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Introducing a New Shooter to Skeet

I’ve been a wing-hunter for decades, sporting clays shooter for years and a skeet shooter for months. Suddenly, my wife decided that she wanted to give skeet a try.

First off, she’s small.. scratch that .. tiny. 4’11” (4’11 and 1/2″ if you ask her) and about 115 pounds soaking wet.

If she was going to enjoy the experience, I had to think this through. I started by talking to the old salts at the range. Some offered the advice of a light 20 gauge auto-loader saying that it would kick less and others said a .410 o/u was the way to go for a small shooter due to it’s extremely light weight, easy operation and barely noticeable kick.

The argument against the .410 bore was that it might screw up her confidence if she misses a lot. Having to shoot .410 in competition, I know just how humbling it can be – especially in the wind.

The argument against the 20 gauge was mine. They weigh too much for a small shooter to handle effectively and the kick is still a little rough for someone that weighs so little and hasn’t been around shotguns before. She would never be back to try the sport again if I handed her a gun she could not handle or that beat her up. The auto-loaders also have a lot of moving parts, have more complicated loading/unloading processes and aren’t lighter.

Perhaps a 28 gauge lightweight is the perfect compromise, but I didn’t want to end up the proud owner of a 28ga. o/u if she hated it. I could always give the .410 to my youngest if the wife didn’t like the game.

wife-shooting-410.410 it was. I bought a Mossberg silver reserve .410 O/U and took her out to play with it.

READ:   Setting Up Your Shotgun For Sporting Clays

I started her on stations 1 and 7 shooting the incoming birds and she did well. She broke about 50% of the targets on her first time out and was having a great time with the gun. She found it easy to  lift and had virtually no kick.

The second round we added in the incomers at 2 and 6, then 3 and 5. She did very well and became more excited as she started seeing the bird better and hitting more targets.

For the third round, I decided to go with the confidence booster. Back to 1 and 7 incomers so she could leave the field feeling like she’d learned something and would want to come back to do even better next time.

I didn’t try to make her a competitor. I gave her very little to think about each time. The very first round, everything was about safety and learning to operate the gun. Muzzle, action, safety. She learned where the business end of the gun could be pointed safely, when she could load and when the gun must be unloaded. That first round was all about familiarity.

The second round we worked on hold points and focusing on the target. The third was about smoothing out her gun swing. I am sure we’ll get to visit some of these things, but it sure was fun seeing her get better with each attempt.

She’s been back twice since then and is asking to go more often. There is nothing better than having a shooting partner in your own house.

It turns out that it isn’t always about hitting them all, but letting all, hit some. The fun is the important thing.

About Rich

Rich Mitchell is the President and CEO of RAM Arms inc. Rich is also a competitor in Skeet, sporting clays, 3-gun, Steel Challenge and USPSA.

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