It is important that you wear the appropriate hearing and eye protection AT ALL TIMES. Handle all guns as though they are loaded; however, it is important to keep your gun unloaded until you are ready to shoot. You also want to keep the muzzle always pointed down until you are ready to shoot, and do not ever point your gun at anything that you do not want to shoot.
Find the ideal gun fit
In order for your gun to shoot where you are looking, you need to make sure you have a correct gun fit.
Determine which eye is your dominant eye
A mistake many shooters make is the assumption that because they are right-handed, they have a dominant right eye, or vice versa with their left. This is not always the case. In order to check for eye dominance, stand tall and point to an object on the other side of the room. Close your left eye, and if you can still see the object at the end of your finger, you are right-eye dominant. If the object has moved, open your left eye and close your right. If the object is still at the end of your finger, you are left-eye dominant.
Practice your mounts with the gun unloaded
As with anything, practice makes perfect. This is true for even the best shots. Try to make 10 practice swings/mounts part of your daily routine. Practice in front of a mirror to see that you mount the gun from the same position on your face every time, careful to avoid mounting it to your shoulder. Stand with your feet narrow and focus on creating a smooth swing and follow through.
Focus on the target
While it may seem like common sense, training yourself to focus on the target rather than looking down the gun barrel or bead, takes practice. You do not want to aim, as aiming takes longer and you will find yourself shooting behind. Get in the habit of pointing.
Do not stop moving the barrel until you pull the trigger
You want to make sure you have consistent follow through and the best way to get this is to keep your barrel moving. Keep your dominant eye on the target and follow with the barrel.
Choose your target ahead of time during simultaneous shooting
Typically, you are going to want to shoot the lower target first. When the gun recoils, it will instinctively bring you to the higher target, unless you feel one is a more difficult shot or will disappear quickly.
Analyze misses and adjust accordingly
If you find yourself going through a missing streak, take a break and adjust. First, see if there is anything you need to change with your posture. Next, you want to look at your lead and increase or decrease as needed.
Use low recoil target loads
Practice makes perfect. Using low recoil loads for target practice won’t only help you save your shoulder, it will also help you improve your marksmanship. It is a lot easier to focus on the target when you aren’t anxiously anticipating the stock slamming into your shoulder. Low recoil shells also contain less shot, so your shots will have higher velocity as well. Not only are low recoil shells usually cheaper, but they also break apart clays all the same.
Use the correct stance
You want to get in the habit of pointing your gun instead of aiming. To do this, you need to make sure that your body is in the right position. Stand with your front leg slightly bent and your back leg straight. You should also bend a little at the waist and slightly lean forward into your gun
Use proper form
Hold the butt of gun tightly up against your shoulder between your arm and collarbone and make sure that the elbow of your shooting arm is parallel with the ground. Place your cheek firmly against the top of the stock so you’re sight plane is level with the rib of the gun and bead at the end of the barrel.
MORE MISC. TIPS FOR CLAY SHOOTING SPORTS
- Although almost anyone can have a great time participating in these shotgun shooting sports, it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to become a great shooter.
- One of the most important steps to becoming a better clay-target shooter involves choosing the right gun to fit you. This is essential to your comfort and accuracy on the range. Once you’ve found a gun that fits, practice mounting the shotgun when it is unloaded. Focus on making the movement of mounting as smooth as possible and on placing the shotgun in the same position every time.
- Go out to the range for some practice and, while it may seem obvious, work on your target focus. Some beginners struggle with focusing on the gun bead or barrel instead of the target, a big mistake that will make you miss many shots in the future. As the experts say, “don’t aim, point.”
- Each time you miss a few clays, take a break and think about your shots. Are you doing something different with your posture? Are you stopping the movement of your barrel too suddenly? There are many small details that can cause “lost” clays on the range.
- Whether you are a hunter looking for a way to practice your shot or want to focus on target shooting only, sports like these offer a unique way to enjoy shooting in general. They can be a great starting point for youth to practice safety and technique, and at the same time, serve as the perfect setting for a meeting of old friends.