I decided to take my own advice and check the fit of my own gun. I'm always harping on to others about the importance of gun fit.
Anyway a trip to the pattern plate was required until I realised I don't have a pattern plate! I didn't fancy driving miles to my nearest shooting grounds, setting up the plate and getting covered in white paint.
So, I got myself a roll of cheap paper here - http://www.discountpackaging.ie/product1.aspx?SID=1&Product_ID=728&Category_ID=127 borrowed some of the wife's clothes pegs and set off to my local grey crow pen. This is made from a steel frame covered in wire mesh and is located in a nice quite area. It's empty at the minute so it made an ideal place to set up my plate. I tore off about 1 metre of the paper and pegged it up to the side of the pen. With a black marker I drew a clay in the middle with a cross through it. I stepped back about 20 yards and with the tightest chokes in the gun, let rip with two shots. Now you must keep the gun moving when testing a shotgun. It's not like a rifle where you are stationary and aim it. You start above your mark and point the gun. Then slowly move it down to about 2 feet under the mark. Then slowly bring the gun up and shoot when you meet the mark. Repeat for the top barrell without taking the gun down from your shoulder.
On checking my first two shots I found I was high and slightly to the right. This meant my comb was too high and there was too much cast. I adjusted the comb back in to reduce the cast and tried again. Bang in the centre but still too high. I dropped the comb by about 2mm and tried again. Perfect!
I had about 75% of the shot above the mark which is ok for a Trap gun. if it was a sporter, about 60% above and 40% below would be right. The beauty of using the roll of paper was I could put up a new target each time in a couple of seconds and the resulting pattern was simple to read. I've abbreviated the firing part here because I didn't want to keep repeating myself. I actually went through about 20 cartridges and 5 or 6 sheets of paper.
Anyway, the moral of the story is.......get your gun fitting right.
tried it once with bits of cardboard at various distances just to see the different spreads but shotgun was dead steady. will try it again swinging shotgun up, thanks for the advice.
just go shoot some clays with full and full or as tight a choke you have you will learn more .
What exactly will you learn from that?
If you miss the clays what have you learnt?
if i miss a clay in a competion there is a reason for it , you have 10 seconds to work it out .with a full choke at 30 yards a direct hit will give ya a nice ball of dust a few inch s off target a miss or you will cut the targets edge off that will tell you where your off .you will learn from your misses ,the best target to shoot a new gun on is a straight teal or going away like DTL .shooting at a static target will do very little for you as be expecting recoil,holding the gun tighter and you will not shoot in the same place twice . when i practice i use a full and extra full choke .when i miss and its to often with so tigth a choke but when you find the clay your in the centre
JW what happens when you miss the clay entirely, how do you correct when you dont know what you did wrong in the first place?
to shoot seriously a gun must fit its user and the pattern plate is instrumental in achieving this...
You can spend all day banging away at targets and you may or may not discover where you're missing them. There's a host of reasons for the misses and the most important one is gun fit. The only correct way to check your fit is the pattern plate. There are no outside factors influencing where you shot hits a plate. With clays you have wind and background etc to contend with. With the plate you know straight away whether your gun is shooting high, low, left or right or a combination of any two. Once your gun is set up right for you, you can then bang away and if you miss, you know it's something you've done wrong.
As foxshooter says, it's just an extra tool but it's a very important one.
any coach worth there salt would get the student to mount the empty gun and look down the rib to see the alignment from the eye to the barrel , this can also be done in a mirror ,its the quickest way to see is a gun fits .to get a novice shooter to fire at a pattern plate has no benfit to them .and for the more experienced shooter it has little or no benfit ,as they should know the set up of the gun from the second they pick it up .the pattern plate is a rough guide only .
I disagree entirely with your train of thought on this JW,a shotgun should be correctly fitted to its user, apart from having a gun made for you, its quite possible to obtain a good fit by taking the gun to a shooting school
where the correct measurements can be taken by the instructor watching you shoot with an adjustable try-gun.too much bend in the stock results in the gun pointing low, whilst a high point of aim is caused by too little bend,the amount by which the gun points to right or left of the aiming mark is determined by the cast off,which is a displacement of the butt sideways so that it is not quite in line with the barrels.This is done to compensate for the fact that the shooters shoulder,supporting the butt,
is displaced to the side of his eyes.
if the whole stock is too short it will not bed properly into your shoulder
and the recoil shall cause you some pain,too long and it will catch on your clothes as you mount the gun and may cause some difficulty in reaching the triggers..a pattern plate will correctly identify when the gun fits the user properly and on that solid foundation he then should be coached on proper stance, mounting and different techniques for different clay shooting disciplines..this shooters learning curve will be much steeper than
the guy who buys a gun and looks at his gun fit in a mirror and thinks its ok because its the second shooter who has only obtained a "rough guide"
you disagree about what, a question or two for you if i may what is bend ,do you mean the drop on the stock there is two points of drop on a stock one at the comb and one at the heel the heel is less important as you rest your cheek the comb,trigger pull in very important ,its the distance from the centure of the butt ,thats the end of the stock by the way to the trigger.too long and your forced away from the gun there should close to two inchs from your nose to the grip on the stock any more your not sitting right and you will have to slide your head forward any less a smack in the nose.i dont know of any shooting schools with a try gun . i shot on a squad a few weeks ago with a lad he had some badges on his shooting vest saying level one coach and level two .i think he was a class c or B shooter noting wrong with that but he had not a clue ,his stance his pick up point and over all shooting skill left a lot to be disired .two days coaching by the icpsa or nargc does not make a race horse out of a jackass ,the hole thing about shooting is take your tips from some one that has been there not some one that thinks they should be .like i have sed the pattern plate is only a guide .you can not beat a good coach ,but there too few and far between.
were going to have to agree to disagree on this one JW, but proper gun fit
obtained by the use of a pattern plate alongside proper coaching is the best foundation upon which to build your skills upon in my book.
no problem foxie , but its worth looking into more .hear is a made up story .i walk into my local gun shop looking for a game gun it a july afternoon i pick a nice o/u its fits well and the deal is done ,now its late nov shooting a few duck along the slaney i can hit noting ? same story but its late nov looking for a new clay for next season i pick out a nice gun it fits well now its a july afternoon shooting a few clays but i am shooting crap why ..both guns fitted well at the time i bought them .more than any other i think this is the root alot of shooting problems ,people put on weight and loose it wear extra gear in cold times and less in hot .i shot the gold cup today in the morning you would want a rain coat ,by ten o clock a T shirt would do you ,thats a 3 to 5 mill of coat gone .it would have to make a differ
Friendly Tip: Make sure the gun is unloaded before you try this, and make sure the coach knows you're gonna do it
thats a good point JW -most people would never consider what they will be wearing when shooting-when they put a gun to their shoulder in a gunshop .