Per­fect­ing gun mount

Any­one se­ri­ous about their shoot­ing must prac­tise their mount reg­u­larly to achieve con­sis­tency, good tim­ing and econ­omy of move­ment

The Field - - Content - writ­ten BY michael Yard­ley

Michael Yard­ley of­fers ad­vice

Many poor shots rush gun mount­ing, typ­i­cally los­ing con­trol of the bar­rels

Some ob­sess over their golf swings and fore­hand drives. For me, it’s a slightly ex­ces­sive in­ter­est in the gun mount. Ask any shoot­ing in­struc­tor or gun­room man­ager: good shots usu­ally have great gun mounts. It is not a univer­sal law but it is cer­tainly true of most first-class shots. The well-prac­tised, well-con­ceived mount is, more­over, in­stantly recog­nis­able. It is usu­ally un­hur­ried but pos­i­tive. There is noth­ing jagged in the ac­tion. Move­ments flow. The gun is han­dled with a cer­tain re­laxed pre­ci­sion. Econ­omy of move­ment is com­bined with per­fect con­trol of the muz­zles.

You can tell a lot about any in­di­vid­ual’s shoot­ing just by watch­ing him or her mount the gun. The el­e­gant mount is typ­i­cally a sign of gen­eral com­pe­tence, like “the seat” in rid­ing. It will, mean­time, be hard to com­plete a good gun mount with­out bal­ance com­ing from a sta­ble stance and a good hold on the gun it­self. A com­fort­able, well-fit­ted stock with er­gonom­i­cally ef­fi­cient shapes and grip­ping sur­faces en­cour­ages a good mount, as does the bal­ance of the gun. Dis­ci­plined vi­sion is sur­pris­ingly im­por­tant to the mount, too (fo­cus­ing for­ward on an imag­i­nary mark will usu­ally help even in “dry” mount­ing drills).

Tim­ing is part of the equa­tion. The stylish, ef­fi­cient mount should be ex­e­cuted with good rhythm (usu­ally three beats to a rel­a­tively slow tempo). The rear hand does not dom­i­nate (if it does, the gun may wind­mill about the axis of the front hand). The two hands work to­gether, although the front hand may lead the ac­tion. The keen will prac­tise the mount reg­u­larly, which will help to keep shoot­ing mus­cles trimmed out of sea­son. I have found do­ing this in slow­mo­tion can be help­ful, too, be­cause it brings out ev­ery fault and makes one fo­cus on per­fec­tion (try it with an empty gun – it’s harder than you might think).

Many poor shots rush gun mount­ing, typ­i­cally los­ing con­trol of the bar­rels, es­pe­cially the muz­zles, in the process. A com­mon sin is to “bash and slash”. That is, to slam the gun up to the shoul­der in haste and then slash

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