It is said that Sir Joseph Nickerson, the 20th Century British game shooter who broke many of Lord Ripon’s records, had a special empty room on his estate. The walls were painted white with depictions of the various gamebirds here and there. He would practice his gun mount and swing by the hour as he swung along the painted birds on the plaster wall.
Most of us have nothing so elaborate, but we do practice dry firing. Like many of you, I often practice my gun mount inside my office when I seek relief from the pressing duties of gun writing. My standard drill has been to start with the butt just slightly under my armpit and the muzzle on or just below the “flight line” of the bird. My writer’s garret is a trifle too small to hurl a clay target in, so I settle for the junction of the wall and ceiling as the horizontal flight path of the imaginary bird. Starting at one corner of the room, I move the muzzle along the wall/ceiling seam for a little bit as if establishing lead on a crossing bird. Then I mount the gun and fire with a snap cap as the gun touches my face. I continue to follow through as I congratulate myself on yet another fantastic shot. In my dreams.
In an age of iPods, iPads, Kindles, Garmins and atomic watches, the shooting world has not been forgotten. We have the laser beam to help us practice gun mount and shooting.
Laser aids for shotgun mounting, fitting and indoor clays practice aren’t anything new. Basically, you stick a laser pointer in the barrel, aim at stuff on the wall and pretend to fire. You can do almost the same thing with a AA battery-size Maglight. Fits right in the muzzle of a 12-gauge.
Where the laser pointers get more interesting is when one laser acts as the shot-placement indicator and a second separate laser becomes a moving target.
Bob Foege of Robert Louis Co. (http://www.shotguncombogauge.com/) has a number of products in this area. For some time he has carried an “in the barrel” laser (Laser Shooter) and a target-simulating laser (Laser Pro). He recently added a Skeet and Trap Range Banner, sized 9 x 4.5 feet. This allows you to project the laser target against a lifelike-background skeet and trap field for more realistic practice. He also added a green in-the-barrel laser to the usual red lasers for better contrast when shooting a red-laser-dot target.
His latest accessory is the Wobbler. As he says on the Website: “The Wobbler is an oscillating mechanism that moves an attached LaserPro back and forth to duplicate real life Sporting Clays and Trap targets. Used alone, the LaserPro projects straight line targets; used with the Wobbler, the LaserPro projects real-life targets that arch and move in unpredictable patterns.” There is a good video on how this all works at: http://www.shotguncombogauge.com/ALS.html.
You can spend up to $1,500 on one of these light-show packages, but you can also spend less. If you like to practice your gun mount and swing indoors, this stuff is worth a look.
You might also check out the DryFire system at http://www.dryfireus.com/. It seems mostly trap oriented, but it takes a slightly different approach by incorporating your computer. I’ve not seen this system in action, but it’s shiny and has blinking lights, so what’s not to like?
I never make light of the need for practice. Boots off. Beer open.