You are right on (again) about center beads. As an older (56) shooter, wide vision on the trap house and a grey smudge for a barrel will always produce a smoke ball if I maintain my concentration on the target. I do think there is a use for the center bead however. When I am practicing indoors I carefully mount my gun using a target spot on the wall. Indoors I concentrate on a perfect mount. In this respect I use the center bead to ensure that I have mounted th gun correctly. I concentrate on bead, rib and barrel relationship. The goal is to mount the gun effortlessly dead on the target spot in the minimum amount of time. Also I change the placement of the target spot frequently to vary the mount position.
This all changes outdoors. Outdoors I only concentrate on wide vision and target acquisition. I rely on “muscle memory” whatever that is, to correctly mount the gun. Any thought in my brain not directly related to target acquisition and destruction when I call pull will result in a lost target. The key to good scores in Trap (or Skeet) is to practice at home on the basics so they become automatic and concentrate on the target on the Trap or Skeet field.
Your point about using the center bead to assure correct line up when dry mounting the gun at home is well taken. My only reservation is that if we use dry mounting at home to build in muscle memory, won’t constant reference to the middle bead build in an undesirable eye “memory” at the same time? You play as you practice.
The reason that I practice at home is so that I can do something subconsciously when I am shooting for real. I sure don’t want to subconsciously look at the center bead when I am out shooting. Perhaps you are more disciplined than I am and can manage the switch. I think that I would have trouble doing that. Perhaps that is because writing this column has turned my brain to mush- or made it even mushier, depending on whom you talk to.
Shotgun Report’s Technoid
(Often in error, never in doubt.)