Consistent Gun Mount

Dear Technoid,

I am shooting sporting clay with what I believe to be low gun: I try to always start with my gun slightly under my arm pit. One day I hit 38 and the next two weeks 26 (Same course)! I think it is a mounting problem but it is only a guess. I would like to make sure that is where the problem is and then try to correct it with exercises.

Also this notion that you can see specifically the leading edge of the target and concentrate on it INTRIGUES me. Is it really possible and if yes, is there any exercise for the eye?


Dear Francois,

When I coach sporting clays students, we spend the majority of our first lesson on developing a proper gun mount. It’s hard to describe in writing, but easy to show in person. Still, I’ll try.

The first bird I have them work on is a low one skeet shot. The gun is started with the butt pulled back under the arm about an inch or so. To raise the gun, it must be pushed slightly forward to clear the armpit. This is important. Elbows are held our fairly horizontal, not down at the side “clamping” the gun in place. The muzzle is put right on the target when the bird comes out. That’s a line from eye to bead to target so the muzzle is actually aiming above the target. As the bird flies toward the shooter, the muzzle is kept on the target and the butt is kept under the arm. When the shooter decides to take the bird, the gun is pushed slightly forward as the body rocks very slightly forward. When the stock touches the face, the trigger is pulled.

There is also a lot more subtle stuff that goes on with stance and swing and lead, but those are the basics of the mount part. At the end of the first hour, most students have it down pat and never have to think about it again. It’s a natural way of shooting and really quite easy once you get the hang of it. It also looks pretty classy. In this style, the mount can be as fast or slow as you want it to be, but it is always smooth. It is also always consistent because the speed of the bird dictates the speed of the swing and you decide when to make the mount and take the shot. The mount is mostly always made at the same speed. The amount of time with the muzzle on the bird is what varies depending on the shot.

Yes, you positively can see the ridges on the front edge of the bird if you have good vision, but that’s not the point. The point is to concentrate solely on the bird as if you could see the ridges. The whole idea is to use a vision gimmick to promote concentration. Still, it never hurts to exercise your eyes. There are lots of eye exercise programs. Just look in the magazines. The eye is a muscle and you absolutely can make is somewhat stronger.

That said, what most people think of as an “eye test” target is really one that was difficult because the shooter didn’t look for it in the right place when he picked the bird up. No one likes a target that tests your eyes instead of your shooting ability, but I can’t tell you how many times people have complained to me about a target that “no one could see”.When I looked at it, I usually found that it was hard to see if you looked for it in the usual convenient place, but it was much easier to see if you looked for it in some other place. I remember once I was shooting a very short window crossing bird. I’d pick the bird up on the edge of the crossing and swing like crazy, but I couldn’t buy one. A better shooter ran them. He said that looked back to the trap hidden in the bushes. There was just enough of an opening that he could glimpse the bird coming off the arm and could start his swing based on that. It wasn’t an unfair shot at all. You just had to know where to look.

I know just where to look. I’m going to look for another cup of coffee.

Best regards,

Bruce Buck
The Technoid writing for Shotgun Report, LLC
(Often in error. Never in doubt.)

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1 Response to Consistent Gun Mount

  1. stanley wren says:

    One of your better ones. There is so much coaching out there and videos as it goes on and on. But, like you say it’s just basic and really simple. Not as complicated as the many different methods of the different instructors as they try and imprint on you the way they shoot. Thanks for the article, beneficial to all, even the instructors.


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