Missed duck shots!

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Missed duck shots!

Postby cfwchrts » Fri Jan 07, 2005 2:20 pm

:help: I am missing a lot of the ducks I shoot at and I know they are in range. Anyone know of articles on how far to lead them, also once saw a clip on attachment to the end of the barrel as a sighting tool--any info. greatly appreciated
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Postby ks_waterfowler » Fri Jan 07, 2005 3:29 pm

Just a lots of practice. Lead has way too many variables (speed, distance, etc). I hunt ducks 6 days a week for the last 8 years intensely, and I still miss alot, but I hit alot too. Just takes lots of practice. And make sure you are picking one duck when you start shooting. Sometimes it is awful hard not to flock shoot, but that last hunt I was on I shot near a box of shells cause I had never had birds decoy like that and I still get excited and flock shoot.
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Postby mud duck » Fri Jan 07, 2005 3:35 pm

Sorry to say, but practice is pretty much what it takes. If the ducks are close, 35 yards or closer, you could try an IC choke. Keep in mind that the faster your shot 1400fps or faster, your lead will lessen, but you'll still have the bead slightly ahead of their beak. Also remember to follow through. If all else fails, pattern your gun and make sure there's nothing wrong with it.
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Postby Ducksbeus » Fri Jan 07, 2005 7:22 pm

Ditto...Pattern different loads.....best thing I ever did. Y'all have a nice day
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Postby Ron » Sat Jan 08, 2005 7:53 am

I assume by range you are meaning 25-30 yards. Alot ot times birds you think are in range are often just out of kill range. Are you hitting feathers or is is a complete miss. If you are seeing feathers, you need to pattern your gun at 40 yards with the different loads and chokes to understand what your pattern actually is. I am also assuming you are shooting with your dominant eye. Everbody misses. I miss more than I harvest. Join your local skeet range and practice. Alot of skeet shooters are vey knowledgeable and will be able to help you with your technique. You can always take a prof. lesson from a certified instructor. Practice low mount.
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Postby AlaskaRedneK » Fri Jan 14, 2005 5:53 pm

Don't we all, the best thing is to throw those nerdy "how to do" books away! :thumbsup: Then go to the range and shoot some skeet and or trap. The only thing to do is to get a good feel for your gun.

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Postby oldhunter » Fri Jan 14, 2005 7:01 pm

This might help. Keep the duck on top of your barrel unless he is comming stright for you. aim at his butt, at his body, at his head and shoot his beak off and then follow through with your swing. If you are still behind one barrel width at 30yds is about 12in. 2 barrels is 24in. With a shot string of from 3 to 6ft. it is better to be too far in front than behind the bird. If the bird is comming striaght towards you, blot hem out with your barrel. You might check to be sure that your shot size is large enough also or the shot will bounce off of the feathers. From there like the others have said, practice, practice, practice.
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Postby thaner » Sat Jan 15, 2005 9:20 am

Lots of good advice, I would also recommend shooting sporting clays as it gives you a lot more variation on target angle and speed. PRACTIC PRACTIC!

While you are patterning pay attention to where your gun shoots. It may not fit and shoot where you think. Don’t shoot patterns like your shooting turkeys, throw the gun up fast and let the spot on the patterning paper have it just like you would when hunting. This will help you see where the shot is really going. If it’s not where you want it then line the gun up until it shoots correct. A mid bead on your rib is a big help with this. Practice mounting the gun so it looks right every time or get a gun that fits.

Pick out that bird as soon as you can, don’t wait till the last second. Watch it as it comes in and your brain will calculate the angle and speed much better. You can’t do it consciously; it has to be a hand eye brain thing.

Don’t just look at the bird. Look at the head or better the bill. Your hand eye coordination will get the shot further forward; always look at the leading edge of a target.

I use a method that I learned from Andy Duffy, a world class sporting clays shooter. It is a variation on swing through. You spot the target and lock on. Move the gun smoothly on and intersecting line with the target keeping the gun parallel with the angle it will be when you take the shot, faster target faster gun movement. Your body, shoulders, head and eyes move with the target as the arms move up. As you mount the gun you are moving to the target and catching it. As the gun hits you shoulder it should be on the target. Keep your eyes on the front of the target and in a split second you will have moved ahead of it. As the gun moves out hit the trigger and keep the gun moving. The speed of the gun in relationship to the speed of the target sets the distance the gun moves after your start pulling the trigger and sets the lead. Once you get this down you can shoot any angle or speed target instinctively (most of the time that is) without worrying about leads.

The other method I like for duck over decoys when they are coming in to set is to just put the gun right under the bird and follow it for a couple of seconds. Your brain gets the angle and you just pull out and let it have it. These leads are relatively short, but the drop is the problem for me. Sometimes I just miss because the bird is setting fast and I know I shoot over.

When in doubt get out front a little more. Most people don’t shoot ahead very often. Keep your head down :hammering: And keep the gun moving. Get your feet in possition for the shot.
Moving your body so your natural swing is still loose and not bound up when you take the shot is best when you can.
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Postby Wingshooter » Fri Apr 01, 2005 6:17 am

ALWAYS, ALWAYS, FOLLOW THROUGH, AND PRACTICE, PRACTICE.
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Postby gsphunter » Fri Apr 01, 2005 8:04 am

I'll pretty much ditto the practice deal. When I practice on clays though I don't worry so much about my score as I do practicing for hunting. I don't measure out a lead at each station, I try to shoot more instinctually because when I'm hunting I'm not going to be at a set station and nobody tells that bird exactly what pattern to fly or how fast to do it.
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Postby Swamp Puppy » Fri Apr 01, 2005 10:42 am

ditto on the PRACTICE..

couple of points about wingshooting.

in just about every instance of a miss, the shooter has missed behind the target. the miss is usually attributed to not enough lead or not following through on your swing.

Not enough lead - for as long as people have been wingshooting i am sure the question has been asked, "how much should i lead"? unfortunately, there is no one right answer for this. how much you need to lead depends on too many different variables. how far is your target? how fast is your target moving? is it moving from side to side in front of you or coming almost directly toward (or away from) you? are you shooting high velocity loads or slow loads?

i'll try to sum it up with this..pretend that if you are going to miss. try to miss in front of the bird. in other words..lead a lot more than you think you need to. i'll bet your hit % goes waaay up.

Follow though with your swing - regardless of whether you "swing through" or "maintain" your lead..you HAVE TO FOLLW THROUGH.

ok, imagine..you are swinging on a bird. you have your lead (let's say about 4" in your "sight picture") now, you feel the time is right to shoot so suddenly you STOP moving your barrel with the target and pull the trigger. now, in the time it takes you to pull the trigger..the shell to fire..and the shot to travel out to the point you are aiming your gun..that bird has moved well beyond where you were leading him to.

the method i use (sometimes successfully...lol) is to start behind the target and quickly swing through. i progress through BUTT>BODY>BEAK....BANG!!! your gun sight should continue to follow the targets path. much like you follow through with a baseball or golf swing. you don't just swing to the point of imapct and stop. you swing THOUGH the hit and follow it all the way through. imagine that your shot is simply the point of imapct and you need to keep swinging.

hope this helps
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Postby dukkilr6 » Fri Apr 01, 2005 10:51 am

Its a heck of a lot easier to blame it on the gun. And its a good excuse to get a new one :thumbsup:
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Postby gsphunter » Fri Apr 01, 2005 1:42 pm

That was good stuff Swampy. I was watching Tom Knapp on TV and he was saying to get an uncomfortable lead, because not all BB's hit at the same time. Many people hit their targets, but only with the lead BB's hit the bird. If you extend the lead, the bulk of the BB's meet with the bird.

He made it really make sense and sound interesting.
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Postby Wingshooter » Fri Apr 01, 2005 1:47 pm

Ya i agree very good info guys.
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Postby Wolfchief » Sat Apr 02, 2005 6:55 am

A couple of questions for you:

1. What choke is your shotgun? If it's full choke and most of your shots are under 30 yards, you need to change to a more open choke; a full choke at 30 yards doesn't give you a big margin for error.

2. I assume you're using a 12 gauge? If not, you might consider doing so. The 12 ga. load just holds more shot, and mathematically at least, you have that many more chances to connect.

3. How well does your gun fit? If you point it at a spot on the wall, and your gun catches on your clothing, or you see too much rib, or you're wrestling with the gun to get it to point where you look, you might want to consider a stock modification. In shotgunning, "the swing is the thing" and your eye is your rear sight. If your gun doesn't fit you, it's a significant handicap in wingshooting.....

4. What loads are you shooting? There are some promo steel loads out there for sale that give dismal performance; they aren't worth bringing home. For as much time, effort and MONEY as duck hunting requires, it's false economy to skimp on your shells. Get good quality steel at the least (ie, Winchester Supreme) and better yet, if the budget permits, is Bismuth or Hevi-shot. I'm betting if you use those, you'll collect more ducks---but you do have to pay your dues before the season, with hand-thrown clays or at the skeet range. You'll see the difference !!
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Postby Swamp Puppy » Sat Apr 02, 2005 9:04 am

gsphunter wrote:That was good stuff Swampy. I was watching Tom Knapp on TV and he was saying to get an uncomfortable lead, because not all BB's hit at the same time. Many people hit their targets, but only with the lead BB's hit the bird. If you extend the lead, the bulk of the BB's meet with the bird.

He made it really make sense and sound interesting.


very good point GSP. most people assume that their shot is flying out to the target in a nice flat 2 dimensional pattern (like we see on the paper we pattern our guns with). not true. it is flying in more of a 3 dimensional blob with some pellets out front and others behind. this is commonly known (to me anyway) as "stringing out". typically, the tighter choke you use (with steel shot) the more strung out your patter will be.

a longer lead (as you pointed out) will have the bird flying right into the middle of that blob of shot instead of just getting hit by the first few and the rest missing behind.
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Postby Wingshooter » Sat Apr 02, 2005 9:34 am

Question :Does it not make sense to use your actual steel shot (T , BBB BB 1 2) loads at the trap/skeet range instead of the usual lead light loads 7.1/2, 8 shot? I guess we can pattern our shotguns for waterfowl the same as we do for turkey as well. What are your thoughts?
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Postby Swamp Puppy » Sat Apr 02, 2005 9:45 am

it makes plenty of sense to do that. have to be careful though as some ranges have restrictions on the sizes and velocity of the shot you are shooting. the range i shoot at alot has a restriction of..no larger than #6 and no faster than 1300fps.

however, if you CAN get out and do it..i would highly recommend burning through a couple of boxes of your favorite duck loads busting clays a few weeks before the season starts. yeah, you may drop a few bucks to do it, but the increased accuracy will probably be beneficial in the long run.
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Postby Ducksbeus » Sat Apr 02, 2005 1:09 pm

I used round butchers paper. Just a couple of shots of different brands, pellet sizes, powder loads and chokes at 35 yards, and, I couldnt believe the differences. Dont use a rest. Best thing I ever did with my shotguns...Y'all have a nice day! :cool:


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Postby duckdog » Sat Apr 02, 2005 11:50 pm

If you have the resource's to shoot clay bird's over a pond, or lake do it. This is a great way to see where your hitting. Get the pigeon thrower set up so it is throwing them a couple feet over the water then you can tell how much you need to increase your lead.
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Postby Greg Wile » Sun Apr 03, 2005 7:53 am

This is all good advice. :thumbsup: But it has not touched on the fact that if a bird is landing it is loosing altitude and to compensate for this you need to aim lower than where the duck is and vise versa if the bird is flushing aim a bit high, this will put your shot string in the birds path and it will fly into it. It always comes down to two things, practice and experience. The more practice you get the more experience you will have. Good luck and good hunting. :thumbsup:
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Postby duck hunter cam » Mon Apr 04, 2005 3:10 pm

Follow Through & Practice. And you'll get better. :thumbsup:
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Postby macdaddy » Tue Apr 05, 2005 7:08 am

And if, as gsphunter suggested, you practice skeet or clays w/o keeping score, start each station low gun. Keep that stock down around waistline or up @ armpit - no higher. When I shoot skeet, I have the gun low & the safety on; I click off the safety & raise the gun only after I've called "pull." Think - when you're hunting, you don't have the shotgun mounted, anticipating the birds. Imagine - 6+ hours w/ your shotgun mounted up @ your shoulder! Most of the time, @ best, you have it @ port arms, if not w/ the stock resting on the ground. To shoot, you have to drop your calls, pull up, & shoot. A far cry from a mounted gun.
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Postby Swamp Puppy » Tue Apr 05, 2005 8:47 am

Greg - good point. that is why i switched to the "swing through" technique for wingshooting. if you start your lead from behind and follow through you automatically compensate for rise or fall. however, if you use a sustained lead or the the old "point and shoot"...you certainly need to keep rise or fall in mind.
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