Amy Clark was one of seven young people chosen to serve as a Brownell's/NRA National Shooting Sports Ambassador in 2010. Amy is part of Venturing, which is a co-ed youth development program of the Boy Scouts of America. As their term comes to an end, each Ambassador writes a story that will help encourage other young people to get involved in the shooting sports. Here is Amy's advice on learning to shoot a shotgun.
My name is Amy, and today I am going to teach you how to shoot a shotgun.
First, we need to start with a little background on shotguns. There are many types and gauges of this type of firearm. They can be broken down into some categories to help distinguish them.
First, there is the pump shotgun. After a shot is fired, the forearm is pulled back, which ejects the fired shell; and then the forearm is pushed forward, and a fresh shot is pulled into the chamber.
The autoloader shotgun uses the force of the recoil to eject the fired shell and pull a fresh shot into the chamber. The autoloader comes in two types, the semiautomatic and the automatic.
Another category is break-barrel shotguns, which commonly come in single-barrel and double-barrel designs. The double-barrel designs can be broken down into the side-by-side double-barrel, in which the barrels sit next to each other; and the over/under double-barrel, in which the barrels sit on top of one another. To load and unload break-barrel shotguns, you simply open the action.
Now that we have learned about the different types of shotguns let’s move onto the gauges of shotguns. The gauge of a gun is determined by the number of lead balls of a certain diameter it requires to make one pound. The common gauges are 10, 12, 16, 20, 28, and .410. The .410 is named for the diameter of the bore. The smaller gauge guns (10, 12, 16) tend to be heavier guns and have more of a kick.
For a beginner like you, it is smart to start out with a pump shotgun because they are reliable and relatively inexpensive. You also want to use either a .410, 28, or 20 gauge gun because they tend to be lighter guns with less kick.
Now you want to load your gun because you are ready to shoot. You want to stand facing your target with your left foot forward if you shoot right handed and opposite if you shoot left handed. Make sure your feet are spread no more than shoulder width apart. Next place the butt of the shotgun in your shoulder pocket which is the area below your collar bone and next to your shoulder bone. Then rest your cheek against the shotgun. Aim at your target and when you are ready squeeze the trigger quickly yet firmly.
If you miss don’t get discouraged. The more you practice the more comfortable you will become with the gun and the better you will shoot.
Great words of wisdom, Amy! Keep checking back, because NRAblog will bring you more stories from our 2010 Ambassadors who represent a host of different youth organizations.