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Old January 19, 2011, 12:30 AM   #1
TheKlawMan
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Shotgun Instruction

Can anyone recommend a good book, video or course in shotgun shooting. I have only put 100 rounds through my 870 now on trap range and all I can be sure of is that either I am not mounting it right or the fit is so bad I cannot mount it properly.

I am leery of taking well intentiioned tips like the ones I got today that I am postive are not the way I want to shoot. I hate to pay the money for expensive lessons, but a group lesson may be the way to go. I am in Orange County, CA.

Last edited by TheKlawMan; January 19, 2011 at 12:39 AM.
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Old January 19, 2011, 12:40 AM   #2
the rifleer
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The best teachers is time and patience. You will learn what works and what doesn't. No matter what book you read or what video you watch, it all comes down to trigger time. Shoot several hundred rounds and get comfortable before you start worrying about form and things like that.

Watch the "Wednesday night at the range" on the outdoor channel. Its about two or three hours of shooting shows. "Gun Nuts" has their "smoke 'em on station", which always pertains to shooting shotguns. They are very helpful tips.
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Old January 19, 2011, 12:58 AM   #3
TheKlawMan
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Rifleer. I hear you on trigger time. I just don't want to ruin my rotator cuff if something can be done about the basic manner in which I mount the gun. It is a standard Remington 870 that supposedly should fit me not too horribly as I am 5' 8" with 32+" arms and a not to unusual a build.
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Old January 19, 2011, 04:10 AM   #4
zippy13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the rifler
The best teachers is time and patience. You will learn what works and what doesn't.
I beg to differ, it's been my experience that leaning to shoot by trial and error is frequently futile. I've know many shooters who have a lot of years and thousands of rounds of experience and they still don't have a good foundation in the basics. Their practice time does little more than commit their basic errors to muscle memory. Something as simple as "head down and follow through" is not necessarily instinctive. You may be missing a lot of targets because you don't stay on the gun. Unless someone (like a coach/instructor/mentor) points this out to you, you may never identify your problem and no amount of trigger time is going to help.

TheKlawMan,
You might give John Herkowitz at Pacific Sporting Arms, 626-633-1002, a call. He may be able to offer suggestions for beginner's instructions.
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Old January 19, 2011, 08:15 AM   #5
Dave McC
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I learned through trial and error, and it took me one heckuva long time to get to this point.

There are better ways.

A couple things that will help, besides a week with Will Fennell.....

Dry mount at home to build muscle memory. After ensuring your weapon is empty,focus on the corner where two walls meet the ceiling. REALLY focus.

Mount your shotgun, concentrating on that corner and working on smoothness and getting the thing touching your cheek in the same place,the same pressure. Repeat 25 times a few times a week.

A Mini Mag flashlight placed in the muzzle can help also. Focus the beam tightly. Put the light on that corner and keep it there as you mount.

Review the thread on Proper Mounting Techniques in the archives. Make that optimum mount happen.

Also, most ranges have some kind of classes going on. An Intro to Shotgunning class may really improve things.

Also, your apprenticeship needs no heavy loads. Use the lightest loads you can find or make.

Also, check for eye dominance. An amazing number of people handicap themselves by not doing so OR insisting they can shoot well with mixed dominance. Shoot off the shoulder that matches your master eye.

HTH....
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Old January 19, 2011, 08:39 AM   #6
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Get some basic instruction. It will really speed the process up. They will get eye dominance and proper stance worked out at the very beginning. I would advise a NSSA or NSCA instructor. Ive been through both instructor classes, and Im working on my level II NSCA certification. The few NRA instructors Ive worked with were great safety instructors, but not so much for actual shooting fundamentals and target breaking technique. The NSCA guys were at a completely different level.
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Old January 19, 2011, 11:43 AM   #7
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I will get instruction

I am going to look into a basic "shooting" class. I think I am pretty good on safety and even remember taking a basic NRA course in the basement of Hinshaw's, Arcadia, in 1959.

Zippy. I will call John Herkowitz. At this point I am not that concerned with scoring hits, but with getting down the basics of mounting so as to minimize pain. I suspect the gun is a pretty decent fit.

Dave. That is what a want. A class in basic. Yesterday before going to the range I saw a brief video on that practicing with the flashlight in the muzzle as you described and it makes sense

There is no need to tell me to avoid heavy loads; especially not until I learn to mount the gun properly. Ouch. I don't bruise and I have a good one this a.m. That is literally the ugly. The good may be that it shows where I am placing the stock; just an inch medial of the armpit which I believe is over the head of the humerus. I really am having trouble finding the "pocket" which is probably about as basic as it gets.

I have looked at several threads on mounting and while I think I understand, I know I am not getting it close to correct as far as the most basic thing, placing the gun in the pocket.

LSnSC. Thanks for explaining the difference between the two kinds of instructors.
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Old January 19, 2011, 12:12 PM   #8
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Lots of good info ..../ doing this all on your own ...is the hard way to do it ...and you may develop all kinds of bad habits. Until I finally met someone that could "teach me" the right way to do things, help me with gun fit ....I had a hard time.

But if you have shoulder pain - that gun may not come close to fitting you .../ or there may be some significant fundamental issues on the way you mount the gun ...picking up your head, etc - hard to tell without seeing what you're doing. When you're shooting an "angled comb" gun like the stock on a typical 870 - moving back a little or changing the angle of the comb - will probably make a huge difference. You can do that with stick on comb pads ...different recoil pads .....or even going to an "outfit" ....where you shoot with a fatigue sweater or something under your shooting vest ...

But a good lesson will help you sort all that out hopefully too.

You may have a number of guys that can help you at your local club ...ask around ....sometimes the quietest guys won't help you unless you ask - but they may know the most !! In general, I would avoid the guy that is the loudest ....and has all the answers ....and often tells you, you have the wrong gun ....and just starts to tell you everything he knows .... ( every club has at least 5 of these guys !!! )....

A good lesson from a certified instructor is always a good idea - even for experienced shooters. But you have to find someone that will help you with your goals ...and listen to you .../ not force you into their "program" ....and that's hard to find.

But there are some good DVD's out there too - from big name instructors and shooters.... Sunrise Video - is a good source...
http://sunrisevideo.com/

I've used a number of their DVD's - Bobby Fowler Jr, Blakely, Todd Bender, etc .... but if you're looking for something specific to "Trap" --- I would probably start with Harrison's DVD...

Last edited by BigJimP; January 19, 2011 at 12:21 PM.
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Old January 19, 2011, 12:38 PM   #9
TheKlawMan
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Thanks, BigJim. I found Dave's archive on Proper Mounting Technique and it helps to clarify some things and may correct others. I have to work with it. I have a feeling any decent instructor should immediately spot one or two major things that I can't figure. The one problem I don't have is cheek slap.

I think I already got some "help" from the "loudest" member.
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Old January 19, 2011, 01:19 PM   #10
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I'm glad you don't have any cheek slap ....

On guns that are too short for me ....when I mount them, I tend to push them away from my shoulder ....and then they smack me ...( it even happened on a youth stock 20ga / when I was trying to demonstrate something to one of the new shooters the other day ...and it hurt ...) ...

so I understand ...
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Old January 19, 2011, 04:20 PM   #11
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Orange co has some gun clubs and outdoor shooting ranges. My cousin shoots from time to time out there. Go to one and ask if they have an instructor that can spend some time with you. He will be able to offer help. It will make a huge difference in how you shoot.
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Old January 19, 2011, 05:17 PM   #12
TheKlawMan
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MarkJ. Where is there a shotgun range in Orange County? As it is, I have been driving to Prado on the outskirts of Chino over in LACO. Prado is still not quite in full operation since being flooded, but I suppose that is a logical place to ask about professional instruction. Thanks. I read on another forum where there were group classes for introductory shooters, cannot recall if it was trap or skeet, being given in El Monte and I am going to look into that.

On thing, though. As miserable as my shoulder feels, instead of shooting less and parking the 870 primarily purchased for defense in the closet, if the problem turns out to be fit that means,

1. If it is the gun, I either modify and buy a long ribbed barrel or

2. I park the HD short barrel 870 in the closet and buy a better fitting gun with the long ribbed barrel. Possibly a gas operated semi or one of the Bennellis with a recoil compensation system.
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Old January 19, 2011, 05:44 PM   #13
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Besides fit, ammo selection is crucial to recoil reduction. When I dropped from 1-1/8 to 1oz, it was very nice. Dropped further to 7/8, even better - now shooting a 3/4oz load, and 1oz feel like someone hit me with a hammer.....If you reload, you can really tailor the loads to your needs
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Old January 19, 2011, 06:33 PM   #14
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Oneounceload. Duh! Yesterday, thinking it may help I grabbed a box of reduced recoil remington 1 oz 8s at the Wallmart as my daughter was rushing me to get her to work. "Remington Game Loads." Strangely, it kicked more than the 25 target loads I shot first. I chalked it up to my shoulder being aggravated by the first 25.

I just went and looked at the empty box and while it is 1 oz 8 shot, it isn't reduced recoil. "Remington Game Loads." Not only that, while my cheapie Federal target loads are 1200 FPS, this is 1290. I am guessing that the reason I felt more of a kick from the 8 shot load ofer the 7.5 is the increased velocity.

Meanwhile, as my shoulder turns deeper shades of black and blue, I notice an absence of any wrist or base of thumb pain, some of which I had with my first day of shooting, when I also shot 50.

As I am not reloading, what commercially available reduced recoil trap ammo shoud I look for and what is the lighest loads I will probably find available.
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Old January 19, 2011, 07:15 PM   #15
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If you are getting bruised, there is a serious issue with your fit in your shoulder.

As to low recoil, Kemen has a 1200 fps 7/8oz load, Winchester has a subsonic load at around 950fps.

My 3/4oz reloads are running about 1250 - give or take - I took an established 7/8 load and just drop 3/4 oz instead - it will be a little faster, but lighter kicking.

Recoil is a factor of velocity and mass of the "ejecta" which includes powder and wad - not just the shot. Since powder and wads are basically the same throughout, the payload and speed really make the difference.

Practice your mount - make sure things are correct before you aggravate something.

Good luck!
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Old January 19, 2011, 07:25 PM   #16
RaySendero
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Quote:
zippy13 wrote:


Quote:
Originally Posted by the rifler
The best teachers is time and patience. You will learn what works and what doesn't.
I beg to differ, it's been my experience that leaning to shoot by trial and error is frequently futile. I've know many shooters who have a lot of years and thousands of rounds of experience and they still don't have a good foundation in the basics. Their practice time does little more than commit their basic errors to muscle memory. Something as simple as "head down and follow through" is not necessarily instinctive. You may be missing a lot of targets because you don't stay on the gun. Unless someone (like a coach/instructor/mentor) points this out to you, you may never identify your problem and no amount of trigger time is going to help.
Whoa! I'll second what zippy said.

There are some basics that if you don't learn them from the start, you'll be practicing and learning bad habits from the start!
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Old January 19, 2011, 07:59 PM   #17
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OneOunce is right on the money too .....

base your shell selection primarily on velocity - not shot size. There is no reason to shoot anything over 1150 fps / while you're having shoulder issues.

The difference in recoil, in a 7 1/2 lb gun ....between 1200 fps and 1290 fps is almost 15% ...so no wonder it smacked you around ....

and stay with a 1 oz load of 7 1/2's, or 8's or even 9's .... 9's will break Trap targets from the 16 Yard line just fine ....

Remington Gun Club or Estate or Rio --- offer less expensive shells -at reduced velocities ...in 1 oz configuration. But when you find a case / buy the whole case ....you'll use them up.../ or ask for a case discount.

Let that shoulder heal before you head back out again ....or its going to start causing flinching issues, etc ...that are hard to get away from ... Take your time a little / let yourself heal.
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Old January 19, 2011, 09:40 PM   #18
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IF you can add weight to the gun - in the stock and forearm areas that will help a lot as well - add 8oz in each area, the recoil reduction will be a lot - coupled with a slow, light load - your shoulder will thank you

I ran some numbers with the 10X recoil calculator:

3/4 oz @ 1200fps in a 7.5# gun is 9.7 ft/lbs
3/4 oz @ 1200fps in a 8.25# gun is 8.82 ft/lbs

1 oz @ 1200fps in a 7.5# gun is 15.8 ft/lbs
1 oz @ 1200fps in a 8.25# gun is 14.35 ft/lbs

1oz @ 1300fps in a 7.5# gun is 18.5 ft/lbs
1 oz @1300fps in a 8.25# gun is 16.9

I shoot the 3/4 @ 1200 +/- - from the numbers above, it is almost half the recoil I used to use...............over the course of a day shooting 100-200 rounds, that's a lot of abuse I am NOT getting hammered by
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Old January 19, 2011, 10:04 PM   #19
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Hi Klawman

I've been an NSCA shotgun instructor for 10 years now. I have seen it all and have the pics to prove it. Students can't beleive what they doing, unless they see it from my end of the gun, UNLOADED, of course.

Spend the $50 for a "certified" not "qualified" instructor and you will be thanking me.

You can find them for your area at
http://mynsca.com/

Shoot well!
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Old January 20, 2011, 12:29 AM   #20
TheKlawMan
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I feel more optimistic now.

As much as I hate to admit that I was firing 1290 FPS 1 because I simply grabbed the wrong box, things should be better with the standard 1200 FPS and better yet with the reduced recoil.

I cannot think of a more productive use of money than to take a lesson.

Would the best way of adding weight be to pick up a long barrel. (One reason I chose the Remington over the Mossberg was I understood the heavier 870 receiver should help with recoil. Once and a while I make the right decision.) I don't know how else to add weight. Clamp something to the barrel like a weapon light? I imagine some kind of clamp on weight system is sold just for this purpose. One of the guys was explaining how he added weight to the end of his OU, but I don't recall how. I think I saw some guys shooting that appeared to have a lead weight threaded into the ends of their barrels.

I can imagine adding some weight to the receiver similar to the manner in which sidesaddles are affixed. That or something strapped to he stock.

One result of this fiasco is I know where my stock was shouldered. Great outlince of the toe of the stock. Would it gross you out if I uploaded a pic in the mirror.

Oneounces explanation of the factors at play in generating recoil really help to understand the relation of the weight of the "ejecta" (I have to be careful not to say that around the women. they would die laughing.), velocity, and the weight of the weapon. It takes me back 30+ years ago to my one and only physics class.

I am the type of stubborn guy that usually teaches himself how to do things. (Taught myself to not only hang crown molding in my home, but to cut it using both of the two accepted methods and to also cope inside corners (with online help from professional carpenters.) This time though, I am not only sucking up the knowledge you guys have acquired over years of shooting, but I am going to invest at least some funds in beginners lessons.

The hardest part will be waiting for the shoulder to recover, especially as it seems there are several things that may alleviate the problem.

I took a look at the list of instructors giving lessons to beginners and their are a few in the area of where I shoot and one lives in the same master plan community as me. Somehow I don't think anyone out here does anything for $50, but I will call some of the guys and see if I can set something up.

Thank you all. Tomorrow I will hit WalMart to pickup a minimag light to do that pointing drill with. Thinking about it I was aiming and not pointing, but that is another step. I don't care if I hit zip, no not zippy, at first if I just get down mounting. (Never to be discussed in front of the women along with ejecta.)
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Old January 20, 2011, 12:17 PM   #21
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IF you add weight, I would try to add it in a way that you get the balance point where you want it. If you only add weight to the buttstock, and it changes the balance to the rear, your barrel will feel "whippy" as you swing it. Most folks that shoot driven birds like a gun perfectly balanced on the hinge pin so it moves effortlessly, while clay target shooters seem to prefer a little muzzle heavy gun tends to swing smoother on the follow through. With the 870, taking an empty hull and filling it with lead and placing it behind the mag spring will add about 4oz or so. Add another one in the butt and you've gained a 1/2 pound very easily. If you still need more, add another in each location.

Get the gun fitted, a good recoil reduction system - not necessarily just a pad - and shoot light loads - you should be good to go once the shoulder heals

Good luck
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Old January 20, 2011, 12:34 PM   #22
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OneOunce's way to add weight works on a pump gun pretty well.

On my guns, what I do is check the balance point / put some tape on the receiver - and mark the balance point as you hold the gun level in one hand. Then I add the weight / using OneOunces way - or with a mercury recoi supressor ( if you have room for it ) - or on some guns, especially semi-autos, I use lead tape, from a golf club store - and add about 8" in the area of the forearm / and 8oz in the butt stock ( take the recoil pad off / and pack it in the bolt hole in the stock ) ....and move them back and forth until you get the same balance point.

You can also buy weighted end caps / for the nut that holds the forend on the mag tube.

I'm not a big fan of external barrel weights ...but you could do that as well ( but it scratches up a barrel / and that irritates me ).

What works best - depends on your gun / how much room there is inside the forend.
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Old January 20, 2011, 12:44 PM   #23
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As a guy that has had a complete shoulder re-build in my shooting shoulder ..... completely torn rotator cuff, 4 bone spurs, torn bicep .... ( and the 9 months it took me to recover from that surgery - last year ) ....advises me to tell you, don't mess with shoulder pain. My surgeon ground out the bone spurs, repaired the rotator cuff, cut the bicep - and re-attached it with 2 screws mid way up my arm - to the bone.

I was young and stupid / played football on astro-turf that was akin to concrete in the 70's .... and was way too macho when it came to lifting things that were out of my league ( I'm 6'5" and 290 lbs ...and I can move anything ...) and I used to think I was invinceable ..../...but over many years of .... a few motorcycle accidents, a few shoulder dislocations, a few skiing accidents ...and all that stuff adds up. All of the fun I had / and the stupid things I did - contributed to what became constant pain to the point where I couldn't sleep more than an hour at a time / and the eventual surgery last year.

Now as I go into my 60's ....its a burden that I deal with every day ..!!!

Shotgunning didn't hurt me ....and it won't hurt you either / after you get the gun mount and gun fit figured out. I still shoot shotguns once a week today ( reasonably well ) - and a variety of handguns a couple times a week. I have some intermittent nerve issues in my shooting arm and shoulder from the surgery ...but overall I'm in Great Shape ....

... but what I am saying, is take it easy ....let yourself heal !!!

When you get to be an old crabby goat - like some of us - you'll thank us ....
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Old January 20, 2011, 12:53 PM   #24
TheKlawMan
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Oneounce and BigJim.

Th golf tape I am familiar with and I looked around the net and discovered weighted mag caps and clamp on barrel weights. (Like Jim I donn't like the idea of scrathing up the barrel with clamps.) I was trying to figure out a way of slipping something like a snap cap in the mag for weight, but was concentrating on the wrong end. No way would that work since as I racked, even if I was only loading a single shell at a time for trap, it would want to feed the snap cap. What oneounce explained makes sense. It adds weight and still permits me to use the magazine, but it now has a 5 round capacity as opposed to 6, and 5 is plenty. I also like the fact that using an empty hull costs peanuts and allows me to adjust the weight. Thanks again!

Last edited by TheKlawMan; January 20, 2011 at 01:23 PM.
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Old January 20, 2011, 01:14 PM   #25
TheKlawMan
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BigJim: I don't know about waiting to turn into an old crabby goat. I am probably older than you (63 and counting) which has something to do with why I have been so careful approaching this sport.

I used to love golf, but I can't touch a club.

That rotator cuff injury of yours was a bitch and it must have been hell to deal with, but the fact that you can shoot suggests that if I do things right things will be a cake walk for me. I was concerned with the rotational aspect of recoil. It hasn't been a problem.

Me, I skied a little and used to ride a street Harley, but fortunately never had a bad accident. (Little guys don't fall as far and impact with less force.)

I will listen and take it easy on my shoulder.

(I went back and saw I misssed the part about the torn bicep. That was nasty. We were all indestructible back then.)

Last edited by TheKlawMan; January 20, 2011 at 01:23 PM.
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