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 Post subject: how to aim a shotgun
PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2009 7:37 am 
Utility Grade

Joined: Thu May 21, 2009 5:07 pm
Posts: 18
Location: northeast pa
Hello
I am new to shotgunning and the forum. Have been reading and see that the recommended method of aiming is to "look at the target", apparently not to line up with the bead sight. Is there a reason for this? Is there more to the technique than the wording implies? Is it a speed thing for shooting birds/clays?


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 Post subject: Re: how to aim a shotgun
PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2009 7:51 am 
Field Grade
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Joined: Thu May 15, 2008 1:28 pm
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Location: pocahontas, Arkansas
You should be already in alignment with the shoulder, barrel, and sight and just look past the sight at your target. don't focus on the sights just the target, hope that helps.


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 Post subject: Re: how to aim a shotgun
PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2009 8:51 am 
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Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2007 5:18 am
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You don't really "aim" a shotgun like you would a rifle.

In general, you have your left hand on the forend and you can have your left index finger pointing along the barrel. When you see your target you mount the gun, point at the target with your left index finger and pull the trigger.

That's the gist of it.

Now, this will work very well if you have the proper stance, proper gun fit and consistent and proper mount, swing and follow-thru!

But basically you do not aim the gun.

Possibly the best explanation of all this is in Bruce Bowlen's book The Orvis Wing-Shooting Handbook. (cheap from Amazon) The book is quite short, very well illustrated and presents the "English" or "modified Churchill" technique that is taught at the Orvis schools.

Your question is a very good one and if you're new to shotguns asking it now will prevent you from forming bad muscle habits. It also forces you to learn proper mount and that forces you get your gun to fit properly and then everything falls into place!

No, the technique is not a "speed thing" (altho it does let you point the gun quickly) but rather is a "natural" method of shooting.

By the way, Welcome to SGW!!

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"Pumpster" is because of pumpkins, not pump guns.
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Shotguns speak in many voices and fortunate are those of us who hear more than one.
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 Post subject: Re: how to aim a shotgun
PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2009 9:25 am 
Presentation Grade

Joined: Sun Mar 13, 2005 8:08 am
Posts: 693
Location: Ohio
With a shotgun your eye is the rear sight and the target is the front sight.And keep your cheek planted firmly on the stock.


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 Post subject: Re: how to aim a shotgun
PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2009 9:51 am 
Presentation Grade

Joined: Tue Feb 28, 2006 3:37 am
Posts: 527
Location: California
SmokinTom wrote:
With a shotgun your eye is the rear sight and the target is the front sight.And keep your cheek planted firmly on the stock.


I agree that your eye is the rear sight but I would say that the front bead/muzzle is the front sight. You want to have your head planted so that you can see the bead/muzzle in the same position every time.

You don't aim a shotgun....you point it. The short version....with your head planted on the stock so that you can see the bead/muzzle of the barrel, you point the muzzle end to the location that the target is going to be when the shot gets to it (lead). Since the target is moving keep swinging the shotgun so that you don't stop the gun and shoot behind the target (follow through).

This is just a basic explanation. Once you start hitting targets you will develop a sight picture in your brain and start improving.

Good Luck and have fun with it.


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 Post subject: Re: how to aim a shotgun
PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2009 10:18 am 
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Joined: Sat Feb 25, 2006 8:05 pm
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Location: Kerrville TX
All of this is why we keep trying to tell people how important the FIT of a shotgun is. If you try and"aim" a shotgun ,your swing will stop the moment your eye goes to the front bead. This will lead to a miss behind. When you mount a well fit shotgun, all of the "aiming" has already happened, you just concentrate on your target and the shot will follow.....Jack

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 Post subject: Re: how to aim a shotgun
PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2009 11:24 am 
Utility Grade

Joined: Thu May 21, 2009 5:07 pm
Posts: 18
Location: northeast pa
I just ordered the orvis book and an orvis guide to fitting a shotgun, used from Amazon. Thanks!


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 Post subject: Re: how to aim a shotgun
PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2009 11:50 am 
Limited Edition

Joined: Wed Oct 24, 2007 4:39 am
Posts: 486
Location: Atlanta
A visual image I use with new shooters is to think about spraying a running dog with a garden hose. You have to point the stream of water ahead of the dog. You don't need to "aim" the stream, you just focus on the dog and your reflexes do the rest with the hose. The image works even better if your make believe hose shoots a short spurt of water. The BBs actually look somewhat like a spurt of water once they leave the barrel.

Another mental image that works best with men is to think about throwing a football to a pass receiver running a slant pattern. You have to get the ball to where the receiver is going to be, not where he is when the ball is thrown.

My advise is to find a shooting coach, day 1, before you get frustrated and ingrain habits that might hamper your shooting forever.


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 Post subject: Re: how to aim a shotgun
PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2009 1:58 pm 
Crown Grade

Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2007 5:18 am
Posts: 7792
wdlewis wrote:
A visual image I use with new shooters is to think about spraying a running dog with a garden hose....


Awesome image!! :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

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Frank
___________________
"Pumpster" is because of pumpkins, not pump guns.
It's SxS, DT splinter/English for me!
Shotguns speak in many voices and fortunate are those of us who hear more than one.
May God bless our Union.


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 Post subject: Re: how to aim a shotgun
PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2009 2:57 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 06, 2007 5:21 pm
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Location: UK
If you try to aim a shotgun the chances are you'll miss. You point it just the same way as you point with your finger. The gun needs to fit and be mounted right and your eyes do the rest.

A always the simplest, quickest & most efficient way to learn these things is with a couple of coaching sessions. It's not life threatening money and you'll be glad you did.

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 Post subject: Re: how to aim a shotgun
PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2009 4:53 pm 
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Another slant: The eye(s) focus is always on the target, always. The front bead is seen out of focus in the peripheral vision. Never glance back at the front bead.

Assuming that the gun fits and your eye is in the right place relative to the rib, the center of the pattern will be where it would be if you were aiming the gun like a rifle with the eye looking down the center of the rib along its surface.

Where the front bead needs to be relative to targets is a learned response. It needs to be ahead of the target and in line with the path of the target. How far ahead is the learned part and will depend on the distance to the target and the speed of the swing. It is why the eye should be focused on the spot in front of the target or in the case of a clay target, possibly on the leading edge of the target, wherever you want the center of the pattern to go.

With the eye serving as the rear sight, it must be in the same place each time the gun is mounted. If it isn't, it would be like moving the rear sight on a rifle when the gun is mounted. The eye could be in a different place than it was, last shot. When it is, the pattern will go to a different place, sometimes, feet different.

Well fitting guns and consistent gun mounts aid in keeping the eye in the same place following the mount and during swings to targets. (Well fitting describes guns with stock dimensions that match the shooter's size and shape. When they match, the stock dimensions allow the shooter to use the shooting form (gun mount, stance and body posture) that results in the greatest shooting success.

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Author: Stock Fitter's Bible, Second Edition - Gun-fitting & shooting instruction for shooters of all ages and disciplines. http://www.amazon.com in their book section.


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 Post subject: Re: how to aim a shotgun
PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2009 10:53 pm 
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Pumpster wrote:
wdlewis wrote:
A visual image I use with new shooters is to think about spraying a running dog with a garden hose....


Awesome image!! :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

I agree, except I think it should be spraying a cat.

A 40 yard, on edge screaming crosser could be like spraying a cat for the second time, you'd better be moving. :)

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 Post subject: Re: how to aim a shotgun
PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 1:58 am 
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Unless you are shooting slugs or turkey hunting, shotguns are NOT meant to be aimed. I learned that the hard way when I got into trap shooting as a kid. Everytime I tried to line up the front bead with the mid bead, I missed EVERY time. After lots of hours practicing your shouldered shotgun and your eyesight will work as a team and you will be able to hit whatever you are looking at without the need to aim. Most importantly is you HAVE to have a shotgun that fits you.

At the trap club I used to attend in my hometown, I used to work with the younger shooters because I had tons of patience with them and I used to tell them that they might as well not pull the trigger when they try to aim at the target because either way they aren't going to hit the target. It really does take a lot of getting used to especially if you start out rifle or handgun shooting before shotgunning.

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 Post subject: Re: how to aim a shotgun
PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 3:24 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jan 30, 2007 8:49 am
Posts: 170
Location: Fort Wayne IN
SmokinTom wrote:
And keep your cheek planted firmly on the stock.


Yep that. Cheek comes off the stock (I'm talking hunting now) your tendency will be to shoot under the bird. Cheek on the stock, and the shotgun will shoot where you point it.

Your eyes and the barrel will become one, Grasshopper (sorry, couldn't resist.)


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 Post subject: Re: how to aim a shotgun
PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2009 4:10 am 
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There have been quite a few gun writers that have sat down and calculated how fast a target flies, how fast the shot charge travels, and how much lead you need to get in front of the target and hit it. When you crunch all the numbers,,,,it's just impossibly difficult for anybody to actually hit that flying target so far away,,,yet it happens all the time. :wink:

There are about three ways we shoot a shotgun. Well, there are others,,,but let's say three main ways.

Skeet shooters often use "sustained lead". They'll sort of kinda aim the gun a certain number of feet in front of a target and sustain their lead until the sight picture looks just right, and slap the trigger.

Other shooters "snap shoot" or "follow through" or they may call it "instictive shooting". They'll take a shotgun, swing it fast, never aim it at all (that they admit to), and let their mental computer take care of the lead. Sort of like hitting a baseball with a bat or a tennis ball with a racket.

Others will use what's called "pull away". They'll track the target smoothly, sort of aiming at it, and then at the last second "pull away" the gun in front, using their mental computers to tell them how much.

There are other methods, but the only one I know of besides those three that gets mentioned is "spot shooting". That would be looking at the target, figuring out where you think it's going to be, and then shooting at a spot in front of it,,,with a more or less stationary gun. Useful for incoming sporting clays targets, sometimes.


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 Post subject: Re: how to aim a shotgun
PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2009 2:33 pm 
Field Grade

Joined: Sun Feb 17, 2008 9:11 pm
Posts: 95
Location: Wash D.C. area
Using a shotgun properly is much more similar to baseball or tennis than it is to any other shooting sport. The basic idea is that you don't watch the gun at all: the gun becomes an extension of your body like a bat or racquet and you watch the target. As is the case with shotguns, if you ever try to watch a baseball bat or a tennis racquet, you'll never hit anything with it.

In other words it's another pure hand/eye game.


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