Sunday, January 01, 2012

Books: Successful Shotgun Shooting

Learning how to shoot a shotgun can be a daunting task. Even a garden-variety skeet or trap field will force people to hit relatively small targets that are flying through the air; if there isn't a competent instructor around, you can feel lost as clays fly up and down with nary a pellet touching them. Consequently, I believe most beginning shotgun shooters would save a lot of frustration by reading a basic primer on shotgunning, such as "Successful Shotgun Shooting" by Andrew Montague.

The book was first published in 1971, but the basics of shotgun shooting haven't changed much in 40 years. The author is an accomplished shooter and (more importantly) an experienced shooting instructor, and he illustrates the most basic principles (look with the gun, follow through with the gun after you pull the trigger, etc.) in an easy-to-follow manner. Montague also has a doctor's degree in anatomy, and there are some nifty illustrations in the book showing the skeleton's relation to proper cheek weld, proper stance, and proper gun fit.

Dr. Montague wisely saves the equipment-related stuff (types of shotguns, how to select a gun, and shooting accessories) for the end of the book. This technical trivia is useful for a first-time shotgun buyer, but it's probably beyond the ken of a beginner, who just wants to get out on the skeet and trap field and bust some clays. All the advice on selecting a shotgun is well-reasoned and just as applicable today as it was in 1971.

Like a lot of shotgun books, "Successful Shotgun Shooting" is focused on birdhunting. To that end, there's a great chapter on gun safety that covers safety in the field and not just on the range (worth a read for even experienced shotgunners), and a good explanation of the various clay games that can be played with a shotgun for hunting practice. There's not even a mention of using a shotgun for self-defense, so if you're looking for that kind of instruction, you might be better off starting elsewhere.


At 9:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, I agree. the book is a good tool to use for learning. We ordered one for the son to go along with his new Browning for Xmas.


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