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Learn to Mount the Gun

A Shooter’s Transformation

Just returned from a quail hunt at the 74 Ranch and discussed with other hunters what they saw and what went through their heads when they were shooting. As you might guess, they were looking down the barrel and you can guess the results.

Joel Piefer was there and was observing the remarks and questions. He could not believe that the shooters had been told to do the flashlight drill and the three-bullet drill the year before and none of them had done it. Something as simple as the flashlight drill and the three-bullet drill, and they did not even do it once.

In our discussion about this, I remarked that he was a different shooter this year as compared to last year. But then he had been taking lessons from Vicki and shooting four to six rounds of skeet per week and doing the flashlight drill and three-bullet drill every day.

On our first hunt, he shot remarkably well with consistent one-shot kills. I remarked in the field at how well he was shooting. At our first break, I asked him what made the difference.

“First,” he said, “the lessons, the Knowledge Vault (he had been a member for almost a year), the drills, and shooting low gun skeet four to six rounds per week for the last five weeks.”

So, let’s see. In five weeks he went from shooting four to six birds per round to 19 to 21 per round by taking five lessons from Vicki and doing the drills every day.

I asked him what he thought the difference was in his ability to shoot the quail this year as opposed to last year. Without hesitation, he said, “I don’t have to think about the mount. It just happens, which allows me to focus my attention on the bird. Man, does that make it easy…and fun!”

Well, there you have it.

Learn to Mount the Gun!

Our last Coaching Hour was on What Beginners Must Learn to Improve. Without a doubt, the thing that all have said is to master the mount. Don’t even think that you will progress in this game until you master the move and the mount and see the bird behind the muzzles as the gun comes into the picture.

I even took all of the shooters over to the conference room on the morning our hunt got rained out and showed them the kill shots. I explained to them the pictures. But when they went out on the range after lunch, they were still looking down the barrel and trying to not see the barrel. And at the same time, they were trying to get the barrel ahead of the bird. Damn, I’m out of breath just describing what they were trying to do.

I said in the conference room that if you were thinking about what you were doing with the gun, you would end up looking at the gun in the shot and you desperately needed all the focus you had to be on the bird. Just another testimonial about the misconceptions that there are out there and how strong and prevalent the aiming influence is in the world of shotgunning.

Whether it’s wingshooting or clays, shooters consistently are looking down the barrel, trying to aim the barrel ahead of the bird and keep their eyes on the bird. And they are miserably confused. They’re so confused that they will try anything to hit the bird. And when they describe what they’re trying to do and we repeat it to them slowly so they can hear it and try to understand it, they are dumbfounded with the absurdity of what they just said.

I am still confused at the lack of desire to get better, even when faced with the simple drills that will guarantee results. And yet they still won’t commit to the simple drills when there is even another student in the room telling them his success story. And they still won’t do the drills. Some things just will never change.

More later. Let’s talk on Coaching Hour next December. Happy Thanksgiving to all.