Think Safe

While it may be easy to make mistakes such as the one being illustrated here, think of shotgun safety as common etiquette; consider others as you would have them think of you. Accident-free gun handling is the responsibility of every shooter, but here are some gentle reminders! There’s really nothing new to safety, but there are always new shooters and youngsters who don’t know the rules and a few others who don’t practice them. So, a little repetition can do no harm and hopefully, some good – especially at a time when there is the specter of further gun controls. Sadly, there are always plenty of stories about hunters shooting people they thought were animals. No one, worthy of the name hunter, ever just thinks before taking the responsibility of releasing a lethal load into the countryside. He makes damn sure first and if there’s the slightest shadow of doubt, for any reason whatever, he doesn’t shoot. So you lose a bird […]

A Rifleman’s Conversion Kit To Shotgunning

Rifleman (left) holds thumb alongside stock, squeezes trigger with first joint of finger. Shotgunner (right) wraps thumb around grip, finger “pulls” trigger. “Where the hell do you think you’re going?” An angry, but almost more amused voice brought me to my senses and I stopped rapidly: on the 26 yard line at a state trap championship. Now you might reasonably conclude that there’s nothing particularly unusual in that, in fact, there was only one slight irregularity – I was still in my car! I had been completely mesmerized by the confirmation of what my first glance had transmitted to the unbelieving recognition center of my think box: a man was shooting 16 yard clays with a telescopic sight mounted on his pump gun! With true British aplomb, sangfroid and all that sort of thing, in an embarrassing situation, I proceeded to back cooly off the firing line – and almost mowed down the astounded squad of trapshooters – I’d been […]

Perazzi… Ferrari of Shotguns

Hand-engraving of Perazzi guns is carried out in a special top-floor atelier under full daylight illumination. After 20 years of of shotgun shooting and amateur gun smithing, coaching and general involvement with firearms, quite a number of guns have passed through my hands. As most of those years were spent in England and Europe, many of them bore the names of the elite of the shotgun world: Purdey, Boss, Franchi, Beretta, Merkel and Sodia, as well as Parker and Ithaca from this side of the pond. When I first read about the Perazzi, my senses, including that monitor of them all, the sixth one, told me I was being introduced into something more than a little out of the ordinary. The author’s enthusiasm for the gun shone through and between the lines. Events moved rapidly. The next day I went to see if all the rhetoric was justified. I had only to take the Perazzi over-and-under trap models in my […]

Release Triggers

An Allen Timney release trigger for the Remington 1100. It works like a charm and is cleverly “uncocked” by just pushing a button he installs. Release triggers are enjoying a constantly growing popularity, so we’ll examine the reasons for their use and present some expert views on their technical requirements. The release trigger was originally designed in America to overcome a tendency among some trapshooters to flinch when pulling the trigger. Flinching seems to be virtually unknown among bunker shooters in the rest of the world, so it seems flinching is in some way peculiar to American trapshooting. Release trigger specialist Allen Timney of Cerritos, California, defines the reasons for flinching as, “…the combination of recoil, noise of the gun and perhaps the gun not fitting properly and kicking the shooter in the face.” While I don’t totally disagree, it must be pointed out International trapshooters used to shoot far heavier 3-3/4-drams, 1-1/4 oz. loads and still frequently fire two […]

Up-Tight Overchoking

Most shooters, especially clay busters and live pigeon shooters, are aware of the standard method of assessing choke, but to recapitulate briefly, choke is the degree of constriction between the diameter of the barrel, just beyond the chambers and forcing cones, and the diameter at the muzzle. The resultant patterns produced are graded in terms of the percentage of pellets from the original shot charge, which find their tortuous way on to a sheet of paper forty yards away and into a thirty-inch circle circumscribed upon it. Full choke has 70 percent, improved modified 65, modified 60, improved cylinder 50 percent and cylinder 40 percent. It often is stated erroneously that cylinder indicates a complete lack of constriction. English barrel-chokers found that a barrel totally devoid of choke produces uncontrolled and widely varying patterns. Therefore, almost surreptitiously, they put .003 to .005-inch constriction into the guns of customers, who specified true cylinder. For new scatter gunners, the simplest analogy to […]

Claybirding The Hard Way

Head coach Percy Stanbury (left) and head trapper watch, as author tries new Perazzi skeet gun for the first time. A visit to the West London Shooting Grounds, Britain’s leading shooting school, reveals a clay pigeon layout unknown to American shooters – one which simulates the flight of every common game bird. Jack Lewis asked me another of his unanswerable questions: “How do those Limey shooting coaches make people who can’t shoot, shoot?” – “Dunno”, I replied, an unoriginal reply which I recall using before, when he asked me how to say something new about gun safety. I was going back to the old country and he reckoned I might as well do something useful to pay for my tea and crumpets. When I embarked on this assignment, I really felt it was doomed to failure. As a shooting coach myself, I am well aware of the impossibility of laying down a formula to insure instant success for each individual. It […]

The Eyes Have It

Without your eyes in good working order, you’ll not be breaking good scores. Shooters blame guns, shells, gun fit, chokes, pullers, and weather conditions. Maybe it’s your vision that needs training. Without the eyes, you have nothing. Stating the obvious? Of course, but sometimes that’s necessary, especially when it concerns matters like good health and good eyesight. Many of us tend to take it for granted. Over the years I’ve coached shooters who had lost an arm, a hand, fingers or the use of their legs. All were able to overcome their handicaps, with varying degrees of success. Even shooters who had lost their master eye have been able to either switch shoulders or shoot a cross-eyed stock. But a person with severe visual problems is going to find it very difficult to shoot. Our eyes control how, when and where we see the target, where it’s going and how we compute that movement to get the gun moving in […]

Claybirder’s Survival Kit

If spent hull gets stuck in chamber, this hand extractor can be remedy. There is pry on one end to loosen a particulary tough jammed shell. Ever meet a serious trap or skeet shooter who took his gun out of the factory box and shot it as it was – without altering or customizing anything? Not too many, I’ll warrant. As a race, we clay-busters have a passion for endlessly fiddling with our guns, constantly trying to improve them. We are trying to achieve improved performances by adjusting our guns to produce perfect scores. Long ago, I realized that, if I could get the one behind the gun properly adjusted, only then would I be on the road to those perfect scores. But it wasn’t until I began to follow my own advice that half-way decent scores resulted. In Europe, where many guns are custom-fitted, initially there isn’t too much excuse for gun fiddling. The American shooter, relying mainly on mass-produced, standard-dimension […]

The Challenge Of Olympic Trap

The American Shotgunner coverage of recent World Championships and the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games in International Clay Pigeon shooting led to the the making of this feature. We invited Derek Partridge, a veteran International shooter for Great Britain, to write a detailed comparison of American trap and International Trap, to help our shooters appreciate the game that is the world standard in Olympic and World Championship shooting. The bunker is an underground, trench, equipped with 15 traps, divided into 5 groups of 3 traps; each group located 15 meters (16-1/2 yards) in front of the five shooting stations. The shooting stations are in a straight line, not the trap curve. Thrown targets appear at ground level, directly in front of the shooter. Angles and heights: Each group’s three traps are set to throw a left, right and a relatively straight fixed angle target. The angles span a 90 degree arc (vs. trap’s 45), and are thrown between 15 and […]