It’s officially summertime. Time to hit the swimming pool, a barbecue or, if you’re like so many of us, the lake. But with the 2012 London Olympics approaching I’ve felt the need to dust of the 12-gauge and attempt my best impersonation of an Olympic trap shooter.
That being said, my shooting abilities can’t be compared to those to be exhibited by the athletes preparing for the 2012 games, but I would like to think I’m proficient in the art of shooting an aerial target.
Staying proficient takes practice, however, and the summer is a great time to brush up. A recent trip to the field with a truck load of sporting clays, a shotgun and a few of my closest friends reminded me of a few simple facts of wielding a shotgun.
First, when trying to break a small airborne target, it is essential to unplug your brain. Now this doesn’t mean disregarding firearm safety, but shooting a shotgun is much different from the calculated methods of shooting a rifle. With a rifle, it takes precision and calculated aim. With a shotgun I focus on watching the target, letting the barrel rise and touch the target and then taking the shot.
Once you’ve accomplished that mindset, it’s important to find you’re rhythm in the field of motion the target may be flying in. Pull the gun up to your shoulder in a comfortable position. Take note of where this “sweet spot” occurs. I always try to keep my bead a bit below the target until ready to shoot.
By doing this, you allow your eyes to track the target; quickly telling your brain what to do. Wait for the target to reach your “sweet spot” and take the shot.
Finally, choose the right gun and ammo for a long day of shooting. In our most recent impromptu trip I shot two boxes of pheasant loads through my Remington 1187 12-gauge. Say what you will tough guys, but that caused fatigue quickly. Luckily I borrowed my father’s trusty, maybe rusty would be a better description, Remington 870 20-guage. The lighter gauge allowed for a lot more shooting saving my shoulder more beating.
An afternoon crushing blue rock in the summer will do wonders for your shooting when pheasant season arrives.