Ask the Experts - Flint and Partners


Ask the Experts - Flint and Partners
in association with
I am a right-handed clay shooter
and have always tended to struggle
with straight away or incoming targets and
left-to-right crossing targets. A friend told
me that I have a dominant left eye and that
I should close this eye so that my right eye
can become dominant. This does not help
because I need to look down the side of the
gun so that I do not lose sight of it.
Giles Manson, Sussex
On the assumption that you do
indeed have a dominant left eye,
then you will have a tendency to move the
gun under the left eye and shoot to the left
of where you expect to shoot. One possible
way of dealing with this is to close the left
eye as you start your moving gun mount so
that the right eye can focus on the target
and the gun can be aligned under it.
The key word here is ‘aligned’ because
if you close your left eye but deliberately
misalign your gun to the left in order to
keep the target in view on incoming or
going away targets, you will still shoot
to the left because you will have failed
to obey the basic rule of focusing on the
target and using hand-eye co-ordination to
point the gun where you are looking.
Shooting crossing targets with both
eyes open, your nondominant eye will
cause you to increase the lead on rightto-left targets and decrease the lead on
left-to-right targets. If you close your left
eye and focus on the target you will be
able to apply lead as required, but if you
deliberately look up the side of the gun,
you will not achieve the correct technique.
There are other ways of achieving
correct hand-eye co-ordination such as
gunfit alterations but it still will not work
unless you use a sound technique.
On a shooting stand recently
my gun made an unusually
dull sound, the man scoring my card
noticed this and stopped me reloading
my gun asking that I check my barrels
to be sure they were clear as he
thought I had experienced a ‘blooper’.
We checked and all was well but what
did he mean by a ‘blooper’ and why
was he concerned?
Alex French, Formby
That scorer was probably a
middle-age plus chap (like
me), it’s a term that used to be
quite common. With the general
improvement in cartridge quality today
I’ve not heard it used for a while.
It’s an onomatopoeia – a word that
describes a sound – in that it refers to
the lower pitch and longer duration of
the report produced when something
isn’t quite right with a cartridge.
It rarely happens today, but your
scorer was concerned that the wad
may have been left lodged in your
barrel and if fired, could cause it
to bulge (or worse, even burst). It’s
always best to check your gun when
an unusual sound is produced when
you fire, just in case the barrel is
Chris has been an instructor for 24 years
and specialises in Sporting clays, game
shooting and gunfitting. He is a Fellow of
the Association of Professional Shooting
Instructors and also a staff tutor.
Richard has been shooting clays
since the early 1960s. He is a prolific
author of articles on shotguns,
cartridges and technique and is the
technical editor of Clay Shooting
in association with
I am scoring pretty well and win
or place well in my class most
of the time. When I have difficulty it is
usually with simultaneous pairs. I know
I tend to shoot the targets too fast and
it may be the first or the second that I
rush. Even though I’m aware of this I’m
really a bit helpless to stop it, what can
I do to get back on track with these?
David Cobbs, by email
I have been shooting Skeet
and DTL for 15 years and have
never worn glasses, although at a
recent eye test it was suggested that I
should wear them to shoot and all the
time for driving and watching TV. The
glasses make things much sharper
but they seem a bit strong and seem
to make things look smaller. I am also
missing targets I usually hit and tend
to get a bit of ‘eye-ache’ after a few
stands. I have taken them back but
was told they were fine.
Sebastian Wilson, Market
Generally minus powered
lenses can give a ‘minification’
effect so I assume you are short
Send your questions to: [email protected]
incomplete shots. If you condition
yourself away from trying to ‘kill the
pair’ and truly take the time to shoot the
first target as a single and the second
If this is your first prescription,
there can be an adaptation period
to overcome. Sometimes the
prescription should be gradually
increased in increments to help
with tolerance (this is relatively
inexpensive with inserts but can be
very costly with more
expensive brands).
It is also
important to assess
the effect of the
lenses on your eye
muscles, sometimes
the use of the lens
will cause the
muscles to experience
more stress unless
it is balanced by a
prism, which helps
Mark teaches mental and physical
skills development for clay target
shooters. Mark coaches and conducts
seminars worldwide and will be in the
UK on several occasions in 2010.
[email protected]
Everyone has heard the advice to
‘shoot them one at a time’: whilst
this is good advice, it does little good in
practice because other factors mentally
override the mere knowing what you
should do.
Of course, whether you realise
or accept it, there literally is no such
thing as a pair, you are shooting
simultaneous singles. Just saying
or hearing things like; get them both
or kill the first fast so you can get on
the second, forces you to make poor,
target as a single, your scoring will
improve dramatically.
the eye muscles relax. After all, you
have developed a shooting technique
based on how you previously saw –
the glasses should assist this rather
than make you relearn!
Ed is a Sports Vision optometrist in
the Midlands. He specialises in vision
training, contact lenses and hightech prescription eyewear. Visit his
websites at www.flintandpartners. and
in association with
As a relative newcomer to clay
shooting I have been wondering
whether I should have some form of
insurance. I have bought a shotgun but
the various sources I have consulted so
far are a little confusing as to what type
of insurance I need and where I can find
it. In particular, is there any form of
insurance I need which is compulsory?
I also participate in other forms of
shooting and now that my leisure
activities have expanded to include
clays, I want to make sure that I don’t
fall foul of any legal obligation.
Jim Rhyce, Scarborough
Certain day-to-day activities
do carry a legal obligation to
insure; for instance, motoring where a
minimum level of insurance cover to
drive a car is prescribed by law.
In the case of shooting, however,
having insurance is not compulsory
although it is strongly advisable.
Insuring your gun against theft is
perhaps your first starting point
and this can be done either through
purchasing a single policy designed
solely for that purpose or through
other forms of insurance you may
have already, such as your home and
contents insurance policy. In that
respect, check to see whether you need
to itemise the gun on the policy as an
individual item as many policies require
possessions of a particular value to be
noted separately.
Other more focussed forms of
insurance can come with membership
of a shooting association or
organisation. These policies will
often provide cover for personal injury
or damage while participating in the
sport. The products can vary so check
the terms before you buy to ensure it
provides an insurance to cover all your
anticipated needs and activities.
Insuring your gun while it is in
transit is also worth considering
because motoring policies generally
will not include this unless specifically
required. Policies are usually issued
annually so always make a note of
when the policy is due to expire
and take steps to renew it in good
time beforehand.
I’m fairly new to the world
of Skeet shooting and am
interested to know what choke and
shot size you and the other top
Skeet shots use?
Victor Redwood, Middlesex
Stuart is a partner in the dispute
resolution team at Laytons Solicitors,
Manchester. He is an enthusiastic
clay shooter and a member of the
CPSA. Email him at [email protected] or phone 01612 141600.
Dave is a top international Skeet coach as
well as still shooting competitively as one
of the top Skeet shooters in the world.
Contact Dave for advice and lessons at
[email protected] or
phone him on 07841 046606
Send your questions to: [email protected]
Most people would think
that’s a very easy and
straightforward question to answer:
if you’re shooting Skeet then shoot
with Skeet chokes. But it’s not as
straightforward as you think. I’m
not the biggest fan of Skeet chokes
and the reason for that is I feel
that they don’t give you enough
target feedback and also let you get
away with having poor technique,
which can lead to confidence and
consistency problems.
However, in the right hands
they can be a winning formula and
have accounted for many a major
championship. So, to answer your
question, I use quarter choke in
both barrels, which give me plenty
of feedback and good kills leading
to increased confidence.
As for shot size: number
9 shot still remains the most
popular choice giving the greatest
pellet count while retaining good
striking energy at relatively short
ranges. I use Eley Superb 9s: the
cartridge I used to win the World
Championships and would highly
recommend them!
As for all the other top shots:
they all have there own preferences.
What I will say though is that they
are a friendly bunch and are always
willing to help, so never be afraid
to ask when you see them around
the grounds.
in association with
of any damage is reliant on whether
the gun was properly serviced recently,
then re-assembled with grease and
oil to protect the internals. I was
recently told by someone in the trade
“you shouldn’t be using grease in
actions any more, dry lubricants are far
better!” Well, maybe they lubricate, but
I have yet to find one that protects the
inside of an action like a light grease
or oil, or the old gunsmiths recipe of 50
per cent turps mixed with 50 per cent
vaseline applied with a
small brush.
The pictures above
show the inside of the
locks from a Beretta
SO3 and the lock
recess from a Famar,
both well-made,
expensive sidelocks
with good wood to
metal fit. Water has
still found its way
in and without
the protection
of grease or
oil has caused
I own a Beretta SO5 and have
some damage, all of which can be
enjoyed shooting it this season
polished out and put right with some
on both Sporting clays and game. I
care and attention, but, of course, at
bought the gun second-hand from
an additional cost to a normal service.
a private sale and don’t know its
So, to answer your question, my
maintenance history. With the weather
suggestion is to take your Beretta to
this year, the gun has got rather wet
at times and although I have done
my best to dry it off I am somewhat
I believe I am an above average
worried about the insides. What would
shooter, but don’t seem to be
you suggest? Should I try to take the
able to raise my standard to the level I
sidelocks off and clean it inside?
think I could achieve. I always seem to
Gary Cummingson, Kent
have doubts about myself. Could you
help me get past this barrier?
Thanks for contacting me with
Clive White, Cheshire
your question. Yes it has been
both wet and cold this season and
By using sport psychology and
anything mechanical will suffer in
hypnosis techniques I would
these conditions, however the extent
a competent gunsmith to inspect and,
if need be, have it fully serviced and
‘greased’ as soon as possible so any
damage caused by moisture is kept to
a minimum and is then fully protected
for next season.
Unless you have the correct sized
turnscrews (screwdrivers) for removing
the lock from your SO5 I would
strongly recommend you do not try to
remove them. Mangled screw heads on
a gun of this quality – or any gun for
that matter – look awful and affect its
value considerably.
Tim has been working as a gunsmith
for over 28 years and is the choice of
many top British shooters including
Johnny Walker. His business,
Greenwood Gunsmiths, Kent, is wellrespected and thriving.
Send your questions to: [email protected]
be able to build your understanding
and knowledge of how your mind and
body works, increase your confidence
using hypnosis, and program into
your mind successful performances.
In this way you start to believe in your
ability and raise you scores and your
performances accordingly.
Lesley has been a feature of the Trap
shooting circuit for 20 years. Having
retired in 2009 ranked world number one,
she is now coaching with her skills and
experience in sports psychology.

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