Sporting’s Short Droppers

Dear Technoid,

I love reading your web page! I also shoot an autoloader ( 1997 Rem. 11-87 S.C.) and agree on their benefits. I’ve been shooting a little over 2 yrs and have been successful at local shoots and recently won the pump gun event at Pa States this year!

Although, still learning the ropes, there is a particular type of target presentation that is just killing me on the sporting clays courses. It is a left to right crosser 15 yd max that peaks at about 6-8′ then the bottom just falls out. Now, the bird has a seemingly short flight time and a split pair can just destroy my scores.

Understanding that your not behind me when I shoot, I would like your input on these types of targets. I have often thought that I may have a lazy right hand, being a rightly, on my mount and is making me shoot “high”.



Dear Erik,

As to those short little droppers, that isn’t the kind of target that we see very often in our area. But it doesn’t really matter. I can’t tell you what to do as I don’t see you shoot, but the general smart approach to a problem presentation is to practice by the case.

Here’s what I mean. Unless we shoot sporting clays for a living or work at a range, there are always going to be presentations that cause us problems. Since you may only see your particular problem presentation two or three times a year, it really makes sense to go to the local range, set that presentation up and practice it until you get it right. This takes a bit of extra effort and a bit of convincing for the range owner, but if you are serious about your game, this is the way the pros learn a shot.

Many people have problems with certain longer shots. When practicing those, move forward until you can easily hit the target and then start moving backwards. Your particular shot is so close that moving forward won’t help, but starting with a bit more spring on the target may. Start with it as a standard speed 15 yard crosser and have the trap boy slowly wind the spring down until you get the loopy bird you are looking for.

On a little short looper like this, swing through technique may cause problems, but causing you to go in front and high. This is the place to use a sustained lead, almost a spot shot, where you come up in front of the bird, not through it. Try viewing the target as the center of a clock. If the bird is coming from the left and dropping, just decide to insert the gun at four or five o’clock on the dial. This will get you in front and below without forcing you to come through the bird and make an awkward downward slash.

By the way, the target you describe is often more a problem of gun fit than of shooting technique. The right and proper tendency on a short dropper is to dig your head into the stock a bit more as the bird drops. This is well and good if your stock is high enough. If it is too low, this will put your eye behind the opening lever and you will automatically raise your head and stop the gun when this happens. Most of the better shooters in sporting clays shoot stocks that are closer to trap height than field height. You might remember this. It allows them to cheek hard on droppers without losing the rib.

Best regards,

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

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