In shotgun shooting, the eye is the back sight. If it is in a different place every time, in relation to the gun barrels, the gun will shoot to a different place every time. A bit like a fairground air rifle with bent sights.
Without a precise, consistent gun mount you are not going anywhere. You MUST learn to do this well if you want to shoot better. The good news is that you can practise gun mount at home, building muscle memory, so it doesn’t have to cost a fortune but will pay dividends.
There is a sequence to gun mount which is the same for any type of shot:
The heel of the stock, the last inch or so, should be under the arm, so the stock is controlled between the upper arm and the side of the chest. This preventsyou pulling up with the back hand and stops the barrels dipping off line. The weight should be evenly distributed between the feet, not aggressively over the front foot, certainly not on the back foot.
- There should be a line from your eyes, across the muzzles to the pick-up point, which means you need to have looked at the clay beforehand and worked out where you see it, where you will pick it up and where you will kill it.
- When we start the mount, the front hand pushes forward, moving the gun up the chest, clearof the shoulder, the comb comes into the cheek, at the line where the teeth meet, the shoulder pushes forward into the stock and we fire and break the clay in one smooth movement. All the action is generated from the front hand, using the back hand to mount the gun will cause the barrels to see-saw off the line of the clay.
- Bringing the gun to the cheek puts it in the same position relative to the master eye every time, pushing the shoulder into the gun puts the weight slightly over the front foot at the point of taking the shot. Pulling the gun back into the shoulder usually results in the head being pushed over the top of the stock, so you end up looking down the side of the barrels. At the finish, the top of the stock, the heel, should be at or just below the top of the shoulder, not half way down the chest.
The best way to practise this gun mount is to take a line on a wall, start with the muzzles at one end, move them along the line, bringing the stock to the cheek, shoulder forward into the gun, fire along the mid-point and follow through to the far end of the line. A mark along the line at the half way point helps. Do this right to left, then back, left to right, fifty times a day. Start by doing it in slow motion, then over a few weeks gradually speed it up. Take time to do it properly every time. Do nothing else but this and you will see your scores go up. Time with a good instructor, so that you do it right in practice, would also be useful.