Shotgun shooting help - sight picture?


July 26, 2004, 09:03 AM
I'm relatively new to shotgunning, but I am really starting to enjoy it and have been trying to go sporting clay shooting, or sometimes skeet, somewhat consistently once or twice a month. I need some help though, with what to do with my eyes and sight picture.

I am used to shooting with both eyes open, in the past I have done mostly handgun shooting. So when I try to keep my eyes on the clay, I cannot tell exactly what my barrel is doing and where it is (it seems blurred and almost like a double picture) which is making it more difficult to tell what I do wrong when I miss. It is also tough to tell exactly how much lead I have, I just know I have some lead. I go with a friend who closes his nondominant eye, but that doesn't seem to be the right thing to do to me. What should I do or what should I practice? Or do I just need to shoot more and get more practice and experience?

Maybe it's tough because I am used to having both eyes open and focusing on my front sight and now I am having to tell myself to get my eye on the clay rather than my sights and I am not used to that and I really have to reorient myself.

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Dave McCracken
July 26, 2004, 11:41 AM
(Rolling up sleeves)....

OK, here we go. Start off at the low skeet house(7) and shoot going away shots.

Let the barrel get fuzzy, look at the clay. Have the clay in hard focus, you'll have the barrel in your peripheral vision.So NOT shift your focus to the bead or barrel.

Now bring the barrel to the bird and hit the trigger as it gets there. When that becomes routine, try incomers. Add angles and distance and voila! Another shotgunner is born.

July 26, 2004, 01:08 PM
When I started out in shotgun I took the time and money to get lessons from a very good coach. While some think it's too expensive it was well worth the money because you shorten the learning curve , and reduce frustration and avoid bad habits. A major problem with most rifle shooters is that they want to AIM. In shotgun you POINT. My coach showed that I was picking up the bird and starting to swing but then changing my focus from bird to front sight .Keep you eye on the bird. It will take a while !....As far as lead - some target shooters establish and maintain a lead as they swing . I found it much better , especially in hunting, to swing through and pull the trigger at the appropriate time. ...It's hard to define all this in words because each person sees things a little differently. You just have to let your computer [your brain , the best computer there is ] do it's thing.

July 26, 2004, 01:34 PM
Thanks for the help. I know this is really basic stuff, but sometimes the basics is what you need to focus on.

Dave McCracken
July 26, 2004, 04:02 PM
The 101 threads in the Archives may help.

July 26, 2004, 04:05 PM
I'd say the basics are mostly what you need to focus on. Once the basics are well learnt and ingrained, the rest should become easier (I hope).


July 26, 2004, 05:26 PM
Keeping both your eyes open is the key to consistancy. Your brain takes the information that your eyes give it to determine lead on the target. When one eye closes it shuts down half the information coming in.

AND I am surprised nobody said it yet BA/UU/R.* Dave I'm disappointed in you. :(

Basics, basics, basics. Work on one format of shooting, whether it be skeet or trap, then go to another once you are proficient with the first one then graduate to sporting clays. All the presentations you see in sporting clays will relate to skeet or trap. And have fun.

* Buy ammo, use up, repeat.

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