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Intuitive shooting. Is it for everyone?

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by rpenmanparker, Nov 2, 2018.

  1. rpenmanparker

    rpenmanparker Member

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    Suffice it to say that my recently begun clay target shooting isn’t going so well. I stare at the bird so hard that I am afraid my eyes will pop out, but the target doesn’t, very often, break when I shoot. I’m all over the place.

    So I was thinking this is a lot like shooting a pistol from the hip or shooting a basketball. A certain coordination of the eye and the hands is assumed. But let’s face it, not everyone is Matt Dillon or Stephan Curry. And most folks don’t even come close to that standard . That’s why we learn to aim a pistol using the sights. Too bad there is no crutch for the basketball. So what if I just can’t shoot a shotgun that way? What if the gun doesn’t automatically get on the target just because my eyes are there. Is there an alternative?

    One problem is that I can’t see where the shot is going if it doesn’t hit the target. So I don’t know how to adjust what I am doing. Coaching helps with this, but lessons are pricey.

    What say you guys?
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2018
  2. cheygriz

    cheygriz Member

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    I don't know if they are still available, but many folks learned using the "tracer" type shotshells. A few pellets in the load "traced" and allowed you to see where your pattern was.

    Other than that, practice, practice, practice.
     
  3. rpenmanparker

    rpenmanparker Member

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    Thanks. I was wondering about that. I will look the tracers up. Funny, it seems my coach can see every pellet, but I can't at all.
     
  4. rpenmanparker

    rpenmanparker Member

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    So Winchester makes an AA tracer shell with a colored wad, black or orange for different skies, that stays with the pattern. About 25% more expensive than regular AAs. Fiocchi has a product too. It has a chemical in it that ignites. Two different approaches.
     
  5. cheygriz

    cheygriz Member

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    Glad you found them. They should help.
     
  6. John Joseph

    John Joseph Member

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    Sounds like gun fit might be an issue. Or not following through.

    Try this indoors with your unloaded gun:

    1) in the ready position, pick a "target" on an opposing wall
    then close your eyes and point your shotgun at the target,
    Then open your eyes. Your target should be on top of the front bead.
    If you have a middle bead, the middle bead should be in line with the front bead.

    You may have to do this several times, but if it simply cannot be done, gun fit is likely the problem.

    2) in a darkened room, put a shoe box against an opposing wall and rubber band a mini maglight, adjusted to a narrow beam, to your barrel. The narrow bean represents your shot swarm. The shoe box is the trap house. Have a friend with a laser pointer (the laser represents your clay bird) trace night slow arcs from the shoe box up the opposing wall on the command of "pull" From the Ready,pick up and follow the "bird" say "bang" when you mean to shoot and then keep the "bird " in your shot swarm all the way through the end of it's arc.

    If you're not following through, it will be evident.

    I hope this helps!
     
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  7. rpenmanparker

    rpenmanparker Member

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    Thanks, John
     
  8. rpenmanparker

    rpenmanparker Member

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    I ordered a case of Winchester Traacker shells off GunBroker.com for $94 plus $11 shipping and no tax. Not too bad for a specialty item. They are Winchester's AA grade shells which go for about $80+ a case when the regular type. So less than $15 more for the tracking functionality. I have been buying buy down a little bit to the Super Target grade for a lot less money, but I am happy to spend a little more to get the extra functionality.
     
  9. Stumper

    Stumper Member

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    Hopefully the tracers will help. "Concentrating" on the bird isn't the answer for a lot of folks. Try using your shotgun as a broom or baseball bat...."sweep" the target from the sky. "Bat" the pigeon into centerfield. Come from behind and trip the trigger as the muzzle makes "contact"or passes. Sweeping through the target and pulling the trigger as your broom/muzzle gets there builds in a lead during the physical lock time of the gun and biological "lock time" while your brain is processing the information and telling your finger to send the shot off. It is also somewhat self regulating since the faster the target is moving the faster you must swing to catch it and the more you will get ahead of it before the shot leaves the muzzle.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2018
    ColtPythonElite likes this.
  10. Virginian

    Virginian Member

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    Robert Ruark's description in "The Old Man and the BOY" of imagining a water hose and trying to hit a running target is about as good as I have seen. If your gun fits and you are shooting on horizontally, lead is the issue. Step one is ALWAYS, add more lead.
     
  11. kudu
    • Contributing Member

    kudu Moderator Staff Member

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    Some people will not see any shot pattern flying through the air, and if you are the one shooting it is very rare to be able to see your own pattern. I can watch from behind a shooter and usually see their shot cloud, not as well as when I was younger, but eyes get old too. Recoil interferes with seeing your own shot so don't feel bad, and it is something that you almost have to train your eyes to see. I know I have shot in excess of 300,000 rounds of shotshells downrange and helped pull and score probably millions so it is exposure to it as much as anything. About the only time I can see my own shot cloud is when I am hip shooting with the shotgun, and only part of the time can I see it. I also have 20/15 vision with my contact lenses, my eye Dr. says she only has come across a handful of people with that good of vision.

    Keep trying, if you are starting with sporting clays I would suggest concentrating on skeet for about 20 rounds worth(500) birds.Learn your lead and swing on known set targets. Once you get to breaking a decent score, 20+ then move to sporting targets which are all different but your brain will start comparing and computing the similarities to skeet targets. One of my shooting buddies was complaining about his scores in sporting, but had never shot trap or skeet. Another friend told him to get with me and we concentrated on skeet for a summer to where he was shooting average 22 on skeet and his first trip back to sporting he went from a 50% average to around 75%. Since then he has shot quite a bit more skeet and trap and he averages in the low 80's now on sporting clays.
     
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  12. rpenmanparker

    rpenmanparker Member

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    Interesting approach, but contrary to the coaching I have been getting which stipulates that I shouldn’t even see the gun barrel. One instructor went so far as to remove the bead from the front of the barrel. No aiming allowed. So how do I conciously sweep through the target with a barrel that is supposed to not even be there (visually)?
     
  13. Milkmaster

    Milkmaster Member

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    I never see my shot string. I only see a cloud of clay dust hopefully. I typically get 23-25 hits for a round of trap. What came to my mind when reading your post is if you are lifting your eyes off the gun when the target launches. I keep my eyes straight down my barrel and move through the target while keeping this point of view. I start off on the edge of the trap house or launcher and move towards the target flight as soon as I see it. I fire as I go past the target. However, I will always miss the target if I lift my eyes away from looking down the gun barrel and try to shoot it. It does happen when I am not concentrating, but not intentionally. I am hopeful I am understanding what you are saying and conveying my solution clearly. Good Luck!
     
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  14. entropy

    entropy Member

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    Winchester TrAAckers; I used the orange ones for Annie Oakleys, the wad looks enough like a chip. ;)

    You shouldn't be looking for your own shot string! That's your coach's job.

    Once you have the basic mechanics of clays shooting down (here's a good primer for trap: http://www.damascusiwla.org/Remington_Trap_Fundamentals_2004.pdf : I use it for some of my students) you do not consciously shoot; You do it subconsciously. The coach that recommends removing the beads is not that far off; if the gun fits you right, the bead is not needed. It's only purpose is to be sure the rib or barrel is where it should be. You should be looking out where the clay should appear and don't move the gun until you see the bird! It is harder to recover if you start moving the gun towards the right or left and get a straightaway. The only other things that cause more misses than that are lifting your head off the stock when you shoot (you laugh, but people do it all the time) and becoming distracted while shooting a round. Breaking every bird in a round requires a LOT of focus, but LITTLE thought. If the word Mushin means anything to you, this is what is required.
    Many Pros recommend a 'targeting word' (or phrase) to say just before you mount and call pull; a popular mantra for Trapshooters is " see bird, shoot bird".

    FrankJ, a member on a Trapshooting forum I am a member of summed it up quite well:

    He also has a good way to start a new shooter out:

     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2018
    Milkmaster likes this.
  15. rpenmanparker

    rpenmanparker Member

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    All very good advice, and I will try to follow it. I do dispute the not seeing your own shot string comment however. All your practice time can’t be coached...by a person. You have to practice on your own, right? So the TrAAckers ought to enable that practice to be very effective. It seems.
     
    cheygriz likes this.
  16. rpenmanparker

    rpenmanparker Member

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    Reading the above advice, I am starting to think I am moving my eyes inside the sockets to the target leaving my head/face on the gun behind. And then I am concentrating on the target with the gun pointed somewhere else. I need to check that out. Obviously that wouldn’t work.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2018
  17. earlthegoat2

    earlthegoat2 Member

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    I am a traditional archer from a long ways back. In trad archery there are three basic methods of shooting without sights. Instinctive (such as the basketball method mentioned above)
    Split vision which is sort of a hybrid between instinctive and using the arrow tip as a reference point. Then there is gap shooting which uses the arrow tip as a reference point for aiming.

    I find these methods are suitable related examples for shotgunning at moving targets.

    Most clay shooting tutorials I have seen say to focus on the target and only the target. (Instinctive). I tried that for awhile and could not get it so I fell back on my archery skills and developed a split vision type of clay shooting for myself. I focus on the target but am aware of my (wait for it) bead in my line of sight as well. That way I can guide the gun to the proper lead.

    Many folks will say to take the bead off or don’t look at the bead only look at the target. I have to look at the bead at least partially. If there was no bead I would still look at the end of the barrel as my reference. This method accomplishes my goals. It may not for everyone. I’m not a champion sporting clays shooter so that might say something about my style but it allows me to have fun with friends and down the occasional quail.
     
  18. rpenmanparker

    rpenmanparker Member

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    Thanks for a good and realistic post. Your archery comments were very meaningful to me. Lately I have been thinking that shotgunning must be like archery, which I too dabbled with when I was young but never on moving targets. I’m pretty sure I am not keeping a fixed relationship between my eyes and the gun so focusing on the bird isn’t guiding the gun. I will have to work on that.
     
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  19. kudu
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    kudu Moderator Staff Member

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    Let's look at it in a different way. You can focus on the target all you want, but you also need to focus on where that target is going to be to intercept it with the shot pattern when you pull the trigger. If that is 3 feet to the right, you need to focus 3 feet to the right.
     
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  20. entropy

    entropy Member

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    Your 'coach' doesn't need to be Harlan Campbell Jr., as far as seeing the shot string and correcting, just someone who is able to see the shot string. It shouldn't be hard to find someone to stand behind you and call it. "Behind, over, in front ,under, behind, behind, behind......

    'Wood on wood', that is, your cheek firmly on the stock and learning to track birds visually whether holding a gun or not, are things you need to get habituated to, then it's just a matter of figuring out leads.

    Another good learning tool is watching good shooters shoot. Watch their stance, pre-shot routine, how they track the bird. Watching Shot-Kam footage on You Tube is helpful too, as is this You tube video, a must view for new trap shooters. (Most of it applies for SC and Skeet, too. )

    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe>

    Yes, the film is old, but the fundamentals don't change. They still apply today, and will in the future.
     
  21. d2wing

    d2wing Member

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    All the advice here is good. I used to be a certified instructor. I cannot coach someone without being with you at the range. I can tell you that most people can learn to shoot with decent vision , hand eye coordination, and shooting from the same side as your dominate eye. The first key is mounting your gun properly so you are looking down the barrel. Shooting is all about you pointing the gun where you are looking. Practice that a lot, then some more. Some sort of light on your barrel that shines where you point and a target will help. I also used a bb gun without sights for training and practice.
     
    John Joseph likes this.
  22. John Joseph

    John Joseph Member

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    If your range permit it, try point shooting on the pattern board.
    Shooting a stationary target with a shotgun will build your confidence.
    Then go try it on a moving target
     
  23. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    I shoot primarily skeet. I use a constant lead where I concentrate on the target but the gun is in my peripheral vision to allow me to set the lead. When the "picture" is right, I shoot.

    As Stumper said, another technique is the pass through or swing through shot. Some folks adapt to this method better than the constant lead.

    When I get into a run of misses, two things are usually the reason. I either stop my swing or I lift my head off the stock.

    When I'm shooting, I never see my shot string. I sometimes see the wad, but it is not a good indicator of where the shot went. After a while, one sees how the target breaks and is able to tell if he is ahead or behind the target. This helps diagnose the problem when the next miss occurs.
     
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  24. rpenmanparker

    rpenmanparker Member

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    Went shooting with my friend on Saturday. There was a tournament going on, but the owner let us shoot the course without signing up for the competition and just pay the per target price. No entry fee. I stink st the first two stsntions, but the trapped on number 2 gave me about a 15 minute lesson gratis.

    The most helpful thing he told me was to not to rigidly mount the gun and “freeze” my face onto it before calling for the targets. I thought as a novice it was best to mount the gun in advance to be sure to get it right. But he pointed out that often leads to focusing on the barrel, not the bird. So I relaxed the gun at my shoulder and kept my head loose to pick up the target right at the trap. Then I completed the mount and yes, it was much more like pointing my arm at the target.

    Guess what? Even with the bad start I shot 36/100. Not too bad for a novice. Still lots to work on, but I have gained a little technique and confidence.
     
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