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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a rather odd question as it might be.

I've been hunting for many years, however most of them have been bowhunting. I haven't picked up a shotgun seriously until this year, when I started waterfowling with help from a friend of mine. It's been a rather interesting shooting year, with some success on my part. The some success is not due to lack of opportunity, cause that has definately been there, but to my shooting ability, hehe.

Here's the thing, and you have probably had a number of posts on this, I shoot right-handed, but I'm left eye dominant. As you can imagine, this really throws a wrench into the situation. Now with my bow and my rifle, I close my left eye to shoot; however, with my shotgun I'm told to shoot both eyes open. Ok fine no problem, however my sight picture isn't always what "it should be", meaning that sometimes (I don't know the percentage) my left eye pulls the barrel farther to the left than the target, if you know what I mean, because I am looking cross barrel if you will. Now I do not sight down the barrel, I do keep both eyes open, but when I try it in the house and pick a door knob....the barrel isn't always pointing at the knob. This finally brings me to my question...

I am currently shooting a Mossberg 835 w/a 24" barrel and improved cylinder. However, I had borrowed a firends Mossberg 500 w/a 26-28" barrel and improved cylinder and smacked every bird I shot at. So my question is will shooting a longer barrel help "push" the barrel to be more in line with the target??? I frustrate the heck out of my friend talking to him about this, but my logic is that with the bead/barrel out further, it will actually move the barrel more to the right thus being more inline with the target. Hopefully that makes sense.

It just seems odd that when I used the 500 with the longer barrel I really started hitting the birds, so it only seemed logical that something contributed to that. The only difference was the barrel length.

I have read about putting tape on my glasses and have yet to try it. I'm going to try that this weekend. Any input would be great. Thanks

Rake
 

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Well...there are too many issues that could be coming into play to give you a concrete answer. Your improved shooting with the longer barrel could have been because the gun just fit you better (just because they are both Mossbergs doesn't mean the stocks are identical) or the balance of the shotgun might have kept it moving or easier to keep on target than the shorter barreled gun. Finally...it may just have been the "luck of the draw" and you were getting right to left crossing shots and your "left point" bias from being left-eye dominant was actually giving you the right lead to hit the birds.

Beyond that...to take your hypothesis to the extreme...if your barrel was long enough to reach all the way to the target, you would always have it perfectly pointed. So, it may be that a longer barrel does diminish the effects of your left-eye dominance. Or maybe you were just focusing more on the bird that day. (FWIW, many, many shotguns have been sold to buyers who tried them, and shot better with them than their usual gun...only to find out that, over time, their shooting returned to "normal." The explanation, of course, is that any of us, when shooting a different gun, is likely to concentrate more on form...with improved shooting as the result. With familiarity, of course, comes an eventual loss of concentration, and a return to old habits.)

There's another current thread on barrel length that you may find interesting, though I doubt it will answer your question to your satisfaction!
 

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Don't think the barrel length/Eye Dominance has as much to do with it as the weight of the longer barrel, at least it don't with my son?
A longer barrel (weight forward/at the muzzle) will give you a smoother swing when shooting especially at longer targets (like goose/pass shooting ducks), where as a short barrel will get you on target faster (upland game).

:idea: Since about 1" of barrel seems to weight about 1 oz., try adding about a 2-3 oz. weight to the front part of your mag tube.
Might give you a little smoother swing on the target, reduce some recoil to boot and a he!! allot cheaper then a new barrel? :lol:
 

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For one thing, it's really important to get the tape positioned precicesly where it needs to be. Personally, I don't care for the tape. I kept trying to see around it and would sometimes shoot terrible scores because I was positioning my head in a twisted position to see around the tape and never realised it. So, I learned to just shoot with both eyes open. Everything else I've done in my life was with both eyes open, baseball, bowling, driving, golf and shoot pool. Never closed an eye for them. I do close my left eye when shooting rabbits, but keep them both open for all other targets. Never figured out why except that I don't seem to feel connected to a rabbit target with both eyes open. I no longer try to figure it out I just accept the fact that if I want to break them, I close the eye. If I spent time trying to figure it out my scores would go down.
Second, I shoot both eyes open from the right shoulder and I am left eye dominant. It is only a problem if you look at the bead/barrel. If you keep your focus way out on the target, it shouldn't be an issue. You need to learn to only see the gun in your peripheral vision and trust the fact that it is where you think it is.
You could stand and break 20-25 targets this way and miss 2 or 3 and you will loose your confidence. Gain confidence from the 20 or 25 you hit, don't loose confidence from the few you miss.
Whatever you do, Don't look at the gun.
 

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Rake,

To shoot any moving target requires that a sight picture be created. It consists of the eye (acting like the rear sight on a rifle), the end of the barrel (or front bead) and the target. The reason that the barrel is not involved in creating sight pictures is that only the end of it or the front bead is used when creating sight pictures (unless the shooter is incorrectly looking at the barrel instead of the target.)

Problems arise when the off eye replaces the eye on the side of the gun mount, becomes the master eye. In effect, the rear sight is moved toward the off side and the pattern's point of impact moves in the same direction.

This cross dominance does not occur with all targets nor on problem targets each time you shoot. Light conditions, the direction of the target's flight and fatigue are some of the variable causes.

The reason you can shoot better with one gun than another is not likely to be related to barrel length. If the barrel length reached half way to the target and the sight picture involved the eye, end of the barrel and the target, the pattern would still move in the direction of the off eye.

It is easy to understand when you consider what happens with vertical points of impact. If you hold the gun with the butt at waist level and create a sight picture by aligning your eye, the end of the barrel and a target, the gun will shoot over the target even though the sight picture was perfect.

Although the above example better describes the effects of variable comb height, the same principal applies to horizontal patterns' points of impact.

Your best bet would probably be to learn to shoot off your left shoulder. With practice it can be done and will eventually seem natural. There are a number of available gismos available to correct the problem and you can close or obstruct your left eye but most reduce or eliminate depth perception.

http://stockfitting.virtualave.net
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you for all the replies. I really appreciate all of the input.

hunter20ga - I thought long and hard about the right to left shots that day and I can only remember one, the rest were in front of me. However, what you stated about "luck of the draw" really made sense to me. Unfortunately I don't remember just how well the gun fit me, but that may also of been the case.

claybuster425 - I know what you mean about the tape. I tried it this weekend and it can eally mess with your vision; however, it did force me to use my right eye, and what a difference!!! I wish I had that sight picture all of the time. I understand what you mean about gaining confidence through the once that you shoot. My ratio of hit to miss was of such that I knew if anything was going to change, I had to do or figure something out. Which I am in the process of doing.

Rollin Oswald - I've seriously thought about switching shoulders...and lately started thinking about it hard!!! Just with so meany years (24 or so) of shooting right, I don't know if I could make the transition. That's where it gets hard...Do I try to shoot left, or try some of whaterever gizmos there are out there. Out of curiousity, what are those gizmos, and are any of them effective?? Also, could wearing something over might left eye eventually train my right eye to take over???

I've been in the market for a new shotgun and was thinking of either the Benelli Nova, the Stoeger P-350, or the Stoeger 2000. However, if I might have even the slightest chance of shooting left handed, I need to really make sure whether I can effectively or not. I might just continue with the tape for this season, start shooting sporting clays in the spring through fall left-handed and see what cards I get dealt with.

Wow, never knew it could get this complicated :)

Rake
 

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Rake,

There are dots or patches designed to block vision of the off eye, front sights, the view of which is blocked by the off eye, offset ribs that align with the off eye, dog-legged stocks that allow the gun to be mounted and aligned with the off eye and eye exercises that may help strengthen the dominance of the right eye depending on how dominant your left eye is. Dominance is the time required fo the eye to focus on a target. the faster focusing eye is the dominant eye. Dominance is not black and white but rather, comes in degrees which can vary from day to day and with shooting conditions.
You could also close your left eye... probably, again depending on its degee of dominance.

Most people can change the side they shoot on. It just takes longer for some than for others. My son changed sides rather easily following only partially successful surgery on his master eye but he had not shot that much when he changed at age 25.

You can also change if you decide to, providing you keep a positive attitude and believe that you can and will change. Just be prepared for it to feel very weird for the first few outings and be prepared to accept lower scores for a month or two.
 
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