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Breathe, Breathe, BREATHE!!!

 
By Brad Wilson - Guest Contributor

You have gone out and spent $1600 on a new shotgun, $25 on a box of the "best" shells, and $2000 on a prime duck lease.  Opening morning rolls around and that first group of blue wing teal completely commit to your $750 decoy spread.  You pull up, stick a bead on the beak of a bird, and BOOM, BOOM, BOOM...nothing falls!  What's the problem?  I mean you bought the best of everything so shouldn't the birds just drop like rain?  One thing you forgot which happens to be the only free thing in your arsenal, AIR!  After the jump we will talk about how breathing, or not in most cases can determine a kill or a whiff.

When I first started hunting waterfowl really hard, I had a good friend that just so happened to be an excellent shotgunner.  When I say excellent, I mean the guy doesn't miss.  I have seen him have 3 shells loaded up with a 4th in his hand and limit out on teal during our early season with 4 pulls of the trigger in about 4 seconds flat.  My jaw dropped on that hunt.  Matt happens to be an excellent mentor to a lot of folks including myself when it comes to the outdoors.  One thing he taught me early on in our ventures is that my breathing was what makes me miss.  I would get so frustrated after a volley and only having 1 bird drop from my 3 shots.  What Matt pointed out to me was that when I would go to pull up, I would actually hold my breath.  Concentration is actually lost by doing this.

Now one might compare this to the breathing techniques of a sniper.  Honestly you would be comparing apples to oranges.  A sniper's breathing techniques require him to hold his breath between inhaling and exhaling for up to 10 seconds at times.  In this frame set the shooter is attempting to get himself into a relaxed state and thus connect with his target.  If he can not get himself into a relaxed state then his breathing exercise is repeated.

In a waterfowling situation, the shooter is actually very active and does not really have time to pause his breathing.  What is actually done is repetitious and uniformed breathing during the shooting process.  Holding your breath from the time you pull up to the time you take the last shot could potentially be 5-10 seconds.  Now sitting at your desk, recliner, or whatever it is that you are sitting in while reading this I want you to start holding your breath and stand up and act like you are taking shots at decoying birds.  Don't worry, we're waterfowlers and everyone thinks we are crazy to begin with.  I'm sure that duck call hanging from your rear view mirror gets a look from people every day.  Now how do you feel after the "shots" you just took.  I bet there are some that have no change, some that have to take a relief breath or 2, and then there are probably a few of us bigger boys that need to sit back down.  Relate this to your concentration in the blind while taking your shots and you can now see why breathing is important.

Next time you are in that layout blind in the stubble of a corn field, remember to take those breaths.  After all, your freezer depends on it!


Brad Wilson is an avid outdoorsman targeting waterfowl and saltwater fish and is a guest contributor for the Beretta Blog.  He can be reached on Twitter or YouTube.

Make sure you follow Beretta on FacebookTwitterYouTube.

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

Shotgun Shells: The Ins and Outs of Selection (Part 3)

 
By Brad Wilson - Guest Contributor

We now have a basis of how factory loads perform vs hand loads and a good understanding of how to figure out what load works best in your gun.  Now we will take a look at a few factors that we can manipulate in order to fine tune what we are working with.  Choke tubes and recoil pads, we'll take a look at them after the jump.

One of the first things that people like to change when they buy a shotgun is the choke tube.  There are a few manufacturers in the game that produce some excellent products.  I have personally shot some of the best choke tubes on the market and swore by a couple of them and it could have potentially been a huge mistake on my part.  My initial fault the first time I shot an aftermarket choke tube was due to me shooting it in the field on a hunt out of a buddies gun.  My shot to kill ratio on a couple of vollies actually went up and it really made me think it was because of the tube.  What I didn't take into consideration is the fact that I was shooting a different gun with a different setup.  Shotgun fitment is the number one reason people miss.  I have heard it too many times, "Do you think this gun will be good for me?" My reply is first and foremost GO FIT THE GUN!

Now don't get me wrong, aftermarket choke tubes can really improve your shot to kill ratio especially when your standard tubes that come in the gun do not have much research put into them.  This is the main reason I shoot a Beretta A400 Xtreme. There was so much engineering and field testing put into the OptimaChoke HP tubes that I don't have to go out and spend another $50-100 for an aftermarket tube.  It comes in the package!  The patterns through this gun are outstanding and produce a very high percentage of pellets on target while patterning the gun.  It is just one more reason this gun has my reliability stamp of approval.

The other thing we will talk about is recoil pads.  A lot of guys feel that follow up shots are more accurate when there is less recoil.  I will agree with this to a certain extent.  Recovery time between shots is vital in certain situations in the blind.  One thing the shooter should remember is a rushed shot is a missed shot.  IF you can concentrate, remember to breathe, and place your shots correctly then less recoil is a great deal.  Until you can get that down then your second and third shots are pointless.  My dad taught me this at an early age by letting me shoot a single shot 20 gauge.  His theory was my shot selection would be better if I only had 1 chance.

Now I can utilize this and become a better shot. The recoil reduction in my A400 Xtreme  is above and beyond anything else on the market and was the final piece to the puzzle for me.  Add to that the ability to change the length of pull with the extra butt pads, and you have a gun that can be tailored to just about anyone straight out of the box.

This wraps up my 3 part "class" on shotgun shells, how to select them, and how to manipulate their performance.  Hopefully your next trip out to the duck blind will be more productive with these extra tools in your blind bag.


Brad Wilson is an avid outdoorsman targeting waterfowl and saltwater fish and is a guest contributor for the Beretta Blog.  He can be reached on Twitter or YouTube.

Make sure you follow Beretta on FacebookTwitterYouTube.

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

The 10 to 2 Rule

 
By Brad Wilson - Guest contributor

As an avid duck hunter I get to spend quite a bit of time in the blind with different people from all walks of life.  I have had the opportunity to hunt with professional sports stars as well as with average Joes that have never sat in a blind a day in their life.  One thing that I can not stress more is SAFETY!

When folks whom I've never been hunting with get in the blind with me, we always go over safety and shot selection, first and foremost.  The basic rule that I give is what I call the "10 to 2 Rule."  Basically what the hunter has to understand is that his window of opportunity will present itself between the 10 o'clock and 2 o'clock position as he or she directly faces the front or rear of the blind.  If the bird happens to get outside of that range then that bird is off limits to the hunter and is in play for the person standing next to them.

If I have a hunter deviates from this rule, I will give a fair warning on the first instance.  I love this sport and I completely understand that we get caught up in the adrenaline rush sometimes, so if the infraction wasn't blatant or reckless I will give a little leeway.  My delivery will definitely make them think about the shot they took though.  If it happens again, the hunter will be asked to unload his weapon and set it down.  In all the years I have been hunting I have only had to go to this extreme one time.  After a few vollies, it was apparent that he understood where I was coming from and after a little pep talk we agreed that he would be WAY more careful.  I didn't have another problem all morning, and he learned a new respect for his weapon and the other hunters around him.

One exception to this rule is the hunter on the end of the blind.  I normally like to put more experienced hunters on the end because typically their shooting skills are far better than a novice's and thus they can "cover the end" of the blind.  I typically sit on the end where the door is, so I can work the dog on retrieves and cover that end of the blind.

One thing we all should remember: a hunt with no safety is nothing more than a game of Russian Roulette with accidents waiting to happen.  Whether you are in the duck marsh, the deer woods, or just having fun at the local range, safety should be your first and foremost concern at all times.  Always understand that "you are your brother's keeper" and not speaking up about unsafe acts is just as bad as if not worse than committing the unsafe act yourself.

Happy hunting and stay safe!

Brad Wilson is an avid outdoorsman targeting waterfowl and saltwater fish and is a guest contributor for the Beretta Blog.  He can be reached on Twitter and YouTube.


Make sure you follow Beretta on FacebookTwitter, and YouTube.

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

It's your time to tell me what you think

 
You guys are social-media-savvy, so I might be preaching to a well-educated choir, but, from time to time, I'm asked why Beretta is so active in social media.


The answer, in my opinion, is easy: contact. Contact with our customers, with those who use (or are thinking about using) our products.
Beretta Nation was born to allow people like you to be a step closer to us. Gone are the days of a brand being a distant "entity" that people only partially knew.

The advent of social media for Beretta is deeper than one would think. The vision for a more open, accessible and interactive Beretta came from the office of Mr. Franco Beretta himself. As someone who is holding the rudder of a 500-year old company, he knew that Beretta exists thanks to its customers. Feedback and contact has always been at the root of how Beretta operates: in the 19th Century, in Gardone Val Trompia, the Beretta family created a showroom that would be the place where business was conducted. People would literally walk in and see the World of Beretta. This showroom (today it is the site of the Beretta Museum) sits attached to the Beretta villa where the family lived.
Today, with business in all Continents, conducted in dozen of languages and including millions of transactions every day, the Beretta showroom needs to move from a physical place to a digital one. But the sentiment behind it is the same: it is the desire to be in direct contact with the customer, to understand what the Beretta Nation needs and wants, how they like our products. It is a deep understanding of the importance of transparency in what we do, of keeping the promises we make, and of giving employees a way to communicate with every customer in a way that is as personal as possible.

I see our Facebook account not as a way to push product, but as a way to connect, seek feedback and - as importantly - listen. Our Twitter activity is a tool that lets us tell you about our day-to-day activities: meetings, decisions, funny stuff that happens at the espresso machine (our form of water cooler,) cool pictures and shared ideas.

I have learned more in the past six-or-so months of activity than I had in over a decade of trade and consumer shows, of press conferences and meetings.

Beretta Nation is a community, now; one that I value and one that, I trust, will always give it to me straight. There's no wrong opinion. People are usually very complimentary. Sometimes they are not, and that's ok: our social media activity is also a way to make things right, when we drop the ball.

YouTube is another wonderful community. We do have a lot of fun, filming our how-to videos, our product overviews and our presentations. There is a reel of out-takes that I'm always tempted to show. Should I?
I also dabble in forums. These aren't "Beretta turf" and so I walk in as a guest. I will give my opinion, sure, but I let other people talk. The enthusiasm and honesty that reigns in forums is truly heart-warming. (PS: check out the Beretta Forum!)
So... why social media? Because we can't fit all of you in our Accokeek factory, or we would. We want to hear from you. We want you to be the driving force behind our next Five Centuries of business and success.
But I do want to hear from you: do you follow us on Twitter? Are you a Facebook fan? Have you seen our videos? In other words: are you Beretta Nation?
What do you expect out of social media presence? Did we deliver? What do you like best about what we do in this area? Where can we get better?
After all, blogs are made just for this!

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.

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