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Pull-away method: why it’s a favourite of this shooting instructor

Chris Hanks explains to Will Pocklington why he favours the pull-away method

Chris Hanks shooting instructor favours the pull-away method

Chris Hanks

I was excited to meet Chris Hanks, manager of Lady’s Wood Shooting School and one of the country’s leading shooting instructors. I was keen to glean a particular piece of advice. on the pull-away method  that he finds himself imparting to his clients on a regular basis.

The pull-away method

Chris said: “A top tip that I find helps people really concentrate on higher crossing birds is to adopt the pull-away method.

“Using this method, what you are doing is matching the bird’s line and speed — two factors that, if not judged correctly, will result in a miss,” he elaborates.

Pull-away method

Pull-away method

Eyes and muzzles

“What you need to do is address the bird correctly by stepping into the shot with your lead foot — left for a right-hander and right for a left-hander — while pivoting on the back foot and turning your body towards the direction in which you anticipate to take the shot. It is important that you watch the bird at all times and follow it with your eyes and muzzles. (Read how to hold a shotgun.)

“As you finish the step, continue mounting the gun in one fluid movement and focus your eyes and muzzles on the tail of the bird. Don’t let the bird get away from you; match it for line and speed for a heartbeat or two, then begin to pull through the bird and apply the lead you feel it requires in front of the beak.

“Be sure to create this line and lead level with the bird’s flightpath and squeeze the trigger without stopping your swing when you feel the lead is adequate,” he adds.

Chris emphasises the value of practice. “Time spent at the clay ground in the close season will really pay dividends and hone the process. Then, if the wheels come off during a drive, you are better placed to take a second, remember the process, reset yourself, and go again.”