Shotgun shooting is better accomplished by using both eyes to focus on the target. As well as the binocular vision provided by using both eyes, the shooter also achieves a wider field of view, and more light, in which to judge the target. Some shooters manage quite well by closing one eye. This has got to be the eye that is not behind the Rib! According to Wikipedia about 1/3 of the population is left eye dominant. To be right handed does not determine the right eye as dominant. Many, times I've become aware of shooters who had not checked their own dominant eye. It’s quite common to see a regular shooter suddenly appear with specialized front sights fixed to their gun or patches affixed to their shooting glasses etc. Eye dominance can change with age or illness. It’s a simple matter to check eye dominance. I've found the best one is shown on this youtube video. It’s designed to teach instructors on how to check new shooters. How many, well meaning, helpful instructers, at club level, do? Eye Dominance Test (opens in a new window) An individual can perform this test by using an object at the other side of the room or garden. The gap in the hands will always align to the dominant eye.
Below is a BASC pdf file explaining in detail the Eye Dominance phenomenon. To download from BASC click on the link.
Gun Mount! by Mike Yardley. Gun Mount is one of the key factors in successful shotgun shooting. I shoot "Gun Up" most of the time at clay targets but game shooting is 100% "Gun Down". Practice is essential and the precise, unhurried mount demonstrated by Mike Yardley, in his video, is an excellent example of how to mount a shotgun. Even when shooting "Gun Up" this is the way to mount the gun into the "Kill Point" By kind permission of Mike Yardley
Gun Fit, Gun Mount, Gun Movement & Lead
Because of the camera system, the target can be seen being hit, and the lead being applied, enabling production of the videos used on this site. It's hoped that this will give some idea of the amount of lead required for a range of different targets. Gun fit, gun mount, gun movement, as well as lead are all critical to the successful shotgun shooter.
How do I judge Lead?
Most shooters will by assessing the target, its speed and path, decide on the amount of forward lead required. Clay pigeon shooters can predetermine the lead, game shooters cannot. A sight picture,"this is what you see at the time you pull the trigger" is what most shooters rely on. The purpose of this web site is to demonstrate different sight pictures and give some idea of the lead required for different targets.
Lead - is actually the time from - "When the decision to pull trigger is made, to the shot reaching the target" or "the distance the target moves during this period" This is easily understood by everyone but to achieve success we are advised of several universally accepted methods of determining how to achieve the correct amount of forward lead. Below are several examples, they may be known by different names, and there are other methods of achieving forward lead.
Swing Through - By following the target's imaginary "smoke trail" come from behind, through the target, achieve the lead & fire.
Maintained Lead - Achieve the lead in front of the target, achieve the speed of the target & fire.
Pull Away - Achieve the target, move with the target, pull away into the lead & fire.
Ambush or Snapshoot - The gun does not follow the path of the target but intercepts it.
Pull Away Method - 30 yard Crossers, slightly incoming. A good example of the use of the "Pull Away" method for clay pigeon shooting.
"Ambush" or "Snapshoot"
Very useful on fast floppy targets where it is difficult to pick up the line of the target, or where the target is in a small window etc. The gun does not follow the path of the target but intercepts it. - In effect the shooter is anticipating the target's path and speed!
Swing Through & Maintained Lead
Simultaneous Pair - In this situation a different type of forward lead needed to be applied for each target. The stand itself was shot as a Report Pair, but the ground owner offered the chance to video it as a Simultaneous Pair!
When watching the lead in these videos it's important that new shooters do not become "barrel aware". The main focus should always be on the target - "Hard Focus". The barrel rib & fore sight should be in the peripheral vision or
in "Soft Focus". Try focusing on the Low house Skeet target above, whilst still being aware of the gun in soft focus.
The gun should always be matching the speed of the clay when the trigger is pulled. The shooter,should pick the target path, achieve the lead, match the target speed and kill the target, without aiming down the barrel and through the fore sight. This is mostly instinctive, just as when a batsmen hits a ball. A batsman never looks at the bat but concentrates entirely on the ball.
Positive Clay shooting by Mike Yardley:is an exceptional YouTube video, in terms of shooting psychology, gun mount and gun presentation to the target. By kind permission of Mike Yardley.
Fast Midi & High Looper. This video is a good example of: Target Focus, Maintaining Target to Gun Speed, with a Maintained Lead.
"Gun Up" & "Gun Down"
Compare the same target shot using the "Gun Down" & "Gun Up" techniques. The first shooter is a very accomplished Game/ Clay shooter. Note: that his eyes are uncompromisingly focused on the target and the gun is mounted flawlessly into the shot. The target is visible throughout its flight and is ideal to demonstrate the two techniques .
With a pre-mounted gun this target can be shot earlier. If it was the first of a pair of different targets this could decide on the technique to use.