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Old December 7, 2002, 02:04 PM   #1
Dave McC
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Join Date: October 13, 1999
Location: Columbia, Md, USA
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How fast is fast?....

And how necessary?....

We were hunting on farmland, bought by a group of lawyers as an investment and held until the suburbs moved closer. Two of the lawdogs were casual birdhunters, and one had planted some food plots, paid a local to trap down the predators, and supplemented wild quail with some pen raised birds released in August to acclimate.

It was November then, and I had been invited to hunt with them. One had been a student of mine, I'd qualified him for his CCW, and we'd done a few COFs of "Serious" type shotgunning together.

The local had a decent dog or two and we were moving in on a point. One lawyer had a SKB SxS 20, the other an A-5. I had an 870 of course, cylinder choke and 18" bbl.

As I moved in I trapped the butt in my armpit, and held the piece level,stepping forward with my left foot and then bringing up my right so that I was closer to proper stance than if I left/righted like we usually walk. The covey exploded, I poked and shot one down just clear of the cover, my swing kept on and another bird appeared over my bead, a shot/shuck/swing/shot on another straight away, and there was a triple on a covey rise. It was breaking par, the Hat Trick,and picking the Trifecta all in one.

"D*mn, you're fast!", said the guy to my left in awe. He had fired a salute, it turned out, and the third guy didn't shoot. I tried to look like I did it every day before breakfast,but grinned like an idiot inwardly. Luck was with me, and that's all I can say.

And the point to all this?

I'm a decent shotgunner, but no local legend. And my reflexes run average, not lightning swift nor sure.

So how did I do this?

Practice, good form and good fit.

What brought this up was a little thing on American Shooter this AM. It covered the Steel Plate Challenge, with Leatham, Miculek, etc, going H*ll for leather with a variety of handguns, and one brief segment with shotguns.

Check this out...

Using a short bbled, GR'd 870,the guys were going after 5 steel plates. The winning time was 2.5 seconds. I was impressed,to say the least.

Jerry Miculek used the equipment(Since Vang was a sponsor, I'm sure it wasn't stock) to shoot that fast time. From what I could see, he was leaning well into it, had some pressure on the forearm so that it would start moving as soon as the action unlocked, and was using R/R loads.

So how fast is fast?

Back when I was instructing, I'd do a demo that imitated the qualifier COF. 5 shots, starting from a full mag and chamber, weapon mounted before the signal.Under 5 seconds, and some folks said I did it under 4 on occasion. With practice, you could too.

SC types oft take two shots on true pairs in less than that.

Trapshooters doing doubles will bust that second bird before it's gone 50 yards,call it 3-4 seconds for the good ones.

Live pigeon shooters have to kill the bird and have it drop inside a circle about 15 meters from the traps. They can use two shots, and the time needed is scanty indeed.

What's common to all is good form,good fit and practice.

And a ready position like the one in the lead paragraph really helps. Port arms requires a lot of waving the weapon around to align it correctly. Having it point at the area, held horizontally and the butt under the shoulder joint means a smooth push forward and up as the swing commences has the gun doing the right things BEFORE your cheek touches the stock and the shot goes.

And if there's a trick to speed, it's getting smooth first. Once you can do this smoothly, speed will show up on its own.

HTH, and please ask if I'm not clear of the details....
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Old December 7, 2002, 02:23 PM   #2
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I never bothered to time shots when hunting. I have been more impressed with dead birds, than how fast they were killed. That having been said, I agree, that constant practice, and a lot of shooting sure helps build speed.

I also feel that it is helpful to have someone knowledgable work with you from time to time, to critique your form . It is so easy to get into bad habits, and another set of eyes can spot that quickly before the habit gets ingrained.

I prefer my Browning A-5 shotguns to anything else for bird hunting. The Sweet 16, the Mag 20 or Mag12 all get field time. I think I really shoot the 16 best.

While I will never be in then class of the guys mentioned in that article, I have always held my own when it is time to count the birds in the bag.
Nemo Me Impune Lacesset

"The trouble with our liberal friends is not that they're ignorant; it's just that they know so much that isn't so.".........Ronald Reagan
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Old December 8, 2002, 06:48 PM   #3
Dave McC
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Mann,too many folks work on fast,instead of working on sure and/or smooth.

Watch a really good shotgunner sometime. He/she will have little waste movement, no jerky moves, and no undue haste.

Agreed on a mentor. Since so many folks have trouble finding one,I've been writing this series to serve as a poor substitute for a Shotgun Sensei. Not that I'm a Master, just an advanced student with a compulsion to help others...

Erick, Amen.
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Old December 8, 2002, 07:38 PM   #4
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Join Date: October 29, 1999
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Smoooth begats accuracy.
Speed comes.

Have seen a few rising triples done with side by side. Interesting happening indeed. Have never seen it done with OU, think they too slow to reload. Maby.

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Old December 8, 2002, 08:50 PM   #5
Join Date: December 11, 2001
Location: Indiana
Posts: 76
I read all your posts Dave. Your "shotgun sensaiing" is appreciated. I have learned alot.
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Old December 9, 2002, 04:39 AM   #6
Dave McC
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Amen, Sam. The triples I've seen have oft been "Scotch" ones, where two have been hit with one shot.

Per Brister, Rudy Etchen took 5 for 5 on a covey rise in some quail shooting championship. I would have liked to have seen that.

Bet the greater gape on the SxS aids rapid reloading.

Thanks, Twix. Glad to help...
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Old December 9, 2002, 12:37 PM   #7
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Good post Dave. I hope to get there someday, and I plan to work on my form considerably in the spring and summer of next year. I've hunted dove the past couple of seasons, and I'm tired of so many misses. Before September, I plan to put in some serious time out at the skeet range.

Saw my friend take a triple on dove this past year. Little easier to do with an autoloader though.
Gun control should just be about hitting your target.
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Old December 9, 2002, 01:35 PM   #8
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Another great post. Should go in your book.

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Old December 10, 2002, 05:54 AM   #9
Dave McC
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Join Date: October 13, 1999
Location: Columbia, Md, USA
Posts: 8,812
Thanks, folks....

Guyon, good attitude, but the best dove shot I ever knew was hitting about half of the birds most of the time. The very nature of dove shooting precludes exactitude.But,if we hit every time, it might not be so much fun. Don't obsess over misses, just work to lessen them.

BTW, one regular here has PM'd me, and mentioned that he does a similar COF in three gun to the one on ESPN I cited.VERY fast time,he says.

Other than a mild delusion that my writings have helped him shoot very well, he seems quite sane(G)...
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