Bad Back Shotgunner

Dear Technoid:

I read the recent letter from B, the shooter with the bad back, and it occurred to me that he might benefit from a shooting style common among English game shooters, and some successful clay shooters as well. It consists of shooting off the front foot, and lifting or dropping the back heel to rotate the body.

To use this method for a left to right crosser, one sets up with the front foot (left foot, if a right hand shooter; right foot otherwise) pointing just beyond the chosen breakpoint, and the back foot a few inches behind the front, and a few inches to the right. Looking down, if the front foot is at 12 o’clock, the back foot should be at 2 o’clock.

To swing the gun back to the pickup point, one merely raises the back heel, flexing the back knee slightly as necessary, keeping the front knee straight and the weight on the front foot, and the gun will move smoothly with the body. To start the swing, one merely drops the back heel and the whole body rotates, and the gun with it.

To swing the other way, right to left, one starts with the back heel down, and picks up the back heel to start the swing, allowing the back knee to flex as necessary.

This method has several advantages: first, the entire body is used to swing the gun, so “arm-shooting” and stopping the gun are almost impossible. Second, it is very efficient mechanically, as all of the rotation comes from movement of the back foot, leaving the rest of the body to follow, and minimizing rotation of the spine and neck. It allows the shooter to swing the gun through a greater arc with less effort than any other method I have seen.

For a much fuller explanation of this method, see _Shotgun Marksmanship_, by Percy Stansbury and G. L. Carlisle. It is a classic shotgunning book, full of pictures of Stansbury’s titled friends showing good form and bad in the field. I recommend it highly. A description of this method, with variations, can also be found in Robert Churchill’s _Gameshooting_. I believe both books are still in print. Don Zutz, in his books on shotgunning, has also described this method. I believe he calls it the “English style”.

You can also watch Ken Davies use this method in some of the Holland and Holland tapes that were out a few years ago. He exaggerates the movement a bit, for emphasis, but he basically does it Stansbury style.

I hope this helps.

Best Regards,

Ben Baldridge
FITASC report

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