The gun mount is a crucial part of good shooting technique and knowing how to do it correctly can make a difference in consistently hitting targets. There are exercises to do at home that can help you shoot successfully after mounting your gun. We have put together a guide on how you can improve, so you will enjoy better shooting when the season starts again.
Where to Start
Before starting your practice gun mount at home, make double sure that the gun is not loaded. Your gun also needs to fit you, and for beginners going to a gun shop to get your shotgun properly fitted makes a huge difference when it comes to mounting. You also need to determine your dominant eye and shoot off the same shoulder.
Practising gun mounts means you will be mounting your gun correctly every time, and your footwork and movements need to be automatic and second nature. Repeating movements regularly means you gain muscle memory, and you can perform the movement without thinking about it. This muscle memory is an advantage when mounting a shotgun, as precision is needed, without much thinking. Shooting is intuitive so having the muscle memory helps you shoot consistently in the field.
To correctly mount your gun, there are a number of steps involved before you are ready to pull the trigger. Consistency is the aim, so practice is essential. Some targets allow more time to think when mounting, but the steps listed below are always the same.
1. Start in the “gun down” position, which means the barrels are pointing up safely, with the butt of the gun underneath your armpit.
2. From the starting point, move your leading foot forward slightly to maintain balance.
3. Push the gun forwards with your front hand, towards the target. Your eyes should be locked onto the target.
4. Bring the butt of the gun into your shoulder, and the comb against your face, sitting underneath the cheekbone.
When mounting, try to keep in mind that the target should be followed while mounting, and your head needs to keep still. Moving your head too much will ruin your shot.
For Clay Shooting
When it comes to gun mounting for clay pigeon shooting, you have the advantage of shooting the same target as many times as you like. This means you can learn where first spot the target, its direction and speed, so you can determine the kill spot and practise over and over. For clay shooting, you can also have the gun always mounted and ready to fire between shots, but should be able to mount from the “gun down” position consistently.
For Game Shooting
The difference in game shooting is you don’t know where the bird is coming from, even on a driven shoot. The game bird can fly in various directions, and quick mounting is harder to do. Safety is also important, as walking with a mounted gun is highly dangerous. Shotguns are also not lightweight and carrying them in a mounted or “gun down” position is tiring.
Practice at Home
As mentioned above, muscle memory is built through repetition. Because of this, you should practice mounting your gun at home. Only doing it a few minutes each day can have a huge difference – but if doing it in your home, make sure the neighbours can’t see you swing a shotgun around!
Use a corner of the ceiling as a target, and carry out a few drills so you can get used to the movement. The “vanilla” drill aims to improve accuracy and consistency and start from the “gun down” position, and mount using a static target. Try doing drills that cross left to right and vice versa too. Add another “target” in the room, or outdoors if you have space, and mount at the second target before following the first. Do this from targets to the left and right of the first target you chose.
Other drills to try include the “going away drill”, which aims to replicate the movement of targets that are flying away. Start with your gun aimed lower, before moving higher to the first target. The opposite drill to this drill is the “incoming” one, where you practice mounting onto a target which is flying towards you, starting higher and dropping down.
When practising at home, a good exercise is mounting in front of the mirror. This gives you the chance to make a note of things such as your head not moving when on the comb of the stock, that your eye is over the top barrel and you mount in the same place every time.
We hope this guide has helped you and you will soon start perfecting your mount so when the shooting season starts again you are shooting targets more consistently. When out shooting, make sure you have a quality gun slip to carry your shotgun between positions. Why not also take a look at our recent blog posts on shooting, from gun maintenance FAQs to our guide on how to get into shooting.