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BitchinCamaro

Faster shotgun splits - Eat more Donuts

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I've been using a JM930 since the middle of last year, and finally got it fit right and feeding 100% over the winter. I had my first 3gun match of the season last weekend, and save for the times where I knew I was obviously messing up (misses, fumbled reloads, etc.), I felt like I was finally getting a feel for the shotgun as a system that I could "run", instead of just a boomstick.

My issue is that during long horizontal strings of clays or KO plates, the recoil of the gun is pushing mostly straight back (good!), the vertical rise and drop of the bead is controllable and consistent (good!), but after about the third shot in a string, there is a point where if I shoot any faster than something like a ~.3 split between targets, my entire body is getting shoved around and rotating about a vertical axis(booo!). Trying to stiffen my upper body to fight the rotation just pushes me straight back to the point that the SO is ready to catch me, thinking I may actually topple over (I'm not). Plus, fighting the rotation basically counters the movement I use to clear the string of clays/plates and slows me way down.

Additionally, I had a stage where there were 10 KO steels that had to be engaged from under a barrier. I'm right handed and went down to my left side. Having the shotgun shoot from my raised shoulder definitely rocked me over towards my back so I had to corkscrew my sight picture back onto the plates as I rolled forward. I know it was the same for other shooters, but I really felt I was doing something wrong with recoil management.

Does anyone have any tips or drills for improving splits? Most people at the match said it was because I'm not that top heavy. I'm 155lbs, (maybe 5lbs more lean mass in the middle of summer), shooting federal #8 target loads.

Looking at Lena Miculeck, in these vids:

http://youtu.be/w3riJLQegls?t=54s

http://youtu.be/w3riJLQegls?t=2m3s

http://youtu.be/w3riJLQegls?t=2m33s

I know it has to be something else. I'm assuming she's not 200+ lbs and her splits are where I want mine to be. If I tried to engage those clays at the same speed, my shoulder would be a foot further back from where it started by the third clay. She looks like she has a more bladed stance to begin with- I start pretty square to the target and handle my shotgun like I do my rifle.

I sense that I'm getting the recoil pulse back at the exact same time I'm trying to "reset" my eyes and body for the next shot, instead of feeling the "shot break/recoil then eyes to target" like I think I do with pistol shooting. Thus, by the time my eyes are on target for the next shot, my body is still in the process of coming back to it's neutral position and is getting stopped by the recoil of the next shot. I might be totally wrong though.

Tips? Tricks? Drills?

Thanks!

Edited by BitchinCamaro

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I am very new to sg shooting in comps so my opinion holds very little water and offers very little validity compared to the more experienced. But, i have had similar issues of not being able to have the bead on targetas fast as my eyes are able to move. For me i think it is about body position. Similar to you ive found more muzzle orietation when squared up to target like rifle, as opposed to being bladed as you saw with Lena. Ive had chats with Patrick Kelley and the biggest thing i took away was his technique, as you know hes not the beefiest of fellows yet can rip off a string of clays or plates like no other.

I found your comment about body position interesting and felt a need to relate. Im going to try at the local 3g match this weekend with 'blade-ing' my position more and see how that works.

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I'd imagine if you would shoot as much as she does you'd find it a lot easier.

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I'd imagine if you would shoot as much as she does you'd find it a lot easier.

I'm fortunate in that I get to shoot casually more than most people, but blasting away without an informed purpose only lets me know that there is a wall in my technique. I'm trying to train more efficiently, hence my asking for tips or drills on here.

I'm trying to train through my problem, not find a shortcut.

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Film yourself and post it on here. You'll get plenty of advise!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Feet are probably too close to each other or you're not leaning forward as much as necessary. Hunker down and let 'er rip.

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Film yourself and post it on here. You'll get plenty of advise!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

http://youtu.be/C0fPWmWmOjk?t=5m9s

I'm just some skinny dude so I'm not much to look at compared to Lena, but you get the idea.

Rofl.

I have the same problem at 6 foot 2 and 165 lbs. Ive been trying to really push my weight onto my forward foot and get an entirely too agressive stance when it comes to running fast shotgun splits. I watch big guys stand straight up with feet shoulder width apart and just hose things, but thats not going to work for us.

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Lots of women shoot shotgun really well, and a lot of them are small. So a death grip isn't really it-it's a lot of things, but to help you get better you do have to shoot a lot. I would buy a thousand rounds of shells, practice like you would with a pistol-plate racks, steel poppers, and some clays on stands. Set up things like shoot four, load four, shoot four. Shoot eight, load eight, shoot eight. Use a timer. Try throwing some clays up (don't do this around anybody else) like Tom Knapp used to do and just get used to the gun and it will come naturally. Start with one clay and toss it, mount the gun and shoot it. Takes awhile to learn the toss-use your usual throwing arm and hold the gun with the other arm-usually left for right thrower,etc. When you can hit five in a row, try two. Probably a hundred shots a day over three weeks or so will allow you to get a feel as to exactly how you want to hold the gun. Also use a clay target thrower if you can (like practicing for skeet)-it will also help you get the feel for moving the gun quickly. Do some Bill drills with the shotgun-just put six rounds into a berm as fast as you can. Look at Keith Garcia's drills on You Tube to get an idea. Most shotgun shooting positions are on the move or standing, I wouldn't spend a lot of time on the ground in the learning curve. Get your grip, mount, and trigger pulling worked out, then do different positions. It's not easy, takes some time and effort, but when you get it-it is really a pleasure to shoot with confidence, and you will have that skill. Then maybe take a class to work on fine points of competition. The Noveske Team is doing some classes before couple of their matches this year and there are others. DVC.

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Feet are probably too close to each other or you're not leaning forward as much as necessary. Hunker down and let 'er rip.

Hmmm.

I begin most stages with my feet in opposite corners of the start box, ready to spring out , and I already feel like I'm hunkered down to the point my mag tube is scraping the ground at low ready. I don't really know where my feet are after I haul ass out of the box though. I'll try to be conscious of that next time I'm out.

I should specify:

I can hunker down and let'er rip on things like spinners or texas stars directly in front of me, but it's the strings with horizontal spreads that I'm having trouble with.

What gets me is that Lena isn't really hunkered down on those 8 clays. Like Therealkoop I've tried to get as low and forward as possible, and shooting through vision fences basically forces you into a low-forward position. Regardless of position, I just can't seem to string more than 4 fast hits horiziontally without having my upper torso rotate to the point that I have to stop and readjust.

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Video would be helpful.

Make sure you aren't trying to square your shoulders to the target is a good place to start. Are you keeping your weight/balance forward? Neutral balance doesn't cut it is you are about to rip off fast array on the SG.

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I would buy a thousand rounds of shells, practice like you would with a pistol-plate racks, steel poppers, and some clays on stands. Set up things like shoot four, load four, shoot four. Shoot eight, load eight, shoot eight. Use a timer. Try throwing some clays up (don't do this around anybody else) like Tom Knapp used to do and just get used to the gun and it will come naturally. Start with one clay and toss it, mount the gun and shoot it. Takes awhile to learn the toss-use your usual throwing arm and hold the gun with the other arm-usually left for right thrower,etc. When you can hit five in a row, try two. Probably a hundred shots a day over three weeks or so will allow you to get a feel as to exactly how you want to hold the gun. Also use a clay target thrower if you can (like practicing for skeet)-it will also help you get the feel for moving the gun quickly. Do some Bill drills with the shotgun-just put six rounds into a berm as fast as you can.

I'm OK with most of these drills- very good at some. I've been shooting two tossed clays with pumps for years because I was too broke to buy a clay thrower!

Bill Drill or anything else directly in front of me with this shotgun is a pure joy to shoot. I just need some help with horizontal transitions.

I'll check out Kieth Garcia. Thanks.

Edited by BitchinCamaro

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Video would be helpful.

Make sure you aren't trying to square your shoulders to the target is a good place to start. Are you keeping your weight/balance forward? Neutral balance doesn't cut it is you are about to rip off fast array on the SG.

I'm probably 100% squared up.

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Video would be helpful.

Make sure you aren't trying to square your shoulders to the target is a good place to start. Are you keeping your weight/balance forward? Neutral balance doesn't cut it is you are about to rip off fast array on the SG.

I'm probably 100% squared up.
Yeah, there's your problem.

You are just going to get twisted around by the recoil like you were describing.

Strong side foot and shoulder needs to go back and you need to aggressively lean into the gun. It should make a huge difference.

Edited by alma

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Somehow I doubt that Lena just goes out into the backyard to just burn up shotgun shells.

Read post #11 closely, it will help a lot.

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Hi Bitchin,

The first thing you need to do is stop watching those videos. You have no idea what has been done to her gun or what cartridges she is shooting. If I was shooting clays that close and that was all that was required of a competition everything would be very light.

When a shogun goes off energy is going to come backwards at you. This needs to be dealt with in a consistent manner. Most people will say it has to do with leaning forward and body weight but that is not the whole truth. I have studied the top shooters in the UK and found that the common factor they have is the angle of the back. The upper body is leaning forward to take the recoil and the legs are bent not to throw weight forward but so they can move quickly.

The hold of the gun and transitions is the next place most people have problems. All transitions come from the hips. The arms do not move the gun. This means the angle of the gun to the upper body is always the same. This means that recoil always acts on the body in the same way. Once the shooter starts to move his arms to "muscle the gun" on to a target it changes the angle and the resulting recoil is different from the previous shot. Most people can get away with a couple of shots but after that the compounding of errors and changing recoil makes it very hard to hit the next target.

Time to put my money where my mouth is. Below is a video of me two weeks ago. The gun is a Versa Max synthetic with a 13 round capacity. The ammo is 1 oz 7.5 bird rated at 1450 fps which is quite punchy. We have different start positions to the US but notice the angle of my upper body. I call this the a*se out chin up technique. This is the best way to absorb the recoil. Also look at my transitions between targets on the stages. My arms only set elevation. They do not move the gun sideways. That is the job of my legs and hips. Right at the end of the video you will see me scan through the smoke in case I left anything. The relationship of the gun/arms and chest does not change, the movement is in the hips and legs.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eihqhRtHnHM

I have also changed my hold of the gun. I found with distance rifle that extending my weak hand further out has made the hold and sight picture more stable. I tried it out on shotgun and the results were very good. What it also does as a side effect is it makes it harder to muscle the gun from side to side so you have to use your hips. I also use the weak hand index finger to point and I have found this extended grip and point make the first shot coming into a position faster.

Transitions between targets are best practiced with a .22 or airsoft. Jerry M as a very good video that explains how taking recoil out of the equation can actually show up problems in technique. Once the technique of transitioning using your hips is sold you can then get back on the shotgun. I mention the airsoft as you can get 1000 round transition practice down in about 20 minutes for a few dollars. Also dry fire the shotgun on wide and close targets. Video everything you can and review it. Soemtimes you think you move on your hips but the video won't lie to you. Its also a good self image builder as you progress.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VAG8XGrOOS4

Coming back to your post you talk about shooting under a barrier and difficult positions. You will be at a disadvantage to a heavier shooter when you can't get your torso behind the gun. What you can do is practice those positions and try and work out how to get the best position for you.

Steve Andersons podcast are also a fantastic resource and I have learnt so much about shooting shotgun from the dry fire pistol guy. In particular listen to him about calling shots and shooting at the speed of sight.

I have just reread your last paragraph and I can see that it is a stance/hold problem. You are out firing your stance. If your body has not reset do not pull the trigger. If you do, what are you teaching yourself? how to shoot from a random, unrepeatable out of control position. Its a waste of time. Only pull the trigger when you have an acceptable sight picture. As you work on transitions, body position and grip the speed will improve.

A few months back my friend bright his 15 year old daughter to the range with her best friend. They had a few shots with a pump gun firing 24g cartridges (1 oz = 28g). They were not impressed and it hurt. I took over and got them into the right position and it totally changed how the recoil reacted with them and they ended up shooting for over an hour. It does work.

If I haven't explained anything properly let me know.

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Video would be helpful.

Make sure you aren't trying to square your shoulders to the target is a good place to start. Are you keeping your weight/balance forward? Neutral balance doesn't cut it is you are about to rip off fast array on the SG.

I'm probably 100% squared up.
Yeah, there's your problem.

You are just going to get twisted around by the recoil like you were describing.

Strong side foot and shoulder needs to go back and you need to aggressively lean into the gun. It should make a huge difference.

Im having trouble understanding the physics of blading your strong shoulder back. I dont see why that would be helpful.

(Im pretty square and forward with my stance).

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Alma, Stuart, thank you sirs.

I'll take this info with me to the range this weekend and see what I can figure out.

I'm getting the sense that a little more blading and a little more weight over my weak knee is going to be the first step.

I have just reread your last paragraph and I can see that it is a stance/hold problem. You are out firing your stance. If your body has not reset do not pull the trigger. If you do, what are you teaching yourself? how to shoot from a random, unrepeatable out of control position. Its a waste of time.

It's so alluring because I'm still getting my hits!

The hold of the gun and transitions is the next place most people have problems. All transitions come from the hips. The arms do not move the gun. This means the angle of the gun to the upper body is always the same. This means that recoil always acts on the body in the same way. Once the shooter starts to move his arms to "muscle the gun" on to a target it changes the angle and the resulting recoil is different from the previous shot. Most people can get away with a couple of shots but after that the compounding of errors and changing recoil makes it very hard to hit the next target.

I can't say that this doesn't apply to me. I know I attempt to transition from the hips (I do with pistol and rifle), but this sounds too much like what is happening to me.

Thank you.

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Those loads she's shooting are very light, there's just not enough movement and muzzle rise to be the standard 1 1/8 oz loads. There's no reason to shoot anything but the lightest shells your gun will run in that scenario, preferably #9 shot or spreaders.

One of the things I learned from The Kurt and Trapr Dunamic Duo is to use the same stance I shoot everything else from (which is basically a generic athletic stance, boxing/kickboxing is where mine came from) but break the leading (my left) knee forward a little. This sets your weight forward a bit (to resist recoil), blades a bit more (bringing the shotgun's moment arm in a bit closer, less leverage to your center) and reduces my height very slightly (reduces moment arm to the knees). Most of it's the forward weight, but all 3 of those act to let me shoot a shotgun noticeably faster than otherwise.

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More Video Fodder:

PKelley- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1b5s7_9lEqs

Slomo- http://youtu.be/V8Zc7IUO9tc?t=32s

Too Fast :P- http://youtu.be/Y1JmztidN-U?t=20s

This is where I see myself being with shotgun transitions/splits- http://youtu.be/9KPTIiCivsA?t=25s

Edited by BitchinCamaro

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Move the shotgun in on your shoulder until it's on your peck. Your body is a lever, and the farther you have it out, the more it uses your body for leverage against you. Lower your stance, lock your torso and twist with your entire body as you turn. If you live anywhere close to NC, you could give Larry Brown a call for a lesson. He is a local GM who is a full time instructor and will make huge improvements in your splits.

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