Gun Up, Gun Low or something in-between?
If you shoot any clay game you may have been exposed to purists from each extreme. Low-gun is the Olympic Skeet requirement of having the butt of the gun at the hip prior to calling for the bird. Gun-up is having the gun mounted to your shoulder before the call and there are some variations in-between.
First, one must understand whether they are shooting clays to be a better wing shooter or to be a better clay buster. Obviously, no one walks through bird fields with the gun melded to their shoulder. So if you want to bag your limit as a wing shooter, go low gun or natural carry (butt under arm, barrel down).
Arguments have been made that shooting gun-high – or gun-mounted, doesn’t represent a hunting situation. While I agree, no one walks through a pheasant of grouse field with a 12 gauge mounted to their shoulder – the low gun reg are also not much like how I carry a gun on a bird field.
The Olympic Skeet hold is butt at the hip, and most hold the barrel up to keep the tip in view at the “hold position”. For the game of skeet, this makes sense. But who walks around a grouse-field with their 12ga. butt at the hip and barrel in their face? Most of us either have the butt tucked under our armpit with the barrel pointed at the dirt, gun over the shoulder with barrels in the air (port arms for us military types) or a slung/unslung version of something in-between these.
If I’m warming up for a wing shooting weekend, I’m all mid-gun low-barrel. Just like I walk through a field. My scores suffer, but it gets me ready to take home my limit. If I’m readying for a clay competition that allows high-gun mount, I meet in the middle.
Many will tell you that high-gun (fully-mounted gun) is the way to start all targets if the rules allow. I do NOT agree.
I will fully mount on trap-style (targets launched in front of me and are thrown away from me) because there is no reason to miss the easy ones in competition – don’t give them one. For fast-crossers and rabbits, I modify it. Iput the gun to my shoulder, visualize the shot with the gun mounted, then pull my head/cheek off at the hold spot and lower the butt to about armpit level. I move my eyes to the “catch” spot and call for the bird. I believe this gives me a slight edge as I can catch the sight of the target faster without the shotgun in my face.
Why would I create a new hold, sight shoot paradigm? I haven’t. I have melded my technique from NSSA skeet, and NSCA clays to come up with a higher-scoring technique. Please let me know if I’m missing some great secret, an increase of 2 birds over 100 will probably mean a change in spot in the next shoot.