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