Practise this simple exercise at home and you'll improve your gun-mount without ever pulling the trigger, says Steve Rawsthorne
I’m going to show you some exercises here to improve your gun-mount which you can at home, in just a few minutes a week. They’re free and will pay huge dividends. But you need to do them regularly.
Gun-mount, footwork and turns should be automatic and subconscious
Practice these tips and they will create that ideal subconscious technique. So when you are actually shooting, you are free to focus on your target.
Before you start
- Break the gun and check that it is unloaded
- Unless you live on a farm or estate, do not undertake these exercises in the garden
- Close the curtains if you are doing them in the house
1. The heel of the stock should be tucked up under your armpit, so that you cannot simply pull the stock upwards with your back hand. Your head should be erect, with a line from your eyes across the muzzles to where you see your target. The weight of the gun is on your front hand.
If you pull the stock up into the shoulder with your back hand and push your head over and down towards the wood, you would end up looking down the side of the barrels, and your eye would be in a different position every shot.
Sometimes the stock is low in your chest and you cannot get your head to the wood at all. Mounting in this way would also cause the barrels to “see-saw” so that on a driven bird the are moving in the opposite direction to the target. You would end up miles behind it, chasing to catch it up, with a loss of control. On a crossing target, the barrels to “see-saw” the muzzles would slash up and down through the line of the target.
2. Start the mount by focusing on the target. Do this at the same time as your front hand pushes the muzzles forward towards the target, all the while moving with the target and pulling your rear hand forwards with the stock. Your head must stay vertical — it must not push over towards the gun.
3. As you push the gun forwards, the comb of the stock comes into the cheek, at about the level the teeth meet. This registers the gun on the face at the same point every time and positions it under the dominant eye. This is possibly the most important facet of the mount, as your eye needs to be in the same position relative to the rib and barrels every time.
4. As the comb registers on your face, your shoulder pushes forward into the butt and your body and gun become one unit. You apply the correct lead, fire and follow through. The sequence of your mount is vital to success. Think of your eye as the rearsight on a rifle. If you moved the sight between every shot, each one would go to a different place.