OSK Sporting Clays

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Our FAQ's are in no particular order...they are posted as they occur on the range. Check back often as the FAQ's are updated regularly. You may also find helpful "links" within the answers. Follow the link for more information.

Here are some of the latest questions:
A) How important is gun fit - I'm a new shooter and I was told I will never shoot well if I don't have my gun fit...is that true?
 - not true.  Gun fit is important, but not critical unless you have a gun that is clearly too long or too short for you.  What I often see is "mom" who is 5'2'' tall trying to shoot "dad's" gun ....dad is 6' and is shooting an unmodified American made gun.  Most American made guns are for shooters who are 5'9" with a 32" sleeve...the "average Joe" if you will.  In this scenario, mom is gonna have a gun that is way too long for her. Result, shooting under targets and she will have a heck of a time swinging the gun to hit crossers.

B) So what dimensions does an American made shotgun have?
Good question.  Most and I say most, American made guns have a neutral cast (neither cast "off" for a right handed shooter, nor cast "on" for a lefty). They are generally 14 1/2 inches long (that would be Length of Pull in technical terms) and have a comb that is anything than parallel. Drop at face can be anywhere from 1 1/2 to nearly 2 inches.  Remember, the process favors the general populace...don't think you can run in, buy a gun off the shelf and expect it to fit...it won't.  But, again, until your skills require a fit, don't worry about it. If it's close, you are going to be OK for a while.

C) OK..so what is a reasonable gun fit, regarding Length of Pull (LOP)?
This depends on a lot of factors...such as stance, forward head lean, discipline (trap, sporting or skeet, FITASC) etc.  For instance, in Trap shooting, where the targets are going away and little angle is involved, a gun that is a bit on the long side is OK...you'll get by unless the gun is so long as to cause you to shoot low. In Sporting Clays, a bit shorter gun is favored because the angles are much greater, the length of swing is longer, etc.  So, since this is primarily a Sporting Clays website, I would say that a proper length of pull is going to put the tip of your nose about 1 & 1/2 inches from the back of your hand closest the nose.  Some folks say it should be less, some more.  I have found 1 1/2 inches to be very good on both high, low, and fast crossing targets.

D) Can you shorten, lengthen or adjust combs for me?
Yes, all of the above.  We can get your gun to fit, not a problem. When we do a gun fit, we not only get all of the measurements to fit you, but we also rebalance the gun for "moment of inertia."  That means we will make the gun swing as smoothly as is possible once pieces have been removed or added to your gun to get it to fit.  If the gun isn't balanced, well, let's just say it's like driving a race car without a balanced engine. It'll work, but not as well as it could.

E) What's the best gun for me? Over under, Pump or Gas Gun?
I love this question...this answer could go on and on...in fact, I have spent a lot of time discussing this topic with a new shooter. By the way, it is the new shooter that has no idea what gun is right for him/her.  Why?  Simple, they haven't spent time behind any of them.  So, what do you do if you are reading this and you are a beginner?...go and shoot these guns.  Here is probably what you'll find...Over/Under - nice balance, looks cool, quick second shot, two chokes instead of one giving you a more selectivity on close and long shots, fairly heavy (they need to be to reduce felt recoil) hard to open when new, and recoil is kinda on the heavy side. Pump Gun - see above but add to the recoil, subtract from quick second shot, and reduced weight..bottom line, too much recoil, too slow for a second shot. Gas Gun - subtract one barrel thus one choke, but very smooth to shoot even though you'll notice some "moving parts" when your fire.  That's the gun ejecting and loading another shell that you are feeling. But recoil.... Gas Guns have the least felt recoil (I know Benelli owners, you think "inertia guns" are softer shooting....think again). So, between Over/Unders and Gas Guns, it's a matter of preference.  Forget the Pump gun for sporting clays. If you shoot a lot, and I mean more than 100 rounds at a time, I think you'll take a close look at the Gas Gun...you can shoot it all day even with heavy loads...not so the over/under.

1) What kind of shells shall I buy for the lesson? 
If you are new to Sporting Clays, you may want to purchase low recoil shells no matter what gauge you are shooting. Many shooters find
that 12 ga. Shells with 3 Drams of powder and 1 1/8 oz. of shot are a bit much after about 50 rounds. And by the way, when purchasing your shells, you should know the largest shot you can use on a sporting clays range is 7 1/2 shot.  The smaller the number, the larger the shot.  So, if you show up with #4's, you will not be allowed to use that ammunition. Buy 7 1/2. 8's or 9's for your lesson....again, low recoil please.

2) I understand that #9 shot is a poor choice for Sporting Clays. Is that true?
No, #9 shot will break clays easily out to 40 yards. Most Sporting clays targets are between 15-45 yards. However, there are certain targets that almost require larger shot. Rabbits thrown "on-edge" are generally taken with 7 1/2 shot. Some longer shots where "bio-degradable" (Bio's) targets are used may also require a 7 1/2 or size 8 shot.  Why would a "Bio" take larger shot? Well, they are tougher to break due to the materials used to make the targets. A great all around size of shot is the #8. Packs plenty of harm on Rabbits and Bio's and there are plenty of #8's in a 1 1/8 oz. load.

3) What chokes should I bring to my lesson?
For new shooters, please bring cylinder, skeet or Improved Cylinder. Experienced shooters may bring their favorite chokes.
4) What should I expect to discuss with my instructor when I arrive at my lesson?
What is it you want to learn? Some folks are very specific about this, some make generalizations such as “I would like to hit crossers better.” Understand that there are many variables when it comes to crossers, such as distance to the target, speed, angle and pitch, size of the target, and so on. Thus, you may want to narrow it down for your instructor a bit and say "I'd like to hit left to right, medium fast crossers at 30 yards a little better than I do now." Expect your instructor to ask a few questions at this point such as, "high or low, is there any "bend" in the target, how fast is the target, etc." The more specific you can be, the better. Your Instructor may know exactly where on the course, such a crosser lives.

5) Is there anything else I should discuss?
Yes, your level of experience will be evaluated, so if you have only fired a shotgun once or twice, please say so up front. Our instructors will show you how to handle the weapon safely and how to load and fire your shotgun. If you have any questions about your weapon, please get with your instructor as soon as possible.
6) How experienced with my gun do I have to be to take a lesson?
That’s a perfect question… see above...often, we get students that may have just gotten a new shotgun for Christmas, their birthday, graduation, etc. Many times they have never fired their shotgun. Please let us know this fact before we go out onto the course. We want to make certain you are comfortable and safe with your shotgun. If you have just acquired the shotgun, please clean it before you come out onto the range. Yes, even if the gun has never been fired, it must be cleaned. Please refer to the owners manual for the proper care and cleaning of your shotgun.

7) What is all this discussion about eye-dominance? Does it really matter?
Well, since good vision is critical to sporting clays, it is important to determine which eye is the dominant eye. Generally, the dominant eye will be the eye we use to sight along the top of the barrel. To find the dominant eye we use a simple sheet of 8x11 notebook paper with a hole the size of a pencil in the middle of the page.  Hold the piece of paper with both arms fully extended. Sight an object in the distance through the pencil hole with both eyes open. Now close the left eye…can you see the object. If so, you are right eye dominant. Reverse this procedure. Close the right eye. Can you see the object?  If you are right eye dominant, the answer is no.
8) Is it really that simple to find the dominant eye?
Almost. This is where many mistakes can be made unless your instructor knows how to proceed. While the test described will get us in the ballpark, that is not the end of the game. Your instructor knows how to proceed, so trust him to get you where you need to be.

9) How do I know if I have the right shotgun for my lesson? 
Again, a very good question.  Often we see children coming to lessons with Dad’s 9lb. shotgun. Not a good idea if son/daughter weighs 90 lbs. It is especially bad if Dad’s gun is an over/under field gun and we are shooting heavy shells. We favor 20 gauge autoloaders for our new or “small in stature,” shooters. If you don’t have such a gun, let us know and we’ll arrange for you to rent a gun for your lesson.

10) Is it true that a 20 gauge will have less felt recoil than a 12 ga.? 
Recoil is a function of physics. To help predict felt recoil, we look to the weight of the ejecta (pellets, powder and wads combined), the velocity of the round, and the weight of the gun. Since most 20 gauge shotguns are smaller and LIGHTER than 12 ga. shotguns, we are already behind the eight ball.  To assist you with this in more depth, I've provided a link to Hodgdon Powder Company. Note: recoil calculator can be found at Hodgdon.comif you want to know how many pellets are in a certain load (1 oz. v 1/18 oz) check pellet counts at Shotgunworld.com.

11) So, should I be shooting a 12 ga. rather than a 20 ga?
It’s never as simple as it seems. While it is true that recoil can be tamed with the right load from a 12 ga., it is also true that the 12 ga. is considerably heavier than the 20 ga.  12 ga.’s are also often times built for larger hands. So, while it appears that yes, there is an advantage to providing more lead downrange, is that lead going to be on the target? The 20 might seem like a lemon, but I have seen many, many people turn lemons into lemonade when using the 20 ga. Whichever gun fits and feels better, that is the gun for you
12) Can I take notes during our lesson?
Absolutely!! We expect you or your guest to be writing like crazy during the lesson. When you get home, take your notes and condense them into a useable form for future review. By reviewing and rewriting your notes, you will remember details better. If you have a question while you are preparing your notes after the lesson, please call or email your instructor. He will be glad to clear up anything that is causing you any concern. You can email us right from this website. Just click on "contact us" and away you go!

13) Can you tell me why I miss so many targets?
A "loaded” question, so to speak, but in general, there are two main reasons for missing…but only your instructor can make a proper assessment as to which area requires the most review. See us for a proper evaluation. 

14) I’ve heard you speak of the “Lads” before. What on earth did you mean by this word?
Another good question. LADS refers to 4 main components of target evaluation. Without proper target evaluation, guess what's going to happen? "Lost and Lost." 

15) Misfire or “hangfire.” What do we do if one of these happens?
Indeed, these events can be disconcerting. By the way, a "hangfire" occurs when you pull the trigger, hear or feel the hammer drop, but do not hear or feel the shot...it's a "dud" if you will. If this happens, first, don't panic but be certain the muzzle of your gun stays down range. Wait at least 30 seconds before opening your action.  The primer might be cooking, which means it might be getting ready to go off and you don’t want to open the action too soon. Before you do open the action, be sure that you have a clear, safe zone in front of the muzzle and behind the action. That’s right, BEHIND the action too. Watch out for spectators and other shooters.  And NEVER look into the action (chamber) while opening it.  If the shell does go off, the shell is likely to come out of the chamber (action)  with ferocious velocity and you do not want to have your head over the chamber if this happens!

16) There are 4-5 main shooting methods. What are they?
Nice question....actually, there are 5 main methods and each has it's place in either shooting Sporting Clays or hunting your favorite game bird. The first method is "Maintained Lead"; the second "Pull-Away"; the third "Pass-Through"; fourth is "Straight Line Intercept"; and lastly, is "Churchill." Knowing when to use one of these methods, given the right target read, is key to getting more hits on target. Our "Learn to Shoot Clinicand "Experienced Shooters Clinics" cover all of these methods in detail, including muzzle hold position, insert point, swing and the shot.  We also help you identify the type of target you are shooting. We often times find our students shooting a bird they think is a "crosser," with the applicable method, but in fact, the target is not a crosser, but a chandelle.  If you have not read the target correctly, and applied the correct shooting method, guess what's about to happen?

17) How does Wingshooting differ from Sporting Clays?
Wingshooting involves hunting of either “passing” birds such as Dove, Ducks and Geese; or it can also focus on “flush” types of birds such as Quail, Chukkar, and Pheasants. Sporting Clays has many different target presentations that are designed to simulate all of these game birds, and rabbits as well.  In this fashion, the two are similar. They differ, however, in that "time" is not on your side when it comes to Wingshooting.  Birds flash in and out, dive and swoop...whereas in Sporting Clays, the bird flies only when you have set up and have called for it by saying "pull!"  As you may imagine, there are techniques that apply from Sporting to Wingshooting.  The key is in understanding which of the Sporting techniques apply and how to practice for either type of Wingshooting, pass or flush. There are specific drills and targets we use to get you on the birds and help you fill your game bag. Our Wingshooting classes are from August to March. Check our schedule for the next series of lessons.

18) OK, but does Wingshooting use the same techniques I learned for Sporting Clays?
As we say above, yes, somewhat. Clay targets, or targets with feathers are very similar in our approach and strategy. However, when you are in the field hunting, you often times have very little time to set your feet, hold the muzzle correctly, get a focal point…and so on…your job in the field is to hit the birds. So, while some of the techniques used for Sporting are similar to Wingshooting, there are other aspect you must practice with “low gun” and specific techniques to be able to react to the type of  “birds” you are hunting.

19) I’m having trouble with 45-50 yard teal shots. What do I do?
Well, can you hit them every time at 20-25 yards?-
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