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Second run at clays, or How John got his butt handed to him...

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by Okiecruffler, Aug 24, 2008.

  1. Okiecruffler

    Okiecruffler Well-Known Member

    Okay, I show up at the range today, a little early. The guys I was shooting with hadn't showed up yet, so I thought I'd try my hand at trap. Looked easy, just point and shoot. How did I do? Let me finish this story with smileys....:banghead::fire::cuss::barf::confused::banghead::banghead::(
    Roughly translated that says, "How can I only hit 4 of 25 clays? Am I loading with blanks? I think my eyes are open. Maybe I should try with my eyes shut, then at least I won't see when I miss." I may never admit to this again, but I think the SXS is a huge handicap in trap. When I did connect it was with the clay completely obscured by the barrel and with that wide sighting plane it's hard to tell if you're spot on or just a bit to the side.
    Then I went to the skeet range. Figured I had to improve on my scores from last time. Nope, not gonna happen. 10 and 11. Now, not only are the F/M barrels a hinderance, I've convinced myself that they are. Didn't help that I was shooting with 2 fellas who shot a 25/23 and a 24/24. On yeah, my tail was way up between my legs. Okay, so now I'm convinced that I need a new gun or new chokes. But it was the first time out with this one since I bought it and it ran 75 with no problems. So at least something worked out OK.
  2. Oldnamvet

    Oldnamvet Well-Known Member

    Paging Steve (sm)

    We need a bit of your encouragement and wisdom. I'd try it but sometimes I feel exactly the same way. We had one guy today shooting with his brand new Browning O/U with the ported barrels. I think he was convinced that the shot was actually being diverted out through the holes rather than going out the end. Practice is the only answer -- provided that you have patterned your gun and know where it shoots compared to where you are pointing. I had one that always shot way to the right. Which, once I figured it out by patterning, explained why I seemed to shoot great on the left to right crossers but terrible on the right to left.
  3. DaleCooper51

    DaleCooper51 Well-Known Member

    You were having an off day.

    Don't let it discourage you from going back.

    I had a pretty rough day a few weeks ago. An older gentleman that was shooting next to me offered up the following advice which seemed to help me.


    Don't anticipate the bird.

    Shoot for the leading edge of the bird.

    And most importantly Have fun.
  4. sm

    sm member


    You are where you need to be and where you are is fine!

    It ain't so much the gun, instead you.
    You are going through the normal beginning growing pains.
    This is the time most critical in not getting into "buying skill and targets".

    -SxS do very well on driven birds.
    -Single sight plane is advantageous for clay sports.
    -Skeet is best shot with more open choke.
    -Trap is best shot with Mod for a new person and Full is for more experience and longer yardages.
    -Gun fit to shooter, correct basic fundamentals, and trigger time with quality practice and lessons.
    - Shooting is 90% mental, 10% Physical - Misseldine
    -One does well, then as pressure gets greater, shoots worse, then better, worse...Stairsteps.
    -Pink Clouds rain disappointments.

    Meaning if a shooter shoots at his home club a 90, for fun, the first club shoot it is not uncommon for him/her to shoot a 78 or something. The mental game is not used to shooting under that kind of pressure.

    Same person get to where they shoot 100/100 for fun, the club shoots even see them run in the 90's and they shoot a state shoot, they might fall back to the 80's.
    State shoot has a lot more mental pressure.

    This experience from shooting at the state level will enable them to shoot better in fun, and they will shoot much better at the local club shoots.

    Mental game of shooting under pressure, has to be done in order to get the mindset, and skillsets in order to effectively use the the tool sets.

    One can shoot a gun, it is the darn mental game that gets to them.
    They have the stamina to shoot 4 boxes ( 100 rds) , it is the mental game that fatigues and wears them down.

    John, you know that 311 like a body part.
    It fits you, you have lots of trigger time and your mental game is spot on when you hunt with it.

    So for you, you are an exception for some things.

    It is normal to feel pretty good, and be walking in a Pink Cloud and then have disappointments rain down.

    Forget the gun, forget the chokes, if you really want to use skeet to learn to be better than you are at hunting.
    Just pattern the gun, and do a lot of dry fire practice in both shooting correctly and using the mental game.

    You know about the mental game due to your work.
    You know all about dis-association and compartmentalizing yourself from patients and families.

    John, nothing exists when you step on that pad but the leading most edge of that clay.
    This is where the big boys and big girls beat everyone in any competition they do.

    Their mental game is that good!

    Many do not use beads on guns, not even custom guns. Still if a bead falls off, so what? They don't even waste a milliwatt of energy thinking about it.

    Their teenage kid, just backed the family car into the trash cans ...
    It does not exist when they step onto the pad.
    Hot, Cold, Wet, Wind, Sun, Dark ( shooting under lights) ...it does not matter.
    All they concern themselves about are the leading most edge of that clay.

    Seasoned hunters are the same way, and that is what you are, just now you are shooting a different bird.

    You have the mental game for your "bird", and not for these new clay species.
    Lots of clay shooters do not have the mental game, for live birds or small game. On a clay field , they are hard to beat.
    A dove, quail, will beat them down and they will feel awfully bad about the way they shoot.
    If they do not have a good mental game, that dove/quail hunt will beat them down on the clay field next time too.

    What do you want to accomplish?

    John, you and I have shared too many times, and you and I working together have assisted too many folks over the years about these things.

    How many times have we assisted someone that when it was all boiled down, really wanted a new gun?

    WE did not have a problem with them wanting a new gun, remember?
    That Mental Game will stop dead still and not move due to something like wanting a new gun, or certain ammo, new shooting glasses , ear /eye gear...

    John, just access yourself honestly on what you want to accomplish.
    If you want to use your 311 and be better than you are using skeet then do so and have fun.

    If you want a new gun, and get into the Skeet for a new dimension in life, new folks, and all, then let us get you a gun that fits you, some quality lessons and go that direction.

    Skeet is my recommendation for you as it will replicate your hunting needs.
    Since you like 20 ga, you can break any target on a Skeet field with a 20 ga, and shoot both 12 gauge and 20 gauge events.
    28 ga will allow you to shoot 12 , 20 and 28 ga events.

    Trap is fine, and I will recommend a 12 ga, and Mod choke.

    I suspect since you are used to break open guns, and having less receiver, than a Semi or Pump has, you will lean toward a O/U.

    You are too accustomed to a break open and where a shotgun balances in the hands.

    Will Fennell would be a good one to holler at, and check into his DVD.

    A good used O/U can be had and Will and others around here can assist with all sorts of questions.
    I get rich I want either a Beretta, or Perazzi.
    If I ever get serious about competitions again, ( and the bug has bit big time!)
    I know how I will go about this and have some really ideas based on previous experiences.

    I am over 50 years old and have this notion I want to get into Int'l Skeet and /or what Will shoots.

    Never said I was smart now did I?

    First thing I would do is forget anything I think I know about shotguns and shotgunning and go see Will Fennell and start at ground zero.
    I would do a lot of home exercises ( like a wooden dowel) and lots of dry fire drills.
    I would drive Will nuts with giving me lessons.
    I have the "bugging the fire out of someone" down pat.

    John, you have me and others around here and we are here for you.

  5. Virginian

    Virginian Well-Known Member

    When shooting a field gun at regulation trap all you have to do is pick your head up. Of course, next time you go hunting.... That's why I think Skeet is a much better game to practice for hunting. I am usually pretty fair at skeet with a SxS, but not with F&M chokes. That's a huge handicap at skeet.
  6. Okiecruffler

    Okiecruffler Well-Known Member

    Now I don't want you fellas to think I'm too discouraged. I went out to have fun and that's what I did. The game does surprise me abit tho'. I don't think I've ever respected it enough. I figured I shoot at least 90% kills when hunting, how hard can skeet be? Well, now I know. And I'm using this as an excuse to do something I've always wanted to do. As much as I love my 311's, I've always felt they were choked wrong. A SXS is an up close and personnel tool and I have a hard time justifying that full choke. I've always wanted one M/IC or better still IC/Skeet. Most of my hunting is upland game, quail and coneys. I've delayed shots on game because I didn't want to ruin the meat with that modified choke. Now I have an extra 311 that feels just like the old standard (OK, I think it's just a little longer in the butt, just a bit) that I can do what I want with it. Time will tell.
    And then there's that trap game.:confused: That lead just feels unnatural. But it's a challenge and I love a good challenge. But I think I'll give that 870 a try on it next time to see if that makes a difference.
    All in all, had a great time today, embarrassed myself, met some pretty decent folks. Yeap, I'm hooked.:D
  7. Dave McCracken

    Dave McCracken Moderator In Memoriam

    Heh,heh, heh....

    And so it begins. A couple things...

    Trap is rising targets,John. You, with that gun, seem to need to cover the bird to hit it. For trap, try a bit of moleskin along the top of the comb to lessen drop at cheek.

    Of course, you need to see Mr Patterning Board. Shoot at 16 yards, 1/16" of change will move POI about an inch,IIRC.

    If your 311 is on the patterning board as it should be, you may want to consider using another shotgun for trap.

    BTW, most 870s shoot fairly flat also.

    I find trap easier by far than skeet, though it's evening out.
  8. Okiecruffler

    Okiecruffler Well-Known Member

    Well, I certainly understand that high rib on those expensive trap guns now. I haven't patterned this one yet, but I don't think there is a huge problem, when I was on, it was dead where I wanted it. Don't you hate when you pull the trigger and even before the bang you know you aren't where you should be? I like that moleskin idea, may have to give that a go. I have decided to turn this one into a dedicated skeet gun. Just trying to decide if I want to just open up the chokes or spring the $$$'s for those tubes. But mostly what it's gonna take is throwing lead downrange, danged Steve won't let me blame the hardware :rolleyes: :D. Just wish I had a closer place to shoot and more time to do it. As it is now, I can only get to the range about 2 days a month, and I also have this danged long range pistol addiction. Wish I'd have been born rich instead of so danged good looking...:scrutiny:Okay, one or the other would have been nice.
  9. Okiecruffler

    Okiecruffler Well-Known Member

    You know, my opening post was such a lie. I know exactly what I was doing wrong. Everytime I pulled that trigger I knew exactly where my shot was going. I wasn't following thru for chit today. I was tense and my swing was to fast, then I would stop the swing as I pulled the trigger. No amount of choke, or lack there of, can fix that. Jeesh I hate when I can sit here and know exactly what I was doing wrong.

    I still want a new gun tho'.:D
  10. sm

    sm member


    I am the dumbest person on THR, so anything I say / suggest means you or anyone else can only do better listening to someone else around here.

    I like this simple stuff. *grin*

    You accessed yourself extremley well.
    So that tells me, you are being brutally honest and have a willingness to learn.

    Granted I know you well enough to know this is the true gentleman you really are.

    Beretta 390/391 is one super great choice for skeet, clays of all types, and hunting.

    The gun fits a lot of shooters, easy to tweak and that wittle hump tend to get folks to "mount gun to face" , and do so correctly.
    Same reason the old Browning Humpbacks did/do.

    Unnerstand I don't shoot as I once did, nor assist the folks as I once did.
    I sorta took a break, and now act like my Mentors & Elders did.
    Grin a lot, mess with dawg, smoke, sip coffee and get hands slapped when the gals bring cookies and home baked goodies.
    I do my thing with a very small group of persons, of my choosing.
    Same groups of persons I always have, just only this role for now for personal reasons.

    <this is going to be good>

    Beretta Onyx for a new one.
    Contact Will Fennell - just do it.
    Then Dave for his take.

    Good used, again a Beretta , then K-80 , Rem 32, Pedersoli, SKB...

    Big $$$
    Beretta DT 10, Perazzi MX8.

    I never owned a nice Beretta O/U, my Beretta's were the Beretta 303 in 12 and 20.
    Win SX1 was my thing, with Beretta 303 running a close 2nd.

    My nice high dollar get it on and serious bidness was - Perazzi.

    Humm...Kim Rhodes looks a lot better in Perazzi than I did...

    Then again Will's wife looks better in Beretta than Will does...*whups*

    I imagine Will is going to suggest a min of 30" and I betcha 32" or 34" for barrel length.

    See...now you can only go up from what I shared.

  11. Snarlingiron

    Snarlingiron Well-Known Member

    Yep, a lot of you guys are a lot more experienced at shotgunning than I am, but I am getting there. I am just now at the point where I know that I have missed when I pull the trigger. Frustrating as all get out sometime. I find myself going "Why did I do that, I knew it was going to miss?"

    I've been through the whole gamut:
    stopping the gun
    coming out of the gun
    failing to develop the line
    too little lead
    too much lead
    starting the gun too early
    starting the gun too late

    It's a lot more complex than many folks realize.

    It is often a surprise to new folks what a mental game this is.

    I have been in the enviable position of shooting almost every weekend since last December. I didn't get to shoot this weekend, and it sure made me antsy. I'll shoot next weekend, and the next Monday and Tuesday are going to be spent at the dove lease. We'll see if my newly gained skills at clays translate.

    Welcome to the fun, Okiecruffler. I'm having the time of my life. For me it's kind of been a longtime dream that I just didn't have the time, money or resources to accomplish until now.
  12. Dave McCracken

    Dave McCracken Moderator In Memoriam

    John, you should get that package I sent by tomorrow. By happy chance, that stock has a neoprene pad on the comb to raise POI a bit. Try it out and see how your 870 does.

    And to all, if there's a way to miss a shot that I haven't come up with yet, it'll probably turn up this Friday at PGC.

    I learned to shoot through perspiration, not inspiration and have muddled through. Do not let dropped targets stop you.
  13. Okiecruffler

    Okiecruffler Well-Known Member

    One of these days I'm gonna win the lottery and I'm gonna pay for some of you folks to come and shoot with me. A finer and more helpful group of shooters I've never found, too bad you all live so far spread out. Be a heck of alot of fun shooting with the geezers, getting SM to show me how to hit doubles with a single shot 20. And I'll bet you and I could share stories, not shooting stories, but the stories you only share with those who have been at that bedside, soul cleansing stories. (Yes, I've been reading you responces to the troll in general)
    I have to add this about my experience, at one point at station 6 I actually pulled the trigger on the low house while standing on my toes.:D I wish I had a picture of that one.
  14. Oldnamvet

    Oldnamvet Well-Known Member

    You never mentioned whether you were shooting high or low gun. A lot of people I have known who when hunting rarely missed found they only rarely hit at skeet when they first tried it. I was one of them. The difference was that they were shooting high gun. Logic says that should give you a leg up but I personally found it doesn't. It just didn't feel right. Starting the swing as I mount the gun and firing as soon as I have it mounted increased my hits at skeet greatly. When I shot high gun I would swing in front of the bird, stop, then try to catch up, and finally pull (actually jerk) the trigger more out of desperation than anything else. Needless to say, any hits were more luck than skill. An older guy (in his 80s) got me to start low gun, relax, focus on the bird, not the bead on the end of the barrel, pretend I was trying to hit the bird with a garden hose stream, and let it happen. I immediately started hitting a lot more, and the hits were more than just chips and breaking into a couple of pieces. I started seeing dust in the air. When my scores start to drop, I have to mentally go over all the things he would tell me, relax, and things usually got better. I never knew more than his first name, and only saw him a couple times, but I remember his advice every time I start shooting where the bird isn't.
    Some people who learned to shoot high gun do great at it. I think it goes back to how you learned in the beginning.
  15. Okiecruffler

    Okiecruffler Well-Known Member

    You know, I figured that out the first time out. From position 1 I started with the gun at my side, mounted once the bird flew and hit the hi, low and double. Then one of the guys I was with told me to start with the gun at the shoulder, I started missing. Once I went back to Low gun I did alot better. I know it makes no sense, but it just doesn't feel right to start with the gun at the shoulder, seems like it slows down the reflexs.
  16. sm

    sm member


    If we ever meet, just keep in mind to do all the correct basics as you know to do.
    Don't mind me, me and your son will having a good time messing with the dawgs, eating junk food, drinking lemonade and looking at brochures of 28 gauge shotguns.

    Gee, I hope your wife can make it out, I mean it is pretty neat for a mom and son to have matching 28 gauge guns and all...

  17. Dave McCracken

    Dave McCracken Moderator In Memoriam

    Re Low Gun....

    Shotgunning is a dynamic, not static process. By mounting and swinging at the same time, we HAVE to trust our unconscious mind.

    Just shoot the thing.

    And if we have experience hunting, we have the move well started.
    Few folks I know in the field mount first, then start the swing.

    At this point in time, the only time I high gun is behind the 27 yard line. And I'm hitting better than ever.
  18. Okiecruffler

    Okiecruffler Well-Known Member

    Truer advice has never been given. I really am having a blast and can't wait to give it another try. But.....I couldn't help but notice an awful lot of dove on the lines today. Wonder if they'll stick around until next week? I have a blackjack tree and an old pickle bucket that are looking forward to hanging out together. Can't you just feel it?
  19. Dave McCracken

    Dave McCracken Moderator In Memoriam

    Yup. Got a couple dove hanging around at work, just taunting me.....
  20. romeo212000

    romeo212000 Well-Known Member

    You definately need something more open than full and modified for skeet. Skeet1 and improved cylinder would be good. By the way where do you shoot? Were you at OTA? Thats where I go shoot.

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