Teal, Incomers And Long Crossers


This year instead of shooting Sporting Clays for fun and practice for hunting I have joined the CSCA (Colorado SCA) and I am attempting to become a better shooter. I am presently in “D” class, but will probably be placed in C in the next couple shoots. Although I can normally go out and shoot a course and score in the high 70’s, the stations are a lot tougher for the CSCA Shoots and I am having a tough time with Long Springing Teal, Long incomers, and Long 40 yard crossers.

I shoot a Beretta 682 with 30″ barrels and shoot all three methods. I predominantly shoot Maintained lead or Move Mount Shoot, but I think this is causing me to stop my swing or stab at the clays so I have gone more to pull away and am improving. Can you give me some pointers on how you shoot these shots. I need some help.

Also I’m in search of an instructor. Can you give me some advise on what questions I need to ask to find the correct instructor. How about the instructors NSCA Level. Do you think this matters at this time. I live in Denver, CO and based on the list in “Sporting Clays Magazine”, we only have Level II’s and I’s. Can you recommend any instructors in the area or even recommend a school to attend out of State.



Dear J.D.,

It is hard for me to recommend local instructors I haven’t met. I guess that the NSCA instructors are your best bet, but you might also be able to get a lesson from one of the traveling schools.

There are no hard and fast rules of how to shoot certain birds because each presentation varies to a slight degree, but here is how I generally handle the birds you mention.

Teal: Everyone has trouble with long teal. If they are going pretty much straight up, I have had the best luck swinging up through them. I generally start my muzzle right on the trap and shoot as quickly as possible using swing-through. This works fine on a vertical bird, but not on those really sneaky “leaning” teal that you always seem to shoot over the top. With a teal that is half way between a teal and a trap target, I wait it out and shoot it at the crest or a little before.

Long Incomers: The biggest problem with these is riding the bird. Try this. Follow the bird with your muzzle as it comes in, but don’t mount the stock to your face until you are ready to shoot. When you decide to take the bird, mount and fire right away. The more time you spend with your face on the stock, the bigger the chance of missing a slow incomer.

40 Yard Crosser: I try to sustain these, but also make a point of making a good follow through. Here the follow through is vitally important, even more so than elsewhere. Also, watch the height. It is very common to shoot over long crossers, especially if you take them a bit late.

Best regards,

Bruce Buck
Shotgun Report’s Technoid
(Often in error, never in doubt.)

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3 Responses to Teal, Incomers And Long Crossers

  1. Tom Fiumarello says:

    Tip on long incommer’s . Correct, keep that gun out of your face, but if the target is coming straight at you, close your NON DOMINANT eye, and rifle shoot them. If there is any movement either right or left…….ALL BETS ARE OFF, WON’T WORK, but for straight incoming targets, IT IS DEADLY.


  2. Tom Fiumarello says:

    Bruce……while I don’t disagree with you often, I do here. You are speaking to a new shooter, and for what you are telling him, he will have nothing but heartache. For those teals, if you ask him to swing through, he will have no idea where he is due to gun speed, and will most surely shoot over the top. However, if you ask him to move from the bottom up, with the target above his barrel as soon as he confirms the target is coming down, just over the top, he should see a space between bird and barrel, and when he does, pull the trigger. He never occludes the target as he swings through, and he will see everything through the entire shot process. He is really shooting diminishing lead, but he does not know that. That method promotes good gun management, and he will most likely not shoot over the top due to gun speed. He may still shoot over the top, but most of the time it is due to his brain not believing how much space he really needs. For long crosser’s, to shoot sustained lead, he must first know what that lead is. He has no clue, so if he inserts the muzzle, on the front edge of the target, runs with it a bit to establish a bird/barrel relationship, then pulls away, he will have much more success. He does not need to know what the lead is, he just needs to pull away and see space. In this manner he will never move faster than the target, until he pulls away, and again promotes good gun management. As long as he follows the target line, his muzzle will always be in the correct spot. All this assumes he will focus on the target, and his brain will allow him to shoot out in space, instead of “check things” at the trigger pull. I have found especially with a new shooter, with sustained lead, they always want to check how much lead they have, because they are never sure of how much. In pull away, they just need to confirm “space”, not how much. Yes, it can promote a little bit of gun speed, but at distance, targets usually are perceived as slower anyway, so it usually is not an issue.

    Remember this is just an observation from one instructor, and there are more ways to skin a cat that than one way, but over the years of teaching, this is just one mans observation, and that and $1.00 will get you a cup of coffee at McDonald’s.


    • Bruce Buck says:

      Thanks for much for your very astute observations. Yes, there are different ways of doing things, but what you suggest based on your considerable experience certainly has merit. Perhaps if I followed your advice, instead of my own, I’d hit more of those pesky targets.


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