Let us know if you have any questions, we have the experts to answer them.
Q: I have shot a second-hand Krieghoff 30” gun for DTL since h 2018. It came with ½ and ¾ chokes, and my best score with this was 86. I then bought two Muller 3/8 and ½ chokes, and not long after was getting 90 or more.
I met a dealer and discussed chokes; he told me about Comp–N Chokes. I bought four from him: one Imp Cyl, one ¼, one 3/8 and one ½. At the moment I’m using Imp Cyl in the bottom and 3/8 in the top, with good results – I have got to 96 with a few second barrels. I’m shooting 8.5 cartridges in the bottom barrel and 8s in the top.
Are the chokes really making a difference, or am I just lucky? If the former, how much further can I go?
A: Of course, no one but you can
know for sure whether you shot better one day than another. What I can tell you is that in my own experience, too many folk use too much choke for their DTL shooting.
My O / U trap gun has a multi– choke bottom barrel and fixed (full) choke top barrel. The top is much too tight for DTL, but I have yet to have it bored out. I originally tended to use half choke in my bot tom barrel. One day, with a count y championship coming up, I had a set of after–market chokes to try.
Having pat tern–tested them with a new cartridge I was also testing, I decided that the 3 / 8 choke would be worth trying. And so it transpired, I shot 98 / 289 to take my class by several points. I was well pleased with this score, especially the 25 / 75 and 25 / 74 along the way.
This told me that there was indeed plenty of pat tern power with this choke and cartridge combination. I strongly suspect it is plenty for you (and many others) too.
As for shot size, much the same applies : fairly small shot will consistently break DTL targets. You tried 8.5 shot first (bot tom) barrel and 8 top barrel. Note that if these are Italian cartridges, they are likely to be equivalent to UK 8 and 7.5 respectively.
You have had your best results with Imp Cylinder in your first barrel and wonder if less choke will improve scores. In honest y, I doubt it. Imp Cylinder with small shot is working for you, but from here I would concentrate on improving your trap technique (stance, hold points, calling for the target).
Become more accurate and consistent because, helpful as selecting a more open choke can be, it is sadly not the answer to ever y situation.
If you get the chance to pat tern your cartridges and chokes, do so. Watch a few DTL lines being shot and determine the distance at which they are being shot. It will be around the 30 –yard mark for the first (and most important) shot, as big scores are built on these.
Faster shooters will take them closer and vice versa, but testing your gun/choke pat terns at 30 yards for first barrel and 8 to 10 yards further for the top barrel (in case you ‘let the second barrel go’ a bit) should be fine.
Interchangeable chokes do not all per form the same – only a pat tern test will tell you if you are actually comparing like with like. You will soon see if your pat terns are up to it. Bear in mind the considerable role cartridges play in pat tern performance. As the tests I have done for Clay Shooting magazine show, the cartridge can make a big difference.
A budget cartridge can open up a tight choke, and a premium cartridge can tighten an open choke. The range of pat tern percentages can var y by over 25 per cent from the same barrel and choke – equivalent to a range of five choke constrictions! If you change cartridges, pat tern test again. RA
Q: I’ve been thinking about seeing a vision specialist for the first time. Is it really worth it? Convince me…
A: Hopefully my articles and Q&As over the years have underlined the widespread benefits of getting a visual assessment for shooting. But if that hasn’t convinced you, here’s a story that might.
One client came to see me a couple of years ago before that year’s competition season. A keen DTL shooter, he had booked in because he, like so many others, felt his eyesight had gone off the pace over the last few months, and wondered if he needed prescription shooting glasses.
He was also experiencing headaches, which he put down to eyestrain due to lots of driving, and blurring in the bottom-right hand side of his vision.
While his eyes were good, I did quickly work out that prescription glasses were definitely a good idea in his case. But I became concerned, as his symptoms indicated something more serious. A full peripheral vision check quickly showed up the ‘blurring’ defect
An eye test can not only help your shooting, it could literally save your life he had referred to. It indicated a complete loss of visual function in two particular areas, generally caused by either a stroke or a brain tumour.
In this case, it transpired to be the latter. Three days later, the client was in his local hospital oncology department.
Thankfully, I soon heard that the tumour was treatable.
So a good eye examination by any optometrist can not only set you up for the season, make you see better and more comfortably; it can sometimes be a literal lifesaver. EL
Q: Having ventured into my local gun shop for the first time this year to stock up, I find that everything seems to have got more expensive (and not for the first time). I am resisting bending their ears about it because I assume there are wider legislative or economic forces at work behind all the price rises. But am I right?
A: Pricing of any product can be a very sensitive topic, but the gun trade has its own unique factors to consider. First of all, it is waist–deep in regulation and restriction. As for products generally, gun shops need to cater for a shooting community with a very broad range in terms of spending power, which means they need to stock a huge number of products to enable their customers to feel like they have bought something bespoke to their needs.
There are numerous variables involved in this – when I shot clays competitively I do not recall ever seeing two individuals using exactly the same gun (make and specification) with precisely the same ammunition. Everyone strived to acquire something different.
So shooting is bound to have a certain price associated with it, and this is by necessity of the high cost of stocking a gun shop, not by anyone’s greed. But when it comes to pricing strategies, all shops should conform to the Chartered Trading Standards Institute’s new Guidance for Traders on Pricing Practices.
One notable change in these guidelines is that products advertised as discounted should have been on sale at full price for the same amount of time they are discounted for (previously there was a ‘five months on, one month off’ rule).
Also discouraged are using ‘reference prices’ on seasonal products when they are out of season to give the impression of a discount when the product comes back into season; and using a reference price when only a small amount of product has been sold at that price. SF
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