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4. Gun Swing - Keep on the Trajectory

And keep the gun moving after firing!

For all the shooting techniques described below, there are two things that remain a standard.

Firstly, you must never look at the end of your barrels, the rib, bead or pip, you must never look at where you are pointing the gun to shoot, you MUST however, always look at the target at all times.

Secondly, you must always keep the gun moving after firing for a split second, stopping the gun as soon as it is fired is a very common mistake to make, but it will most definitely lose you targets and birds.

The Method

The best all round technique of shooting that I prefer is the Method, once mastered you can then go onto any other style of shooting. You hold the gun at the gun hold position, at this point you have already established where you will take the bird, the Kill Zone, at the first sight of the bird, mount the gun and start moving with the target approaching from behind on the same trajectory as the target, swing through the target onto the, judging the forward allowance and shoot, keep the gun moving on the same trajectory for a split second, then gun down.


The Seven Stages are:-

  • Visual pick up point
  • Gun hold point
  • Lock on (to the target)
  • Move with it (the target)
  • Pull ahead & shoot (as the sight picture appears)
  • Swing on (to prevent slowing or stopping the gun)
  • Gun down & unload (for safety)

Swing Through or Smoke Trail

The swing through method is as it describes, the gun is mounted and pointed behind the target, swing through, as the term suggests, on the same trajectory as the target, you mount the gun with the barrels pointing behind the target, swing through the target until you reach the position where the forward allowance is sufficient and pull the trigger.

This method is good, as long as you don’t start too far behind the target or too close to the target, generally, if you are missing behind, start closer too the target, if you are missing in front, start further behind the target.

Pull Away

With pull away, the shooter mounts the gun pointing directly at the target, this method is easier to use on fairly predictable targets ie. clay pigeons but with practice it is equally as good for game targets by aiming at the bird and quickly pulling through, it uses our natural ability to point. Using this method, very effectively enables you to judge, the direction, whether it is coming towards you or going away, judgement of speed and distance, it is also a very good method for dealing with long shots and practicing Pull Away can improve your shooting bags or scores but timing and a consistent Gun Mount are essential.

Maintained Lead

In this method the gun is mounted and points directly in front of the target at the correct amount of forward allowance, for maintained lead you must have a good eye for judging lead for different, speed, direction and trajectory of target.

This system is useful for snap shooting is needed where there is a very short window of opportunity, ie. a pheasant going between two trees, or Skeet shooting.

Ambush or Snap Shooting

When there is only a very short window of opportunity, ambush is sometimes the best method to use. It can be used with gun up or gun down, as soon as the target is seen you mount the gun, point at where the target will be and fire. Very useful for targets like Rabbit or pigeon from a hide where instinctive shooting is very successful.