Russell Mark Q&A – 2016

Article 9 – 2016

Question: I was given a copy of your recent article in the Australian Shooters Journal (ASJ) about how to pattern a shotgun. I found it really enjoyable and used your advice to the test my Beretta and have been surprised by the results as to where my shotgun actually was shooting. The question I have for you is what is the perfect distance to actually pattern test the firearm from? I was always under the opinion that this distance was to be 40 yards. Why do you not advise this?

Robert Caple, Virginia SA

Answer: 40 yards (36.5 metres) is still considered the most desirable distance to ascertain the performance of any trap or hunting shotshell through the barrel of the firearm you will be using. At that distance judgment calls can be made to see how the velocity of the shotshell may be blowing the shot pattern apart or alternatively holding the pattern together. The performance of the shot, wad and choke of the barrel can also be made by actually counting the percentage of pellets that remain in a pre determined defined diametre which at 40 yards is generally 30 inches. (Sorry for the imperial measurements, but often shotshell performance is still solely spoken about in this form.)

The article you are referring to in the recent ASJ was specifically written about making calculations and alterations as to the point of impact above, below, left or right of a defined aiming point. It makes no assumptions on the performance of the shotshell. Most shotgun shooters have no idea where their firearm is throwing its payload of shot in relation to the target. Because shotgun shooting has a fair degree of margin for error many shooters never bother to take the time to walk down to a pattern board at their local club and ascertain where their gun is actually shooting.

I advise people to test their accuracy at no more than 18 metres (20 yards) as holding a shotgun as steady as a freehand rifle shot is very difficult for most people that are not use to the steadiness of hand required to perform this task accurately. Obviously the further you move back from the pattern board then even the slightest barrel movement will give a false account of your shotguns true point of impact.

Remember the shot leaves the barrel and spreads in a fairly symmetrical cone formation so the percentage above, below, left or right of the target will remain constant until around 55 metres (dependent on shot size) when the effects of gravity start pulling the shot towards the earth.

Interestingly many Americans test their trap shotguns at only 13 yards as they say this will give them an even greater level of accuracy, which indeed is true. The only issue I have with this distance is often the shot really hasn’t had enough time to spread quite wide enough through tight trap barrel chokes therefore making an accurate estimation difficult. Also the powerful impact on the clubs pattern board will tend to be harsh at this close distance.

An important thing to understand when patterning your shotgun is to mount the gun to your shoulder and place your face on the stock in EXACTLY the same manner you do when you are on the range or in the field. If you are doing this pre-shot procedure differently when shooting at the pattern board then you are simply wasting your time. I see many shooters that have a very aggressive gun mount when they are actually shooting competition under pressure, but when they go to the test their firearms they fire at the stationary pattern board they change to a very deliberate and soft gun mount. This often means their face is not as locked into the stock of the shotgun in the same way that it is when on the range that in turn will mean their shot on the pattern plate will be higher and in many cases further to the right (for right hand shooters).

One last piece of advice is to fire three shots from the same barrel one after another when patterning your shotgun. This will give you a pretty decent “average” pattern to make your assumptions on and will obviously discount any small mistakes due to “pulling” the shot slightly away from the aiming point. Again it is important to remember we are only looking for a percentage relative to the aiming point.

Article 8 – 2016

Question: I want to know how I should “balance” my shotgun better. I own a Miroku Model 10 Sporting model and everyone who picks it up tells me it is too “barrel heavy”. Is this a myth and is there a way to fix it?

Gary Sanders, Hawthorn VIC

Answer: An unbalanced shotgun is certainly no myth and in your particular case it sounds fairly easy to rectify. The term “barrel heavy” simply means when the shotgun is placed on its central balancing point, which on a standard over and under shotgun is virtually on the pivot point where the break open action of the firearm connects to the barrels, the gun will fall forward. This means the barrels are much heavier than the stock thus making the gun feel as though the barrels are too weighty. Ideally the firearm should be balanced on this central point therefore the barrels will neither fall forward or back when independently left to support itself on the central balance point of the shotgun.

To rectify your problem it is as simple as adding some lead weight into the very rear of the stock. You may have to drill a small hole in the wood under your recoil pad to add the weight or if you like you can use the stock’s internal bolt-hole. Whichever you chose you need to pack the lead in tight because if it becomes loose you will find the added loose weight moving freely around in your gun stock will cause a significant increase in the actual recoil of the shotgun. Remember if you put the weight in the stock hole it will at some stage it will need to be removed when the gun requires servicing as the bolt needs to be accessed for the internal trigger mechanism of the shotgun to be become free. Lead fishing sinkers are a good source of gun weights and it will probably take a little trial and error until the desired balance point is reached.

If a shotgun is “barrel light” then some wood may need to be removed from the stock or alternatively some weight added to the barrels or even added under the shotguns forend to achieve the desired balance point. Wheel balancing weights are perfect for this. Remember that decreasing the shotguns overall weight will make the firearm feel livelier to shoot with, but it will also make it harder to control especially under pressure. Of course the other problem that you will face with a lighter shotgun is more recoil.

Many models of shotguns are now starting to appear with barrel weights added into the stock of the gun so adding or subtracting weight is a simple as unscrewing a small screw inside the stock of the gun. Balance is a very personal thing, but nearly every reputable manufacturer will balance their own shotguns before they send them onto their distributor for sale.

Question:I used steel shot for the first time at this years at duck opening and was surprised by the results. Would you recommend the use of steel shot for sporting clays?

Keith Gauci, St Albans VIC

Answer: Keith if all your shots at the sporting clay range you compete at are under thirty-five metres then it may be OK. Not perfect, but OK. Steel shot does not weigh as much as lead and at greater distances it will not have as much breaking power on the rim of a clay target. My experience tells me that you are optimistic to think that every target is within these confines so my preference will always be towards high quality 5% antimony lead shot when longer distances are required to break clays. Whilst there are some grounds around the world that require the use of only steel shot there are some that actually prohibit it’s use so always ask before using it. The other hidden wildcard is that some firearm manufacturers will not support the use of steel shot through any barrel which has a choke in it tighter than modified (half choke) as they say it increases the risk of barrel damage and therefore your warranty will not be honored. This point alone is well worth noting before using steel shot in any situation.

Article 7 – 2016

Question: I have just started shooting a little trap, skeet and even sporting clays. I enjoy them all, but I am having some issues. In trap I am missing the sharp angled targets, but I don’t seem to have the same problems with these harder shots in Skeet and Sporting Clays. I was told I am not leading the targets far enough in trap and that I should try and shoot about a metre in front of the really sharp angled trap targets. Presently my expert shooting friend tells me that I am only shooting a half metre in front of the clays. Is there a way to explain how I should double my lead?

Alan Doyle, Brisbane QLD

Answer: Alan before you do anything else make sure you send me the email address of your “expert shooting friend” as I have never met anyone that can distinguish actual lead to that degree of detail on a trap target. If he is that good I want to submit his name to be the next National Shotgun Coach.

Lead in clay target shooting is purely in the eyes of the person holding the shotgun and pulling the trigger. Everyone perceives it differently, but in trap shooting there really is only one type of lead used, which is commonly referred to as the “swing through” method. In doing this a competitor identifies the flight line of the clay target and moves the shotgun from behind and underneath through the targets trajectory. As the barrel catches the target the trigger is pulled. The time it takes for the brain and eyes to all work together coupled with the speed of the barrel moving through the target gives the lead required. This all takes place in tenths of a second and no clear and concise mathematical lead is calculated. Lead is purely performed by barrel speed and timing. To say you are a half metre in front of the target instead of a full metre may merely mean that you need to swing the barrel faster thus giving you greater lead. There are many factors that need to be taken into account here, but the barrels starting position in relation to the trap house when the target is called to be released will be the greatest factor. If I was constantly shooting behind angled targets I would find a way to move the barrels faster and the most common way to do this is by starting the barrels lower to the trap house thus generating more gun speed. This is why Olympic Trap competitors hold the gun lower to the trap house than DTL/American Trap competitors who don’t need quite the same amount of barrel speed due to the vastly slower targets.

Many shots in Sporting Clays and nearly all Skeet targets are shot with what is called “sustained lead” which means a more calculated distance is maintained by the barrel in front of the target for a period of time before the trigger is pulled. This type of lead can only be used when there is enough time for all of these factors to be combined. Trap shooting simply does not have the type of target that requires this method.

The final method of lead is called the “pull away” method where the barrel is held closely to the target for some time and just prior to the shot being executed the barrel is accelerated or pushed in front of target therefore giving the required lead. Many hunters prefer this method, but it is certainly not used exclusively as many game birds need to be shot on a shooters reflexes, which would almost always require the swing through method of lead.

I hope this helps answer your question, but it is impossible to be definitive in a response unless I see you actually fire at the target. There could easily be other reasons for your missed shots particularly if your gun stock is not the correct height which may mean you have the correct lead, but are missing the target by continually shooting above or below the targets flight line.

Article 6 (Olympic Appeal) – 2016

Question: Like many people I am totally confused about the appeal that took place over the Men’s Trap position for the forthcoming Rio Olympic Games. Can you please explain it in layman’s terms and do you think the selection process was fair?

Bob Turner, Bendigo VIC

Answer: Don’t feel bad about being confused Bob. I think everyone was confused and many still are.

Shooting Australia (SA) released its Olympic Game’s Selection Policy designating two events early this year that an athlete could automatically qualify for the Trap Team in Rio if they met certain criteria. Only athletes that had achieved an internationally recognized Minimum Qualifying Score (MQS) over the previous two years would be eligible for an Olympic nomination at either of these events. To be nominated an athlete would have to hit a nominated benchmark score of 121 targets out of a possible125 in the qualification rounds and then go on to win the Gold Medal Match in the same event. If they did this they would be considered for the Olympic Team. No Trap shooter in either the Men’s or Women’s category achieved this prerequisite. With no automatically selected athletes to choose from under their policy SA was at its absolute discretion to subjectively select whatever two athletes they wanted. Here is where the trouble began.

SA selected Adam Vella and Michael Diamond. There was no argument that they were both fine competitors that have had a history of impressive international results however a young Victorian teenage competitor, Mitchell Iles, appealed against his non-selection largely based on two factors. Firstly over the preceding 12 months he had achieved the Shooting Australia Olympic benchmark score of 121 more times than both Diamond and Vella in recognized and designated SA competitions and also on May 1st this he became the number ranked Men’s Olympic Trap competitor based on SA’s own Athlete Performance results as evident on their own website. As of June 20th Iles was still ranked number one with Vella second and Diamond third.

The initial appeal was heard under the confines of SA’s own appeal procedure policy. There were two appeals. Women’s Skeet shooter Laura Coles who was the 2014 Commonwealth Games Gold Medallist and 2015 World Cup Finallist appealed against her non-selection when a sixteen-year old Aislin Jones, whom had never competed in a solitary world-ranking event, received the SA Olympic nomination. The Appeal Tribunal found in favour of both Shooting Australia’s two initial choices of Vella and Diamond and Jones. Personally I was a little surprised that Coles dropped a further appeal, but Iles exercised his right to take this matter to the International Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS) where his case was scheduled for June 20th. A CAS appeal involves a massive financial commitment from the appellant and becomes very time consuming to prepare Sadly this may have been the reason why Coles didn’t pursue this further. It is important to note that Iles was appealing against his non-selection and not actually against Vella or Diamond.

On June 30th Shooting Australia decided not to nominate Michael Diamond to the Australian Olympic Team due to some outstanding legal charges. In the words of the CEO of Shooting Australia Diamond put the sport into an inappropriate position. Coincidentally the very next day Iles appeal was upheld in the CAS. The Tribunal found that the original SA section panel had failed to take into account the develop prospect Iles gave the sport in respect to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. With Diamond ineligible Iles was nominated on July 4th, the very last day anyone could be nominated to the Olympic Team.

In my opinion, and also that of a good many other experienced current and former athletes and administrators, the policy was fundamentally flawed from the beginning. First of all Shooting Australia had controlled who was eligible to compete at all of the events where an Olympic MQS was to be obtained therefore drastically reducing the size of the competition pool of athletes that were starting the Olympic selection process with an MQS score. Secondly clay target shooting is at the mercy of many external issues that inhibit high scoring. Wind, rain, poor light, quality of target machines, background, clay target colour and composition are just a few factors that will dramatically lower scores. There is no doubt the best shooter will always shoot the highest qualification score, but it may not always be a score at a pre-determined level based on overseas scores that are often shot at perfect ranges at the optimum time of the year. Finally a new “finals” system has been introduced for this Olympic period making a competitors Qualifying score void as it wiped back to zero when the semi final starts therefore all six finalists starting equal. The competitors competing for the Gold Medal Match are selected on just 15 targets where only one shot can be fired at the target (in qualification two shots can be used). This means a huge element of good or bad luck can determine a competitor’s semi final fate regardless of how well they competed in the qualification rounds.

If anything positive has come out of the whole media circus leading into the Rio Olympics it is hopefully that a fairer and totally transparent “first past the post” selection system will be adopted in the future. Clay Target Shooting is a very simple sport and teams should not be selected in Boardrooms or worse still in Courtrooms.

Article 5 – 2016

Question: I am in my late forties and I noticed that my eyesight is starting to get a bit blurry at distance. I hate the thought of wearing glasses and have had people tell me that you had laser surgery to improve your eyesight. I am not sure about that sort of drastic action, but is it really necessary to have perfect eyesight to shoot well.

Keith Garrett, Sunshine VIC

Answer: I had laser surgery on my eyes after winning the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. I was becoming quite short sighted (trouble seeing things at a distance) and had to wear prescription glasses to shoot in. Did I have to wear glasses? Well no, but it helped see the things that I was shooting at much better! I guess it is a similar to asking how fit do you have to be to run a marathon? The fitter you are the better you will run. With shooting there is no doubt that the better you see something the more accurately you will shoot it.

I was provided with a great example of this recently at a week-long tournament in Wagga Wagga. I was squadded with a former Olympic teammate who was also a former World Champion. I hadn’t shot with this guy for quite some time and I was very surprised how badly he shot one day when it was overcast and dull. I would still rate him as one of the best trap shooters in the country, but when there was low light his performances clearly suffered. Over dinner we discussed his shooting and he admitted he was really struggling. Within the month he was booked into a prominent laser eye surgeon to have his eyesight restored. I would expect a different caliber of shooter the next time we meet.

My advice is to get to your optician as soon as possible. If you need prescription glasses to try then there are plenty of cheap shooting frames on the market that have “pop out” lenses perfect for your optician to insert you’re a prescription lenses. If you hate glasses and don’t want to spend a few grand on laser surgery then there is still the option of contact lenses. I would always advice wearing glasses even if you go down this path simply for safety purposes, but the added bonus of wearing glasses is that it provides the option of wearing side blinders that not only give further safety protection, but also the benefit of sun and wind protection as well as aiding in concentration due to less visual distractions.

Good eyesight is just one of the pieces of the puzzle that determines the makeup of a competitor. Technique and mental toughness are just as important, but there is an old saying in our sport that “you can’t shoot what you can’t see”.

Question: I heard that gun stocks need a “winter” stock and a “summer” stock. Can you explain what that means?

Adam Curry, Leongatha VIC

Answer: I am pretty sure that this term would be referring to the length of the stock. This is commonly measured from the trigger to the end of the recoil pad. If you are shooting in a climate that is cold you will generally find that you are adding layers of clothing to cater for the weather. This is reality is also adding length to your shotgun. Even though the physical length may be no different the “feel” of the firearm will appear longer and in many cases harder to mount to the shoulder. I certainly shortened my stock by 3 mm when I was competing in the colder climates to make the consistency of the shotgun feel the same no matter what weather I was experiencing.

Article 4 – 2016

Question: I have enjoyed shooting clay targets for many years, but have never shot in a real competition. I seem to be able to shoot some reasonable scores when I go to the range however whenever our group of friends shoot for a few dollars to add some reward to our practice rounds I tend to suffer from nerves a little and my scores show this. Have you got some advice on how to overcome this?

Todd Macintosh, Berwick VIC

Answer: I am pretty sure you are suffering from what is commonly called the “little man in your head syndrome”. In essence what is happening is that after years of training the essential skills to shoot relatively good scores in practice rounds when you are put in a stressful situation, such as shooting for money, you are introducing another unknown element to the shooting equation. Pressure. Dealing with it is one of the most important elements of the sport. I rate it as important as a good fitting shotgun.

The only difference between just shooting clays for fun as opposed to shooting for money is the result of your shot is being recorded in the latter scenario. Once scores are written down pressure becomes a factor because of pride, reputation and even financial loss or gain. When you are shooting for fun your heart rate will be lower, your swing smoother and in general everything will come together with ease. Once pressure is exerted there becomes a tendency to move away from shooting the targets with your own natural ability and all of a sudden a little voice in your head starts to tell you how to mount the gun, where to look, how tight to hold the gun etc. etc. At first you will think this little voice in your head telling you things is somebody sent from heaven trying to help you achieve your ultimate goal and win the prize, but in actual fact he is nothing short of the devil himself. He is actually trying to distract you from all the technical knowledge your brain has stored after learning from many perfect shots time and time again. This “little man” is trying to make you mechanically shoot the targets through constant instruction so your own natural ability and technique will be distracted.

Many people overcome this instructional voice by distracting this little man with his loud voice. The most common way is by simply hearing a song in your head and concentrating on this so as to let the actual shooting happen naturally. This of course only works if you have a sound technical knowledge and ability built up from constant amounts of quality training. How many times have you heard of people shooting well when they are suffering from a hangover? Why you may ask? It is simply because when you are feeling ill or suffering from the effects of last nights party the little man in your head leaves you alone because you already have the built in excuse why you will shoot badly and all of a sudden because you are shooting simply on your instincts a competitive score is built.

I have often suggested there are two types of successful competitive shooters. Those that are intelligent, but learn how to shoot dumb and those that are just plain dumb and just shoot naturally. Sadly the latter are often the hardest to beat.

There is really no difference between shooting a round of practice at your local club and competing in the Olympic Games. It is only how you perceive the situation.

Article 3 – 2016

Question: I have just started shooting clay targets and have a pretty good sporting shotgun with an adjustable stock. I want to shoot some competitions in trap and I was wondering if there are five main basic fundamental skills to becoming a better shooter?

Anthony Blackburn, Richmond NSW

Answer: Anthony it’s a question I get asked often so I would be happy to answer it.

1. Determine what your dominant eye is. Twenty eight percent of right-handed people have their left eye as their master eye. If you cannot genuinely shoot from your left shoulder then you will have to close or cover your left eye to consistently shoot clay targets. If you are lucky enough to have the same eye dominance matching your handedness then learn to shoot with two eyes open as quickly as possible.

2. Find a pattern board. It is amazing the amount of shotgun shooters that have absolutely no idea where their shotgun is actually shooting in relation to their target. Go to a range that has a pattern board and spend some time and maybe a box of ammunition fine-tuning your shotgun to make it imprint at a point that is relevant to the discipline you are shooting. Do this at twenty metres and fire three shots at the board before checking the pattern percentage above or below, left or right, of the aiming point on the board. As a general rule a trap gun should imprint higher than a sporting or field gun.

3. Learn the correct stance. For trap it is easy. Assuming you are right handed, to find the starting stance on the middle station (station 3) you should pretend there is a clock superimposed on the concrete below. Place your left foot facing at 1 o’clock and your right foot facing at 2 o’clock. As you move from station 3 to the two stations on your right you add half and hour to each foot. On the two stations to the left of station 3 you subtract half an hour for each foot. So starting on Station 1 your left foot will be at 12 o’clock and your right foot at 1 o’clock and by Station 5 your left foot should be pointed at 2 o’clock and your right at 3 o’clock. This will position your body at the optimum position for each station. If you are left handed your starting position on Station 1 will be 10 o’clock for your right foot and 9 o’clock for your left and by station 5 your stance should have shifted to 12 o’clock for your right foot and 11 o’clock for your left.

4. Mount the gun keeping your eyes parallel to the horizon. One of the most common faults for beginners is to drop their heads across the stock and look along the barrel with their eyes crocked. Practice dry firing the gun at home in front of a mirror to make sure your eyes are straight. You would not drive to work with your head tilted on the side so shooting clay targets with the same head position is certainly not going to help your target acquisition either.

5. Practice quality not quantity and record your results. Two great rounds of training at the range where you have set specific goals to achieve will be better than eight rounds of practice just for the sake of shooting. Make every practice shot count by putting in the maximum amount of mental effort required. Record your training and competition scores and any technical changes you make a tried in a in a diary for future reference.

This list could have another twenty headings added to it, but these five should get you started and hold you well in your quest to break more clays.

Good luck with it.

Article 2 – 2016

Question: In an earlier article you briefly mentioned the amount of shotguns that were now currently available with a raised rib above the barrel. I have felt a few of these and they point very nice. I am interested in your thoughts about an adjustable rib? Can you explain how they work as it very confusing to me?

Ralph Hutchinson, Perth WA

Answer: Certainly one of the most recent trends we have seen in the development of shotguns used for the clay target sports over the past decade is the raised and adjustable rib. The raised rib has the huge advantage of helping acquire the target by allowing the front hand that is positioned on the forend of the shotgun to be further below the sighting plane (rib) thus not causing and blind spot that the front hand position can contribute to. The discipline where this is a distinct advantage is in Trap where many competitors call for the target to be released when their shotgun is positioned between the trap machine and the target breaking point. In saying that there certainly has been a trend in the United States in Sporting Clays where many of the top competitors are also using these types of ribs on their shotguns. Americans like gadgets and hence the adjustable raised rib was born.

The advantage of this type of rib is once your stock is fitted and you are comfortable with it then it will never need to be moved again if you want to shoot a discipline that requires the shotgun to place its payload in a different position. Some companies are now promoting shotguns that truly are an “all round” clay target shooting firearm. A practicable example of this would be a 75 cm barrel shotgun with adjustable chokes and that was set up initially to shoot Sporting Clays. I would set the shotgun up initially with the rib in its mid position (halfway between its highest and lowest point at the front). If it was set up to throw its shot pattern at about sixty percent above its point of aim for the sporting discipline it would only need the front of the rib to be wound down a couple of millimetres to make the gun shoot higher so it would be well suited for shooting Trap targets that are constantly rising. Many Skeet competitors or even hunters like their shotguns shooting very flat (fifty per cent above the point of aim) so the adjustable rib would need to be lifted slightly from its original position in the middle.

I know this sounds like the opposite of what you need to be doing. Where this becomes confusing is simply by the fact that by lowering the rib your sight picture along the barrel becomes very flat because you have left the back of the rib fixed ii its original position and you are now virtually looking down the ramp. By lifting the rib above the mid position your sight picture along the barrel will be looking “up the ramp” which you may think makes the firearm shoot lower, but it really is an optical illusion. As long as you do not adjust the stock of the shotgun in any way what I suggest is correct. Lowering the adjustable rib will make the shotgun shoot higher and lifting it will make it shoot lower. You really need to do this whilst using a pattern board to truly understand how this works, but if you can resist the temptation to wind the rib up and down between missed shots then the adjustable rib is a great tool to work with.

Article 1 – 2016

Question: I have read with interest your previous comments on what you consider the best all round shotgun is to shoot clay targets is and I certainly agree that a sporter with an adjustable stock is great advice. What I am torn about is barrel length and shot size. If you had to choose one barrel with one set of chokes in it I am curious what you believe the best all round barrel and shot size would be?

Peter Campbell, Wangaratta VIC

Answer: Peter it is your lucky day. Not long after I received your email I was speaking with the man whom I consider to be the greatest shotgun shooter the world has ever seen, England’s George Digweed MBE, and I asked him if he would answer your question for me and If he has agreed to let me publish his response;

“I would 32 inch barrels as they are harder to start, but also harder to stop. I would use full and full chokes because you have to be honest with yourself and if you miss it is down to operator error and not cartridge or choke. My ideal shot size would be 7 ½ as this to me is the best all round size. Basically with the above I used this combination to win both the World All Round Championships that were conducted in the USA a decade ago. These were events over nine hundred targets.”

When George talks everyone listens and his wealth of knowledge about shotgun shooting, whether it be clays or in the field, is second to none. He is also far too big to argue with. I hope this answers your question.

Question: What is your opinion of wearing a cap and blinders on the side of shooting glasses? I find it very uncomfortable at times, but everybody tells me it is essential to compete both of these accessories.

Randall Holmes, Rockhampton QLD

Answer: I did compete with both of these items for most of my career, but bear in mind the majority of my shooting was on a trap range where everyone is lined up standing closely along side each other so even the slightest movement from the competitor standing either side of you can be very off putting particularly if it is at the moment you are calling for the target to be released.

I note that you are from northern Queensland where the heat is far more of a factor and I admit I hated competing in a fully covered cap in these conditions and often used an open back tennis visor instead just to control sweating. Blinders in humidity often cause glasses to fog up because the airflow is severely restricted by blocking up both sides of your lenses. If you are a sporting or skeet shooter then blinders can be a huge disadvantage as it can delay target recognition on clays that are coming across in front of you released at acute angles from beside or behind you.

Question: Is there any advantage of using one of the new “Adler” lever action shotguns on clay targets? My brother told me the single barrel would make me shoot more accurately than an over and under shotgun.

Ken McKenzie, Katherine NT

Answer: Your brother is a funny man Ken. No there is no advantage I can think of. Only disadvantages as your hand will need to move off the trigger and grip between shots, which can’t help you shoot accurately. This gun has its uses I am sure, but competitive clay target shooting isn’t one of them.

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