One of the aspects of making an ethical kill on a bird is being able to hit it and find it. I hate to admit but my last season involved more searching for downed ducks than enjoying the hunt. My shotgun shooting was lacking, and it led to much frustration. This presented a problem I had to figure out during the offseason. I needed to improve my shooting. After going to the gun range and shooting at some clays and being terribly disappointed, I realized that I had bulked up a bit and now my shotgun no longer fit me like before and that may have been the culprit. I had to find a solution.
Since I’m not an expert at shooting a shotgun and really have zero experience doing any gunsmithing, I had to find some experts. Luckily, one of my former supervisors grew up shotgun shooting at a competition level. I told him my issues and what I thought the problem was. From my description, getting a proper fit was needed, followed by some shotgun mounting work. To fix my fitting issue, he made a simple suggestion. I bought a comb adjustment kit that he suggested. It was 20 bucks and it looked super simple to use.
The kit came with multiple foam pieces of different widths and a sleeve that fits over the stock of your gun and covers the foam adjusters. I really didn’t know how to go about adjusting the comb of my shotgun, but I knew what I needed to look for. I wanted my eyes to sit just above the rib of my shotgun so that naturally the front and back beads would line up when I shouldered my shotgun. I made my first adjustment hoping that it was the right one. It looked about right, and I was suddenly feeling like I had found the perfect solution.
The moment of truth came when I went to the gun range again. I decided to shoot some trap. After shooting 10/26 clays I knew I was still off. I was shooting high on all the clays were before I was low. Apparently, I had overcorrected. I shot another set and my shooting did not improve. Frustrated I returned to my truck and thought about how I should have brought my whole comb adjusting kit with me. With this lesson learned, I went home quite deflated.
In the meantime, I had read a few articles about fixing your shotgun mount and noticing when your mount is a little bit off. Shooting a shotgun is an angles game and I was not playing it well. After a few weeks went by, I returned to the gun range. This time I came prepared with the full adjustment kit and I decided to shoot some skeet. I had noticed that when I shot trap and had to move to get on the clay pigeon, I had a tendency of shooting better. I decided to test this out with some skeet. Skeet shooting consists of shooting multiple crossing shots at different angles, including a few doubles. My first step was to shoot my shotgun as it was.
The first station is a crossing double. I shot high and missed both clay pigeons. Since I was by my self and secluded at the end of the range, I cleared my gun and decided to make the comb adjustment as I went. I changed the foam insert to one slightly smaller. I walked up to the shooting line and practiced shouldering my shotgun. Using a distant power pole as a reference, I was able to feel how my shotgun was resting on my face and it felt better than before. I decided to continue shooting. My next two shots I nailed the double. To make sure it wasn’t a fluke, I continued to shoot until I shot 22/26 clay pigeons.
The adjustment was minor, but the results left me speechless. I couldn’t believe that a small adjustment would make that much of a difference. The best part was I didn’t even need to go to a gunsmith. My next test was shooting a set of trap. Trap is harder to me; I struggle with those fading away or coming at me shots. The nice thing about trap is that how you mount your shotgun can really make a difference. I was full of confidence as I loaded my shotgun. I like to hold my shotgun at a low ready or a relaxed position when I go shooting. It helps me reinforce the muscle memory of shouldering the shotgun, releasing the safety, lining up on the target, clearing my background and pulling the trigger. This set of trap I shot 16/26 clays. This was a marked improvement from earlier in the year and the few times before this. Soon I noticed that my mount wasn’t quite right. I then decided that when I missed, I would practice my mount a few times and make sure I was lined up correctly before shooting my next clay pigeon. That idea really helped me improve my shooting.
Hunting can really be a world of money. Luckily there are people out there that know what they are doing and can offer cheap solutions to problems. My brain tends to lack the creativity to have those solutions, but that is why I reach out for help. My new goal is to improve my shotgun mount. I need to spend some time practicing but I’m sure that by the time bird season comes around, I’ll be back on my game.
If you are interested in buying the same kit, Here’s a link.
For free shipping on the Decibullz earplugs I’m wearing, here’s a link.
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