Using the right method

There are different ways to shoot clays, and choosing the right one for each target is half the battle, says Steve Rawsthorne

If you want to become a better shot, you need to understand what each of these are, be able to shoot them confidently, and know when to use each of them. They are like a set of golf clubs, you need to use the right method for the target you are shooting at, so you might use the CPSA “Method” on the first of a pair but the second target might require you to use swing through or maintained lead.

 The CPSA “Method.”

A very effective way to shoot most types of targets and one which is fairly intuitive. If someone was cycling past you and you wanted to point at them, as you brought your arm up, it would already be moving with them and as the finger extends to point it will be right on them.  All we are doing when we add a gun is to move with the target as we mount and as the mount is completed, pull away from the target to obtain the necessary lead picture and follow through to finish the shot as always. By locking onto the target throughout the mount we will have its exact line and speed.

Maintained lead.

This is my personal favourite method of shooting. The eyes stay focussed on the clay throughout the shot and the gun is held further out along the line of flight than you would with method or swing through. The gun never actually points at the target  but is always out in front during and after the shot.  Mount the muzzles some way in front of the clay, stabilise the lead, fire and follow through. This way of shooting minimises gun movement but you need to have a perfect gun mount and shoot a lot of targets so that you know when you see a target exactly how much lead to apply. The only way to build this “library of pictures” in the brain is to do a lot of shooting on different targets at different shoots.

Swing through.

Swing though tends to be a much maligned method of shooting. Often a shooter will mount with a “dead” gun, i.e. not moving with the clay, end up yards and yards behind it, chase like mad after it, swing wildly past it, stop, and pull the trigger – with highly variable results. Used correctly however, swing through can be an effective method. Throughout the mount the muzzles should be just behind the target, not more than a couple of feet or so, as the gun comes into the cheek and the shoulder the muzzles pass the target to apply lead, we shoot and follow through. In all of the three methods outlined, you will note the emphasis on the follow through. It is vital to finish the shot off properly.

In order to practise the three methods, set up a moderate crosser, about twenty yards out, and shoot it method for ten shots, have a break for a couple of minutes, then shoot it swing through, then break and afterwards shoot it maintained lead. As you change methods, note how the hold position, lead picture and break point changes. When you are hitting the target consistently,(90 per cent) with all the methods, move back ten yards to thirty yards, do the same again, then move to 40 yards and finally 50. Then move round to the other side and do the same with the target going in the opposite direction, left to right then right to left or vice versa.

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Posted in Coaching, Sporting

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