The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Hide > The Dave McCracken Memorial Shotgun Forum

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old October 15, 2008, 10:19 PM   #26
Senior Member
Join Date: November 19, 2004
Posts: 492
SHotguns are different.

The classic line is, "you don't aim a shotgun, you point it."

This is true, but it's only helpful when you already know what it means.

The bead is your rear sight, the target is your front sight. As with a pistol or iron-sighted rifle, the front sight should be in focus. Where it gets weird is that, with a shotgun, the front sight isn't on the gun.

Shooting a shotgun is mouch more like shooting a bow than it is like shooting a firearm. It's a matter of target focus and muscle memory. You have to forget what you think you know, and let the process teach you. You'll also quickly get to the point where you know if you hit (or missed) before the bird breaks (or flies off into the sunset). As soon as you slap that trigger, you'll know.

If you're shooting a shotgun like a rifle, you're doing it wrong. The reverse is also true, except maybe for big-bore double rifles. But I'll never be able to afford one, so I'll never know.

Even if you've no interest in bird hunting or clay sports, hie thee to the trap or skeet range. There's really no other way to learn to shoot a shotgun.

Like I said... They're different.

tube_ee is offline  
Old October 15, 2008, 10:25 PM   #27
Staff In Memoriam
Join Date: October 31, 2007
Location: Western Florida panhandle
Posts: 11,069
Shannon I will try to remember the way you described that! Very understandable way to put it... Thanks!
hogdogs is offline  
Old October 16, 2008, 11:05 AM   #28
Join Date: October 15, 2008
Posts: 25
That is a good explanation Shannon, I understand pointing now.

I think I should stick to aiming as described in posts # 15 and 25, other people aim shotguns, from the sights described in post #2 and 5. Looks like both styles are used. I just don't shoot enough to develop the skill of pointing. I maybe shoot 2-3 rounds a year at predators and it's always under a surprise, stressful, panic situation, this sound ideal for aiming, like the police. Going shooting/hunting for the day, one already has a mindset to shoot and one is ready for it, sounds ideal for pointing.

Thanks for all the help guys!

Some people don't have local help, like I went to both gun shops in my town (looking for sights) and they both said a pattern spread relies on the barrel length. Which I know to be false from what I read on this forum.
Lance1 is offline  
Old October 16, 2008, 11:41 AM   #29
Senior Member
Join Date: January 23, 2001
Location: People's Republic of Kanada
Posts: 1,652
On most shotguns, the "rear sight" is actually your EYE, so you need to make sure the gun is mounted on your shoulder the same way each time you bring it up; when you do, you should find that your "aiming eye" (unless you have cross-dominance) is lined up in the middle of the barrel and receiver, and the bead at the muzzle is visible. Ideally, you should just be able to put that bead on your target, and squeeze the trigger. To check if you're "aiming"/pointing properly, you should really put up a large piece of paper at around 50 feet, and fire at it (this will give you an idea of where that shot pattern is going when you pull the trigger, and, hopefully, most of it will be centred on the spot you were aiming at). If you can't do that, find a safe place where you can fire off a box of shells in a safe direction, and take out a bunch of cans/empty milk jugs/cardboard boxes/etc., and see what you can do against them (if you can't just put up a large piece of paper out there).
Gun control in Canada: making the streets safer for rapists, muggers, and other violent criminals since 1936.
SDC is offline  
Old October 16, 2008, 03:45 PM   #30
Senior Member
Join Date: November 19, 2004
Posts: 492

I find that unless the bird is sharply focused, with the bead a blur, I miss. I linked that with something I heard in hunter's safety, lo, these many years ago, that the target is the front sight. I'd never understood that, until I started handgunning, and learned about focusing on the front sight. So I put 2 and 2 together, and got what seemed to me to be four.

If I don't concentrate on the bird, I shoot behind it.

I don't practice shotgunning on stationary targets, but I would be leery of trying to learn two different ways to shoot the same gun. It seems to me that my hands would be telling me "this is your shotgun", and if I had to think "OK, this is a stationary target, so shoot this other way," I'd probably brainlock, and screw it up.

Shotgunning for me is a much more "instinctive" (a misnomer, humans don't have instincts) process. Shooting a handgun or a rifle is a deliberative, thoguht-out thing. When I think about shooting the shotgun, I miss.

I suppose, if one's only use for shotgun was defensive, you might want to learn a more "rifle-like" style. But, to me, shooting a shotgun at a moving target is one of the most fun things you can do with a gun. Nobody I know who's tried it, even if they had no interest in bird hunting, has disagreed with me. So that's how I learned the gun, and that's how I shoot it.

The fact that I'm VERY cross-dominant (strongly dominant left eye, and nearly useless left-handed) may have something to do with all this, as I shoot one-eyed, and so can only focus on one thing. For me, that has to be the bird. When I'm "on", I don't even really see the gun.

tube_ee is offline  
Old October 17, 2008, 10:35 AM   #31
Junior Member
Join Date: February 23, 2008
Posts: 9
I've been using a single shot to hunt squirrels with for about 25 years. Just this year, I started doing research on how to properly mount and shoot a shotgun. There is much I have to learn.

To answer a question you posed. Receiver does not = target. The receiver is the part of the shotgun that contains the action. In this case, the action is slide or pump. Other examples of action would be auto (M16), semi-auto (11-87), lever (Model 94 Winchester), bolt (Remington 700), breach (often seen on double barrels, or single shots). Yours is a pump (or slide) action. The receiver is the part where the shells are loaded and ejected, and that to which the stock and barrel are attached.

The sight line is on the top of the receiver, and is sometimes grooved, sometimes not. For a beginner such as yourself, when mounting the gun
you should be able to look down the receiver and barrel to the front bead. That bead should be just below or on your target. Use your eye as a rear sight, and the target as the front. When you see the front bead, it should be almost all you see. You'll see the receiver also, but only a small fraction of it, and no barrel should be visible. This of course rely upon having a consistent anchor point, or cheek weld on the stock.

You absolutely need to pattern the gun. Without knowing where the gun is hitting, you won't know the problem.

You say that you don't have anyplace to shoot the gun for patterning. Where are you shooting the gun, if you've no place to shoot it? Why not set something up temporarily there just so you'll know where it's hitting?
theghostrider is offline  
Old October 17, 2008, 11:23 AM   #32
Shawn Dodson
Junior member
Join Date: December 16, 1998
Location: Titusville, FL, USA
Posts: 1,030
Does this help?

Mount the shotgun and obtain a good cheek weld on the butt stock. Look through the shallow channel machined in the top of the receiver and focus on the front sight bead. To obtain proper sight alignment, visually center the bead in the middle of the channel. You should see only the spherical bead. To engage a target, "put" the bead on the center of the target and press the trigger. The pellets will pattern on the target around your bead. If the pellets pattern high or low, you can either adjust your sight alignment (see more or less of the front sight bead - this may require slight adjustments to you cheeck weld) or adjust your sight picture (by adjusting your aim point in relation to the target).

The only way you'll know for sure is to get out there and test your patterns.

Shawn Dodson is offline  
Old October 17, 2008, 04:42 PM   #33
Senior Member
Join Date: August 23, 2008
Location: SoCal
Posts: 6,442
My shotguns have a mid beads on the rib. These don't serve like rifle sights, but as reference points when mounting the gun. With the gun mounted properly, I should see the beads make a figure-8 and the bird float on the front bead. Once I've checked that the mount is okay, then it should be the same every time, and I no longer use the mid bead.

One aspect of competitive shooting is learning a lot of little elements that might be considered tricks; but, once learned, they make sense. One of these is to avoid shifting focus. With my older eyes, I want to keep them dialed-in at the target distance. That means loading by feel, and mounting the gun without shifting my focus to the rib.

is close with his, "If I don't concentrate on the bird, I shoot behind it." But, he can take it a bit further: Concentrate on where you're going to shoot out in front of the bird, it called seeing the lead. After you fire, keep seeing the lead as you follow through. All the while, the front bead is little blur between you and and your focus point.

Originally Posted by tube_ee
Shooting a shotgun at a moving target is one of the most fun things you can do with a gun. Nobody I know who's tried it, even if they had no interest in bird hunting, has disagreed with me.
I've yet to hear a top shooter say, "I hate shot-gunning, but I'm making so much money at it, I can't afford to quit."
zippy13 is offline  

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:02 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2018 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent:
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.06117 seconds with 9 queries