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Your Mount is Making you Miss | Proper Shotgun Mount | How to Shotgun 7

how to shoot a shotgun Aug 24, 2023

Your mount is making you miss!

Welcome to the 7th installment of "How to Shotgun" Today we're talking about an often overlooked aspect of shooting: the art of proper shotgun mount. While you might assume shotgun mounting is as simple as shouldering your firearm, there's more to it than meets the eye. Today, we're exploring the intricate aspects of this technique that can elevate your shooting prowess to new heights. So if you want to hit more targets, lets go!

First, understanding the Basics: The common perception of shotgun mounting involves bringing the gun up to your face and shoulder. However, this initial understanding barely scratches the surface of the complexities involved. Let's dive deeper into the nuances of this crucial skill.

Getting Started: Imagine a scenario where your dog is on point, or you're positioned for a clay to be pulled. The starting position of your gun can significantly impact your success. If that dog is on point and your gun is pointed way up in the air, the amount of gun movement to bring it down and get mounted may affect the split second you have to see that bird. This is why we have to learn the process of mounting and pointing at the same time versus mounting, and then pointing. We want to be able to instinctively shoot without thinking about it too much. Pretty basic stuff right? Good. Let's talk about what elements can hinder this instinctive style of shooting.  

"What's stopping me from getting more shots off?" Perhaps the most hurtful thing holding you back from a good successful mount is gun fit. Proper gun fit has been a consistent theme through all of our How to Shotgun videos and that's for a good reason - It's just that important! Gun fit is important in regards to mount because all shotgun shooting revolves around the shotgun lining up with your dominant eye. If a gun is too short for you and you have to contort your body to fit the gun every time it comes up to your shoulder, you're wasting time focusing on the gun rather than the bird. If you want a deeper dive into shotgun fit, go back to our previous episodes! The other element that may be holding you back is your footwork. We covered footwork in episode 5. The fun part of shotgun shooting that differs from sports like rifle bench shooting, is that we don't always know where the target is coming from. However, when that dog is on point, or you're on the trap field, we can make a pretty good judgment about the general area the bird will fly through. Knowing this, we have to adjust our feet accordingly to give us an appropriate amount of bandwidth to swivel on from left to right. 

The Goal: MINIMIZE GUN MOVEMENT: In the words of Jerry Miculek "wasted motion is wasted motion" - By minimizing the amount of gun movement before our shot, we can spend more time focusing on the bird. The best way to do this with a shotgun is by assuming where the bird is going to fly as we mentioned in the prior bullet point. This leads us to a discussion about hold points. Your hold point is where the gun is relative to the target before it flies. For example, if you're shooting clays off of your Promatic thrower and you know that you're going to have a crossing shot from right to left, visualize the clay's flight path and imagine the "target break area" If you can assume the general area that you will break the clay, your barrel should be about halfway between this target break area, and the source of the bird. Assuming where the bird will break and holding your gun halfway there is going to give you much more time to only focus on the bird. When our gun is positioned elsewhere and we're not ready, our focus turns to our gun, rather than the clay. Every situation is going to be different, but consciously thinking about where our gun is relative to the target break area is going to save a lot of time. Some intentional practice is definitely involved in making this work for us, so let's talk about understanding our hold point so we can grasp how it applies to a better mount. 

Learning to merge with the target: If you're reading this, it's probably safe to say that you've merged onto a highway at least once in your life. This is the method we are going to use to totally understand merging from our hold point. Let's assume you just got a gun that fits you perfectly, and you've had some success on targets. However, you feel rushed whenever the bird pops up and you want to know how to increase your success. Imagine that the barrel of your gun is your vehicle merging onto the highway, and the clay is a car already traveling at 70mph. As you're rolling on to the on ramp, you can see where the clay car is coming from, and you can visualize where you'll be meeting the car as you reach the end of the ramp. Now it'd be very difficult to put on the jets and meet the clay at the end of the ramp successfully. We don't want to be quick and hasty with our gun movements. Rather, we want to trust that our impressive brain from God can accurately read how fast that car is moving, and where its going! We want to have our focus on that car and ease into our merge to meet it just as it crosses the plane of our ramp. Now this is much easier said than done, but the point is that we need to learn how to mount and acquire the target simultaneously. 

"Well, now what?": Practicing this may seem silly, but getting some repetitions in with a gun that properly fits you is going to increase your success. In the off season, you can practice with an unleaded gun right in your house! Practice following the line where the ceiling meets the wall. Work on mounting up to the line and merging with it into the corner. If you can get into a rhythm of hitting that corner every time you mount, your confidence and success in the field will be improved!


 Shotgun mounting is more than a mere physical action. It's a blend of precision, technique, and strategic thinking. By understanding the intricacies of this skill and practicing diligently, you can enhance your shooting performance and achieve the accuracy you've always aimed for. Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences in the TFL community!  And as you venture into the field, or in any aspect of life, keep your focus sharp and your mount impeccable. Until next time, live the Target Focus life!

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