The most important fundamental in shooting or any hand-eye coordination sport, for that matter, is the focusing of the eyes on the object, in our case the target. Even though it is the most important, it is the least understood and perfected of all components of shooting.
Like a lot of shooters who participate in the clay target games, I will often shoot with over/unders some days and semi-auto shotguns other days. I thoroughly enjoy shooting my over/unders. They fit me well, are comfortable to shoot (primarily because they do fit me), are attractive and, admittedly, there is a level of pride I feel when shooting an over/under. But, if I had to be brutally honest, and someone asked me which design I shoot better, I would have to say the semi-autos. Why is that?
I am sure many of our present-day shooters have never heard of Herb Orre or for that matter, his Super Choke, but in the history of trapshooting he was a very influential and important person. In his years of choking barrels, it was often said he had broken more clay targets than any other man who had lived. Not that he had, but his Super Choke had broken the targets. He choked all models and makes, but if you had a Model 12 you shot trap with, you just had to have a Herb Orre Super Choke in it.
Trap guns have evolved rapidly over the past few decades. When I started competitive shooting almost 50 years ago, an adjustable stock was dependent on how much moleskin you could affix to the comb. Adjusting the impact of the barrel usually involved a fork in a large tree or giving the barrel a few strong “whacks” over several bags of shot on the tailgate of a pickup truck. Fortunately, most trap guns today come with an adjustable comb and some come with adjustable ribs to change the point of impact (without bending the barrel!).
“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”
—Karl Marx (among a whole host of others)
Recently I spoke to a high school shotgun team and their parents about the value of mental training. During that speech I mentioned practice should not be fun because it is supposed to be hard work. I used the example I mention a lot in this column, that shooting a round of skeet is not practice unless you are trying to learn how to shoot a round of skeet.
How much would you pay for a good semi-automatic shotgun? $500, $1,000, $1,500, $2,000?
“I can make you faster, but I can’t make you fast.”
—Jerry Baltes, Head Coach, Grand Valley State University Track and Field
It is a typical Saturday morning at your local gun club, and along with the large gathering of shooters, are shotguns and ammunition from just about every conceivable manufacturer. Today the shooters will give little, if any, thought as to whether the ammunition they have purchased will fit and fire safely in their favorite shotgun. For that, they can thank the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute, the industry-sponsored institute commonly known as SAAMI.
At the recent 2017 SHOT Show, Fabarm, the Italian gunmaker known for their unique flair in the design and appearance of their firearms, debuted a new model over/under shotgun that is gathering considerable attention. Officially, the full moniker of this new model is the Fabarm Axis Allsport QRR (Quick Release Rib). However, for the sake of saving ink, in this review we will call it the Axis Allsport.
If you have been competing for any time, you probably have a pre-shot ritual. For most shooters, it consists of lining up your feet, choosing the start and end point for the shot, visualizing the path of the target, making a pass along the line of flight with an unloaded gun, loading and taking a deep breath just before calling for the shot — just like your coach taught you.