Center Beads

I just purchased a new Beretta and was surprised that it had no center bead. What is the recommended location for the center bead? 1/2 the bbl length or is there a better position?

Dear ?,

Why do you want a center bead? You don’t actually LOOK at it before you shoot, do you? No, I am sure you don’t. For a newer shooter, a center bead might come in handy when fitting or setting up a trap gun. Even this reference is “iffy” as the front and center beads are virtually NEVER centered perfectly.

An experienced shooter can tell just from the way that the rib lays whether or not he is squared to the gun. After that period of initial gun adjustment, all the center bead does is catch cobwebs. If the gun fits you so poorly that you have to constantly reference the figure “8” of the center and front bead, then you should return to a little more gun fitting. When your gun fits right, everything lines up perfectly when you mount the gun. It all should just fall into place when you mount.

The problem with constant checking of the front bead before a shot is two fold. First- it forces your eyes to short focus on the bead and then long focus in front of the trap house. This is not good. Many eyes, especially older ones, are not elastic enough to refocus quickly. It is far better to “wide area” focus your eyes over the front of the trap house to start with and keep them there. That way there will be no readjustment when the bird comes out and you will be more likely to see it sharply.

The other problem with checking the front bead before each shot is that you may unconsciously return your eyes to the barrel during the shot. If the barrel is anything more than a grey smudge when you focus on the target, that bird is going to be lost.

I remember when I started shooting and had an 870 field gun. I agonized for weeks about just which type of front and center bead I should order from the nefarious Herter’s. The enthusiastic catalogue touted the curative powers of a number of “target” beads, virtually guaranteed to make me a better shot.

Now that I am older, if not wiser, just now I actually had to pull my 303 Trap gun out of the safe to look and see if it had a center bead. I have only been shooting it for five years. If someone had told me that it did indeed have a bead, I would have sworn it was a little white one. Wrong again. It is a stupid little brass post. Obviously Beretta doesn’t think much of center beads either. If my trap gun came without a center bead, I wouldn’t change it.

Best regards,

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

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1 Response to Center Beads

  1. Bill E. says:

    Technoid’s comments are supported by world class shooters who in a past Shooting Sportsman magazine were interviewed to see what their preferences were including equipment used. 4 out of the 5 took the smaller center bead and used it to replace their front beads. One shooter, shot sans any beads!

    It seems the best in the world are modifying their guns to minimize the distraction caused by beads which is precisely what Sir Technoid indicates. Maybe we more fallible shooters should learn from the best and minimize our “bead focus” and work on seeing the targets more clearly. Hmmmm…


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