Wing Shooting Articles
Here's a bumper sticker every bird hunter can display. The changes that have come about in the last few years in the small gauge shotshell business give new meaning the phrase: Little things mean a lot. Boy, do they ever!
Opening day of the South Dakota resident pheasant hunt was full of optimism. The weather was great, even though the winds were building all morning, and had reached almost gail force gusts by high noon. Our party of four hunters had rolled east from Rapid City, which was located three hours west of the real pheasant belt as it were. We had reached the large state game management area we had intended to hunt with about 30 minutes to burn before shooting time. Everyone was excited to get that first drive moving and those first roosters up and into the stiff head wind for that going away trap shooters shot.
Making your own luck -- The knowledge which follows has been artfully concealed from you by a generation of rifle-shooting writers who would have you believe that rifle marksmanship technology is transferable to shotgun use. It is not. These guys think that the sun rises and sets with windage and elevation -- which limits their perceptions to pretending that by staring at shotgun patterning boards and imagining they are performing some useful function.
The excitement of fall and the arrival of cold air have hunters pulling together their gear just waiting for Opening Day. These days hunters need to squeeze every last drop of efficiency from their gear to stay on the cutting edge. This year’s gear helps with everything from training your dog to cooking a meal to laying out your decoys efficiently. So as you are gathering up your gear for the season; take a few moments to review some innovative hunting accessories to help make this year's hunting season fun and rewarding.
The .410 shotgun gets short shrift in today's hunting journals -- not that its anyone's first choice as a game gun -- but because people who write about shotguns start with the premise that their readers "need all the help they can get" -- so better they should go afield maxed out in armament.
Don't take your eyesight for granted. Many of us do, none of us should. As you head off to the range or into the field shooting glasses are a must. When you stop to think about all that is going on in close proximity to your face and eyes, it becomes clear - you just cannot do without the proper shooting eyeglasses. Just the normal act of mounting a semi-auto shotgun and pulling the trigger puts your eyes in harms way of debris leaving the chamber - "blow-back" and ejecting shells. Never mind environmental factors such as wind, dust, chips from incoming target or ricochets. In fact, if you think about it, your choice of shooting eyeglasses could be one of the most important decisions you make before heading into the field.
On the day I sat down to write this story CNN had just announced that China was making a bid for a takeover of a major American oil company. While everyone was running around in a fuss about the whole thing, I was somewhat amused by the fact that foreign interests, like China poking their noses into American business, are far from anything new. I have been watching this element of the new so called world trade structure (China) walk away with the world metals market, and as such, gain a solid foot hold on the basic price of steel, tungsten, lead, and many other basic materials required to manufacture the rifle cartridges and shotshells you use in the field.
The main rap against screw-in chokes is that . . . . .. they add a couple of ounces at the muzzle. Barrel walls have to be thicker to accommodate the threading that screw-in chokes require. The extra weight is going to make a 26" barrel with screw-in chokes feel like a 28" barrel with fixed chokes -- and a 28" barrel with screw-in chokes feel like a 30" barrel with fixed chokes. That's no bad thing of and by itself. The extra weight will help build momentum in the swing, which can be very helpful for dove, ducks and sporting clays targets.
The underlying theme of this year's annual exposition in Las Vegas is the continuing decline of the dollar's value against the Euro and the increase in commodity prices. Lead costs, the principle ingredient in shotshells, have skyrocketed. The net-net to bird hunters is that shotguns and shotshells from Common Market countries, mainly Spain, Germany and Italy, will probably cost more in 2005 than in 2004. But on the other hand, shotgun makers from around the world have reached into their bag of tricks and introduced half-a-dozen side-by-side models, with retail prices under $1,500, that will appeal to the bird hunter with budget constraints.
While a dominant left eye is an annoyance to any right-handed shooter, the curse falls especially hard on the birdhunter. A pistol shooter just has to use a two-hand hold -- the dominant left eye takes over -- and he's in the black without any fuss or bother. The same with a scoped rifle, which can be shot effectively with either eye since the opposite eye is excluded in the sighting process. But with wing shooting there is no way around the fact that a shooter with a dominant left eye is going to shoot three feet to the left of the bird. Or is there?