In this series, I’ll be going over the basics of shotgun shooting to help you prepare for your own journey to the sporting clays course.We’ve already reviewed proper shotgun position, now let’s talk about mount...
First thing’s first. Here’s a quick breakdown of the different parts of the shotgun I’ll be referring to:
When mounting your gun, the butt pad (also called the heel or recoil pad) should sit nicely in your shoulder pocket, the area formed between your shoulder and collar bone. The top of the butt pad should be about even with the top of your shoulder.
With your non-dominate hand, grip the fore-end in the middle with your index finger pointed alongside it. This will act as a “pointer” to the target and help guide your shot. Keep your trigger hand about as firm as a hand shake and your fore-end grip slightly less. Your elbows should naturally bend downwards and out at about a 45 degree angle.
This may feel awkward at first, but the more you practice, the more muscle memory (and strength) you’ll gain.
You’re probably now wondering what to do with your head…
When bringing the gun up to mount, move the stock of the gun to your face and place the top of the stock just under your check bone.
Your eye on the trigger side should be aligned with the length of the barrel and level with the ground. Keep your head upright with the top of the stock pressed firmly into your cheek.
How you mount the gun is very important. Keep the gun firmly pressed against your check and hold tight within your shoulder pocket. If you are holding it incorrectly or lift your head up, trust me, you’re going to feel it.
Chances are the shotgun you will learn with has very minimal recoil. However, proper mount will ensure that you absorb any kick back, regardless of the type of shotgun you shoot down the road.
Holding a shotgun is tougher than it looks. By rule of thumb (and physics), heavier guns will have less recoil. That also makes them more tiring to hold. I strongly suggest doing some exercises to build your upper body strength. Your arms will thank you later.
Next up, we’ll discuss vision and how to see a moving target!
This series is a brief overview of shotgun shooting fundamentals. I suggest taking a lesson from a certified instructor at your local club or range, or signing up for the NRA’s Basics of Shotgun Shooting Course.