Please Don't Let This Happen To You!
March 2011 Sporting Clays Tip
by Dan Schindler
I just got a call from one of my students who lives on the Western side of the US. She had just returned from the gun club and was badly shaken.
She and a few of her friends decided to shoot a round together at the club. One of her friends, let's call her Cathy (not her real name), asked her husband to come along and shoot with them, which he did. Cathy likes shooting her 20 gauge but shoots her 12 gauge better. The group of 6 left, Cathy bringing her 20 gauge.
By the 5th station, Cathy was discouraged and shooting poorly. Her husband asked her to switch to her 12 gauge and Cathy agreed. He asked Cathy to empty her pockets and shooting bag of all 20 gauge shells, which she did. He left with the cart, gun and 20 gauge ammunition.
Upon returning, he asked Cathy to check her pockets once more before dumping in a fresh box of 12 gauge. She did. Good to go. Everyone went back to shooting and Cathy's game picked up immediately.
Everyone finished on the last station, Cathy stepped back into the box and asked for a few more report pairs. XXXX. OK, she said, one last pair please. Husband beside her, she loaded her autoloader and said pull. CLICK. As a safety precaution, she waited a few long seconds and pulled the bolt back. Only one shell was visible, the one waiting in the magazine ready to slide up into the chamber. She said, "Hmmm, I thought I loaded 2 shells? Maybe not." She let the slide go forward, watching her last round go into the chamber.
"Just a single please, and then I'm done." As her gun came up to the ready position, her husband quickly stepped into the box, stopped everything and asked Cathy for her gun. He pulled the bolt back and the 12 gauge shell dropped out. Locking the bolt back he took a rod and pushed it lightly down the barrel. That's when the rod hit an obstruction! Pushing harder, the 20 gauge shell fell out.
That 20 gauge shell had buried itself deep in her vest pocket and reappeared without Kathy seeing it. In her excitement, Cathy never looked down when she loaded her last 2 shells. The 20 gauge round went in first. Had her husband not responded to his (correct) suspicion, the consequences would have been severe. Thank goodness everyone is OK. So close, a tragedy so narrowly avoided.
If you find yourself in a group where different gauges are being used, please take a moment and make sure everybody goes out of their way to separate ALL the ammunition. We don't want to lose you or anyone else in our great sport.
There are many important elements to the Paragon Instructor certification class and I'd like to share with you one of the most important. You being the shooter reading this, possibly considering instruction.
Obviously, the instructor candidates in the class share a desire "to help." That's one of the reasons why they come to this class, to learn how to assist you competently when called upon. On day 1 of the class - the candidates are inclined to believe (once trained) that they can............
Sorry - I'm late getting this TIP on line so forgive me if I don't have the exact, very recent issue of Sporting Clays magazine in front of me. There was an article regarding "hard (visual) focus on the target," by one of the regular contributing writers.
I read that article with special interest because - at Paragon - we wholeheartedly agree with the author and most of the article's contents. For a very long time - I was taught, and I taught - a hard visual focus on the bird............