Long Shots

Dear Technoid:

I am certain you’ve addressed this question somewhere in the archives, but alas I was unable to unearth it. From your vast personal shooting experience and discussions with the best in the biz, what are some of the proven approaches and techniques for shooting long crossers and quarter angle targets (40+ yards)?

As a capable B class shooter, these are my Achilles heel in that I have little or no “feel” for gun setup or shooting method to nail those suckers consistently. The targets appear to the eye as quite small and farrrrrr awayyyyyyyy, and I find myself just flailing shot in their general direction and praising Allah for the occasional break.

I am sure that many other shooters struggle with the same and would appreciate your thoughts on the matter.

Thanks in advance!

Dear Kevin,

Long crossers and quarterers? This should be a book, not a quick Email. I also want to mention that different people have different ways of dealing with these birds. There isn’t one right way. My methods work for me most of the time. Ok, some of the time. At least occasionally. Well, once last year.

I generally sustain lead my long crossers and make absolutely sure to follow through. Follow through is vital on long crossers because you barrel is moving relatively slowly and the tendency is to stop the barrel when a larger than usual lead is seen. A little extra follow through here will do amazing things.

The best way to learn long crossers during a practice session is to start up close and slowly work your way back. Once you dial in, you can slowly pace yourself back to some amazing distances. It is surprising, but the lead doesn’t seem to increase incrementally. For me, lead seems to take a big jump at about 35 yards and stays about the same until you hit 50 where it takes another jump. Obviously, this is perception, not fact. But it does show you how personal lead perception is.

Long quartering away targets are trickier. Most misses are ahead. I AIM (yup, aim) right at the BACK edge of the bird and let my gun movement build in the tiny bit of lead that is needed. The problem with the quartering away target is that it needs a great deal of gun movement when taken up close and only the slightest bit of movement when taken at distance. That is why I aim at the back edge of the long ones. Your lead varies tremendously with where you take the bird and with its angle of quartering.

I am also a believer in using enough choke. On ANY edge-on target at 35 yards and more, I use full choke and all the #7-1/2s the law allows. Use less, hit less. Do the math.

Best regards,

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

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