Shooting Tips: Proper Set Up, More Broken Targets

Written by: James Ross, Orvis Chief Shooting Instructor


open shotgun

Many shooters I’ve worked with recently have had problems with consistency. Many of these problems can be easily corrected by paying attention to your set up or pre-shot routine. Here are some tips to remember for proper set up and improved shooting.

Feet first. If your stance is not correct then you are going to have problems with the rest of the game. Make sure you address the break point of the target, not where it is coming from. New shooters have a tendency to favor setting up their stance toward where the target is coming from, instead of where they want to break the target. This can lead to problems in keeping the gun speed consistent with the target. If the body is binding up at the point where it should be moving smoothly, the gun slows down and you are behind the target.

Hold Point. Don’t look for the target too soon. Holding the barrels too close to where the target appears for the first time can cause a shooter to panic because the target is moving its fastest right off the machine. This puts the shooter into catch up mode trying to get the barrels back on the target. Try pulling the barrels away from the machine where the eye has a chance to see the target as a clear image. This will make the game seem much slower to the eye and cause the hands to move more smoothly and not jerk the gun forward.

Target Line. Watch the line of the target closely as you view your preview targets. Again, many shooters will hold the barrels too high when calling for the target. The barrels act as a visual distraction to the eyes and you will not see the target clearly or cause you to pick it up late. It also causes the gun to move like a sea saw; the shooters recognizes the target to be under the barrels they lower the barrels to see it then have to raise them to get back on line. Too much gun movement makes for inconsistent scores. I would rather the barrels start just beneath the target line so the shooter sees the target and moves right to it.

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