Staff In Memoriam
Join Date: October 13, 1999
Location: Columbia, Md, USA
How fast is fast?....
And how necessary?....
We were hunting on farmland, bought by a group of lawyers as an investment and held until the suburbs moved closer. Two of the lawdogs were casual birdhunters, and one had planted some food plots, paid a local to trap down the predators, and supplemented wild quail with some pen raised birds released in August to acclimate.
It was November then, and I had been invited to hunt with them. One had been a student of mine, I'd qualified him for his CCW, and we'd done a few COFs of "Serious" type shotgunning together.
The local had a decent dog or two and we were moving in on a point. One lawyer had a SKB SxS 20, the other an A-5. I had an 870 of course, cylinder choke and 18" bbl.
As I moved in I trapped the butt in my armpit, and held the piece level,stepping forward with my left foot and then bringing up my right so that I was closer to proper stance than if I left/righted like we usually walk. The covey exploded, I poked and shot one down just clear of the cover, my swing kept on and another bird appeared over my bead, a shot/shuck/swing/shot on another straight away, and there was a triple on a covey rise. It was breaking par, the Hat Trick,and picking the Trifecta all in one.
"D*mn, you're fast!", said the guy to my left in awe. He had fired a salute, it turned out, and the third guy didn't shoot. I tried to look like I did it every day before breakfast,but grinned like an idiot inwardly. Luck was with me, and that's all I can say.
And the point to all this?
I'm a decent shotgunner, but no local legend. And my reflexes run average, not lightning swift nor sure.
So how did I do this?
Practice, good form and good fit.
What brought this up was a little thing on American Shooter this AM. It covered the Steel Plate Challenge, with Leatham, Miculek, etc, going H*ll for leather with a variety of handguns, and one brief segment with shotguns.
Check this out...
Using a short bbled, GR'd 870,the guys were going after 5 steel plates. The winning time was 2.5 seconds. I was impressed,to say the least.
Jerry Miculek used the equipment(Since Vang was a sponsor, I'm sure it wasn't stock) to shoot that fast time. From what I could see, he was leaning well into it, had some pressure on the forearm so that it would start moving as soon as the action unlocked, and was using R/R loads.
So how fast is fast?
Back when I was instructing, I'd do a demo that imitated the qualifier COF. 5 shots, starting from a full mag and chamber, weapon mounted before the signal.Under 5 seconds, and some folks said I did it under 4 on occasion. With practice, you could too.
SC types oft take two shots on true pairs in less than that.
Trapshooters doing doubles will bust that second bird before it's gone 50 yards,call it 3-4 seconds for the good ones.
Live pigeon shooters have to kill the bird and have it drop inside a circle about 15 meters from the traps. They can use two shots, and the time needed is scanty indeed.
What's common to all is good form,good fit and practice.
And a ready position like the one in the lead paragraph really helps. Port arms requires a lot of waving the weapon around to align it correctly. Having it point at the area, held horizontally and the butt under the shoulder joint means a smooth push forward and up as the swing commences has the gun doing the right things BEFORE your cheek touches the stock and the shot goes.
And if there's a trick to speed, it's getting smooth first. Once you can do this smoothly, speed will show up on its own.
HTH, and please ask if I'm not clear of the details....