View Full Version : Range Report: Newbie shooting clays w/ new 870. BAD BAD BAD!!!!(((HELP)))

August 30, 2002, 04:57 PM
Ok, here's the deal. I'm off to the range w/ my new 12 ga Rem 870 Express 26' VR BBl w/ mod chock in. Buddy is along with his Nova, which has mod choke in, a hand thrower and a box of clays. We do two rounds of 25 and lets just say my overall score was a very sucky 11 out of 50. A little discouraging but overall kinda what I expected.

Of course my buddy who's been doing it for a while shoots a very respectable 46 out of 50. This includes 5 straight with my 870. To be honest, he shot my 870 better then his Nova. (Well there goes my "Gun needs tweeking" excuse.)

While shooting I keep hearing whispers like: Stance is wrong, cheek is to far back on the stock, not swinging bbl correctly, hand location is wrong, not leaning into it enough etc etc etc.

Ok, I have to agree on the "Not leaning in enough" and " cheek to far back on stock". When I leaned forward a bit and moved cheek up I noticed I could handle the recoil better and it didn't hurt as much. Of course by then my shoulder had taken a pounding.

I wish I lived in Maryland so I could of been one of those people that Dave McC tutored. In that post someone said something about past post which gave some good advice to first time clay shooters. I've been through 20 pages of posts using the search function looking for them and have only strung together a few tidbits. If someone could point me to the title on some of those posts I would greatly appreciate it.

I might of sucked at it and my shoulder has a nice black and blue, but to tell the truth I can't wait to hit that range again. I'm shooting for no misses and will keep trying until I get it.

The day wasn't totally bad. I had received my Bar-Sto 9mm conversion bbl for my Sig 229 earlier that day. It augments my 40 and 357 Sig bbl I already have for it. After shotgunning, I went to the indoor pistol range and knocked off 100 rnds. All I can say is that bbl is a sweet shooter and accurate as hell. Nothing like a good handgun session to make your day.

I apologize for the long post. Any help would be appreciated.

Jorah Lavin
August 30, 2002, 06:34 PM
with some advice for you (free, too!)

Don't be ashamed to put a recoil pad on that baby. Lack of brusing will help you avoid developing a flinch down the road.

I finally got used enough to take mine off, then started shooting heavier loads when I got set up for reloading, and have put the pad back on. I've got a leather-sleeve type with lacing at the bottom... used to live on my .30/30 when I was new to that gun, now it is helping me get used to the 12 ga.

Good luck with clays... it is a blast. I just started in March, and my scores wander between 14 and 19 out of 25, usually closer to 14/25.


PS: There are some excellent books available... I found 5 in the Charlotte, NC library, and one of the lessons I took away was... practice your "mount" over and over... if you are smooth and sure on getting the gun into positon, you shooting will improve.

Dave McC
August 30, 2002, 06:58 PM
I'll see if I can bump up some threads, guys, bear with me.

A coupla things real quick, I'm off to bed, gotta drive to NY at zero dark 30, back on Sunday.

Some unloaded practice is very helpful. Practice your mount and swing with a WEAPON KNOWN TO BE EMPTY, in a room where no ammo is kept. Repeat raising the weapon to the firing position, not bringing the head down to meet it.

Make sure there's a good pad on your weapon, there's no easy cure for a flinch, PM is the best approach.

Also use the lightest loads you can find or make.

And while handling your shotgun until it feels like part of you, concentrate on a mental picture of a target breaking, not one being missed. Try not to replay your misses in your head.

Next time you're at the range, dry fire at some moving targets. Imagine your bbl is a paint brush and paint over the target, giving a controlled fast pull as the brush paints over the target.

And go slow, working on just one type of shot
(crossing, quartering, straightaway) until it's routine, then going to another type.

Also,I'd not use up more than 50 rounds in a session until you condition your muscles and mind a bit. Work up gradually.

Now, let me find you some older threads to chew on.....

September 1, 2002, 10:52 AM
This may seem obvious, but since it hasn't been mentioned....
Do you sight with both eyes open, or only one? I was taught and prefer both eyes open, but if you're shooting with one eye closed the next question comes up...
Do you know which of your eyes is dominant? I'll only continue this if you write back that you're shooting with one eye closed. And by that time, there will probably be lots of comments from others who shoot many more clays than I do on a regular basis.

September 1, 2002, 02:46 PM
About 3 to 4 weeks ago I posted a thread on the general handgun forum asking how the hell do people shoot with both eyes open. I tried it shooting my handguns to very poor results. Overall, it seemed to me that both eyes were fighting each other. In a few days there was a slew of posts to it with all kinds of different practice techniques. I took some of those suggestions and have been trying them out. I'm still pretty slow at the range shooting with both eyes open and to be honest it almost feels like work trying to do it. But I'm still trying to get good at it.

Because I have no technique yet for shooting clays I noticed that I was aquiring the flying target with both eyes open but went to right eye open only to aim and take the shot. I'm not sure if this is good or not as I have no reference point to judge against. I'm slow with both eyes open in handgun aiming when the target is stationary. I'd probably miss every time trying to aquire the target when it's moving. These are hand thrown clays to. I'd hate to see how bad I suck if they were from a real thrower and moving twice as fast.

Figure I have to get better with hand thrown before I even attempt to try with a real thrower. Then again, with a hand thrower you really have no idea which way the clay will go. Far left, far right, straight low, straight high and my favorite:( the wobbly all over the place ones.

Going to keep practicing though. I'm one that once I have my mind made up, I will get bettter at it no matter how long it takes.

September 1, 2002, 03:10 PM
rockrivr , first don't get down about your first time out. hitting a flying target takes skill and is not as easy as some folks think. I'll share a few tips that have helped me and hopefuly can get you started. First is mod chocke is tooo tight for what your doing ,try imp cyl a bigger pattern leads to more hits at close range this will build your confedence and latter you can go back to a mod choke but inside 35 yards I still like improved. next if you getting bruised I 'll bet you not useing a light load, a target load 1 or 1-1/8 oz trap load or even a cheap promo load is good to start. Also realize 50 rounds through a shotgun is going to cause some pain. finaly the 2 biggest falts shooters have (especialy myself) is we stop the swing on crossing shots (you must follow through ) and lifting are head on going away shots, so while stance is important, a new shooter needs to feel comfortable mounting the gun keep the cheek on the stock an follow through the target even after the trigger is pulled.

September 11, 2002, 09:38 PM
Personally, I think a Modified choke is too loose for learning. An Improved Mod or Full choke will give you a better picture of how you do. If you chip the target, you will be able to tell where you hit the target. If the largest part goes flying to the left, you hit it on the right side. With an IC choke, it will break and you can't really tell where you hit.

September 12, 2002, 01:29 PM
Greetings to all. I'm a long time lurker here, but this is my first post.

I agree with huntsman, you're using too much choke. For hand thrown clays, you don't need much, if any. Try an IC or even Skeet choke.

Next, and excuse me if this sounds too simple, but don't forget to lead the target. You gotta shoot where it's gonna be. I couldn't count the times I've finally hit a target after repeatedly increasing the lead. Almost nobody misses in front of a target.

And although there's lots of things to learn about shotgunning, the one thing that helped me the most was to not think about shooting a target, but to just do it. It should be instinctive, not analytical.

Hope this helps.


September 12, 2002, 01:46 PM
I don't care what choke you use. I always seem to do the same regardless of choke. My advice is to use a heavily weighed down mechanincal thrower. They are faster but they will be a 1000 times more consistent. This will allow you to practice the same shots over till you get them. The handthrowers are fun but not easier IMO. Also don't feel pressured to shoot fast. A shotgun with the lightest of loads will still break a thrown clay at the farthest of its flight path. The range is farther than most people think.

I outshoot most of my friends this way. I just wait for the comfortable shot. The quick shots may be at closer targets but a miss is still a miss.

Snake Jenkins
September 12, 2002, 08:32 PM
You might want to try some 7/8ths oz loads (very light recoil) and an open choke (imp. cyl. or lt. mod. ) The heavier the shot weight the harder it will kick you most beginners find it easier to use a light recoiling gun/load.


September 12, 2002, 09:52 PM
A shotgun is very different than a rifle. Do not aim a shotgun, point it.

I took lessons a few years ago, here's what I learned.

Your feet should be like an old-fashioned boxer, the left a little forward if you are right handed, about shoulder width apart.

Square your body up to your feet. Right elbow should be high with top of arm level with ground. The left elbow should not as high but away from the body. You want to turn at the waist, keeping upper body consistent.

The Mount: as stated, bring the shotgun up to the same place on your face every time. The shotgun must "fit" this is too complex to to into here. An adjustment in stock length can mean hits or misses. Recoil pads can be added or thinner ones used in a lot of cases.

Once you are consistent with your mount and form, the shotgun should point where you are looking. Shooting is now an extension of where you are looking. Determining a lead and pulling the trigger are now the variables.

Also, when a pheasant flushes, I take off the safety, mount and immediatly fire in almost one motion. Don't take time to aim unless you are presented a better shot farther away. It becomes one fluid motion once you practice often.

Zen and the art of the shotgun.

Take lessons. It is worth it. I use an 870 Wingmaster. Great shotgun.

Dave McC
September 13, 2002, 05:09 AM
A coupla things...

Re chokes, I started trapshooting with this TB and a choke close to Extra Full. Much tighter than needed, but it taught me to hold "tighter" and read my breaks. However, rookies need breaks, so start off with a more open choke and then tighten up a bit to improve.

Since all tyros' forms is a bit less than perfect, recoil kicks them around more than a veteran will get. Light loads, good pads and short practice sessions are the key. While I'm less than enthused about most shooting vests, the extra padding from the builtin can save some folks a bit of discomfort.If you can find one that doesn't bind or hinder your swing, Huzzah!

Each practice session,focus on one aspect or prob to work on. Most common are stopping the swing and lifting the head off the stock.Work on them until they appear to be gone. If your scores drop, go back to working on those two. Best your scores will rise.

Concentration is crucial, but concentrating too long will tire you. Be relaxed and unfocussed until it's time to mount then narrow down your mind and focus on where the target will appear. And don;t think about shooting it, just shoot it.


September 13, 2002, 11:29 AM
Rock I think you should get someone experienced at the range to watch you and give you advice as you shoot. I think it's very hard to do this on a message board. This is what helped me.

Where you put the butt of the shotgun will make a huge difference if you get bruised it or not.

When I first started I put it too close to my bicep and I had a nice silver dollar size bruise on my bicep.

You need someone at the range to help your technique.

Also, don't worry about your score. Try and get the technique correct.

Best and damn it have fun.