Knowing how and where your gun patterns its lead is very important and should never be over looked if you’re serious about your shooting.
Something that every single shotgun shooter should know is that a shotgun is actually designed to shoot very slightly high if it fits properly.
That is to say that only around 40% of the lead shot leaves the barrels in a straight, flat line.
The other 60% rises very slightly just above the barrels or at least it should if fitted properly.
This is done so that the shooter can actually see the target/bird killed without having to look for it by taking their head off the stock, which will of course end up with a miss, often over the top.
As a result you often hear an instructor tell you to “shoot its feet off” or such like.
This is because if the site picture up the rib is correct when your cheekbone is on the stock, you will have to place the bead/muzzles so the target just sits on the top of the barrels.
That way the 60% will slightly rise and kill the target. If the target is a crosser you will also need to be in front as well of course.
Swing through its feet or start on its feet before pulling away or following through.
Game guns it should be said tend to place their lead 70% above the barrels because they are used to kill live birds – so need a little more lead to do the job instantly and humanely.
Have a shot or two at a pattern plate and see where your gun puts its lead, some of you will be surprised to find that it’s not quite where you think it’s going to be.
Or you can try shooting at a large cardboard sheet in a field.
Mark the centre of the sheet with a black dot about the size of a golf ball, then put your bead on it and shoot it from around 17/18yds.
If all is well, you should have a pattern that places about 60% just above the black dot and 40% dead central around the black dot.
This should be done by shooting pre-mounted and also from out of the shoulder and as quick as you can (instinctively) – to find a true reading.
If your mount is not yet any good, then just do it from the shoulder (pre-mounted) for now.
If the shot pattern is anywhere else like over to one side or very high etc, get a qualified coach to have a look at the fit and your mount for you as soon as possible.