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Four Days at Ben Avery 2013

If you haven’t been to Ben Avery Shooting Center, you should go. It’s a great venue with lots of great target presentations – and of course a great staff. We had four days of teaching and learning and made many new friends.

The PowerPoint presentation “Where Are Your Eyes?” has really made a difference in the learning curve for everyone, especially the kids. This is how they learn and all they want to do after seeing it is go shoot. Seeing how to make the target slow down and how to match the speed of the barrel and target makes so much sense to them. After seeing the animations, the learning curve goes up and frustration level goes down – for all of us.

Probably the biggest “a-ha” is again not looking down the barrel. It’s so hard for so many people. They always want to check the barrel to make sure. This is not a game of “sure.” It’s more about focus, moving, and stabilizing. Stabilizing the picture at the end of the shot has become a must. You are able to feel and know when it’s right. I saw that in so many faces this weekend. When the bird and barrel were going the same speed, they knew the target would break. They had never thought about the feelings associated with shooting a shotgun. Students would finally go the same speed and were amazed when the target broke and they knew it. And they also knew it when it wasn’t right, but they could correct it.

We still need to get people to realize that they need to get the gun off of their shoulders. This is something we see all the time. People want the gun in their face already, but they can’t see the target and they can’t move with the target.

It’s like trying to merge on a freeway after you have had to stop at a red light: way too hard. You have to hurry and become erratic to stay in front of the target. It’s way easier to have the gun unmounted and move when you see it and make the mount as you move.

Are there times to have the gun mounted? Of course, there are. This is not a game of absolutes. If there is a trap-like target with trap 15 yards in front of the stand, have the gun higher in the shoulder, as this shot has to have a perfect gun mount along with a perfect focus on a part of the target. Also, if you are going to shoot the target in the first third of its flight path, have the gun a little higher in your shoulder. But never with your face on the stock. This is a game of vision and if the gun is in the way, you can’t see the target. Lots of “a-has” on that one.

It was a successful weekend of four full days, so we will come back again in April to heal some more souls before it gets too hot in Arizona.