November 2008 Sporting Clays Tip
by Dan Schindler
As you would expect, I field a lot of questions about shooting methods. Which is best, where and why. 30 years of sporting and watching literally millions of targets from behind the trigger has taught me this.
No one shooting method is best for all targets. The wide diversity of target presentations in sporting clays strongly suggests we have more than one shooting method in our skill inventory.
For instance, what method would you use on a fast, left to right, 40 yard crossing target off a tower? Well for starters, what breakpoint have you chosen on this bird? An early breakpoint will likely mean the speed of the bird is up, requiring a suitable lead. Midway through the flight the bird speed has slowed, changing the lead. Eventually running out of speed the bird is still a crosser, but the lead has again changed. Finally, the bird begins its descent creating another new lead picture altogether. And that picture might change 2 or 3 more times depending upon how far the bird has to fall. 1 target, 6 possible breakpoints. The odds are high the shooting method you used on the first two breakpoints won't be the same method you would use on the last two breakpoints.
At Paragon, we primarily teach the pull away shooting method. Pull away creates excellent muzzle control and handles lead issues nicely for the majority of the presentations we face. It is a superb foundation method. But pull away is definitely not for all targets. When a particular target presentation calls for it, we also teach Churchill, swing-through and maintained lead because these methods have their advantages as well. And then there are methods for chandelles, those targets that curl, roll, slide and dive.
The key is having these shooting methods in your repertoire and knowing precisely what to use and where. Because the advantages go to those who are prepared.
"Choose Wisely" is Part 1 of an ongoing series of tips on shooting methods. Over the next few months, the monthly shooting tips will focus on one method - why and where you might want to use it - and the strengths and weaknesses of each method.
I hear this frequently when my student first calls to inquire about taking lessons with me at his club or River Bend. My caller is (understandably?) disappointed over breaking fewer of his or her targets than the group's 70% or 80%, maybe a 90%.
When I ask how long he's been in sporting clays, the answer is usually less than a year or two. We can all relate, it's human nature to compare ourselves to those ahead of us, sometimes forgetting they've been shooting 4, 8, maybe 15 years or more..............
Last month we talked about the advisability of you having more than one shooting method available when facing so many sporting clays target presentations. I thought, over the next few months, each month we could focus on one method, why and where you might want to use it.
Before we begin, I'd like to say that this is a hotly debated topic. Many will argue that this method or that method is best for a particular presentation. Will that method work on that presentation? Sure! Consistently?..............