Clay Target Shooting: Mounting Question
Just recently I have done three things to drastically improve my hit rate...
1) Keeping both eyes open.
2) Focus on clay target NOT my shotgun.
3) hold my shotgun higher at eye level without tilting my head...
But of course I am still missing (what I would consider) easy targets occasionally..
I practiced mounting my shotgun onto my shoulder about 25 times tonight... Basically I did whatever felt natural for me... 25 times... After each mount, I kept the shotgun still and closed my left eye so I could see if my rear sight bead (little gold ball on top of barrel in the back) was aligned with my front sight bead (red one)... Almost always, the front red bead was just slightly to the right of back bead... Which means if I use my front red bead in my peripheral vision to point, I would be shooting to the right of the bird....
So I have a question...
Should I find a better way to mount my shotgun to my shoulder so that the two beads align more consistently or should I compensate by shooting slightly to the left of my targets at all times ?
You're on the right track with those first three things. Those are some very basic shotgun shooting skills that are the foundation of being a good shot. Head on the stock, eyes on the rock.
You asked, "Should I find a better way to mount my shotgun to my shoulder so that the two beads align more consistently or should I compensate by shooting slightly to the left of my targets at all times ?"
You should consider doing one of the following:
1. Get a different gun that fits you better.
2. Get your stock on this gun cut with an adjustable comb so you can adjust the comb to make your gun fit better. Caution, this is not cheap, and it should not be wasted on a cheap gun. I recommend Greg Hissem in Wichita KS. http://www.greghissemstockworks.com or Joe Bowles in Michigan http://www.tronspace.com There are others.
3. Get your stock "bent" so it fits you better. This involves heating the stock with steam and literally bending it so it takes a permanent set. Have someone who knows what they're doing attempt this. It doesn't always work.
4. Get a cheek-eez pad and put it on your comb so it fits you better.
The problem with trying to "force-mount" the gun so that the two beads align more consistently is this; you mount it before you call for the target and its all ligned up perfectly, but as you're moving to the target, you won't necessarily be able to hold it in that position by force.
And you should NEVER try to conscioulsy compensate for a gun that doesn't shoot where its supposed to.
Gun fit is an often overlooked part of target shooting, but I believe one of the most important parts. Your gun MUST shoot where you think its going to shoot (where you are looking) in order for you to be effective.
Tim is right. The gun doesn't fit it you right. Gun fit is the number 1 thing to increase or score. I know, I shoot skeet with a gun that doesn't fit me, but thats all I have right now. Iv'e made it work but its not as comfortable as a gun that fits.
What gun are you shooting? there maybe some ACC. that can help you out.
I tried mounting practice tonight 50 times and things are lining up much better with my natural mount now... Two things I did that seem to work ... But keep in mind I am a novice... So I realize I may be doing something wrong here...
1) Focus on keeping my stock perfectly vertical when mounting
2) raise my right elbow slightly more than usual when mounting
So what I did was keep both eyes open, focus on a spot on the wall, and mount and point to that object. All the while focusing on that object and not my barrel. After each mount, I checked to see if my barrel was aligned with that spot, (closing my left eye to check the alignment) and almost every time its pretty much dead on...
I don't know... I think I will keep my Benelli the way it is for now... But, I am not dismissing adjusting my stock/fit... Just seeing for now if my practice has results...
Sincere THANKS for everyone's advice... Seems like it's easier to get it here than at the range...
Keep doing those gun raises. It will help. Also, keep that elbow high.
For shotgun shooting, a "high elbow" or arm (right arm if you're right-handed) parallel to the ground is a very good way to consistently get your gun stock into that little pocket your deltoid muscle makes with your clavicle bone.
A consistent mount is a good thing.
When we teach classes, we remind the students to make that "chicken wing."
You're on the right track.
May I recommend you seek out a registered NSCA wingshooting instructor in your area and take some classes? That will really help.
Its funny, guys will not hesitate a moment to take golf classes to improve their golf swing, but somehow we (myself included) have it in our minds that we should naturally know how to shoot a gun.
Luckily a few years back I admitted to myself that learning from someone who knows how to teach can help, even though I was a pretty good shooter already.
Best of luck.
I would love to take some lessons ... I'll see how much they are... Its just so expensive to shoot these days... Its hard to pay for lessons...