Regardless of where you are in your shooting game, the Ashes can help you bring it to the next level. Whether you shoot sporting clays, trap, skeet, or hunt birds, the OSP method will show you how!

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Call it luck, fate or cosmic alignment of the stars; I did not have to have back surgery. What a relief! As a Result, I did sneak in one quail hunt! That Merkel 28ga. side by side performed like a dream. It didn’t take me long to get use to the double triggers. After almost bending the front trigger by pulling it twice, a couple of times, I slowed down and in no time was able to move from the front trigger to the back trigger without thought. I was even able to select the back trigger by itself to take a longer shot on a bird that flushed farther out. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the works of a side by side double trigger gun, here is how they are typically set up. The front trigger fires the right barrel and the back trigger fires the left barrel. The right barrel typically has a more open choke and the left barrel has a tighter choke. When shooting flushing birds like quail the first shot is typically taken at closer range than the second. This allows you to obtain maximum pattern spread at two different distances. The double trigger set up allows you to elect to shoot the tighter choked barrel first by simply moving your finger to the back trigger. This is much more efficient than trying to change a barrel selector on a single trigger gun. The 6’s we used in our 28 gauges performed as we expected. When a bird fell, it fell dead making it easier to find and retrieve. In talking to my hunting buddies who had switched to 6’s for quail this year, they commented that the number of birds they lost this year had been cut dramatically. After further discussion, the agreed upon percentage was no more than 10% of birds downed were lost! Something to think about for next year when you go quail hunting. It’s March and the hunting season has flown by. Reluctantly, I will admit to you that it is probably my age that is the greatest contributor to this phenomenon. My garden is ready and my tomato plants will go in soon. With the arrival of March our thoughts begin to change from “bob white” to “gobble,gobble,gobble”. Spring turkey season is just around the corner. Instead of chasing game and flushing shots we turn to calling game and still shots. Instead of being able to walk, talk and joke while hunting, we must dress in camo, sit up and be very still. Instead of swinging the gun and leading the bird, we must begin to practice keeping the gun still, aiming the gun and squeezing the trigger. Every year when Vicki and I prepare to go deer hunting after a 9 month sporting clay season, we go to the rifle range with a .22 and practice squeezing the trigger. First at 50 yards then at 75 yards. It takes a minimum of 150 shots for each of us to stop jerking or slapping the trigger like we do when we shoot our shotguns. Our groups at 50 yards go from 3″ to 2″ to 1″ to 1/2″ as our trigger pull begins to soften and become more subconscious. The same thing happens at 75 yards. The reason we do this is that we want to become proficient with the gun prior to going out to harvest game. After practicing with the .22, we then move to our hunting guns and shoot them until we can shoot a 1″ group minimum at 100 yards. Starting with the .22, there is no recoil and the cost is minimal so you can practice a lot. It is much easier to feel the trigger break with a .22 than a large caliber deer rifle or a shotgun with a turkey load in it. We go through the same procedure when getting ready for turkey season. When we switch from the .22 to our shotguns, we always use the lightest target loads possible. We both use 12 gauge Browning Gold semi auto’s with Briley Super Full Turkey Chokes. We use Gamebore 7/8oz. 12 gauge shot shells. This is a 20 gauge load in a 12 gauge shot shell. I did not say put a 20 gauge shell in your 12 gauge gun! The 7/8 oz. 12 gauge target load has the lightest recoil of any 12 gauge load. 7/8 oz. is the normal amount of shot for a 20 gauge load. The velocity is the same as a 12 gauge load, but the recoil is extremely diminished. When using a Briley Super Full Turkey Choke, the diameter of the shot cloud at different ranges is: 20 yards – 8″, 30 yards – 12″, 40 yards – 18″. Practice shooting turkey targets from the same sitting positions you will be shooting from when hunting. A good distance is 20-30 yards. The point of aim should be on the neck where the feathers stop. This allows for the greatest amount of aiming error when taking the shot. Your goal is to center the shot cloud at the point of aim. We feel that this is the best way to become proficient with a turkey gun. Because turkey loads are typically very heavy loads 1 1/2-1 ¾ oz. and heavier, recoil is extreme. We do not recommend shooting a lot of turkey loads when you practice. Shoot the light target loads each time you go out to practice and always hoot 2 or 3 turkey loads at 20 or 30 yards. Practicing this way, you can get the feel of the gun without getting pounded by those heavy turkey loads. You might think this is over kill, because after all you are shooting a shotgun. If you are going turkey hunting and you are not using a turkey choke, you are asking for trouble. The normal full choke that comes in a shotgun is designed to spread the shot cloud in an even manner giving you a large pattern down range. The Turkey Choke is designed to concentrate the shot pattern in as small an area as possible down range. Because of this, at closer ranges (10-20 yards) the pattern diameter is small and any little jerk on the trigger could result in a clean miss…even with a shotgun. This is why we recommend practicing with your turkey gun as much as possible prior to going hunting. Even though you are hunting a bird that is large, you are actually shooting at the birds’ head and neck. The skull and vertebra of a turkey is less than 50% of what you see when you look at a gobbler. It’s like shooting a golf ball sitting on a soda straw. In our travels each year, we teach 1500-2000 people. In the last 8 years we have seen in excess of 4 million shotgun shells fired at clay targets and game birds. Through our experience we see many things not the least of which is the effects of recoil. Anything you can do to reduce recoil, especially when shooting turkey loads ultimately becomes an advantage to you. Not only does it hurt less, your proficiency when taking the shot is dramatically increased. A good recoil pad is one of the best investments you can make. The one we recommend is called “TrapDude”. It’s made in California. If your gun smith does not have one, it can be ordered on line atwww.trapdud.com. You will be shocked at how much recoil this pad can absorb. We have them on all of our guns…clays guns, hunting shotguns and rifles. Recoil and a lack of practice results in more misses not only with a shotgun, but with rifles as well. Shooting proficiency is the cornerstone for the ethical harvest of wildlife.Shooting proficiency is second only to safety in insuring the future of our right to pursue the animals we love to hunt. Practice before you go.

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