Story at a Glance
The keys to a good shot, no matter the lead length, according to Gil and Vicki Ash of OSP Shooting School:
- Uniform mount
- Accurate point
- Smooth swing
Gil and Vicki use a Mini Maglite® flashlight (which conveniently fits into a 12-bore muzzle) to teach this skill. Being absolutely sure the gun is unloaded, insert the flashlight into the muzzle and crank it down to a narrow beam. Now, focus on a room corner at the juncture of wall and ceiling and direct the beam there before you begin mounting the gun. Mount the gun smoothly, while trying to keep the beam of light steady in the corner. If the light jumps about and out of the corner, your gun mount is sloppy. When your focus and the light remain steady on the spot as the gun is mounted, you have developed a smooth and accurate gun mount. This instinctive feel for your gun's point, reconciled with your eyes' focus as the gun comes up in your hands, is true hand-eye coordination. If your gun is already pointed where you are looking—which should be at the target—when your gun reaches your shoulder, you're way ahead of the game," Gil Ash says.
The next step is to be able to smoothly swing the gun left and right along the straight line of the ceiling molding without it jumping above or dipping below.
"If you practice these exercises 10 or 15 minutes a day for a while, you will considerably improve your ability to point and swing your shotgun well. That, by itself, will improve your shooting," according to Vicki Ash.
Gil adds, "Good stock fit aids good mounting and accurate pointing. For waterfowlers, stock fit relative to heavy clothing can be an issue. Waterfowlers may find that a shorter stock improves consistent gun mounting."
The OSP Shooting School goes far beyond flashlight-shooting strategy. That is merely an example of the practical and effective teaching methods Gil and Vicki Ash employ. And as with any endeavor, shooting schools demand a student's time and effort. A two-hour session is good, but a two-day session is better.
After my abbreviated session with the OSP shooting instructors, I was most impressed by the simple and logic-driven presentation. In essence, it reminded me of one of my grand-father's favorite sayings: "If you're having to work real hard to do something (say, hitting a flying target), you're probably not doing it right."
Professional shooting instruction is all about doing it right.
For more information on OSP Shooting School, call 1-800-838-7533 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
—Originally published in the March/April 2004 issue of DU Magazine