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Clay Shooting, a Beginner’s Thoughts

 

By Keith Hollar – Guest Contributor

I wanted to chronicle some of the things that I have been learning as I start my journey into the world of clay shooting and bird hunting.

Even though I’ve been shooting for over 20 years I’ve only shot at flying targets a couple of times before.  I had some friends that enjoyed clay shooting that took me along a few times and gave me some basic instructions, but it didn’t really help me understand what I was doing, wrong and right.  I wasn’t very successful at breaking the clays those times.  Recently I’ve been able to go with someone who has been shooting at clays for a while and was able to explain things to me that made a light bulb go off in my head.

Here are some of the things I’ve learned while shooting trap and skeet; when shooting a field gun in trap you need to cover the clay with the barrel to get a hit, also in trap you want to hit the target while it is still rising, in skeet the leads are for station 1 = 1 foot, 2 = 2 feet, 3 = 3feet, 4 = 4 feet, 5 = 3 feet, 6 = 2 feet, 7 = 1 foot, and of course with both keep the barrel going.  Now these may not be huge revelations to most of you but I’ve never had anyone explain these things to me in such clear terms.

The next lessons have to do with the shotgun itself.  Since I’m used to shooting rifles I got into the habit of bringing the weapon to my shoulder and then bringing my head down to the sights.  That works fine for a rifle, but not a shotgun.  What you want to do is bring the shotgun up to the eye, then mount it to the shoulder.  I’ve found this works lots better getting the sighting rib aligned correctly.  Also you need to make sure the shotgun fits you.  I purchased a nice used side by side shotgun and took it to a local guy who was recommended to me to have the butt stock shortened to fit my arms.  Now that I’ve had it cut to a length of pull of 14 1/8” (including the new recoil pad) it now mounts quicker and feels more natural.

Now I’m not ready to be taking on a competition but I have noticed my scores improving each time I go.  I hope to be able to get more proficient and consistent and also try sporting clays and other more difficult clay sports.

One last piece of advice, don’t worry too much about not breaking all of the targets at first, even if you’re shooting with guys that complain about shooting a 24.  Everyone started at the beginning.  I know that is something that was difficult for me to do at first.  I know I need to concentrate of making sure I’m doing things right in order to hit the target.

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This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not necessarily represent those of Beretta.


Make sure you follow Beretta on FacebookTwitter or YouTube

 

This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not necessarily represent Beretta.

Things I've learned at the range

 

by Phil McNaughton- Guest Contributor
A few thoughts and theories from my time on the trigger, in no particular order...
  
I shoot faster when I slow down. 
Brussels sprouts make great targets.
Your worst day at the range is still better than your best day at the office.  Unless you work at the range.  Then you are just lucky, and I hate you. 
When you leave the range, nobody will remember how accurate you were, or how fast you were.  Everyone will remember how safe you were. 
Shooting is universal.  Lots of folks do it; lots of folks want to do it.  You may be surprised at who you meet at the range.  You may be surprised at who is waiting for you to take them to the range.
Real shooters know guns.  Hollywood doesn’t.  Learn from the former.
Don’t leave the gun shop empty handed.
Safety doesn’t take a backseat to experience. 
My Beretta will function in rain, snow, sub zero, or triple digit temperatures.  I may not.
They are called “sights” for a reason. See them.
Empty brass is more valuable than gold.
You can never have enough magazines.
Sooner or later you will have a box full of holsters that you don’t wear, or don’t have guns for anymore. 
People will buy a gun simply because it looks cool.
The gun you bought today will be on sale next weekend.  
The only thing you should take seriously at the range is safety.  Everything else is just fun.
The day I stopped worrying about scores is the day I became a better shooter. 
There is no such thing as a “double tap.”  Pay attention to the sights with every shot.
Dry fire until your fingers bleed.  Get bandages and start again.
Someday when you are working on your favorite gun, that little spring will fly across the room into oblivion.
You will buy parts for guns that you don’t own. 
Sometimes steel plates will stay standing after a hit.  Just because they hate you.
My shooting buddies are not really friends.  They are family.

Shooting soda cans is more fun when they are full.  And shaken.
There will always be one clay bird that refuses to break.  Don’t let it win.  Go find it.  Then step on it.
Practice the things that you don’t like to do.  Chances are you need it.
Introduce someone new to the firearms hobby.  Every chance you get.
If you wear a tank top at the range, you will inevitably get burned.  In places you don't want to be burned.
It doesn’t matter what gun you shoot, somebody will make fun it. 
Practice.  Do it a lot.  Do it often.  Do it safely.
A guy loves to watch a girl shoot.  Unless the girl is a better shooter than he is.
Spend less time talking about shooting, and more time doing it.
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This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not necessarily represent those of Beretta

Make sure you follow Beretta on FacebookTwitter or YouTube

 

This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not necessarily represent Beretta.

Feminine instinct...

 

Erica Rodriguez from
Washington State,
and her Px4
 As you may have noticed, we have been talking more and more about female gun ownership, lately.

Beyond the trends, the statistics and the news, it is important to recognize that, overall, our industry does not make it easy for a woman to enter the sacred halls of firearms ownership.

Heck: I would go as far as saying that, in some cases, it is even hard for a woman to cross the threshold of a gun store. It can be intimidating for any newbie to approach what is seemingly a male-only environment as it is. Add to it the fact that we're talking about firearms, with all the reverential fear that society associates with it, and you have a recipe for detachment.
And, yet, women have been joining this incredibly fun world of firearms in drones, lately.
Some say it is a result of the increasingly-high divorce rate, which creates a growing number of single women living with kids, while others say that it simply the fun of going to the range and the consequent word-of-mouth activity that does the trick; whatever the reason, recent studies prove that more and more women own guns.

I feel, sadly, that the market has not kept up with this trend, and for two reason: on one side, it is still hard to find classes where women can feel free to ask questions and learn, with the exception of some great NRA programs and what I recently learn are events and seminars dedicated to women at Sportsman's Warehouse. I meet some women who have grown up using guns. Safety procedures, loading and unloading a gun, posture and recoil control are second nature to them. To Jenn, who lives in a large city in the Northeast, that was not the case. "Simply put," she told me recently, "I don't want to make a fool of myself. So I just postpone learning."

When it comes to product availability, too, our industry makes women face an unfair entry barrier, especially when it comes to shotguns, with length of pull offerings that sometime make shotgun shooting a less-than-enjoyable experience.

The greatest obstacle, however, is visible only when you scratch below the surface. It isn't as prominent and widespread as the other two, but it is a barrier nonetheless. When I ask people "what can this industry do to attract more women?" the answer can lean toward cliches like "pink guns" and "hot men selling guns." This tells me that - in the eyes of some - female gun ownership is still not a legitimate activity.
But do not fear: not all is lost. There are examples like the NRA programs I mentioned above, to help. But help also comes in an easy-to-consume online format. One of my favorite is a website called "Girl's guide to guns." I spoke to Natalie, one of the creators of the website, recently. Natalie wants women to know that there is a serious side, a life-saving one, to gun ownership, but there's a more complex and savory side to it, that is made of social interaction, of meaningful relationships, of team-play, and of the satisfaction of "smoking" a clay or hitting that elusive bullseye at the pistol range. Memories are made, and that is worth all the gunpowder in the world.


Women and guns also
means endless memories
in the field.
 Do you want an example of empowered, cool, gun-toting woman? Look no further than Destinee and her videos. Watch her handle a gun safely and with impressive familiarity and you can see why I think that firearms activities are "the great equalizer." Then, if you're a guy, get in line: you're not the only one who wants to date her!

The truth, if you talk to some neurologists, is that women's brains are better equipped to be good shots: a woman's brain is more able to focus on what's directly in front of them, and can better withstand the repetitive and sometime monotonous patterns of clay shooting without wandering off.

Now: on to you. Are you a woman who shoots? What has been your experience, when you started shooting? Are you a woman who isn't shooting yet? What's holding you back? Are you someone with an opinion on the subject, regardless of your gender? Help us get better at providing the right solution to current and prospective women shooter, and let's make 2012 the year of the gentler, armed sex.

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This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not necessarily represent Beretta.

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