First day at the range...

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by JAshley73, Oct 13, 2012.

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  1. JAshley73

    JAshley73 Member

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    Well today was a good day. The weather was nice, the schedule was open, and the wife was sleeping, so with a few hours to call my own I finally was able to make it to the range. Jefferson Gun Club has lots of trap and skeet fields, a sporting clays course, and was buzzing with activity when I pulled up. But best of all, it's around 10 miles from my house.

    Upon walking in, I spoke with the guy at the counter explaining I was a new to the range, and a new shooter at that. He was pretty understanding and set me up on an open trap range, and asked a couple older gents' packing up for the day if they'd mind getting me started with a round. They kindly agreed.

    They asked if I knew how to use my gun, and I told them how I'd been practicing, but hadn't yet shot it. Then the older of the two offered up some wise advise; "Just keep your eye on the target. If you can't see it you can't hit it." Nice and simple - I wish I could give more advice like that...

    I tossed in a shell and called, "PULL!" First shot with the new gun, and I thought to myself, "well the kick's a little 'firm', but I think I can deal with that. Let's try some more..." I think I broke the first clay, I don't really remember, but I must have been grinning because I felt like a young kid in love. I knew the 75 shells I brought were going to go quick...

    They stayed and walked me through the rest of a round, and were kind enough to offer some polite tips. At the end of the round, when I offered to buy them a round for helping me out, they happily replied " Oh no, we're happy to do it. 'Pleasure meeting you son..." Very nice of them to help me out. One day I'll have to pay it forward...

    After they packed up and left, I shot two more rounds with another gentleman, also a newcomer, and we both just had fun with it. I don't think either of us kept a score, but were really doing ok considering. I probably broke 15 of 25 on the last two rounds, the other guy shooting about the same.

    Some take-aways from today.

    -I had the hardest time hitting the straight-away shots. I have a bad case of "shoot with one eye closed," and I'm sure it hurts me on those straight and rising targets. -Lack of depth perception I guess. I guess I need to start learning to shoot (pistol, rifle, shotgun) with both eyes open. Thoughts?

    -Although shooting 75 at a time is fun, you feel it. And I've got the bruises to remind me of it. I think some breaks in between rounds, and some instruction on form are in order...

    -It pays to be kind. Because when you're friendly to others, everyone you meet becomes a friend. :)

    -Pay it forward. Because someone (like myself) may not have a clue without a helping hand. And helping someone out is never unrewarding.

    -And a bad day on the clays range, is better than any day at work. I don't think I have to explain myself on this one. ;)

    So I'm happy to say I think a shot-gunner was born today. I got to spend some time outdoors, meet some friendly people, and have some fun killing clays. Before leaving I got the name of an instructor for some lessons, and talked another moment with the guy at the counter.

    "We also sell ammo too." he says. "It's about $5.60 a box, by the case."

    "Wow, that's pretty cheap!" I said. "I'll have to pick some up next time I come."

    So like Dave McCracken says, I'll have to come back, BA/UU/R. I'm looking forward to it. :)
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2012
  2. cat_IT_guy

    cat_IT_guy Member

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    Glad to hear you enjoyed your first time out. Shooting is great fun, and with very few exceptions, I've found the crowd to be very friendly and supportive. I cant even recall how many guns complete strangers have offered to let me shoot just because I showed an interest / curiosity about them. Make preparations now for a thinner, lighter wallet lol.

    Some ideas about your comments:
    -dealing with recoil: form is big. theres a right way to do it that involves kind of leaning forward / into the gun that helps you roll with it. Being 'rigid' just gets you pounded harder. Also, if you shoot a lot of clays / targets, a shooting vest with a bit of padding is a nice addition - if you watch sales, you can find one for $25 - $30.
    -shooting with both eyes open is big in shotgun sports. It helps you shoot naturally and quickly. I remember learning to do so, and personally would recommend hitting up the skeet field to learn it - I feel like the shots are closer and quicker, so it reinforces the need to have both eyes open.

    Again, glad to hear you enjoyed it. Now Im sure someone(s) more knowledgable than I will be along with more tips.
     
  3. BYJO4

    BYJO4 Member

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    Glad to hear you had a great day at range. I'm a member of the Jefferson Gun Club and like the others you met, I always welcome new shooters. Practice as much as you can and scores will continue to improve. Recoil is often a matter of good stock fit and the type of loads you use. Some folks shoot heavy hunting loads instead of target loads which only increases recoil and not needed to break clay birds. Next time you are out there, ask for advice as to how your stock fits. Its not uncommom for the stock to be a little too long or too short, as not all of us are "average" based on the way manufacturers make their stocks.
     
  4. DaleCooper51

    DaleCooper51 Member

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    Sounds like you had a great day out.

    I agree that shooting with both eyes open is the way to go. If it means you have to shoot from the other side, now is the time to do it. Test your eye dominance and make sure that you are shooting from the strong side. I taught myself to shoot lefty because of my eyes and it only took a couple weeks to get comfortable and a few months for it to be second nature.
     
  5. JAshley73

    JAshley73 Member

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    Thanks for the encouragement guys.

    Banatilstate- Lighter wallet noted. I'm just trying to keep the wife from finding out. :)

    BYJO4- Nice to know there's a few locals on here. I definitely liked the facilities, as well as the warm welcomes from all. I'm actually a little closer to the Jefferson Co. Sportsmans club - I'll probably join one or the other.

    -Some instruction is definitely in due order. I'll be sure to ask about form and shooting with both eyes open. I'll check on stock fit too. LOP might need a look, but the drop seems appropriate.

    -I did bring along a box of 1oz. shells, and found that they function in my gun despite it's "3" Magnum" chamber. (Older Beretta A303. Perhaps the gas ports have been tinkered with?) I can't say I felt much difference on the line, but at the end of the day I'm sure they help. I'll have to try a box of 7/8 oz. too...
     
  6. JAshley73

    JAshley73 Member

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    Dale - I'm a lefty, and very left-eye dominant. I may try shooting right handed to build up the habbit. Question though; after you got comfortable shooting both eyes open, did you make the switch back to shooting on your dominant side? Thanks for the tip though. I'll be trying it out.
     
  7. PTMCCAIN

    PTMCCAIN member

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    Nice story, thanks for sharing it.
     
  8. DaleCooper51

    DaleCooper51 Member

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    If you are lefty and left eye dom, then keep shooting from the left side. I learned to shoot long guns lefty because of my eyes and have no plans to go back. I guessed you were shooting with one eye closed because of an eye dominance issue but was wrong. Having both eyes open will greatly benefit your shooting.
     
  9. JAshley73

    JAshley73 Member

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    I may be mistaken. I'm left eye dominant, shooting left handed, and keeping my right eye closed while shooting. I implied by your advice above, that switching to shooting right handed with both eyes open, would get me over the bad habbit of keeping one eye closed. Am I correct, or mistaken?
     
  10. Dave McCracken

    Dave McCracken Moderator In Memoriam

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    I love happy beginnings. A couple things......

    75 rounds shouldn't bruise you. Read the Shotgun 101 threads up top for tips on form and techniques.

    Use the lightest loads you can find or make. In 12 gauge, I make 7/8 oz,1200 FPS loads that smash targets when I do my part.

    You don't need a messa gadgetry on your shotgun, but a top quality pad is worth every penny you pay.

    Contrary to some opinions, you do not need a $4K shotgun to shoot clays, However, a sturdy, US made repeater that takes choke tubes is a good investment.

    And try the other clay games besides trap. It's all good.

    HTH....
     
  11. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

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    Shooting with both eyes open really helps with your success. As you try all the different games and then decide which ones you'll want to do more than others, you'll figure out if you need/want a different gun, etc. Guns, even those $4K ones, are cheap over the long haul- it's the targets and ammo that adds up!


    Glad to hear you had a good first trip out
     
  12. eastbank

    eastbank Member

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    i have been shooting trap and other clay games off and on since the early 60,s, i love to let new shooters shoot my clay games guns. and i,m sure not a expert. but i love to see the light come on in their eyes at trap the first time they shoot a gun set up for trap,my trap guns have morgen pads and adjustable combs and shoot 70-30. when i tell them to just lay their cheek on the comb and not press down and just look at the clay and pull the trigger when it looks right and follow tru. after a few misses,the hits start to string out and the light come on along with smiles. i shot my first 25-25 with a TB 870 rem in 64 or 65 and i still have two,a TB and a TC and shoot them today along with two 1187 rems. and a BT-100 and older md 12 win set up like a trap gun and a citori o/u. i don,t know what i would do with out my mec 9000g. eastbank.
     
  13. JAshley73

    JAshley73 Member

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    Thanks again gents...

    Trap was just to get my feet wet. The local club has Trap, Skeet, and S/C courses, so I plan playing all three games.

    And my gun came in under $550. Plenty left for more ammo, and a lesson or two. Indeed, it sounds like my form could use some work.

    Happy shooting :)
     
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