Monday, January 25, 2010

Lesson in Trap Shooting

It was a rainy afternoon at Auburn Trap Club on Sunday, January 24, but we were soaking up a lot of excellent instruction. I shot a full round, keeping both eyes open and failed miserably.
Bernie, the president at ATC, graciously spent an hour working with myself, Lindsay, and Brooke. He first showed us how to test for our dominate eye. Luckily, all of us were using the correct eye for sighting. In a soaking drizzle, he coached us through each station showing us stance, proper mount of the gun, and muzzle placement over the trap box. Here are some of the tips that I will take to my next round of trap:

1) When shooting from station 1, your stance is open. Meaning your left foot (right handed shooter) and hips are pointed more toward the left, right foot back at shoulder width. Lean forward, weight on the left foot. As you move to station 2, your left foot is now more in front of you. Station 3, left foot directly in front. Station 4, left foot and hips are more to the right, and by station 5, left foot and hips more to the right. Remember to have a comfortable, shoulder width stance.

2) When mounting the gun, make sure that the stock is tucked between you shoulder and collar bone right over your bra strap. Tightly place your chin on the stock, and pull the stock in place with your right hand (right handed shooter).

3) When sighting down the barrel, you should not see the ribs or ridges, only the bead at the end. If you can see those ridges, your head's too high- adjust your head, lower your cheek on the stock. Do not focus on the bead, look out into the distance.

4) At station 1, place the muzzle, on the left corner of the trap box. Station 2, muzzle is between left corner and middle of box. Station 3, middle of box. 4, between right corner and middle. And station 5, muzzle over the right corner.

5) Before calling "Pull", breath and think about stance, sight, and muzzle location. As the clay flies out, swing through the clay, covering it with your muzzle and "BANG! You got it!" Don't stop moving the barrel, and don't pull your head to see if you hit it.
These tips really helped me, and I can't wait to try again!!!

On Sunday at the Trap club, Lindsay, Trish and I met up for some pre-news shooting and comradery. We tried to shoot an entire round with our eyes open, looking out into the trees, without an ounce of success. After we finished the first round, and were defrosting by the fire we were asked by Janene if we had ever  had an official shooting lesson. None of had, so she suggested we ask her husband, Bernie, who is the President of Auburn Trap Club. He graciously agreed to give us some pointers. He started out by helping us determine which eye was our dominant shooting eye. I had done this before, but not quite the same way. He took a piece of paper and cut a hole in the middle about the size of an oreo cookie. We held the paper up until we had his entire face evenly in the middle. He said the eye that he could see when he was looking at us was our dominant eye. Lucky for the three of us, we were looking down the barrel with the right eye open :)

Then we headed to the five stand. Trish went first, then Lindsay and finally it was my turn. He had me start by shooting off a round how we normally do. He said that my gun fit me well, and that my positioning looked good also. I fired my first round and totally missed. He told me that I had moved my face of the gun after I fired, which pulled my head and my alignment right along with it. He told me to push my cheek tighter against the stock for the next one. I started off great, but pulled my cheek off again. At this point I was a nervous wreck and totally embarrassed, so the next round was just as much fun. He finally ended up telling me to pretend that I was shooting at a bird and that my starving families survival depended on me killing this animal. Yeah, so my poor family was going to end up starving to death because I missed that one too! I took a couple of deep breaths, centered my concentration and nailed the next one. Over the next 4 stations, I had the same issue with pulling my head off the gun and occasionally having the stock too low on my shoulder, which throws off your alignment on every level.

At the end of our lesson, Bernie was kind enough to let all of us shoot a couple of rounds with his amazing and super not so cheap shotgun :) His had an extra piece of wood to rest your cheek against so you didn't have to pull the gun so far up on your shoulder. The first round I nailed right out of the hanger, the next one was a little reminder of the importance of keeping your face firmly against the gun. I did my traditional 'lift off' after I fired and the cheek rest (not sure of the official name for this piece :) came back and smacked me! Ha! That was a pretty good lesson for me....KEEP YOUR FACE ON THE GUN!!


Sunday morning was probably the most fun I have had trapshooting in while. It was raining, and I had shot and missed most of the targets in the first round because I was trying to shoot with both eyes open. Feeling a little embarrased I walked up to the Clubhouse to warm up with Brooke and Trish.
We hit up Bernie, NRA Shotgun instructor, who agreed to give all three of us a lesson for free. WOOHOO!

First he helped us to determine that all three of us are right handed shooters, who are left eye dominant. I asked him if that was pretty common. His answer.."No, actually".  It made us all feel better because several times we have been told that we should be shooting with both eyes open. Bernie told us that we would never be able to..and to continue closing our left eyes to shoot. That is when we all took a deep breath. Whew! We are WAY better when we close our eyes, and now we know why.

It was pretty cool to watch Bernie, watch us, and then tell us what we are doing wrong. And he was right, every time. When we made the corrections he suggested, we blasted em. I think he actually told Brooke "You smoked em, you just didnt see it cause its raining".

I now know that I need to slow down before I shoot, breathe, line up my beads, then look into the trees, yell pull, and then raise my gun smoothly, but swiftly, never stopping. I should be squeezing my trigger alot faster than I usually do. At one point he said, You are going to say pull, and then I am going to tell you when to shoot. The first time, I NAILED it! The second time I didnt, and he laughed and said "shoot means shoot girl." I too have to be careful I dont take my cheek off the stock...and make sure I stay smooth as I bring my barrel up to the clay. Dont stop the gun once you pull the trigger. IF you do, you are behind it.
He actually told me that my gun might be a little long for me too, but to not worry about it. I think I might look into getting it fitted to me. I've heard it really helps.

The highlight of the day was when we got to shoot Bernies gun. He just asked that we didnt drop it. I was pretty happy that I didnt, especially after finding out what it would cost to replace it. Of course, I didnt hit a thing with it, but when handed to my husband...he blew those clays to shreds!

Bernie was so patient with us. It was really awesome to learn from him, and actually make the changes he suggested, and see the improvements firsthand. I dont even remember being cold or wet until I got into the car to leave. We didnt have time to shoot a second round...but I cannot wait to put his lessons to the test this Friday.

My husband keeps saying he wants to bet me...first to hit 25/25, but I dont think I am quite ready. He better watch out though....I am getting better!


1 comment:

  1. Sounds like you all got a great lesson and now all it takes is practice practice practice. I used to trap shoot a little with my husband. He used to visualize shooting from each station, as a way to practice away from the trap house. He swears it works and he never missed! We brought home a lot of bacon and turkeys from the turkey shoots we attended.