View Full Version : Getting started as a "Serious" shotgunner....

Dave McC
March 21, 2002, 06:02 AM
Fielded an inquiry about this elsewhere, and a PM here leads me to believe this needs covering with all the new folks here. SO, here we go, and these are opinions, not inscribed on stone tablets...

And this assumes a shooter who has basic knowledge on shotgunning, and can operate their shotgun of choice safely and effectively, if no expert.If you can get through a round of trap or skeet w/o embarassment or violating safety rules, you can do this.

As to why you want to learn this, maybe recent events have reminded you that some werewolves don't need a full moon. Or, that those who beat their swords into plowshares end up plowing for those that do not. Or maybe you're a martial arts devotee that wants to expand his/her horizons. In any case, you want to learn how to FIGHT with a shotgun.

First, have a shotgun, of course. It should be reliable, capable of at least two shots before reloading, have a stock that fits you, and be less than 44" at the most, 38" is better. PGs are OK on full stocks, but no PG only shotguns.Bead sights are OK, so are rifle style and peeps/GRS.Use whatcha got.

Second, have a place to shoot it. Many trap and skeet ranges will NOT let you shoot Practicals, for reasons of safety and image. Most places that do IPSC, PPC,etc, will under tight conditions and supervision.

Or, if you've access to land where no one will call 911 if a few shots are heard, you're set. Make sure you have a good backstop.

At first, use the lightest loads you can find. Later, select a duty load by patterning and determining the use environment.

Set up a COF with silohuette targets, brown paper grocery bags on tomato stakes,or whatever's handy.

8X11" pieces of cardboard make good targets,too.

Set up a few at distances from 5-25 yards.Don your eye and ear protection, and go through any COF you can think of,SLOWLY. Focus on safety,good hits and good form. Speed will come.Shoot from the shoulder only. "Hip" shooting is more Hollywood than real world.At more than contact distance, I eschew it.

Note, I use more forward lean for "Serious" shooting than I do for sport. The extra tilt helps recovery.

Now, shoot a bit. Work on form, and practice a few clearance drills, shoot one,load one, and how to get a round off fast from am empty weapon. As you go, gradually increase your speed. When you feel comfortable with the format,change it.

Crises are never choreographed in advance. Have a buddy think up new COFs, and try them both RH and LH.

More later, duty calls...

Dave McC
March 21, 2002, 04:58 PM
Part II....

Once you've learned to operate your shotgun, raise the bar. Instead of standing on a firing line, move towards cover. No one in the real world stands there while being shot at, move.

Try some low light COFs. Or, no light except a flashlight, whether on your weapon or not.

Make some super small targets, say 4"X4". When you can acquire these and center them with your pattern at some distance, you're doing it right.

And someplace along here, use slugs and practice switching loads. Try hitting that itty bitty target with a slug, in short time frames.

Now's the time to evaluate your equipment. Do you need to add some capacity? Maybe develop a better way to carry extra ammo? How about a sling? Or a sight change, maybe to fiber optics for faster acquisition. Now that you know your weapon, you can make better choices.

And where do you go to from here? At this point, you're dangerous only to the right people. Maybe expand your activities to Practical matches, go to one of the high dollar places like Gunsite, or maybe just rest on your laurels. It's up to you.

Hope this helps....

March 21, 2002, 07:24 PM
Dave, as always, great advice. Thank you. You should write a column for a magazine. I've learned more from you here than several magazine articles.It's a shame there isn't a shotgun-devoted magazine like there are for pistols and rifles.

Dave R
March 21, 2002, 08:26 PM
Amen. Thanks, Dave.

Dave McC
March 22, 2002, 04:36 AM
You're welcome, guys.

Kevan, Shotgun Sports covers a variety of shotgun stuff. Not much on Practical/Serious, but the rest of the spectrum gets lots of attention.

As for doing a column for a magazine, fine. All I need now is a magazine to write for(G)...