View Full Version : Couple of questions on proper mounting tech

Peter Gun
September 29, 2002, 08:36 PM
I read a few posts on proper mounting and found them quite helpful, but I need a little clarification.
It was mentioned that the support hand should pull in towards the shoulder slightly. How about the trigger hand? Should one pull against the "grip?" as well?
Should the elbow be straight out paralell to the ground or dropped a little?
Is two eye aiming preferred? Sight along the barrel rib w/ right eye (right handed) or barrel between eyes?
Should I focus on the tip of the barrel (like the front sight in pistol) or focus on target and aim intuitively?
One more: should I put my thumb on top of stock or on the side?
Thanks for looking.

September 29, 2002, 09:34 PM
I use both hands to pull any long gun into my shoulder. Pulling the gun tight into your shoulder will mitigate the stout recoil. The thumb of the strong hand should be kept along the side of the pistol grip, not curled over the grip.

I focus on the front sight or bead when shooting. You can use a soft sight focus on closer range targets. I keep my elbow pointed down. This keeps your elbow behind cover, when available, and keeps your elbow from getting bashed on door ways and corners.

If you can, shoot with both eyes open. I sometimes keep my non-dominant eye squinted to keep my peripheral vision when shooting with both eyes wide open is too distracting.

September 29, 2002, 11:09 PM
The support hand (left hand if righty) should push forward on the forend while pointing the index finger of the left hand at the target. The Right hand should pull the gun into the shoulder.

In effect the hands are pulling against each other. By pushing forward with the left hand the left arm absorbs some of the recoil. The shoulder should be moved into the butt as you bring the gun up. The elbow should be lifted to form the proper pocket for the butt.

The thumb should always be wrapped around the stock. You cannot pull the gun against the shoulder with the right hand if it is laying to the side. (Whomever came up with this "Tactical" move of laying the thumb to the side must have fired a lot of rounds through an M79 grenade launcher).

Proper sighting with a shotgun means focusing on the target, not the bead or barrel. Clay shooters call focusing on the front sight "Checking" and it is a sure way to miss a moving target. The front sight and barrel should be a blur as you focus on the target.

Both eyes should be open to give proper depth perception. Hopefully the dominant eye is on the same side as the gun, if not special measures may be taken. Shooting one eyed destroys depth perception and causes eyestrain during long shooting sessions.

Jim Crews
September 30, 2002, 01:15 AM
I am presuming you are not talking about bird hunting or clay shooting, and it really does not make much difference any way.

I am presuming you are talking about using the shotgun in the role of saving your life.

Focus on the top edge of the front sight. The pattern inside the home is too small not to aim the shotgun. Many shotguns even with junk buck shot will run about 3 inches at 5 yards. Check your own pattern. Inside the home you need to use the shotgun just like a rifle. Pattern your shotgun from 3, , 5, 7, 10 yards using your favorite shot load and see what you get. If you are shooting slugs, well then you have a big rifle right. So yes, aiming is the answer.

As for the firing side thumb, no, as someone posted, it does not wrap across the saddle of the stock. If you are shooting a Mossberg, put your firing side thumb on the safety, if you are shooting most other shotguns, put it along the firing hand side of the stock. Look, here is the problem. If your thumb is across the saddle, and you happen to have to transit from left to right (for a right hander) the thumb can contact the nose during recoil, causing tearing of the eyes, a bloody nose and in one case that I witness, a broken nose.

The firing hand does not grip the stock of the shotgun at the grip, it is only used to pull the shotgun in the shoulder. The problem is that most shotgun manufacturers today are putting a European stock on the shotguns, which means the stock is swept more radically to the rear. If you would like, I can post a photo of what they should look like. So with a European stock, the grip area is at a shallow angle, this is what makes your firing hand slip off the stock under slug and buck recoil. It is easy to fix.

The support hand supports the shotgun, there is no need to pull it into the shoulder nor apply reverse pressure by pushing forward, and keep that left trigger finger on the right side of the stock. There is no reason to have it pointing at the target. Under stress, you will need all of those fingers on the forend, why reduce the number of fingers you could be using for cycling the action.

The one eyed two eyed thread has been beaten to death under the handgun forum, go look there for some of your answers.

Oh, as far as absorbing recoil, if your shotgun fits you properly, and you establish the proper thrust transmission vectors to the ground, you will have very little recoil to deal with, and that includes shooting slugs one handed either stationary or on the move.

September 30, 2002, 06:55 PM
I'd be interested in seeing the photos Mr. Crews.

Peter Gun
September 30, 2002, 07:26 PM
Thanks for the replies everyone. I'd like to see the pics too, Crews. Mostly I'm concerned about shooting clays, but I'm shooting clays to practice for defense so both apply.
Maybe my proportions are different, but I don't see how the thumb across the saddle could hit my nose. Maybe i don't have my cheek weld far foward enough.
I'll do some clay shooting tomorrow and try out different approaches.

October 1, 2002, 12:08 AM
If your thumb hits your nose, the stock is too short:D

Check out the other clays shooters when you shoot. Let me know if you find one who doesn't wrap his/her thumb around the stock. I looked through three monthly shotgun mags and cannot find one shooter using the "M79" grip.

In shotgunning, you concentrate on the target, not the front sight.

I would suggest getting a copy of Robert Churchills' "Game Shooting" available on Amazon, for proper mounting techniques.

My $.02

October 1, 2002, 01:32 AM
Been there and done that. Put my thumb over the top of the saddle while tranisting on a running target while shooting slugs. Got a nice bloody nose. No the stock is not too short, it is just right. The target was running right to left and I shot as I came across where my thumb would hit my nose and got it. Hit the target too but could not do it again. It is hard to see after taking a nose hit like that. It would have been worse with the longer stock on the shotgun. I know nothing of shooting clays or hunting birds with the shotgun but do know a little about how to use my shotgun for HD. We had a clay shooter in a shotgun class I was in down in South Carolina. He thought he could just look at the target and hit it the way he did his trap or skeet shooting but quickly found out that that stuff he was doing did not work on targets with heads and in hostage problems, nor would it work on the steel plates that were used as targets. He was not a happy camper until he learned how to shoot that shotgun. He also had a tendancy to put his barrel on his foot and waive the gun all around. He finally got a sling on it and saved all our lives. He went out after the first day and got a 20 inch barrel with rifle sights with no choke and it patterned better than his Long Tom Premier something or other barrel did. I have been following a bunch of these threads about shotguns, mounting, sights, stocks and all that sort of stuff and there was a discussion on one of the other forums about a lot of this. So I started looking around for more information and asking a few questions to see who people have gone to for training and what kind of books do people buy for HD work. There are not many out there but the ones there are pretty good.

I would suggest you look at Awerbucks shotgun video and his shotgun book you can get then from Paladin Press, his tape is really good.

Jim Crews has a really good shotgun book, you get it from him at www.marksmans.com

Ray Chapman has some older videos out there called the Lost Chapman Tapes and I have a copy of all 9 of them, some are handgun, some are shotgun, they are not bad. I got my copies used and have no idea where to get them now.

Gunsite has a shotgun tape that is pretty good, you can get it from Dillion Precision or Gunsite at www.gunsite.com I think and you might get them from Paladin Press.

Thunder Ranch has a good shotgun tape, but I think you have to have taken the class to buy it. I have never seen it anywhere advertised, but have seen it at a friends house.

I also have a copy of Bill Clede's book. Its ok.

Gabe Suarez has a pretty good shotgun book you can get it from him or Paladin Press.

The placement of the thumb is also addressed in Mr. Cooper's book The Art of the Rifle on page 53 and 54 for the exact reason Mr. Crews has stated, "it keeps the thumb off the nose." Mr. Awerbuck more or less says the same thing in his video and Mr. Suarez's book The Tactical Shotgun shows the thumb not crossing over.

So who is right? I think the guys doing this for a living are more than likely right. Do your own research, read a bit of what is out there and take as many classes as you can because it is one thing to read about it, it is another to get out there and do it.

October 1, 2002, 08:07 AM
I have shot every possible angle of moving target, including sitting on my ass in a duckboat, and have never whacked myself in the nose with my thumb.

I do not know exactly what you mean by "Transiting" but of you hit your nose your gun does not fit properly.

I am no expert and I do not write books on "Home Defense" or "Tactical Shooting" but I have shot an awful lot of rounds through a variety of Shotguns. The only time I came close to poking my nose is with a 20 ga gun belonging to a 12 year old, Because the stock was so short.

October 1, 2002, 09:40 AM
I'm with you, K80 Geoff.

The advice by some on this thread may follow rifle shooting, but not shotgunning.

As far as shotgunning, and my personal experience competing in Sporting Clays, 5 Stand, and FITASC, plus decades of wingshooting, I can attest to the following:

If your shotgun stock is too short, you will thumb yourself in the nose. You will also probably shoot 'way high. Proper fit and mount are critical to speed and accuracy.

If you look at the bead, you will shoot behind a moving target.

If you choose not to use your leading hand's index finger along the forearm to "point" at the target, then you are foregoing the benefit of accurate, instinctive movement towards that target.

As far as "doing this for a living", I'd place the likes of Scott Robertson, Bobby Fowler, Jon Krueger, Andy Duffy and company against any of the so-called "tactical" shotgunners any day of the week. I have shot with these gentlemen (and Bob Brister as well), and not a single one of them shoots in the manner prescribed by some on this thread.

I have yet to see a single "tactical" shotgunner with his barrell shrouded, tactical foregrip, sidesaddled riot gun perform even marginally well at the simple game of skeet, let alone 5 Stand. FITASC? Fugeddaboudit.

Let the games begin...

Al Thompson
October 1, 2002, 09:59 AM
Two distinctly different tasks. Social shotguns are aimed, not pointed. I've done a bit of skeet and sporting clays. FWIW, Fred Missildine was my skeet coach on Sea Island. Whhen my interest in rifles and handguns surfaced, I found that shooting clays took a lot more effort as I was focusing on the front sight. Even now, it takes me a round or two to "warm up".

Engagement ranges for the two different applications are a large part of the difference. IMHO, 20 yards and under for defense, 20 yards and out for clay sports. The closer the range, the more important the sights.

October 1, 2002, 11:49 AM
So Bud1 and K80Geoff what is the difference between shooting a 308 Remington 700 and a Remington 1187 with a slug? Would you advocate looking at the target when using the rifle in the house or would you say it needs to be aimed. A 308 obviously is .308-inches vs a slug. There is not much margin to miss with the slug either. My livingroom is 35 feet on the long end and 21 feet wide. My buckshot pattern at 21 feet is 2.5-inches in diameter using Federal H132 and 1.5-inches when using Hornady TAP. So, should I not aim that shot load when defending my kids and home? I went through a home invasion class where there was a significant hostage problem going on for each of us to resolve and if you did not aim you would hit an innocent bystander or the hostage and it got no better with slugs because of the secondary flyers (wads) could severly injure people too.
I reckon that there may be a difference between shooting clay birds on the clay range and having to defend one's life or the life with a shotgun. I went back and looked at a bunch of the books I have on shotguns and rifles and all of them indicate the thumb should not cross the saddle. Oh well, maybe all of them are wrong and they all said you aim the shotgun too and all of the classes I have been in we were taught the same thing. Do you suppose these people would publish material like that if they did not have a firm basis in the technique? I mean the liability problem alone would scare the crap out of me. You teach someone to do something that is wrong, they get killed, you go to court and end up loosing all your belongings. I would bet that they have thought this through fairly well and it probably has been proven by actual application. Don't know what more to say about all this.

Dave McC
October 1, 2002, 05:28 PM
A coupla things...

I guess my lifetime total of shotgun rounds fired is close to 50K. That's 50K opportunities to bang my oversized probiscus with my thumb, or vice versa.Of course,that's with a variety of shotguns, ranging from Son's little NEF with its 11 1/2" pull, to my TB and a few others with about 15" LOP.

It hasn't happened yet.

And each and every time, my thumb was over the top of the grip, except when shooting PG style stocks.

And while Duffy, Carlisle, and Rhode haven't reason to sweat over my scores, I generally hit what I'm shooting at.

Same with "Serious" shotgunning,I generally scored above the median, sometimes in the top 3, and generally hit what I AIMED at.

Yup, no nose banging, using the support hand to pull the weapon back into the shoulder, and aiming for "Serious" and pointing for clays and critters.

"Serious" and Sporting usage are two different kettles of fish,but the dichotomy is not too insurmountable, and some stuff works for both.

And as for pointing with the forefinger of thre support hand, I don't do it. But I do know some very good folks who swear thereby.


Peter Gun
October 1, 2002, 06:39 PM
Well, i can see why I had trouble finding the consensus in the archives. It would seem many of these items are very subjective, even though many seem to feel they are absolute. Here is my feedback from my first day w/ clays. I have shot clays once before, long ago. I was shooting w/ another newbie in my backyard, so i did not have any feedback from other shooters.

Thumb--My stock has a slot in the pistol grip that seems to fit my thumb perfectly. My thumb is on the side and slightly over the top. W/ all deference to above posters, there is no way this could hit my nose even if I wrapped it fully over. Its just physically impossible. I'm not going to worry about it because my hand seems to have an instinctive spot on this stock, so thats where I'm going to put it.

Grip-I found pointing my index finger very uncomfortable and hard to cycle the pump. Maybe because I have stubby fingers. I did pull slightly back on the front hand which seemed to make the pump action nearly instantaneous on the Winchester. I double broke (word?) two clays!

Arm (firing)- Again this stock seems to fit me perfectly. I just pull it to my shoulder and it's there. I hold my elbow at about 60* to the ground.

Aiming-tried both methods and came up w something in between. I found if I did not try and aim at all and just pointed, I missed more and often lost my "cheek weld?". If I used the bead I did not lead enough. My problem was solved when the bead fell of again and disappeared. Good riddance. I used two eyes, but made sure I had a flat sight picture along the rib and focused on the clay. Great results! only missed 2 of 20 that way!

Overall impression: this shotgun was made for me. The less thought I put into it, the better I shot. I guess all that time fondling different shotguns paid off. I knew the right one when I found it. Thanks for everyone's input... now to more difficult courses of fire! I guess I'll have to try a HD scenario w/ buckshot next to see if the same things hold true.