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Problems with crossing birds

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by Fredericianer, Mar 29, 2013.

  1. Fredericianer

    Fredericianer Well-Known Member

    Hi guys,
    I was out with a buddy today shooting some clays, great fun despite the snow! I had a lot of problems with crossing birds though. After a few misses I set a clay up at about 20 yards, and tried mounting and firing. I smoked it with no problems.

    We then tried a few birds thrown from behind and away from me. I had no problem with these either.

    I'm not the most experienced shotgunner and the gun has pretty tight fixed chokes (measured to .669 and 0.692), so I'm wondering if the problem is likely to be my inexperience, improper fit, or overly tight chokes.

    If it's just me that needs more practice, have any of you any tips or ideas on the best way to do so?

    Thanks in advance for any input.

  2. bejay

    bejay Well-Known Member

    dont shoot clays much but the .669 does seem a little tight for clays probably just need more practice and experiment with how much you lead the target as its always going to be a variable.
  3. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

    how did you arrive at .669 and .692?

    On a nominal .729 bore, you are talking 60POC which way beyond even an extra full turkey choke
  4. Fredericianer

    Fredericianer Well-Known Member

    That was measured with my callipers. Maybe I should try again....

    Measured again, and it's 0.685 and 0.701. I must have forgotten to zero it when I measured it the first time....
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2013
  5. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

    If you are shooting on a skeet field, try using .005 - then pick a hold point, insertion point and break point. Hold your muzzle at the hold point, use your eyes only to look back at the trap; once launched, mount, move to your insertion point and pull the trigger while moving the gun to the break point
  6. Fredericianer

    Fredericianer Well-Known Member

    It's a fixed choke unfortunately, so I don't have the option of switching chokes, if that's what you're suggesting.
  7. btg3

    btg3 Well-Known Member

  8. JAshley73

    JAshley73 Well-Known Member

    I would suggest 1- Keeping your eye on the clay, not the gun barrel, and 2- practicing those shots more. I had, and still have trouble with crossers. What I have to remember is to keep watching the bird through the swing, and forget about the barrel. When shooting straight-always as is normal for me in trap, I get used to seeing the barrel, and it can be difficult to ignore that on crossers.
  9. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

    Fixed chokes - if your second measurements are correct, you still have a tight M/F combination - great for trap, handicap trap, bunker trap, FITASC, decoyed pigeons, driven pheasant
    A tad tight for sporting clays, 5-stand, compak
    REALLY tight for any form of skeet

    HOWEVER, that being said - IF you can learn to smoke the skeet targets at close range with those tight chokes, you will be successful at the other games because you have learned how to center your pattern on the target

    It is better to have more choke than not enough - especially when you get into sporting or bunker or handicap
  10. MSgtEgress

    MSgtEgress Well-Known Member

    Good advice from JAshley73 & 1OZ. You should also have both eyes open and focus on the leading edge of the clay. If you have access to a chronograph, you might check the muzzle velocity of the loads you are shooting, especially if they are reloads. Most of your standard leads are calculated at 1200 FPS muzzle velocity. A full deflection shot at a 40 mph bird (#4 station on standard skeet field) is about 4 foot of lead. If you are you less than 1200 fps you will not be giving it enough lead. It helps to have someone watching for the wad trajectory, (or if you have real eagle eyes the shot column) this will be a give away on if you are leading enough. Keep practicing.
  11. Snarlingiron

    Snarlingiron Well-Known Member

    That is the classic "swing through" method, and probably the hardest to master. Another technique known as sustained lead is to start your gun moving ahead of the target and maintain that lead while triggering the shot. This is the method I started using and it is easier for me at least.

    I took a shotgun clinic from Mike McAlpine and learned that there are several techniques for establishing lead.

    The technique I now use is collapsing lead. This is good for folks that are getting older and also for people that have injuries making it harder for them to move quickly. This is similar to the sustained technique, but you insert the gun well ahead of the target and slowly swing the gun while the lead collapses. When you see the correct lead you trigger the shot. The muzzle of the gun only has to move about 8 to 10 inches.

    This is a really good book that gives a great explanation of how to establish lead:

    Successful Shotgunning: How to Build Skill in the Field and Take More Birds in Competition by Peter F. Blakeley

    Available on Amazon.
  12. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Well-Known Member

    To add, remember with shotgunning "the swing is the thing." Stopping the swing too soon is a frequent beginner's problem.

    It is all the more important with crossing birds.

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