Even it you were fit for a gun, the reason you are missing will not simply go away, you have to address them.
 

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if you were just trap or skeet shooting i'd worry about eye sighting more.
but if you intend to hunt shoot id keep both eyes open.
at this point you are probably over thinking it

when hunting its more of an instinctive point ,,pull trigger.
you really shouldn't notice the front sight, the barrel ,,or even the gun, all focus should be on the target.

for this to work you need a gun that fits you.
you can go about it in a few ways.
one is to find a gun that naturally fits you
or have a gun fitted to you.

going to shoot trap or skeet is always a good idea, you cant beat repetition, but shoot off the shoulder
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the advice John. I realize just getting fitted won't solve my shooting problem, I was looking at that as an addition to the primary concern of finding out what's wrong with my form.

TwistedOak I do think my current gun might be a little big because it's always a smooth movement when I mount it, especially if I have several layers of clothing.
 

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well even with a gun that fits ,there are a few things that can hamper a smooth shouldering.

when I choose a gun to hunt optimally I want a butt plate and not a recoil pad.
I also pay attention to what I wear on my shooting shoulder
one of my most annoying experiences was shooting trap in a loose fitting T shirt with a recoil padded gun.
its also why I use a fitted game vest and not a backpack style game bag.

all this with a gun that fits me
 

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After yrs of working w kids on trap team here's a few thoughts..
If you hv a ribbed shotgun...Take the bead off...
Learn to Shoot at your target w/o looking for the bead...or "aiming"...
2 open eyes...
Have you Patterned the gun ?
It's surprising how chokes pattern & loads can change your results...
Watch your loads on shells & speeds... Pick one & stick with it...
Find the combo you get best results with...Pattern & stick with it @ 20-25 yards...
Then go shoot some trap or sporting clays...
One of the beretta pro's told me form & fit is important in trap not so much in hunting
Situations.. He preferred fast up guns, light weight doubles.. With I/C &
Improved modified/light full chokes ... In his dbl set up...
But do some ground work first...confidence is a key foundational issue...in shotgun shooting..
 

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First, consider having your eyes checked...seems obvious but often overlooked.

Use the gunfitting money and take some shooting lessons, of a Fieldsports-level, for example...making note of the eye issues you may be having and that you are interested in birds, not clays.
Be very, very wary of gun club experts....shooting good scores is not close to the same as being able to communicate to another how to break birds.

Or,
leave the bead alone, use both eyes, shoot low-gun informal skeet(not trap or certainly not SCs) and concentrate on two things in a shot....focus and follow-thru while keeping wood pasted to wood. Aiding that, break the bird and then break a remaining piece....always shoot twice at a skeet target! This is not the game of skeet ...this is for learning to shoot birds...better.

Fit may be of value if you are fundamentally at some extreme of size but, I found it less than important for hunting...actually, as it most often requires a push-away mount, it is not conducive to shooting in the less than open cover of alder runs and clearcuts or plum thickets. However, if you ever do go for a fitting, the most important thing you can do is develop and ingrain a good and consistent mount....otherwise, the Fitter has a very tough job.
Fit, like gun weight, are message board darlings but are both factors the human body can often work with...shotgun balance or a dimension(length, grip size or stock bulk for example) that works against your present mount are both more important.

As to the bead...we all see the bead.
We all do not look at the bead.
Two different deals.
I would avoid those silly red and orange jobs up front.
The shooting lessons will likely offer several methods of establishing lead and one will no doubt work best for you and how you shoot.

Confidence breaks targets or swats birds....many times, regardless of gun or load or bead...work to regain confidence as Job #1.
 

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Don't listen to most people around you, they will just screw you up even more.

A book that may help you is "Instinctive Shooting, The Making of A Master Gunner" by Buz Fawcett.
 

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Ryan,

Have to disagree with most of the advice here. From my experience, shooting with both eyes open when you are cross-eyed dominant will only lead to failure. I am the same left hand / right eye dominant.

The whole premise of shooting a shotgun with both eyes open (and not looking at the bead) is the shotgun is naturally pointed in the same direction your master eye is looking. This is not true for people with cross-eyed dominance.

Most experts will tell you to learn to shoot right-handed. Easier said than done, I tried but was not very successful. I learned to shoot with one eye closed. With time, I taught myself to not look at the bead. You do lose depth perception though.

Do a google search and you will find products that let you keep both eyes open. One company markets adhesive dots, of varying transparency, that are strategically placed on your glasses to block the master eye pupil from seeing the gun. You still have your peripheral vision around the dot. Further research showed these dots are extensively used by skeet shooters with cross-eyed dominance.

Another product I found online was a long hollow tube and fluorescent bead that mounts to the rib of the shotgun. The theory was the fluorescent bead could only be seen by the eye aligned with the tube and your brain is tricked into using this eye.

I have not tried either product, since I am satisfied shooting with one eye closed. If I shot clay sports I might have tried them.
 

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Which is why an eye exam and a proper shooting evaluation can pay dividends.

I used the Dot for years for Registered Trap...helped.
What I found though that rather than true cross-dominance, my eyes changed in vision dominence over time. My right eye changes in prescription much faster than my left...being right-handed, it causes issues....it also happened when the eyes were fatigued.
Now, I no longer need the Dot except, at times, when tired.
True cross-dominance exists but I expect at a less degree than many believe.

The problem we all run into when shooting flying and hit a slump or whatever, we can try some change and by the simple fact of concentrating more....we appear to break the slump.
Much the same as finding a new scattergun and really doing well with it the first time out...and then, less so.
Concentration and Confidence....both key.

Good luck.
 

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I used the Dot for years for Registered Trap...helped.
What I found though that rather than true cross-dominance, my eyes changed in vision dominence over time. My right eye changes in prescription much faster than my left...being right-handed, it causes issues....it also happened when the eyes were fatigued.
Now, I no longer need the Dot except, at times, when tired.
True cross-dominance exists but I expect at a less degree than many believe.
You may be on to something here. Ryan had stated he was a good shot years ago. I am assuming he had both eyes open then. I realized the moment I started hunting at 12 that keeping both eyes open was a problem since I am truly cross-dominant. Seems to afflict lefties more.
 

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What JerrySS said... you have a cross dominance problem... that is what needs addressed first....
Ask the same questions on Shotgunworlk and see what responses you get...

G
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I had an eye exam less than a year ago. When I was a good shot I believe I kept my right eye closed. I've long been cross-eye dominant, always been a good bowshot and used to be good with the shotgun. For starters I am going to pattern my shotgun and also look into some shooting instruction. I may try to pattern it with right eye closed and then with both eyes open. I definitely think I've lost my confidence and I'm going to follow some of the good advice here to work on getting it back.
 
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