View Full Version : Pass shooting tips?

Dave R
December 22, 2001, 11:49 PM
I went duck hunting today for the first time. We were pass-shooting near a preserve. Shots were looking to me like 30-40 yards. Could clearly see the ring around mallard necks. My partner was a long-time duck hunter. I watched what he shot at, and tried to match range.

Shot a full box, no hits.

My buddy took 10 shots or so, no hits.

I was using commercial 3" BB loads at about 1300fps. He was using hand-loaded "heat seekers" (his name) shooting an ounce of 2's at about 1700fps. Yes, they made his shoulder sore.

My buddy told me to lead them a lot further than I thought was reasonable. Told a story of his youth. 6 ducks fly by in a straight line. He takes a very long lead on the first duck, fires, and the fourth duck drops.

I tried all kinds of leads. I tried taking 3 shots at one duck, with 3 different leads.

Any tips before I waste another box on my next outing?

Art Eatman
December 23, 2001, 01:52 AM
Go shoot some skeet, but ask around about the comparative speeds of the claybirds vs. ducks. And, of course, do some brain-picking on any duck hunters you find.

Have somebody critique your shooting--particularly such things as follow-through and lead, etc.


Dave McC
December 23, 2001, 06:46 AM
Hard to armchair diagnose from here, but....

Make sure you're not stopping your swing.

Try to hit the duck in the beak.

Use a swing through lead instead of a sustained lead.

Finally, don't give up, pass shooting is a different game entirely.

Good luck...

December 23, 2001, 10:43 AM
For some folks thinkin ballistically helps. Takes time for shot to get from gun to where duck is. In that time duck moved at a certain rate to somewhere else. Swingin through and shootin so that the shot string goes where the duck is going to be when the shot gets there gets dead duck.

All the preceeding apply too.


Dave R
December 23, 2001, 02:10 PM
Thanks for the tips, guys.

Dave, I was using a sustained lead. I'll try a swing through lead. Hit the duck in the beak? My buddy was saying a 12-body-length lead! Maybe I was over-leading.

Sam, believe ot or not, last season I did a spreadsheet in Excel to calculate leads on flying Chukar. Did fps of the shot, length of time it took to reach the birds, estimated spead of the birds, etc. Wound up with a grid of distance in yards to the birds on one axis, and length of lead in feet on the other axis. IIRC, at40 yards, assuming a bird speed of 40mph and a shot speed of 1100fps, the lead at 40 yards was around 6 feet. Sound reasonable? Maybe I'll update it.

Anybody know how fast a duck flies? 30 mph? 40 mph?

December 23, 2001, 03:18 PM
Dave R.....get so you can do that in your head and you can go trap shootin with a rifle or pistol. Some can...not me tho.


Dave McC
December 23, 2001, 07:16 PM
Brister did some of his patterning tests with the sheet moving from 35 to 50 MPH to match mallards' speed,Dave.

6 feet sounds reasonable,BUT swing speed varies so greatly that saying a duck at X yards moving at Y speed needs Z lead is good only for that shooter.Ands that's only with a true 90 degree crosser. I didn't promise you a rose garden(G)...

Hitting them in the beak means trying to put a little more lead in it.

If you've a trap range handy, bribe the trap man to lock down the trap to throw just hard right screamers. Stand on post 5 with loads similar in speed to your duck loads and shoot them until you're grooved in. That clay starts out around 50 MPH. My guess is I'm using about 5-6 feet of daylight as I trigger, but YMMV.

On a skeet range,try high house but do it from 10-15 yards behind,say 3,4 and 5. Same idea.


December 23, 2001, 07:45 PM
Swing through always works for me shooting long crossers in FITASC. But you have to keep the gun moving, exaggerate the swing after you slap the trigger. The speed gained while swinging through a moving target will build in the proper lead for you.

Butt, Belly, Beak, Bang!

December 23, 2001, 09:13 PM
1700 fps?

Dave R
December 23, 2001, 09:20 PM
That's what he says. I didn't chrono 'em.

1oz. load.

I shot a box of shells and my shoulder felt fine. He shot 10 and was sore.

December 24, 2001, 04:01 PM
Don't over-think the whole thing. The reason we go hunting is to relax. I strongly recommend the swing through method and let your reflexes and instints do the calculations for you they are more often faster and more accurate.

Also even if the ducks aren't coming to decoys put a few out and call very little but do call. This will make them fly closer and maybe even slow down a bit.
For pass shooting I usually use a modified choke with 3.5 inch 2's
At 1350 fps they will make your eyes cross if you don't mount it right 1700 sounds like a good way to get recoil shy.:eek: