How do you lead a target ?

Trap, Skeet, Sporting Clays; pistol/rifle target shooting, to plinking cans with a bb gun.

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How do you lead a target ?

Postby 3200 man » Sun Jul 22, 2012 10:03 pm

It's very commom to watch fellas spot shooting skeet targets and it works but ,when a guy trys his hand at Sporting Clays ,he's
like a lot of shooters asking ,how far did you lead that target ? If shooters would learn to indentify the proper method to use
on a target ,it makes the target so much eazier to shoot .There are people on this forum ,that can give some very constructive
advise so, lets hear it ,what do you say ?
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Re: How do you lead a target ?

Postby augerin » Sun Jul 22, 2012 11:43 pm

Check out these eye-cam video's by Todd Bender & Paul Giambrone. Take time to watch both all the way through, should give you some insight on leading targets. Do you shoot both eye's open?



http://www.sunrisevideo.com/catalog.asp?c=skeet

Or for sporting clays try these...

http://www.sunrisevideo.com/catalog.asp?c=clays1

Doubles under the lights...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MOq7EaynXes

Eye-Cam on the Skeet field Sta. 1 thru 8...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5CWbj7_z ... ure=fvwrel

Or buy the DVD worth every penny
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Re: How do you lead a target ?

Postby 3200 man » Mon Jul 23, 2012 6:50 am

I keep both eyes open to the OSP way of thinking ! But , there are guidlines to follow in learning the 3 way's .

What's yours ?
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Re: How do you lead a target ?

Postby augerin » Mon Jul 23, 2012 10:54 pm

I like the sustained lead method for shooting clay targets or ducks.
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Re: How do you lead a target ?

Postby 3200 man » Mon Jul 23, 2012 11:13 pm

I like the BUTT BELLY BECK BOOM method or , the pass through . Matching the speed of the target or Bird from the rear and
then pulling out in front to my desired lead . This Method is for long range targets or birds , sustained lead is good too if
you know the distance you are shooting . What do you think ?
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Re: How do you lead a target ?

Postby augerin » Tue Jul 24, 2012 4:43 am

I say whatever works the best. I've used the pull-thru method in the past (and still do some times),but am more used to sustained lead. That's what's working for me. I say give it a try, but may take awhile to see results. Tom
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Re: How do you lead a target ?

Postby 3200 man » Tue Jul 24, 2012 7:27 am

Tom ,
How do you shoot a spring teal or a far chandel or a long tower shot ? This is good info for everyone to know ! Thanks
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Re: How do you lead a target ?

Postby Sagebrush » Tue Jul 24, 2012 10:30 am

How many off us have been surprised by a low teal going by with out seeing it and having to swing the gun from behind it and get out in front ,pull the trigger and, holly cow, "I dropped the darn bird" !!
Then there is the flock that you see coming for miles and when you get in front and pull the trigger the bird does not fall.
Sometimes too much time can mess with you............

I use all three styles and also the "Port Arms" and the "On the Shoulder" when walking the fields or hills for upland game, so
I guess one can say that I have five ways to get into the shooting mode to line up a shot.
I really don't have any special way to lead a target since there are so may different angles and speeds ,footing angles, layers of clothing,frozzen fingers or heavy breathing that I will do what ever it takes to try to get a pattern on a bird.
If my footing ,lighting and the weather is good the swing through and substained leads are the two styles that my eye and brain prefers..............but sometimes my brain is not in gear or I get a trigger finger that is just a wee bit too tight on the trigger. Day dreaming can mess you up!! Stay focused............and get er done.
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Re: How do you lead a target ?

Postby 3200 man » Tue Jul 24, 2012 12:50 pm

Thanks Sage ,
That is a Classic example of a true Upland Hunters style of shooting . Always seems to work at times of urgency when
surprised by the flush but , say a bird flushes early and gives you a long crossing shot ,are you more incline to use sustained
lead or are you favoring matching the speed of the bird with the barrel and pulling through it ?

Thanks for your Reply !

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Re: How do you lead a target ?

Postby apexhunter » Tue Jul 24, 2012 1:59 pm

As important as the proper lead on a target/bird is the follow through is just as important. Most misses are caused by a combination of improper lead and a failure to follow through and keep swinging. Of course in order to judge the bird and allow a proper lead one should have both eyes open as the binocular vision is what gives one depth perception. In other words there is obviously not one "proper" lead for all shots as speed, distance, height and angle all come into play.

The "oh crap" snap shot that results in a clean kill is a reactionary movement where one does not think but simply makes the shot by using muscle memory. I've sat right next to my brother dove hunting and watch him mount, swing and keep swinging to the point he began aiming before taking the shot...95% misses. Then on a crosser when he started to mount with the bird 75+ yards away I'd grab the barrel and tell him to wtch the bird & wait...when it got to 25 or so yards I'd say "kill 'em" and he'd mount, swing and bam- dead bird. Another tip is to concentrate on a part of the target or bird...like the leading edge of a clay or the beak of a bird.
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Re: How do you lead a target ?

Postby 3200 man » Tue Jul 24, 2012 8:25 pm

Apex ,

Do you not agree ,it takes the same lead for any target/bird flying at what ever angle as long as the speeds the same ?
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Re: How do you lead a target ?

Postby Sagebrush » Tue Jul 24, 2012 11:25 pm

Something to think about................
If you are right handed and you have the shot gun waist high with the barrel & stock resting across your left forearm while walking and you flush a bird and it makes a hard LEFT exit at a 45 degrees going away.................... (flight angle #1)

or it makes a hard RIGHT exit at 45 degrees going away........................(flight angle #2)

What style would you select ? One shot is almost a straight away calling for little lead while the other is going to take a
while to catch up to and get on the bird as it gets farther away. I beleive all of the styles will work, just depends on
which one your body and brain go to at the time. With many years in the field, I really don't try to use a style, it is more of a
what ever happens,for me.............most of the time, I could not tell you what I did.
Some of the guys that watch me shoot skeet, scrach their heads and wounder what the heck I am doing. Sometimes the gun is moving and other times I might be spot shooting with a stationary barrel that is not moving, placing a pattern of pellets into a pre-picked "Zone" area ! "Right about there".............. This is only for those that don't take shooting seriously,since I don't
think it is a proven or accepted way to shot but I do it just for giggles.
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Re: How do you lead a target ?

Postby 3200 man » Wed Jul 25, 2012 7:53 am

With a lead of 39" at station 4 on a skeet field and with the targets traveling at the same speed from each house ,it is understandable that ,with experience shooting skeet targets a guy would become a good SpotShooter .Knowing a few good
skeet shooters ,I can tell you ,they are equally as good on upland birds as they are on skeet but ,when we get out on the
marsh they are average shots when the distance changes out to like 40+yds or the bird is coming in straight overhead .The
pull through method is not in thier memory bank .With experience of guessing distances ,as in shooting Sporting Clays one
gets the mental picture of angles and terrain to store in ones head and allows the eyes to determine what the lead needs to be.
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Re: How do you lead a target ?

Postby apexhunter » Wed Jul 25, 2012 2:45 pm

3200 man wrote:Apex ,

Do you not agree ,it takes the same lead for any target/bird flying at what ever angle as long as the speeds the same ?


In short- no. The angle of the target's flight to the shooter and the target's total distance from the gun can increase or decrease the necessary lead. A bird incoming at an angle will be closer to the shooter when the shot reaches it than when the trigger is pulled so less lead is necessary. On the other hand a going away angle shot requires more lead as the bird is gaining distance from the muzzle making the shot fly farther before reaching the target. Also, crossing birds at different distances even at the same speed will require different leads as the shot charge will take more or less time to reach the bird. Think of it as throwing a football to receivers doing crossing routes and angled routes while going away or working back towards the line of scrimmage...there can be a big difference in the lead depending upon the receiver's distance from the QB and his up or down field angle. The differences can be minute but there are differences nonetheless.

This is why it is so important to shoot with both eyes open as the depth perception from binocular vision is one of the critical aspects of determining a proper lead or forward allowance. The concept can be taught but it takes practice to master.
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Re: How do you lead a target ?

Postby 3200 man » Thu Jul 26, 2012 8:15 am

The lead distance change you speak of ,do to lock-time or from when the shot leaves the barrel to the target ,would be very
short (seems to me ) because ,the bird is flying at 35 to 45 mph and the shot at 700 to 800 fps (at this range) would catch-up
with the bird rather quickly ? I understand ,what you're saying about incoming targets but ,doesn't the velosity take care of
that ?
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Re: How do you lead a target ?

Postby apexhunter » Thu Jul 26, 2012 11:02 am

Regardless of the velocity of the shot charge an incoming bird versus outgoing bird will require a slight difference in lead depending upon the exact angle to the shooter and the distance at which the shot reaches the target...even though it is minimal there is a difference nonetheless. Safe to say that there is simply a difference in the lead for birds/targets at varying distances and angles, period. Unless you are shooting skeet or clays in a controlled environment there are very few birds that will require the same lead. It is a matter of practice to train one's eye to recognize the speed, distance and angle so they can allow the proper amount of lead...and practice is the only way to learn this.

One note: the "lock time" is the minute time between the trigger breaking and the firing pin striking the primer and not the time it takes for the shot charge to reach a target.
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Re: How do you lead a target ?

Postby 3200 man » Thu Jul 26, 2012 11:55 am

I thought you mite catch that ,with lock time ! So ,with around 30 thousands of a second in the time of shot speed ,how
many wing beats do you think a bird can do ? OR , when a target is at mid flite at a distance of say 60 yds ,do you think it
can out-run the shot in the time it takes for the shot leaving the barrel and geting to the target ?
I do know , TOF (time of flite) of shot is pretty quick at 1200 to 1300 fps . What do you say ?
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Re: How do you lead a target ?

Postby apexhunter » Thu Jul 26, 2012 1:10 pm

Okay- this is very rough math that does not account for the velocity curve as the shot slows down but here goes:

Target bird: crossing 60 yards out going 40 mph at 90 degres to the target line
Shot charge: overall average of 1,200fps to the target

40 mph = 58.67fps.
1200fps at 60 yards takes .15 seconds
58.67 x .15 = 8.8...this is the distance the bird travels in the time it takes for the shot charge to arrive (the necessary lead)

Same bird at 15 yards and a shot charge velocity increased to 1400fps
1400fps at 15 yards takes .032 seconds
58.67 x .032 = 1.88...this is the distance the bird travels in the time it tales for the shot charge to arrive- proper lead

So- to truely center the bird at 60 yards you need 8.8 feet of lead and at 15 yards you need 22.5 inches of lead. With the close bird you could possibly hit it by centering the bead on its beak but with 22" of travel you'd be bringing down tailfeathers with even a 30" spread (and most patterns aren't that wide at such a short distance)
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Re: How do you lead a target ?

Postby 3200 man » Thu Jul 26, 2012 8:34 pm

Apex ,

that's good to know ,if your math is correct . What I do know is what I have read and experienced .

How about this one ?
#5 steelshot
at 40 yds
587 fps at the bird
TOF .145
drop 3.2"
45 mph lead======9.6 FT

To tell you the truth ,I really don't use the tables of shot velosity much ,I've been shooting targets and birds for 53 years
and have been doing quite well so , what ever the tables or books tell you ,is meaningless unless you can put it on the
bird or target . Right ?
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Re: How do you lead a target ?

Postby 3200 man » Fri Jul 27, 2012 6:49 am

Also ,with lead 7.5 shot at 1200fps

at 60 yds 555 fps
.85 ft/lb's per pellet
TOF .238
drop 10.9"

Anyone that trys to use these numbers in thier lead (swing) ,will stop the gun and miss the taget. The lead has to be a
sub-conscious move ,with a hard focus on the front of the target/bird . Right , You with me on this Apex ?
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Re: How do you lead a target ?

Postby apexhunter » Fri Jul 27, 2012 8:52 am

Like I mentioned my numbers are very rough as they do not take into account the fact that the shot charge is constantly slowing from the time it leaves the muzzle and is dropping due to gravity...but they do represent a semi accurate analogy of distance and the necessary lead. When people see me drop a bird or break a target they ask "how far did you lead that?"...My response is when you think you have the proper lead swing a bir farther in front and fire as 99% of misses are behind and below.

I am with you in that the follow through is as important as a proper lead and this is the latrgest cause of inconsistent shooting (misses)- if one does not continue the swing after the shot they will most likely miss. Your statement about the sub conscience movement of a proper lead & swing is right on and this cannot be learned without shooting. Myself I've shot birds and clays (both leisurely and competative) for over 34 years and even though I am considered a good shot there is always room for more practice and tune ups of the fundamentals to improve to the next level.
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Re: How do you lead a target ?

Postby Sagebrush » Fri Jul 27, 2012 11:04 am

Is that bird heading into the wind or going down wind with the "Burners on" !! ??

Then there is the old doves "Barrel roll"................... Mercy !!

Glad they never figured how to make the clays do that.......................
I'd be a wreck.
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Re: How do you lead a target ?

Postby apexhunter » Fri Jul 27, 2012 1:10 pm

Sagebrush wrote:Is that bird heading into the wind or going down wind with the "Burners on" !! ??

Then there is the old doves "Barrel roll"................... Mercy !!

Glad they never figured how to make the clays do that.......................
I'd be a wreck.


Amen Brother!!!!!!!! Good thing clays normally fly on a consistent path.

Although there is one station at the clays course around here where they occasionally set up an elevated trap throwing a curving/dropping incomer at a 45 degree angle from 65 yards or sowith a batu or a midi. When the wind is blowing it is one hell of a challenge...especially with the midi bouncing around as it turns edgewise and drops like a rock.

All this discussion is making me itch like hell for 5 weeks from tomorrow when I'll be in a sunflower field at daybreak with my trusty 28, a box of ammo and my mojo sitting 20 yards out front...not to mention the pig pickin' I'll cook for the party we throw on Sunday to celebrate Labor Day weekend.
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Re: How do you lead a target ?

Postby 3200 man » Fri Jul 27, 2012 1:53 pm

Sage ,
You've got a target like that on your home course ,it's station 2 or 3 ,the one that's thrown down in the southest canyon .
The target is traveling uphill at the bottom and falling and tailing off ,toward the shooter ! OH YEA ,it ate my lunch but ,
I went back and shoot at 25 more after the shoot and guess what , I missed 23 of them ,at 45 yds at the break point I could
not figure it out . Next time ,they have that target I'm going to skip that station and try to do better ( than anyone else) on
the others because ,I know ,how that station screws with a guys head ,making him miss targets on stations after that one .
Plus ,I'll save 4 or 6 shells .
Yea , I also did the Barrow Roll trick ,it didn't work ether .

Apex , you sound like my kind of guy .I also shoot Doves starting with a 410,then a 28 with a limit each gauge up to 12 ga ,
it's sure adds a little sport to the openning of the seasons and a Grand Time of Year .
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Re: How do you lead a target ?

Postby apexhunter » Fri Jul 27, 2012 2:06 pm

Definitely a great time of year! Nothing better than a good dove hunt, a party and some college football to kick off the fall!

I may use my SXS .410 for opening morning since they'll be flying better than in the afternoon but I just love the 28. They finally are opening season at 30min before sunrise for the first time in years...it has been noon for the first week which sux big time. On Monday I may up the odds and use my 20 or 16 but that's cheating on birds within 30 yards.

We have a contest to see who can get their limit with the least shots and so far I've won it 2 of the last 3 years with my 28 so I'll probably keep the streak going; that is unless weather comes through and they are flying high and strong where I'll bust out the sweet 16.
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