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Four Steps to Better Shooting

This shooting champion's advice will help you analyze and correct wingshooting mistakes
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  • Keep your head on the stock for a steady, rock-solid stance and shot.
    photo by Andy Heltibridle
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Scott Robertson of Elm Fork Shooting Sports in Dallas lays out four steps to improve your shooting:
  1. Correct eye-dominance problems
  2. Keep your head on the stock
  3. Maintain balance while shooting
  4. Learn proper lead

2. Keep your head on the stock

The next step is checking to make sure the shooter's cheek is snug to the stock while swinging, shooting, and following through. If shooters raise their cheek from the stock, they will likely shoot high.

Robertson says two good approaches to solving this problem are checking how well your shotgun fits you and seeking instruction from a shooting coach.

"The old wives' tale is that a shotgun fits if you can hold it in the crook of your arm with your finger on the trigger and the stock cradled in your elbow joint," Robertson says. "Actually, a shotgun fits when you mount it properly and can't see any of the barrel. You should be able to see just the bead. This sight picture means you're sighting straight down the barrel, and the shotgun will shoot where you're looking."

Robertson adds that if shooters who have their cheek snug to the stock see any of the rib or barrel, the gun will shoot high. If they can't see the bead, the gun will shoot low.

A shooter should also check the length of the stock. With the shotgun mounted, the cheek should rest 1 to 1½ inches back from where the comb drops down to the pistol grip. If that distance is more than 1 ½ inches, the stock is too long, and if that distance is less than an inch, the stock is too short.

Robertson stresses that shooters wanting to shoot better should consider taking lessons from a qualified instructor.

"A good coach can teach you how to mount a shotgun properly," he says. "He can see if you're keeping your head on the stock when shooting and can check your balance and follow through. Taking shooting lessons is like taking golf lessons. A professional instructor can recognize problems and help you correct them."

Robertson says hunters can contact a qualified shooting instructor through a local gun club or by visiting the National Sporting Clays Association's website and clicking on the list of certified instructors. He says lessons with a professional instructor will cost $60 to $150 per hour.

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