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High bird shooting: two experts talk equipment and tactics

Guy Maddocks gets the lowdown on high birds

Kerry McCubbin swings through a high bird

I decided to ask two experts what equipment they used and what tips they could pass on for high bird shooting.  Dave Carrie is a high-bird specialist and well-known fieldsports film-maker, and Peter Schwerdt is an accomplished game shot and pigeon shooting supremo.

What is a high bird to you?

Dave Carrie: A high bird is between 50 to 60 yards. An extreme bird is between 70 to 75 yard. They’re killable but difficult even for the best of Shots.

Peter Schwerdt:  A high bird can be anywhere between 40 to 80 yards.

What is your favourite high-bird shoot?

Dave Carrie: Calroust on the Scottish Borders.

Peter Schwerdt: Miltons Shoot in Exmoor, Somerset.

What gun do you shoot?

Dave Carrie: Browning and Miroku with Trap stocks, 32in barrels and choked ¾ and ¾ or full and full — or a mixture of the two.

Peter Schwerdt: Miroku 12-bore 3800 with Trap stocks, 30in barrels and choked full and full.

What is your cartridge choice?

Dave Carrie: Gamebore 36g to 42g No 4 and No 3 for pheasants, and Gamebore 34g to 42g No 4 and No 5 on partridge.

Peter Schwerdt: Eley Alphamax 36g No 3 (no longer available) or Gamebore Buffalo 36g No 4. If a fibre-wad is needed, I use Hull High Pheasant Extreme 34g No 4.

(Read more on cartridges for high pheasants.)

What’s your advice to a Gun who is not used to high birds?

Dave Carrie: Tower practice on very high towers with clays set up at various speeds, and make sure you practise high clays angled down at speed. Use a good coach who is adept at game shooting, but importantly one who can see shot strings. Use the same cartridges for the tower practice that you will be using in the field.

Peter Schwerdt: Use your usual gun and don’t shoot a load less than 32g No 5 in a 12-bore and 28g No 4 in a 20-bore.

(Read more high pheasant shooting tips here.)