Why the high rib?
Q. I am not achieving consistent scores in my shooting and have noticed a few people at my local clay ground using stuck-on high ribs, and seem to be shooting better because of them, although none of them seem to know why. Would one of these ribs help my shooting and what are they suppose to do when fitted? Alan, by email
A. High ribbed guns have been around for some time, mostly on guns that have been built with them. Both Perazzi and Beretta still include them in their catalogues. Like you, I have recently seen the latest generation of attachable high ribs made out of carbon fibre.
First of all, let me point out that you need an adjustable comb to gain the full use of these ribs. A gun with a standard comb will not work as when you put the rib on the gun, to see over the top of it, you will have to lift your head off the stock, something we all know leads to worse scores not better, so it is important to check that the adjustment available on your stock is enough to allow a correct cheek on stock mount while seeing over the top of the rib.
The idea behind these high ribs is to give a more head up mounting position, as you can see in picture three, the same position that can be obtained by fitting a Jones Adjuster (the drop plate on the butt of the gun).
The main difference between the two systems of attaining a head up position is that the rib adds approximately 5oz to the barrel weight, where as the Jones Adjuster adds 5oz to the back of the stock. The advantage of the head up mounting position is that you are looking up the rib with your eye more centralised in the socket, helping to keep your head on the stock when addressing a rising target. Tim Greenwood
Clear head, clear shooting
Q. How do you keep your mind uncluttered when you’re shooting? Tim, Marlow
A. A busy mind can be a problem, especially if you are thinking about your scores and how to shoot. One technique is to sing a tune or recite a nursery rhyme (in your head), as this keeps the mind occupied, not allowing it to dwell on your performance. I use a ditty, which is just a couple of sentences – with positive suggestions included – I repeat it over and over again, like a mantra. By doing this there are no thoughts allowed into your mind between shots. You are in charge of your thoughts; they are not in charge of you. Lesley Goddard
Q. There are a few presentations that always make me worry. When I see these as I approach the stand I start thinking about times when I shot the same or similar targets poorly. I haven’t been successful in overcoming these feelings and usually miss quite a few of them. Perhaps you can offer some advice? Tony Harris, Bristol
A. Unfortunately, most people seem to think about poor shots and misses more than about good shots. Mentally replaying the misses reinforces negative emotion associated with that presentation and course. It is likely you have made some good shots on the presentation you are worrying about, if not seek out the opportunity to practice them under conditions where you can experience success. Then every time you encounter those presentations you can remind yourself of those good shots.
The moment you are aware of being worried, pause in your mind, and replace that negative thought with clear mental images of the great shots you have on similar targets. This requires diligence but will solve your trouble if you stick with it. Mark Brownlee
Q. I have been shooting Skeet and DTL for 15 years and have never worn glasses, although at my recent eye test it was suggested that I should wear them to shoot and all the time for driving and watching TV. The glasses make things much sharper but they seem a bit strong and seem to make things look smaller. I am also missing targets I usually hit and tend to get a bit of eye-ache after a few stands. I have taken them back but was told they were fine. Nick Robson, Manchester
A. Generally minus powered lenses can give a minification effect so I assume you are short sighted.
If this is your first prescription, there can be an adaptation period to overcome. Sometimes the prescription should be gradually increased in increments to help with tolerance (this is relatively inexpensive with inserts but can be very costly with more expensive brands).
It is also important to assess the effect of the lenses on your eye muscles, sometimes the use of the lens will cause the muscles to experience more stress unless it is balanced by a prism, which helps the eye muscles relax. After all, you have developed a shooting technique based on how you previously saw – the glasses should assist this rather than make you relearn. Ed Lyons
Q. I’m fairly new to the world of Skeet shooting and am interested to know what choke and shot size you and the other top Skeet shots use? Terry Smith, Warwickshire
A. Most people would think that’s a very easy and straightforward question to answer: if you’re shooting Skeet then shoot with Skeet chokes. But it’s not as straightforward as you think. I’m not the biggest fan of Skeet chokes and the reason for that is I feel that they don’t give you enough target feedback and also let you get away with having poor technique, which can lead to confidence and consistency problems.
However, in the right hands they can be a winning formula and have accounted for many a major championship. So, to answer your question, I use quarter choke in both barrels, which give me plenty of feedback and good kills leading to increased confidence.
As for shot size: number 9 shot still remains the most popular choice giving the greatest pellet count while retaining good striking energy at relatively short ranges. I use Eley Superb 9s: the cartridge I used to win the World Championships and would highly recommend them!
As for all the other top shots: they all have there own preferences. What I will say though is that they are a friendly bunch and are always willing to help, so never be afraid to ask when you see them around the grounds. Dave Beardsmore