The third essential in becoming a satisfactory shotgun shooter is the will to shoot; the will, and the will power. All the perfect position and swinging is valueless unless you condition your reflexes to make some noise with your shotgun.
Question: When do I shoot? And how?
Answer: I cannot tell you exactly when, nor how; but. if you keep your correct gun position as you swing and see your target.
1 can help you to find out. Soon, you can do it all by yourself. And the beauty of it i-double: first, you see the result of your shot instantly; and, second, the range or direction do not matter for, magically, your swing takes care of that. You become both an actor and an audience.
I cannot tell you exactly when nor how. but I will tell you how / do it. It will not be exactly your way, but it will give you a start. I swing from behind my target—how far behind depends upon how much time I have—and, just before I catch up with it, I think I pull the trigger. Because I swing fast, and because I am not as young as I once was, my upper body muscles swing my gun barrels far past the target before the charge of shot actually leaves the barrel. Mow far, I do not know; but, from common sense, I do know that it was far enough if I killed, not far enough if I missed. 0( course, too, sometimes I miss above or below. but not often—not if I kept my position right. Most of my misses will be in front or behind the target, because I failed somehow to swing correctly.
The experts will now say that I "lead" my targets. Of course, technically, I do; but I can only say that the word "lead" almost kept me from enjoying shotgun shooting, from hitting ducks and clay birds, and from hunting. Forget "lead"; mount your gun correctly, swing, and let seeing your target and swing do the work. If you intend to try to measure or calculate "lead," you should stop right here and get another teacher, because you and I can never agree.
How do I shoot? I do not know whether I tap. pull, or yank the trigger. It doesn't matter, anyway; because if you keep your gun correctly mounted, no trigger finger can spoil your position by any method. Use the method your muscles like best, and don't worry about it. Many top flight shooters tap, tliey say. If the trigger pull is heavy, I doubt that a tap is enough. Do whatever is necessary, and don't bother the finger with foolish advice. Just be sure that you don't use any part of the hand but the finger for firing.
For finger practice, take a soft peach, grip it firmly but gently with three fingers and the thumb of your shooting hand. Then pretend to pull a trigger, hundreds of times, ff peach juice runs down your band, you are not doing the right thing. Learn by doing. That is called empiricism, but don't let that scare you.
Return to the trap court, this time to shoot. Ask for the most competent man available to stand behind you and tell you where you miss. If he tries to tell you how to shoot, or mentions "lead," get a different man at once! Any competent observer can tell you, most of the time, where you missed, and that is all you need to know. Keep your correct position, eyes looking above and parallel to your barrel, and continue to shoot. Not too many rounds the first time: just try to hit some targets. Your trigger finger is learning, and it will learn faster than you do.
Swing and see and shoot. You want to become an instinctive shooter; any other kind is pretty useless afield. When you are confidently breaking clay targets half the time, you have the business licked ... on the trap court.
axiom: Any shotgun shooter who consistently (Continued on page 48)
sisss every range
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