Swinging Light Guns


This may sound like an inane question coming from a fellow Ephman, but other than shooting at targets or live game, do you have any pearls of wisdom as to the best manner of adjusting swing and gun movement between guns of very different weight and balance?

Specifically,going from my 12 gauge Skeet Citori (28″) which weighs a ponderous 8.25 lbs to my 20 Grand Lightning (also 28″ @ 6.75 lbs) creates major headaches in whipping the 20 around in all sorts of deviant and spastic moves.Swinging in the living room doesn’t seem to carry over well to live fire. Since the 20 is strictly a hunting/field gun, I’d prefer not to add weight up front if possible.

Should I work on consciously moving my hand forward on the forend to slow the swing speed down a bit, or are there other techniques you have divined?

As always, the World waits and trembles as the Oracle prepares.


Dear Fred,

When the Technoid speaks the earth does indeed tremble- often enough to curdle the milk in a purple cow. The Technoid/cow analogy also extends to the manure, so pull those boots on.

Most of my 12 bore target guns are in the 7-3/4# to 8-1/4# area and my two favorite bird guns are both 6-1/4#. The bird guns are stocked slightly shorter than the target guns, so it is natural for me to run my hand out a bit further on the shorter stocked guns to compensate when shooting clays. Other than that, I really don’t do anything drastic when switching between gun types.

When I am hunting, the upland guns are designed for quick response at relatively short distances (I mostly hunt Eastern ruffed grouse). As the originators of skeet intended, that game if shot low gun is great short range practice. Longer shots bring out the disadvantages of short, light guns. There’s nothing for it really. If they were more stable, they would be less suitable for game.

Other than pushing the left hand further forward when shooting clays, the only other real change I make when shooting clays with light guns is to concentrate on an extra smooth gun mount. Where possible, I prefer to start with my gun stock under my right armpit and pulled back an inch or two. The means that when I mount the gun, I have to actually push it forward slightly as I raise it. This sort of gives you “tempo” and makes the mount much smoother. It also encourages the shooter to FIRST put his muzzles on the bird and follow it with the gun DOWN for a moment, THEN raise and fire while keeping the muzzles on the bird, pushing ahead to see a little light at the last moment.

The key to the smooth mount with the light gun is to keep it in the down position while you follow the bird a bit. This gets your body into the shot. Compared to the weight of your upper body, the difference in a pound or so in the gun is inconsequential. The low gun and body build momentum. When the gun is raised and its light weight becomes apparent it is too late for the body to stop and a nice swing through is still built in. The key to all this is firing the moment the gun touches your cheek. The longer you wait, the more chance that the momentum built up by the arms and upper body will dissipate and the little gun will become whippy again.

Practicing the low birds on skeet station one and two is a good way to test this “Move, Mount, Shoot” approach. With the light gun in down position (butt under armpit) start the muzzles right in the hole of the low house. When the bird comes out, with the gun still down, put those muzzles right on the bird. In this position, follow the bird for two or three yards to build momentum. Then raise the gun and fire in one motion. Do NOT track the bird with the gun up. That’s what causes the problems.

Nothing will ever make a 6# gun feel like an 8# gun. It wasn’t meant to. But this technique will help bring a measure of stability to the light gun. It isn’t applicable to every type of shot, but it will work on most of the longer ones where you need the stability. The light game gun will take care of itself on the sort shots.

Boots off. Beer open.

Best regards,

Bruce Buck
The Technoid at http://www.ShotgunReport.com
(Often in error, never in doubt.)

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