Learning To Shoot a Shotgun

My fiancé told me one day that she wanted to go hunting with me. I’d been talking about waterfowl hunting and coyote hunting from when we started dating. She may have even caught me watching waterfowl hunting videos on YouTube. Since she decided she wanted to hunt with me, I decided that taking her shooting might be a good introduction.

We drove out to one of my favorite shooting spots and got a few boxes out and got some targets put up. My fiancé has some experience shooting but she’d never shot a hunting rifle or a shotgun. Both seem to be prerequisites if you plan on hunting. I own a Remington Model 783 in 7mm Rem Mag as my hunting rifle and a Remington 870 Super Magnum 12 gauge for my shotgun. Both guns needed to get a few rounds through it. The rifle needed to be checked to make sure it was still zeroed and I had recently replaced the extractor pin on my shotgun.

I first set up the rifle and showed my fiancé how it works. She’s familiar with guns so a quick introduction on the safety and how it loads was easy for her. The target was only 200 yards away and on her first 4 shots, she had a near perfect grouping, all within a 3 inch circle. Since shooting my rifle is quite expensive, I had her reload the magazine and shoot 4 more rounds where she stayed pretty true to her first set… she even shot better than I did!img_1539.jpg

Next was the shotgun. I had stopped at the store and bought a bunch of biodegradable clay pigeons. I also had bought a bunch of shotgun shells. Since I mostly use my shotgun for duck hunting, I was going to put a box of Federal Blackcloud through my shotgun. I needed to test that extractor pin I had replaced and make sure my shotgun wouldn’t jam like it did the last few years hunting. My fiancé had never shot a shotgun and I really didn’t know what to expect. To me, my shotgun isn’t very loud and it doesn’t kick very much, even with high brass loads. To my fiancé, it kicked like a mule and was super loud, even with earplugs. I first had her shoot my duck loads and see what she though. I didn’t have any clay pigeons yet, I wanted her to just get used to shooting the shotgun at a paper target so she could learn how to operate a pump shotgun. We then moved on to cheaper practice rounds.

After shooting a few rounds and getting used to the mechanics of the shotgun, we moved on to some clay pigeons. I have a couple of throwers I like to use. I have a mechanical pull string type thrower (Champion Traps and Targets 40901 Champion High FlyString Release Manual Trap)and I also have a simple hand thrower (Champion Handthrower Clay Target) . Since I wanted to give her some different angles and wanted to keep things flexible, I chose to use the hand thrower. I quickly discovered that this was harder than I thought. I had taught myself how to shoot clay and assumed it would be a quick learn. My fiancé did OK and we seemed to go through a few clays. I told her to move her gun through and keep moving with the target. This seemed to help a bit but I soon figured out that we weren’t really seeing how good she was doing. After giving her a break and finding out how rusty I was, we switched again and she took another turn. This time, since there are 25 shells in a box of ammo, we decided to count how many hits out of 25 she got. She shot a 9/25 that time and we took another break.

Her next turn we again chose to count out of 25 shells and see how she did, this time, we saw some improvement and she got more comfortable with the shotgun. At this point we had shot so much that we both had a pretty serious sun burn going and had put about 100 shells through my shotgun. We cleaned up and loaded up in the truck again. On the drive out I realized that I had made some mistakes. I think we went out a little longer than I should have for an introduction on shooting the shotgun. Bringing clay pigeons into it may have been a little soon but it made things fun. I really loved the time we had out there and the one thing that worked out great was that my fiancé was excited for the hunts we had coming up.

Lessons learned:

  • Ear plugs are a must for new shotgun shooters
  • The kick can be different for different people
  • Moving targets can be intimidating and harder to understand
  • Measure your performance so you can find where to improve. Either mark your targets or count hits and misses.
  • Keep sessions short

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2 thoughts on “Learning To Shoot a Shotgun

  1. Babe!! OMG your gun was so loud!! Thanks for teaching me everything I need to know, and for helping me through every step of the way while I figure out this hunting thing. PEW PEW!

    Liked by 1 person

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