Shooting Methods - Wise Choices - 1 of 4
December 2008 Sporting Clays Tip
by Dan Schindler
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? Ahhh,......now there's the real question. Every shooting method has its strengths and weaknesses. It's up to us to match a method's strength to a presentation difficulty. That gives us the advantage, not the target!
I believe each of the methods we'll discuss will put the odds in our favor when applied correctly and matched correctly with a presentation. Method # 1 will be Maintained Lead or Sustained Lead.
Maintained lead starts the muzzle in front of the target and keeps it there. A lead picture is established from the outset and, theoretically, held though the swing to and past the trigger pull. While some folks will argue that you do follow through with maintained lead (after the trigger pull), many don't. What does this mean? As target's pick up speed, maintained lead shooters often fall behind in their lead pictures, then miss behind. On a faster bird, as the shooter strives to see a specific lead measurement, the gun is actually slowing down. Unbeknownst to the shooter, the lead picture is collapsing. Maintained lead can and does work on faster targets but often stumbles because the gun is decelerating coming into the trigger pull.
Where maintained lead shines is on slower targets at all fair shotgun distances. Bird / barrel relationships are easy to see and a soft follow through completes the shot. X. Consistently. Long incoming birds; slow crossers at all distances and heights; these birds are ideal for maintained lead. Add a little follow through and voila, XXXXXX!
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..............
Happy New Year everyone!!
Last month we discussed the first of the 4 primary shooting methods: Maintained Lead. This month I thought we could talk about Swing Through. While more than a few good shooters favor swing-through as a base method, I personally see it as a specialized shooting method.
Let's look at its primary weakness. And it's strength..............