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BLACKJACK

How to teach someone to shoot a shotgun?

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My wife took a womens gun safty course and shooting class about a month ago. She came back discouraged because she couldn't hit any, but then I found out that they had these rookies out on a sporting clays course, so I blew it off to that. So we get out with my 20 gauge 1100 and after the intial safty lesson and instruction on how to load the 1100, she proceeds to miss every clay pigeon that I threw. Even put a couple on a box at 30 yards, she did hit those. Went out and bought a dummy thrower so that every pigeon would go out at the same angle. Again last night out of 20 shots, she missed every one. Tried standing behind her and watching where shes aiming, but thats tough impossible. Any ideas? How do you teach a person how much to lead a bird? Shes starting to get discourage...

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She's a blinker. She's stressed, frustrated and intimidated. Is she using good hearing protection? Are you doing what you can to relax her? Take the pressure off. Build on success. Have her punch holes in paper. Get her to swing her gun past a stationary paper target, and shoot at it. I bet she'll be suprised at where it hits. Use very light loads. And when she says she's done, LEAVE!

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Try a shot like low 7 on a skeet field. Have her stand to the left of the thrower so the targets are doing a slow rise out in front of her. It's about the easiest shot and will build confidence. May help to place a stick 20yds or so in front, directly under where the target will fly. Then she can take a bead on the stick and just raise the gun a bit. After she hits a few, slowly start moving off to the side to start working on swing, leading, etc.

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Forget the moving targets for now. Get her on some empty cans at 25 yards. Make sure they are on sand or gravel so you can see where she's shooting.

It's probably jerking the trigger or she's mounting the gun wrong. You gotta see where the shot is going thus the sand or gravel.

To see if she's jerking the trigger have her shoot cans. Stand behind her and don't let her see if you put a shell in the gun or not. Close the action, put on the safety, hand her the gun. Let her shoot - some will be live rounds and some will be an empty chamber. If she get's nearly the same recoil from the empty chamber she's jerking the trigger and is afraid of the gun.

Move her to a .410 or a .22 and let her build up confidence that she can actually hit something - keep the targets real close to begin with then as it becomes too easy, because she's hitting everything, move the targets further away. Now you've taught her how to aim.

Move up to the .20 gauge light loads - stationary targets. If she's waxing them on the ground get out the thrower and make the clays fly the easy dead away arc. She'll finally hit one and the rest comes with practice.

She's a rookie - one shell at a time! Don't give her two rounds at once till your sure she won't be turning around and pointing the gun at you as you ready the next target.

Stationary targets first - moving targets next - safety always!

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Perhaps find out which eye dominant she is. I had a heck of a time with moving shots because I'm right handed and left eye dominant. She could be opening the eye on the wrong side of the barell. This took me a year to figure out. I could hammer stuff on the ground and on targets because I had time to adjust....pheasants and ducks were and still are another question all together! Practice!

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Hammer em may have hit the nail on the head.. I coached shooters for years and this is a common problem. Often where you catch on is when you see the shooter trying to stretch their neck across the stock.

The way to check for which eye is dominant is to put both hands in front of you with your fingers together, and your thumbs sticking out.. put your hands together and make a small triangular shaped hole at the base of your inner thumbs... have her keep both eyes open and move her hands back to her head (looking through hole). The hands will go to the dominant eye every time.

If the eyes arent the problem I would even recommend using some type of bench rest to shoot at stationary targets and be sure she is getting the proper sight picture. From there be absolutely sure that she is in the proper position, and her eye is level witht the top of the gun when she is shooting.

Good luck... dont give up.

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Try using rolling clays on the ground.
She will be able to see where the shot is going and will be able to adjust the correct lead. Worked for people I know that couldn't hit the broad side of a barn even if they were standing inside it!!

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All very good ideas. I learned to shoot with a BB gun- no kick and stationary targets. Let her go out by herself. Maybe if no body is watching she can relax and just figure it out on her own.

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Thanks for the ideas guys. Guess its back to the stationary targets, though she did wax the cans that I put out the first time. The .22 idea might help, gain some confidence, thinking back, I shot a .22 for years (starting at the age of 12) before I shot a shotgun. I liked the idea with the stick out at 20 yards, then shes going up with the barrel. A couple of you talked about the 'easy, going away shot'. That was my theory also, thats why I got the dummy thrower, make every pigeon fly straight out, but you have to realize that those birds are also sinking, I'm almost certain that shes not catching up to/giving it enough lead to catch up with that sinking bird.

Will try that idea with a shell/no shell to see if shes jerking.

How about the wrong eye dominance? What if she is, is it better to goto a left handed gun or adjust?

Thanks again for the info.

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Lots of good idea so far.

Another common problem especially with youth or female shooters is getting proper fit in the gun they shoot. A gun that doesn't fit her will be difficult to impossible for her to shoot accurately. If you get "American Hunter" magazine they have an article about this in this months issue which came out earlier this week.

It's not unusual for shoters to be able to hit a stationary target with a gun that has poor fit because they have time to work around the fit problem.

Watch her to make sure she's keeping her head down. This causes more misses than any other shooter related issue I've seen. Many of us have been guilty of lifting our heads up and taking a peek.

As far as determining lead the easiest way I've found to teach it is to have shooters start swinging from behind the bird and pull the trigger as soon as they catch up with it while continuing the swing. Works nearly ever time. As this method adds the lead in as the shooter continues to swing and the reaction time in pulling the trigger.

Good Luck!

------------------
I bad day of fishing??? I honestly don't know what you're talking about!

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I'm left eye dominant, shoot a RH gun, and just have to close my left eye. I never tried shooting with both open, but I think it'd be a pain. I know this isn't the best situation, but there is no way I'm switching over to a LH gun.

Jeff

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there are some professional shooters that shoot right handed guns and are left eye dominant. Most of them put tape over their left eye peice on their shooting glasses, making it blury.

With practice and effort, you can actually change which eye is dominant.

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i disagree with fisher dave to find out
about which hand she is i was told by my wife
and mother-inlaw you use your index finger left or right me i shoot left handed.. with my wifes .22
i took a target of osama binladen
used that for practice i nailed him
right between the eyes and twice on the right
eye.. what i was told is in gun safety
breath slowly and pull the trigger slowly
maybe that's what's she's doing wrong
also this may sound embarrasing try water ballons don't fill them up with water to much
then blow them up like you would do regular
on a windy day have her try and shoot them
or try pop cans

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You're trying to teach your wife to shoot a shotgun. It is, beyond a doubt, totally different than shooting a rifle. Finding out the dominant eye is a great first start. After that, remeber this....When you shoot a shotgun, you are pointing. When you shoot a rifle, you are aiming. They are totally different. Think of the shotgun as an extension of your arm and hand. In essense, you are pointing at the object you are trying to shoot. It is a moving target, and yes, you will have to compensate for that movement by "leading the target", but you are pointing, not aiming. The last piece of the puzzle is swinging the gun. Keeping the gun moving even after you pull the trigger is absolutely key. Follow the bird or clay to the ground even after you shoot it.
Remember...Dominant eye #1. Keep both eyes open and point at the target #2.
and keept he gun barrel moving even after the shot #3.

------------------
Good Fishin!
Crossin

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