I've shot pistols and rifles before...even a .308 Weatherby...but a shotgun? Nope. However, recently I had the chance to go with a group, accompanied by an instructor, and boy oh boy, let me tell you about it...
It’s really not as scary as I thought You always hear that when you shoot a shotgun, if not properly mounted, the recoil will blow your shoulder, arm and possibly even face. I imagined it to be the equivalent of being punched by a heavy weight boxing champion, unexpectedly. So of course, I’m breaking a sweat in anticipation…I hate not knowing what to expect. I listen to the instructions of how to mount and hold, get into the proper stance, place the butt into the meaty part of where your arm meets your shoulder, lean your cheek (right below the check bone) down so your eye is leveled with the rib and the sight is aligned…hold this position through the entire shot. Ok, I think I got it. Deep breaths. PULL. WOO! Not as bad as I thought. Let’s do it again!
Why I like a Pump Action vs. Over Under... I started with an Over Under shotgun. It was heavy, 20-pound-baby-heavy (ok… I’m exaggerating, and probably out of shape). I wasn’t a fan. So I tried the pump action, and wow, I found my groove. Ok, to be honest, the Over Under automatically ejected the shells when it was time to unload, and if for a split second you missed a beat and didn’t cover the shells from popping straight into your face (or in my case, my tooth – one that has already experienced a traumatic incident) you’d get hit. Newbie mistake.
If it’s your first time, you should probably not start with sporting clays…
Unless you like a challenge.
Not only was it my first time ever shooting a shotgun, I went straight to sporting clays. Trying to remember I have to maintain proper mount of the shotgun was already a task in itself…and then adding moving targets the size of peanuts (over-exaggeration, again) to it is not easy feat. Even though it does move through the air pretty fast, I learned it’s about fluidity and patience. Don’t anticipate where the target is going to be, follow the target there. I always think the target is moving faster than it actually is, so I spent a lot of time overcompensating that and moving way too fast, ending up missing the target completely. However, once I was able to train my mind to slow down and then get my movements to do the same – I nailed it! My first target was a “rabbit clay” (in case you’re unfamiliar, it’s a target that comes out from the bushes and bounces across the ground vs. flying through the air). Apparently, that’s a toughie (let’s be real, to me they were all toughies) so I’ll credit luck for that one.*
*Eventually I managed to hit a few more, I’ll credit those to a little bit of learned skill!
It’s SO much fun! You know how they say when you run your first official run, you get the running bug and want to do more? Well, I’ve run 2 half marathons and a handful of shorter races and about 1 mile into each one, I ask myself “What was I thinking??!!”… I’d like to make that same comparison to shooting sporting clays. Except this time, I think I’ve got the bug. It was so much fun. It’s challenging, it’s competitive, and it’s something that you probably won’t dread training for!
I’m looking forward to finding the perfect shotgun fit for me, and getting back out to a range. Who’s with me?