More On Leads

Dear Technoid,

Can you refer me to a good detailed description/analysis of the so called ‘swing-through’ technique. I have recently adopted this method after years of using ‘sustained lead’ with which I developed a tendency to stop the gun. However, with ‘swing-through’ have found it necessary to mount up to 10 feet behind 70 mph crossers at 40 yds in order to generate enough overthrow to break the target. (The trigger is pulled as the muzzles appear to pass the nose of the target.). Why is this? Furthermore, if I track the target (i.e. move the muzzles after the target at the same pace as the target) and then pull through a miss is almost certain. Why?

By the way congratulations on your web site. I rely on your incisive analysis.


Dear Adrian,

The famous English gun maker and coach, Churchill (he of the famous 25″ barrels), was the first really vocal proponent of the swing though shooting system. He claimed that with swing through, you never needed any lead at all. You just shot right at the target and if your swing was the right speed, the delay between when you think that you pull the trigger and when you actually do will build in the proper lead. Of course, swinging “at the right speed” is the catch.

Most hunters use the swing through system, especially on Eastern ruffed grouse where the bird almost always gets the jump on you and you are doing all that you can to catch up from behind. Sustain lead and pull away may work well on incoming or passing ducks.

You might try picking up a copy of George Digweed’s “It’s got to be perfect” sporting clays book. He is the best shot in the world right now and he swings through his targets. He claims that it is easier to “take the line” of the target that way. With his results, I certainly am not going to argue with him.

I use swing through most of the time, but prefer to sustain rabbits and really hot, short window crossers.

Best regards,

Bruce Buck
Shotgun Report’s Technoid

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1 Response to More On Leads

  1. OK,…………..I only have three questions to ask the Adrian. 1. If you are using swing through on fast crossing targets, the gun has to be blazing to catch up with the target, then pass it. My first question is……….”what do you see as you pull the trigger moving the gun that fast”. My guess, not much. (please don’t tell me you “feel it”, “just trust it”, etc, etc.) 2. If you miss, and you don’t see the mistake because of the speed, how do you fix that miss. 3. If the target breaks, how do you repeat what you just did, if that gun is moving so fast, you did not see squat of the relationship between the target and the barrel. Now, if you want to mount to the rear of the target, move with it a bit, then move to the lead, I can buy that. Blazing barrels……..sorry, no way is that a reliable method. PS…………Adrian, I can also tell you with a great degree of certainty the reason you struggle with pull away is because instead of your focus on the target, your eyes either go to the barrel, or you are measuring trying to see how much space the lead is…thus a miss. Additional speed, even thru the use of swing through is not a viable method if it has to be consistently used. It has it’s place in our shooting tool bag, just as sustained lead does. Watch any good shooter shoot……………………..speed does not exist. They all match target speed to gun speed at some point on every shot…….not a blur from in back of the target to in front. When I was learning this game I always heard the terms, “speed is lead”. Then I learned how to shoot and teach……… the saying goes…………..”Slow is Fast”


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