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Old December 1, 2010, 07:42 PM   #1
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Basic Wingshooting Questions

Hello Everyone,

I am fairly new to shooting and recently purchased a Mossberg 500 Field / Deer combo. I got to really use it for the first time over Thanksgiving when my girlfriend's father took me out shooting clays and then on a pheasant / chuckar hunt. I had an absolute blast and now am hooked. I did ok with the clays (hit maybe 1/3 of them), but not so well with the phesants and chuckars. My goal is to become a decent wingshooter and I have a few basic questions:

1. I am left handed and as best as I can determine (from taking the tests that I found online) left eye dominant. I have been practicing mounting my shotgun and it when I mount it on my left shoulder and look down the barrel, I see a little ghost image of the barell (almost as if the end of the barrel is forked). I have tried mounting the gun on my right shoulder and do not encounter this ghost image. Is it natural for a beginning shooter? Should I switch to shooting from my right shoulder? As best as I can determine, it seems even with the ghost image, I am still pointing the shotgun where I want it.

2. I would like to take lessons. I looked for instructors in my area and found one. Unfortunately, his website says that new shooters cannot use pump guns in his lessons. While I (sort of) understand the logic behind this, I have a pump gun and intend to use it until I need (and can afford) something "better". Is the no pump policy common? Will I be able to find an instructor willing to work with me and my Mossberg 500? Also, what should I look for in an instructor? I don't plan on traveling the professional skeet circuit, I just want to bust clays and hit birds.

3. I have started practicing mounting my gun a few times a day. Are there any other drills that I can practice?

4. Are there any good (and more importantly in print and available) basic wingshooting books that people recommend?


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Old December 1, 2010, 07:51 PM   #2
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I think you should stick with shooting left handed. Hitting 1/3 of the targets is quite normal for a beginner.

Focus on the target. The lined up beads should appear as a figure 8 with the end one sitting on top of the center bead (assuming that your barrel has the center bead).

Sometimes it helps to see where your shotgun is shooting relative to your point of aim. Not all shotguns shoot the same. Get a big piece of paper or cardboard, mark decent sized visible target in the center, set it 30 yds away and try to hit the target with one shot. Now, draw a 30" circle that contains as many holes as you can. The center of that circle is where your gun is hitting. Compare that to your original point of aim and that will give you an idea of any offset you need to build into your aiming.
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Old December 1, 2010, 08:02 PM   #3
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Actual skeet is a good practice routine as the targets NEVER vary, so you can work on lead and visualization of flight lines.

As a LH shooter myself, I understand how some guns can drive you crazy as they are set up for RH shooters. I do not see any "ghost" images, but then I am looking at the bird, not the barrel. Focus on the target, and if you are hitting them, block out the barrel from your peripheral view

Last edited by oneounceload; December 2, 2010 at 11:36 AM.
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Old December 1, 2010, 08:03 PM   #4
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I don't want to be an alarmist; but, have you had your eyes checked by an eye care professional lately? Are you sure about the results of your dominance test?

As Doyle said, hitting 1/3 first time out isn't bad. Some newbies would love to hit a third of their targets.

I've instructed a few new shooters, and trust me, when they have a pump gun it seems to waste a lot of time. I find it better to just loan them one of my O/Us or an auto to work on the fundamentals, then they can go back to their pump on their own time.

Do you have any books or articles on wing shooting basics? Something as simple as the Trap and Skeet handouts that your can down load from Remington are helpful.
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Old December 2, 2010, 08:47 AM   #5
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There's clay bird shooting and then there is wingshooting. One is practice for the other as well as addictive in its own right.
They are quite different.
Wingshooting and the ruffed grouse:
The dog stops. You know there's a bird in front of her nose. You walk up slowly, anticipating, and then there's an explosion that surprises you even though you'd expected it and a feather covered rocket shoots up and away impossibly fast and accelerating. You bring your gun up, mount it and point in the general direction of the bird, now at full speed, which has just flown behind a hemlock or a mountain laurel or a huckleberry bush. Maybe you shoot through the foliage at a glimpse of feathers......but "lead" this time the reptile part of your brain is working and lead is just a word.
Learn about lead with clay birds....lots of clay birds. Do some preserve shooting.
And make sure that you have a shotgun that fits you properly - a gun that shoots exactly where you are looking when you haul on the trigger.
“Auto racing, bull fighting, and mountain climbing are the only real sports ... all others are games.” Ernest Hemingway ...
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Old December 2, 2010, 01:14 PM   #6
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Great to hear you're excited ....and welcome to our side of the shooting and hunting hobby !!

I've never seen an instructor restrict a lesson to no pump guns / but it may be because he sees a lot of older guns / or Tactical guns ....that aren't conducive to really learning the techniques he is trying to teach.

You can learn a lot by hanging around a gun club / talking to guys / reading on the internet ....lots of good books, DVD's on the market at Sunrise Video's etc, ....lots of good stuff out there.

For wing shooting in general, I second OneOunces's comments about finding a Skeet club operation near you / you'll get a lot more practice with lead and follow thru concepts than in Trap - and then graduate to a Sporting Clays operation or 5 Stand if you have one close. Rely on your girlfriends father a little - pick his brain - ask him if he'll do a little instruction with you ....

and no matter what - have fun. A good solid pump gun is not a bad gun / it may not be an optimal gun for many clay games ....but its a style of gun most of us started shooting, and we still have in our safes, even though we may have moved on to other guns. You don't need a "better" gun right now --- use what you have / make sure it fits you properly - so it hits where you point ( take it to the pattern board )...
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Old December 2, 2010, 11:06 PM   #7
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It sounds like you may be cross eye dominant. Put a little piece of tape on the right lens of your shooting glasses and see if the ghost image dissapears. If it does try shooting with it on the lens and see if it helps. My youngest is, and that little piece of tape took him from being an average shot to winning Top Gun on his sporting clays team.

Take your time finding an instructor. Just because he's qualified, doesnt mean he can teach. Make sure you personalities are compatible.

As for a new shooter shooting a pump, if Im instructing a new shooter Im handing them one shell at a time so I really dont care what they shoot as long as its functionally safe. I dont want to discourage them from the start by telling them their gun isnt adequate (unless its something ridiculous). They'll figure that out on their own.

The range is the place to become a good wing shot. You can learn good fundaments through the repetition on a skeet field. Theyre hard to learn on game because you dont get as much shooting and its hard to get feedback on why youre missing.
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Old December 2, 2010, 11:49 PM   #8
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I'm a newbie at the clay shooting sport myself. I've been reading "The Clay Target Handbook" by Jerry Meyer. So of the more experienced shooters on here can follow up on whether it's a good book or not but I find it very informative for things such as stance and the obvious other questions.
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Old December 3, 2010, 10:19 AM   #9
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There are several different clay games, and they involve different stances, mental preparation, muscle memory, and technique, as their target presentations vary considerably.

The most consistent targets are found on the skeet field, because - barring major wind - the targets NEVER vary. Trap targets oscillate side to side (wobble adds a vertical movement as well), so there is some variation. 5-stand and sporting clays are NEVER the same as each club uses its own unique terrain to present the challenging targets.

American trap and skeet are typically shot with a pre-mounted gun. Many skeet shooters start their movement as they call pull before even seeing the bird. International skeet does not allow that movement and the gun must be presented from the low-gun mount on the hip.

American sporting clays now allows a pre-mounted gun (they couldn't find a way to enforce the original low gun rule, whereas International sporting (aka FITASC), mandates a low gun and no movement to the target until it is visible.

This makes your stances different for each game.

No matter the game and presentation, you should be standing somewhat relaxed, feet in one form of the 10 & 2 stance, and utilize not only your arms, but your waist, hips, and legs as you move to the target.

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Old December 3, 2010, 01:03 PM   #10
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Yes, Meyer's book "Clay Target Handbook" is a good general book - I have a copy - and its worth reading.

Meyer also wrote a book on "sporting clays" - that I have in my library as well ... a decent book as well.

I think some of the best coaching I've seen is on DVD's - from sunrise productions and their "eye cam" technology you really get a feel for what it takes to execute a shot.

I have several of their DVD's - but the 2 I use the most are Benders fundamentals of skeet / and Bobby Fowler Jr's one on Champion Techniques ....if you like his style ...

but they have a lot of DVD's ....and different guys approach this differently ...high gun, low gun, etc .... but with all of them you learn about stance, mount, hold points, lead and follow thru techniques that are invaluable !! I think I have 9 DVD's of theirs --- and the only one that I thought was a waste of money was the one on "Chokes and Loads" ...and its boring too .... But check them out ...

Bender and Shima ( Todd Bender and John Shima ) have some of their own DVD's too --- as well as a great school / clinics around the country ...if you want to look at some high end instruction !!
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