Station 5 puts
us into the reverse of the situation that we had at Station 3. This time we have
a slow bird followed by a fast bird. (I know they are all moving the same speed
but our perception is that these two are not moving at the same speed.) Slow to
fast is easier than fast to slow. These two birds require direct applications
of the basics like all other stations. High 5 takes at least 3 ½ feet of
lead and you will do just fine with as much as 5 feet of lead. Low 5 can be smoked
with as little as 2 ½ feet of lead if you have sufficient gun speed.
To hit these two:
1. You have to be positioned right to follow through after the shot.
2. Your hold point must be right for you.
You have to see it to hit it.
4. Your head has to be on the gun when you pull the trigger.
Item 1: You have to be positioned right when you call for the bird.
(You may want to look ahead to Station 8 to see my full comments on this issue.
The following assumes you read Station 3 or 8.).
Figure out about where you want to break the bird - at or just beyond the crossing
stake for the high house, and 10-15 feet before the crossing stake for the low
Hold the gun
loosely at a relaxed height but not mounted to anywhere near your shoulder (more
like waist level) with both hands in their normal pre-mount position and both
elbows held in loosely against your body, and look to see that your gun is pointing
at your break point. Now, bring your gun up to your hold point (which varies depending
on what technique you use to shoot but is generally 10 feet to 1/3 of the distance
from the house).
Your feet should be comfortably spaced about shoulder width apart. You will most
likely find that you are facing at or just to the left of the low house. Give
yourself plenty of swing room for the high house because many of us tend to ride
this bird beyond its optimal breaking point. This is not a problem for the low
house. It is normal for you to have to move your feet a bit to the left when you
call for the low house.
Item 2: Your hold point must be right for you.
Swing thru shooters have their hold point very near (but below) the window for
both of these birds because they consciously let the bird get past their barrel
before moving their gun. Sustained lead shooters hold about 1/3 of the distance
between the house and the crossing stake with the barrel below the line of flight
of the bird and do not let the bird get past their barrel at any time. There is
no real magic to holding a couple of feet either way of the above, but you must
be below the line of flight or risk having the target come out below your line
Item 3: You have to see it to hit it.
If you are a swing thru shooter you will be looking in the window on both of these
birds. Sustained lead shooters tend to either look directly over the barrel and
put their peripheral vision to work or look back several feet towards the window.
The important point is to keep the muzzle still until you see the bird clearly.
The most common mistake is to look in the window, call for the bird, and simultaneously
move your eyes to the end of the barrel. Result: nearly a guaranteed miss because
the bird goes out of clear focus.
Item 4: Your head has to be on the gun when you pull the trigger.
For these two targets, many of us tend to get everything right. We get positioned
right with the muzzle pointing somewhere near our desired break point, mount the
gun at or near our hold point, check to be sure we are at the right hold point,
check to be sure our head is on the stock, look in the window, call for the target,
look at the bird, swing the gun with the speed of the bird, pull the trigger when
our brain says to (and our brain knows the lead here too), watch the bird break,
and follow through.
The rest of us do almost everything right. It is the "almost" that results
in a miss that should not have happened. Usually the "almost" is that
we lift our head just before we pull the trigger. We do this for two reasons:
we jump the bird, or we are not watching the bird well enough to see that it has
slipped below our line of swing.
Both of the above promote lifting the head as we pull the trigger and follow through.
In both cases we lift our head to see the target. If we jumped the bird our brain
said to look at what was moving and what was moving was the gun muzzle, but we
know we wanted to be looking at the target. So-o-o-o we lift our head to see the
target and never get it back on the stock. In the second case, we may have done
everything right up to the time we first saw the target come out of the window.
Once we noticed it dropping we failed to keep our eye on the target and consciously
looked at the barrel to reassess the relationship between target flight and muzzle
location. Here too, the tendency is to lift our heads so that we can see the target
again. The problem is that the gun is no longer pointing where we are looking
if our head is off of the stock, and when we pull the trigger all we can expect
to hear is "LOST."
1. You have to be
positioned to break the target at your break point for each shot and follow through
after the shot. Being comfortable at your hold point doesn't break as many targets
because you will run out of swing and stop the gun movement.
2. You have to place your hold point where you can clearly see the target come
out of the window and stay there until you see the target clearly.
3. You have to keep your eye on the target to the exclusion of your muzzle, and
You have to have your head on the gun when you pull the trigger. It can be anywhere
when you mount the gun and call for the bird but it has to be on the gun when
you pull the trigger. Calling for the bird with the head off of the stock works
for some, but most of us don't need to make the game more physically demanding
than it has to be.
Pat Knutson (Fort Lee)