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Article 4 – 2021 (May)

Russell Mark

Australian Shooter Magazine, Question and Answers

Article 3 – 2021 (April)

Question: I am wondering if you could explain exactly what the term means when I am told I need to “see a figure 8” down the barrel of my shotgun. I was under the impression that I shouldn’t see anything down the barrel of the shotgun as I should be concentrating on the target that I am shooting at. Any help would be appreciated.

Floyd Harris, Wantirna VIC

Answer: The term “figure 8” refers to the alignment you may see when you look down the barrel of your shotgun should you have a centre bead fitted. Many shotguns only have a front sight therefore this term is useless if that is the case. If you do have a mid-bead, then if your eye is perfectly aligned down the middle of the barrel the centre bead should be situated in line with the front sight. If your stock has a high enough comb, then the top of mid bead should be “stacked” on the bottom of the front bead therefore forming the illusion of the number eight. In reality it is more like an upside-down snowman as the front sight will be much larger than the smaller mid bead.

Many trap shooters preach seeing this figure 8 alignment because it will mean that their shotgun will shoot a slightly higher point of impact in relation to their point of aim as opposed if the beads were perfectly aligned one behind the other. For fast rising trap targets this higher configuration is seen as beneficial and the illusion of the number eight just reinforces their shotgun will throw their shot pattern high. Many actually prefer seeing a small gap between the two beads therefore throwing their shot even higher. Everyone has a different sight picture so there really is no “one size fits all” winning combination.

You are certainly correct in your description of what you should be seeing when you are pulling the trigger when pointing the shotgun at your target. You should see the object that you are trying to knock out of the sky perfectly clear and the front sight or end of your barrel as something as a blur in your fore vision. If you get this back the front, then you will be in all sorts of trouble.

The figure 8 is simply an aid before you are ready to shoot. For dry firing at home when practicing your gun mounts then this can be very beneficial to ensure you have the correct and consistent gun mount to keep your eye perfectly centered down the middle of the barrel, but once you enter the competition arena or even if you are standing in the middle of duck swamp then concentrating on obtaining a figure 8 illusion is going to cause you a lot of pain.


Question: Do you think the Olympics in Tokyo will go ahead and do you think they should actually proceed?

Grant Izard, Mont Albert VIC

Answer: Yes and yes. I think with the role out of the vaccine and knowing the professionalism and dedication of the Japanese people who have been assigned this monumental task I really believe they can pull it off. For the athletes that have put their lives on hold to take part in what will be for many, a once in a lifetime experience, you have to hope and pray that they get their chance. It has been bad enough they have had to put their life on hold for a year whilst the Games were postponed, but to miss out altogether would be unfathomable for many. Shooters I guess have the ability to have extended careers therefore Paris in 2024 is now just around the corner, but for athletes in sports like Gymnastics or even Swimming, where at the age of twenty-one you are considered a veteran then this may be their one and only chance to represent their country at this level. I know there are more important things in life than sport, but for these dedicated athletes it is hard to convince them of this. Let’s hope we can all get back to sometime of normal again by July and cheer our team on. Go Aussies!!!

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