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Old April 16, 2012, 03:27 PM   #1
kevdrums
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Am I doing it wrong?

I went trap shooting for the first time this weekend with my stock Mossberg 500 12ga. with the 28" field barrel with full choke in and must say I did pretty darn good my first time out hitting about 38 of 40. (didn't really keep traditional score, I know) I missed the second one and one near the end because I started flinching because of my cheek.
My cheek is bruised yet from Saturday and when I told someone my cheek was bruised they accused me of doing something wrong. Am I not supposed to have a firm cheek weld? Is it a bone structure thing (I have high cheek bones)? Other than my bruised cheek, I thoroughly enjoyed it and impressed everyone in my party.
My shoulder feels fine (very mild bruise) and I'd say I had a nice firm hold and cheek weld. Judging by how well I did for first time, I would've thought I did everything right, but obviously have doubts since it was my first time and no one I talked to was familiar with cheek bruises.
Should I keep doing what I was doing and just find some sort of cheek pad, or was everything wrong and I'm a fool if I continue the way I shot this weekend? Thanks.
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Old April 16, 2012, 03:38 PM   #2
oneounceload
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It is NOT a rifle where you fit yourself to whatever the stock is, with a shotgun for clays and birds, the stock needs to fit you - it sounds like it doesn't fit quite properly.

The gun should come up easy to the face when mounted you should not be all "scrunched" over like it is an AR with a collapsible stock.

Pick a spot in your living (gun UNloaded of course) - maybe a high point on a wall; close your eyes, bring your gun up and mount it, open your eyes - all without trying to scrunch up - if you see a straight line down the stock and you are looking at your object, then fit is close; if not you it doesn't fit right so you are trying to compensate by mounting your head differently. That can cause the bruising you mention and you may need to have adjustments made to the drop at the comb or at the heel
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Old April 16, 2012, 03:39 PM   #3
Doyle
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Very seldom does a factory stock fit a shooter just right. They are all a compromise to be close enough for the masses. It could be a matter of technique or it could be a matter of your stock not fitting properly. 38/40 is a dang good score. If you are going to keep this up, get yourself to a knowledgeable fitter who can measure you for proper stock fit.
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Old April 16, 2012, 03:46 PM   #4
BigJimP
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Its virtually impossible to say ....if you have some fundamentals issues ..or if the gun doesn't fit you properly ....( unless we see you shoot )...

But cheek bruising and shoulder bruising ...are not normal ...and they are both an indication ...that you have some "fundamental issues" on your gunmount and/or the gun doesn't fit you.

Go a few more times....work on your gunmount .../ lots of good DVD's out there today .../ and then see where you stand after you've shot 20 lines of trap or so...( don't be in too big a hurry to make a lot of changes yet ) ...have some fun / talk to a lot of guys about what kind of guns they're shooting and why ...and ask guys about "Fit" ....and see what they say. The chances are good - that one of the guys at the local club will help you out - maybe see something that you're doing ...that might be causing it / or if it is Fit - maybe there is a way to easily fix it.

Its understandable - that you developed a flinch as your day went on since the gun was beating you up ...but give it another few trips first...( most of us shoot 6 - 8 boxes a day with no face or shoulder bruising or discomfort ) because our guns Fit ---and we've developed our fundamantals. So it isn't like you should expect some abuse ...you shouldn't feel anything .../ maybe some fatigue...but no face slap or bruising...
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Old April 16, 2012, 05:01 PM   #5
kevdrums
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thanks for your help with limited information! I think scrunching over the comb might be what I was doing... being on a more limited budget than the average trap shooter (hence using a 500) is there a way to adjust the gun to fit me? I found some cheek pads online, would that be an acceptable way to raise the comb? I hope to make this a lasting hobby, but need to stay in my budget at the moment and keep the gun I have. Thanks
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Old April 16, 2012, 05:47 PM   #6
BigJimP
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Its too soon to tell...and unless you take the gun to a pattern board...so you can see where its hitting vs where you're looking ...you really have no way of knowing if a comb pad / to raise the comb is what you need.

Starting with a pump gun - especially in Trap is fine ...and no disadvantage since I'm assuming you're shooting singles from the 16 yard line ( vs skeet or sporting clays - where you'll have to shoot a lot of true pairs ) ...but even that can be done with a pump gun.

I shot a Browning BPS - pump - at Trap for many years when I first got started.

Until you get some of this stuff worked out ...some suggestions:
a. make sure you're shooting shells with no more than 1 oz of shot in them ....and no faster than 1200 fps. You don't need to shoot loads that are 1 1/8 oz of shot ..and 1250 or 1300 fps .../ 1 oz loads at 1200 fps ( light Target loads ...) are all you need for Trap Singles. 1/8 oz less of shot will drop the recoil about 15% ....and if you slow them down ...it'll help even more.

b. shoot a Modified Choke ....you don't need to shoot anything tighter than a Mod ...at the 16 yd line. The idea is to hit the target while its still rising and under power..( don't wait until it starts to drop )....and a Trap target is at between 30 and 35 yds as it reaches its peak. ( you're shooting at 16 yd line ...16 yds behind the house ) ...

c. practice some ( gun unloaded ) ...gun mounts at home. 25 gun mounts at 1 session. Focus on a light switch 20 or 30 feet accross the room or down a hall or something ....close your eyes ....and mount that gun ( and then open your eyes and see if you're looking at the switch...

the face slap you're getting might be because you're lifting your head ...or you may be letting go of the gun with your trigger hand ...kind of relaxing the hand as you pull the trigger ...or you're crabbing into the comb vs getting the comb to your face....all kinds of stuff.

On your gun mount ...make a rectangle.... put butt about mid way on rib cage....push the gun straight out ...then move straight up 90 degrees...and then straight back into the crease in your shoulder..( and meet your face )...don't crab into the comb. Your elbows ..when the gun is in your shoulder should both be out at about 60 degrees from your rib cage. If one elbow is down ...its a "fundamental issue" ...

practice staying in the gun ...as you execute your shot ....the start of your shot is when you pull the trigger...and then I'd like you to stay in the gun for a count of at least 1 and 2...and follow thru. The idea is ....you go "bang" ...and follow thru, to watch the pieces disintegrate. If you're getting out of the gun / or your face off the comb before you count to three...you're probably stopping the gun .../ get a hold point ...see the bird ...cover the birds leading edge..establish a lead...pulll the trigger ..and keep the gun moving for a count of 1 ..and ..2 ...and then drop the gun down / and eject your spent shell.

There is a lot to this ...

but don't be in a hurry to stick pads on your comb ...unless its really beating you up ....
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Old April 16, 2012, 05:55 PM   #7
BigJimP
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Ideally ....you want that gun to recoil under your cheek bone in your face...

If you point with your index finger on your trigger hand...push other hand out in front of you ....and knuckles up on your trigger hand ...run that funger ( still sticking out toward the target ...) under your cheek bone...that's how the gun should recoil ....

if you raise that finger toward the sky -- like an angled comb gun / like is on yours ...at some point it gets too high ...and as it recoils, its pushing the meat in your face back into your cheek bone...( that's not the best ..!) ...

so for all of us ....there is some combination of length of pull, drop at heel, and drop at comb ...that allows the gun to "hit" where we look - since our eye is the rear sight ---and for that gun to recoil under the cheek bone in our face ...

but like I said ...if you let go of the gun, as you pull the trigger ...it'll also smack the daylights out of you ( and that happens to me sometimes on a light gun .../ and I have some arthritis ...and some elbow injuries - and I tend to let go of the gun with the bottom 2 fingers on my trigger hand ...so the gun smacks me !! ) ...

but this issue of "Fit" is something we all have to figure out . Guns do not fit all of us the same.../ maybe increasing the length of pull ...by putting a fatigue sweater on ..under your shooting vest...moves it just a 1/2" forward and all this stuff stops ...and the gun hits where you look !! Now whether you can shoot in 90 degree heat with a sweater and a vest on ...is another matter....but there is a lot to all this stuff...
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Old April 16, 2012, 06:00 PM   #8
zippy13
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Prior to this, how many shells had you shot at one outing with this gun and load?
What loads were you shooting?
Wood or plastic stock?
Cheek freshly shaven or stubble?
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Old April 16, 2012, 06:55 PM   #9
Hansam
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I shoot a Mossberg 500 with a 20" barrel and a thumbhole stock. I had a detached pistol grip stock on it but that didn't help at all so I put the original thumbhole stock on it and kept it that way. With a modified choke I can powder clays out to 30 yds being launched from the 16yd house. I am also on a budget and while I greatly enjoy trap shooting its not a huge priority in my firearms activities so I don't bother to invest a lot of money into the gun I use for that.

Now that said what you're experiencing is something I first experienced too when I started shooting shotguns. My problem was NOT having a good cheek weld and actually lifting my cheek slightly off the stock as I slapped the trigger. That resulted in the stock of the gun recoiling upward and slamming into my cheek. I didn't get a bruise but my cheek did hurt for a day or so afterwards.

Take the advice that was given so far and go practice. See what it does for you - hopefully the problem is eliminated before you go and spend a bunch of money you may not have to.

Good luck.
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Old April 16, 2012, 07:37 PM   #10
zippy13
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Hansam addresses a distinct possibility. Many new shooters unknowingly lift their heads. Try having a shooting buddy watch you shoot.

If the target starts to get under your gun, instinctively you'll raise your head for a better look. Only with experience will you lower the gun when this happens.

There's a golden rule in clay shooting: head down and follow through.
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Old April 17, 2012, 07:27 AM   #11
Doyle
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Quote:
Try having a shooting buddy watch you shoot.
I'd one one step further than that. Everybody and their dog has a video camera these days. Have someone get some good video of your technique and then you can see what you are doing.
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Old April 17, 2012, 09:36 AM   #12
kevdrums
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Thanks for all of the input... I will start taking your tips and practicing them. I will hold off on cheek rests to make sure it's not my form causing the problem instead of the gun. I'm probably trying to treat it like a rifle as suggested. I went out with other unexperienced trap shooters and I was the only one with a rather successful outing, so I assumed I was doing things right even though my cheek was bruised. Anymore suggestions and I'm all ears! Thanks!
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Old April 17, 2012, 12:37 PM   #13
zippy13
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Quote:
I went out with other unexperienced trap shooters
Ahhh.... the blind leading the blind.

I've seen it many times at various gun clubs: Someone says to his buddies, "I gotta a great idea, let's give trap (or Skeet) shooting a try," and off they go. The typical result is frustration, bruised shoulders and a moused cheek or two.

With your performance, you have a lot of potential. If interested in continuing with the clays, please find an instructor and avoid establishing bad habits.
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Old April 17, 2012, 01:39 PM   #14
Dave McC
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Kev, if you're close to central MD, I'll be glad to walk you through a session of Shotgun 101. No charge.

If not, seek out an experienced pro instructor in your area, not just a buddy with a shotgun. Bad habits are easy to acquire and hard to lose.
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Old April 17, 2012, 04:24 PM   #15
TheKlawMan
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Quote:
I'd one one step further than that. Everybody and their dog has a video camera these days. Have someone get some good video of your technique and then you can see what you are doing.
Twenty plus years ago that was very common on the driving range, but I have yet to see it on a clays range. Admittedly, I have only been at this for under a year and a half and I have thought of videoing myself.
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